Acceleration of Change

Allyson Baumeister, Immediate Past Chairman of TSCPA, went through a brief history of CPAs in Texas at our annual meeting held July 1-2 in Galveston (which is where it all began by the way) and I have augmented it with some additional national developments below.

1915 – TSCPA Board set up and licenses issued
1915 – First CPA exam – 3 took, 2 passed
1915 – TSCPA formed in Fort Worth by 16 people
1934 – SEC formed with power to set accounting standards (allowed the profession to continue setting standards)
1939 – Committee on Accounting Procedure (AICPA committee) formed – Issued Accounting Research Bulletins (ARBs)
1959 – Accounting Principles Board formed (still part of AICPA) – Issued APBs
1973 – FASB formed (separate independent entity from the profession)
1984 – Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF – under FASB) formed
1989 – Mandatory CPE started
1989 – Peer Review started
1997 – 150 hour rule to sit for CPA exam took effect
2001 – IASB formed (independent body to set international accounting standards)
2002 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed/Public Company Accounting Oversight Board formed to review auditor’s work and set audit standards for public company audits
2004 – CPA exam computerized
2004 – COSO became a term everyone used in the profession even if they didn’t know what it stood for (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations) because reports on all controls were now required for all public companies
2016 – TSCPA celebrates 100 years with over 28,000 members
2016 – AICPA/CIMA members approve the creation of a new international association with over 600,000 members

In the first 50 years, things moved relatively slowly and the profession was still very much self-regulated; while you weren’t required to keep learning after you passed the CPA exam, the knowledge basis for CPAs was not changing rapidly. It was at the end of the next 25 years (through 1990) when things really started to change. The FASB began issuing many more standards and the EITF issuances created a growing base of very specific rules that needed to be followed. As a result, the profession changed to include reviews to make sure our members were performing audits appropriately and to require continuing education to stay in the profession because you have to constantly update your knowledge base to be an effective CPA.

In the last 25 years, the world has hit the accelerator pedal. Two forces – internationalization and increased regulation – have converged and the profession has responded. In order to serve the public better the members of the AICPA and CIMA agreed to create a new international accounting association with over 600,000 members. This association will help CPAs provide better service while appropriately reacting to increased rules and regulations that can start anywhere in the world.

I am proud to be a member of a profession our predecessors established as forward looking and a bastion of integrity. I am also proud our current members have kept those key attributes alive as we lead the profession into the uncharted international future.

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