The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy held its annual meeting in October 2003 on Maui, Hawaii. Meanwhile, the public company accounting standards and federal regulations implementing the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 continued to develop. Discussion therefore focused on how the state boards would cooperate with each other, with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and with the SEC to coordinate state accounting laws for both public and private companies with the new federal guidelines in order to best protect the public interest.
TRUST COMES FIRST
Comments from attendees reflected a common understanding that state boards must ensure licensees' performance deserves the confidence of investors and others who depend on CPA services. David A. Vaudt, NASBA's incoming chairman and Iowa state auditor, moderated a panel on developing ways to strengthen trust.
One of the panelists, Gail Hillebrand, a public member of the California state board, recommended creating a national database on the reporting of restated financial results, developing state rules for audit documentation and considering rotating the auditors for public companies and large not-for-profits.
CONSISTENCY AND SARBANES-OXLEY
In his valedictory address, K. Machael Conaway, outgoing NASBA chairman, encouraged state boards to facilitate interstate practice by eliminating unnecessary differences between state laws and the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). He urged state boards to review NASBA's discussion memorandum, "Answering the SOX Challenge: Guidelines for State Boards of Accountancy," (www.nasba.org/nasbafiles.nsf/ lookup/answeringsoxchallenge/$file/answeringsoxchallenge.pdf) which is based on state board members' comments. NASBA's UAA committee will use it as a guide when proposing future UAA rules.
Andrew L. DuBoff, vice-president of the New Jersey state board, said it would take time to determine whether regulations derived flora the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the PCAOB accomplish what they were meant to do. DuBoff also said that in the meantime state boards should stay abreast of the positions NASBA, the PCAOB and the AICPA take on Sarbanes-Oxley-related issues.
S. Scott Voynich, AICPA chairman, called for cooperation. "Now, more than ever," he said, "the state societies, the state boards of accountancy, NASBA and the AICPA have an opportunity and a responsibility to find the right balance, to promote yet protect, to enhance the value of the CPA and the CPA hallmark while continuing to protect the public interest. …