The governing council of the American Institute of CPAs met in New Orleans this week, and on their agenda were changes to a number of areas that ultimately will subtly change the face of the organization that represents the profession.
At its meeting on Monday October 20, the council reached agreement on a number of issues:
- Approval to Change Two Ethics Bylaws - The first bylaw change broadens and extends the AICPA's current authority to sanction "automatically" members without an investigation. It allows the AICPA to sanction a member automatically if a regulatory authority that has been approved by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) and the Board of Directors has taken disciplinary action against the member. To ensure due process, both the member and the PEEC can appeal the automatic sanction. Out of all members voting, 70,662 approved this amendment.
The second bylaw amendment enhances the transparency of the AICPA's disciplinary findings. The change allows the PEEC to provide for more relevant disclosures about the matters it has investigated, including disclosure of the results of an investigation to a complainant. A total of 70,784 members voted in favor.
- Approval of Expansion of the Auditing Standard Board focusing on non-public entities - The council voted to add non-CPA members, including representatives from the user, regulatory and public communities, as members of the Auditing Standards Board (ASB). The addition moves to ensure greater participation in the standards setting process. The ASB will continue to set auditing standards for nonpublic entities. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board established by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 sets auditing standards for public companies.
- Approval of SECPS to become the "Center for Public Company Audit Firms" - The council approved a recommendation to revamp the AICPA's SEC Practice Section (SECPS) by forming a new voluntary membership organization called the Center for Public Company Audit Firms. The Center will enhance the quality of performance of members that audit public companies and provide support for them.