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NASBA annual meeting: mobility will drive uniformity.

Speakers at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy 84th annual meeting, October 20-23 in Maui, Hawaii, predicted urgent forces, such as treaties and the profession's desire for mobility, will speed up the states' adoption of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA).

In his review of NASBA's accomplishments, President Jerome P. Solomon, a partner of Pannell Kerr Forster in Boston, reflected on the UAA revisions proposed by the Conference Committee on Uniformity of Regulation of the Accounting Profession, which consists of representatives of NASBA, the American Institute of CPAs and the CPA State Executive Society. "We must support the uniform act actively--not passively. When statutory uniformity becomes a reality, a great step forward to assuring mobility within the profession will have been accomplished."

Uniform Accountancy Act

Robert E. Billings, chairman of the NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act, rules and regulations committee, reported key areas of compromise in the latest UAA exposure draft are contained in provisions for mandatory quality review and in a one-year experience requirement for entry into the profession. The experience requirement would terminate upon the adoption and full implementation of the 150-hour education requirement, continuing public education for all licensees and quality reveiw for CPAs in public practice. Billings considers the greatest hurdle for the UAA is adoption, without change, by the state boards of all 54 jurisdictions.

AICPA Chairman Gerald A. Polansky praised the conference committe's work: "I think we accomplished a lot over a very short time. The conference committee gives us an opportunity to focus on an issue, and I will advocate keeping it alive, even after the act is on the street and used by those who need to work with it."

Discipline

NASBA interstate enforcement committee chairman Harry T. Magill said the committee's newly released report recommends UAA adoption, particularly sections that discuss the overall power of the boards, the investigation and hearing process and the exchange of information between boards.

At a panel discussion, "How to Handle Major Cases," board representatives from Texas, California, North Carolina and Oklahoma all expressed their eargerness to reach consent agreements with licensees. Not only are such agreements more cost-effective than formal hearings for the boards, but they also enable boards to tailor penalties to help licensees get back up to standard, the panelists agreed. Recent disciplinary proceedings have cost the California State Board of Accountancy up to $2 million per case, reported its vice-president, Janice B. Wilson. To have the resources to pursue both large and small firms equally, California raised its licensing fee, she said.

Reciprocity

The prompt development of the reciprocity principles by NASBA, the AICPA and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants was praised by Solomon. He reported initial conversations on reciprocity with Mexico also have begun, but he said an agreement is "many years away."

John I. Williams, director of international affairs of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, called on NASBA and the AICPPA to join in discussions with the three CA institutes (England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland) to establish mutual recognition between the CPA and the CA designations, with the practical implementation of any agreement being left to individual regulatory jurisdictions.

Hiroshi Nakachi, vice-chairman of the Japanese Institute of CPAs, said that while in the 1960s and 1970s Japanese CPAs thought mutual recognition of professional qualifications was necessary, "that need has been eliminated with the development of the international network of multinational accounting firms. The issue of interest on the international level is how to harmonize the quality of work among the member firms."

Business Meeting

A waiver of NASBA's bylaws, unanimously approved at the annual meeting, enabled Solomon to serve a second year as president. The vote was necessitated by the untimely death of NASBA President-Elect Richard J. Goode on September 9, 1991. Nathan T. Garrett, a partner of Garrett and Davenport in Durham, North Carolina, was elected NASBA president-elect 1991-92.

The 1991 William H. Van Resselaer Public Service Award was presented posthumously to John A. Baker, Jr., 1963-64 NASBA president, whom Van Rensselaer often called "the father of NASBA." Among his many civic and professional activities, he served on the Hawaii State Board of Accountancy for 15 years and was instrumental in having the board adopt one of the nation's first mandatory CPE rules.

Among the projects to be studied by NASBA in the year ahead is a national qualifications service, which Solomon called "a vital component in developing a reciprocity system."

The NASBA CPE sponsor registry committee reported it had received 321 applications. Of that amount, 224 qualified sponsors had been approved and 63 applications were still under review. Two new areas being studied by the registry committee are

* A plan to enable potential sponsors with fewer than two years of experience in conducting CPE programs to join the registry under a monitored program.

* An evaluation of self-study CPE programs, in particular interactive programs, as they relate to the new AICPA CPE standards.

NASBA's CPA examination review board reported that state boards could continue to rely on the Uniform CPA Examination for the certification and licensure of public accountants. The review board also voiced its endorsement of the board of examfiners' plan for a nondisclosed exam. Kathryn A. Forbes, review board chairman, said such an exam "can continue to improve the quality and security of the examination. We urge the earliest possible adoption."

Next year, NASBA's 85th annual meeting will be held October 18-21 in Washington, D.C.

Louise Dratler Haberman, consulting editor of NASBA's monthly newsletter, the State Board Report, and managing editor of New Accountant.
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Title Annotation:National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
Author:Haberman, Louise Dratler
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Words:924
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