The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has created a new volunteer committee, the special Committee on Mobility, to identify unnecessary burdens and requirements blocking CPAs from easily practicing across state lines. Scott Voynich, former chair of the AICPA Board of Directors, will head the committee.
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“This is a high-priority initiative for the AICPA, and we expect that the Special Committee will provide significant resources to states seeking to enact or to revise mobility provisions within their state accountancy laws or regulations,” Voynich said in a prepared statement announcing the special committee’s formation.
As part of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA), the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy jointly developed the concept of “substantial equivalency” which allows CPAs with a valid license from a state with CPA licensing criteria that are “substantially equivalent” to those outlined in the UAA, to practice in another state without obtaining a license from that state. “Substantial equivalency”, however, is not working as effectively as envisioned because many of the 34 states that have enacted it have modified provisions to fit their states’ own unique policies, diluting the impact of the UAA provision.
“Under the current system as adopted by state licensing agencies across the country, CPAs now have to comply with a multitude of different requirements from state to state,” Voynich said. “While we are committed to a state-based regulatory system, we need to eliminate the artificial barriers to interstate practice and mobility of CPAs that are represented by different requirements for practice privileges and/or temporary practice, while at the same time ensuring that the public is adequately protected.”
Barry Melancon, President and CEO of the AICPA, agrees, saying, “Today’s dynamic marketplace has erased geographic boundaries and dictates that CPAs, in order to meet the needs of their clients and their business needs, be able to practice without unwarranted difficulty across state lines. Unfortunately, the current model for gaining practice privileges, known as ‘substantial equivalency’, has not changed the process sufficiently enough.”
According to Voynich, “The Special Committee will also consider the viability of the current ‘substantial equivalency’ model and, if necessary, will work to develop modifications to improve mobility. The goal is a system that provides ease of mobility for CPAs and gives regulators the appropriate and necessary tools to protect the public.”
The Special Committee on Mobility is a short term committee that is expected to complete its work on an expedited schedule.