Magazine article The CPA Journal

Keeping Priorities Straight

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Keeping Priorities Straight

Article excerpt

The New York State legislature has begun working on the 2003/2004 budget, and as usual we are concerned about what major cuts will be made before the final budget receives Governor George Pataki's approval. Some people say that the state's current fiscal woes are a passing problem, attributable to a recession that is hopefully ending, to an overreaction to Enron, and, at least partly, to our collective anxiety as the nation enters into war.

I recognize that during wartime, updating the New York State legislation that governs the practice of accountancy will not register on most people's radar.We should also recognize, however, that life, and legislation, continue in wartime. For example, the newly formed Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is aggressively pursuing its mission, as its acting chair, Charles Neimeier, attests to in his interview on page 18. In the same way, anyone connected with the practice of accountancy in New York should keep his mind on what the NYSSCPA is trying to accomplish and remember that serving the public trust remains our top priority.

The New York State statute that governs oversight of the accounting profession, first enacted in the 1890s, has not been amended since 1947. It now falls glaringly short in giving CPAs a comprehensive or even adequate framework within which to practice. We need to work with Governor Pataki and the legislature in moving forward, and strongly oppose any delays that might make this situation worse.

At the core of this discussion is the New York State Board for Accountancy, which falls under the aegis of the Office of the Professions of the NewYork State Education Department. During the last two years the NYSSCPA has determined that in order to fulfill its mission on behalf of the people of New York, the board needs better resources and staffing. Furthermore, the professional regulations should be changed to include mandatory peer review for any CPA doing attest work. Also, every CPA, not just CPAs in public practice, should be required to take CPE. Furthermore, the due process for disciplinary actions should be clear, concise, and userfriendly, so that the parties to an ethics complaint can move on once the complaint is resolved; under the current system they too often spend months or years in limbo. …

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