The task force appointed in February to study the role and responsibilities of the governing Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has sent its report, containing 14 recommendations, directly to Council, the AICPA announced this week.
"The Institute authorized us to undertake whatever actions and inquiries we thought appropriate to fulfill our assignment," said Timothy O’Brien of Colorado, who headed the seven-member task force. "Our mission was to evaluate how representatives are elected to Council and how Council conducts its activities. We were asked to pay special attention to communications and Council’s relationships with the AICPA’s membership and Board of Directors."
Jay Rothberg, AICPA Vice President – Office of the CEO, who served as staff liaison to the task force, said, "The group studied various facets of the Council process and other organizations’ governance. It also solicited comments from our members. The task force’s recommendations reveal an enormous amount of deliberation and commitment to improving the workings of the governing Council."
The 14 recommendations are as follows:
- Council members should serve as leaders and trustees of the profession; all AICPA Council and Board members should sign a Statement of Responsibilities upon accepting their position
- Once Council has been thoroughly briefed and has deliberated and acted as a body, each member should present the endorsed view of Council
- The AICPA Board of Directors should investigate ways to provide Council with more timely and comprehensive information on issues under discussion, including pro and con perspectives
- There should be a mechanism so Council members can be called upon to suggest items for Board and Council agendas in advance of meetings
- Council members should receive more extensive training through the New Council Member Orientation program
- Breakout sessions and electronic polling should be regular parts of Council proceedings
- Council’s meeting schedule should change: Rather than two meetings of Council and one set of Regional Council meetings, there should be one full meeting of Council and up to three Regional meetings
- Council should be permitted to vote by electronic ballot when it is not in session
- Every Council meeting should have a forum open to all AICPA members, so they may have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the Institute and the profession
- Members of Council should receive issues-briefing binders
- Council should adopt a resolution urging the state societies to use a democratic process in electing their Council members, ensuring greater diversity in representation
- To provide an opportunity for more AICPA members to serve, a Council member’s term should be two years, with a maximum of six consecutive years
- New Council members should be elected at the Spring meeting and assume their positions on August 1, the first day of the AICPA’s fiscal year
- Attendance at Council meetings should be mandatory, and any member who misses three consecutive meetings should forfeit the seat
The full text of the Task Force Report is available in pdf format on the AICPA Web Site.