State Boards of Accountancy

I got a chance to spend a long-weekend in Georgia last week.  It was a great time to catch up with family and friends including many of my professional friends at the GSCPA Fall Council meeting.  The major topic of conversation at the meeting was the Georgia State Board of Accountancy.  Georgia is facing many of the same issues that Texas faced a few years ago.  An underfunded, understaffed Board of Accountancy having difficulty meeting its commitment to protect the most valuable piece of property you own – your CPA license.  And if you think I am exaggerating on that last point, think again.  Your CPA license is a ticket to a lifetime of income that makes it worth more than anything else you own, unless of course you are an heir to an oil fortune or the Cox or Cathy families. 

A few years ago the TSCPA worked with the Texas State Board and the legislature to make the Texas State Board a semi-independent agency that gets to keep most of the money you pay in license fees to make sure that people aren’t holding out as CPAs when they haven’t met the requirements and to work to make sure the few bad apple CPAs are dealt with in an appropriate manner.  In addition they work with CPAs that have lost their way to get back on the right path provide services the way a CPA should.

Georgia is at a crossroads in the upcoming legislative session on what to do about its Board.  The Secretary of State has made some proposals, but the GSCPA is working with legislators to develop a better answer for CPAs and the Public in the State of Georgia.  Whatever happens, something needs to change.  Georgia spends only about 20% what other comparable size states pay to enforce and maintain its accountancy laws.  Less than half of your license fee actually goes to the operation of the State Board.  We have only about half of one staff person to handle all of the work and that person doesn’t even understand what CPAs really do. 

Yes, 2013 will be an important year for the State Board in both Georgia and Texas.  In Georgia, hopefully a new path forward will be forged and in Texas, the semi-independent structure that has worked so well will be under mandatory sunset review.  Your State Societies will be involved, but it is important that you be involved in the process as well.  After all, isn’t worth even just a little time to send an email or make a call to help insure that your most valuable possession is properly protected?

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