Robert L. Bunting this week became Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, succeeding S. Scott Voynich. His term as Chair, a volunteer position, is one year.
Bunting, who recently stepped down as Chairman and CEO of the regional firm of Moss Adams LLP, assumed his new post at the AICPA governing Council’s Fall meeting in Orlando. He has served the AICPA for more than 20 years with membership on many volunteer committees, including a three-year term on the Board of Directors. Bunting served as Chairman of Moss Adams from 1982 to 2004 and for 10 years prior, directed the firm’s consulting practice. He continues as a partner in his firm with responsibility for some of the firm’s industry practices. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho and lives in Seattle.
In his inaugural speech, titled “Renewing a Great Profession,” Bunting encouraged his fellow CPAs to be catalysts for change.
“Great professions don’t just accept change,” he said. “They don’t just embrace change. Great professions initiate change – for their own good, for the public good and for the sake of the future.” Greatness, Bunting said, evolves from high expectations, which have always driven the CPA profession.
Bunting elaborated on the Institute’s peer-review process.
“Peer review was designed as an educational and remedial program to strengthen quality control, prevent recurrences of problems, and correct deficiencies,” he explained. “Members expected confidentiality. But what was accepted as confidentiality in the past is seen as secrecy today. Transparency is more important than ever, because a wider universe of people have come to rely on peer review, including regulators and clients in ever increasing numbers.”
Noting that most state boards of accountancy require peer review as a condition of licensure, Bunting said, “We have succeeded in earning respect for peer review. Now we must open it up to the people who have invested confidence in it.”
“Communication” and “commitment” were recurrent themes in his speech. He reminded the audience that the regulatory community recognized the importance of the CPA’s work to the health of the economy. He said it was incumbent upon the profession to “build bridges” with regulators and government bodies and maintain open dialogue.
To illustrate the CPA’s commitment to the public, Bunting described the Institute’s three audit quality centers – Center for Public Company Audits, Employee Benefits Plan Audit Quality Center and the Governmental Audit Quality Center – which set standards for excellence in their respective areas.
Bunting also touched on the AICPA’s new consumer campaign, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, the goal of which is to help Americans become more financially aware. He called the program “a model for how a profession that cares about the public interest can leverage its skills and position of respect to benefit society.”