AICPA: CPAs should be exempt from pending consumer financial protection legislation

On Wednesday, September 23, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants told a U.S. House panel that certified public accountants should be exempt from pending legislation to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency because CPAs are already highly regulated. The House Small Business Committee conducted a hearing on the impact of financial regulatory restructuring on small business and community lenders.

“The AICPA supports the goal of enhanced financial consumer protection, but we believe it is critical to consider the plan’s effect on small business to ensure that it does not stifle the innovation, creativity and inventiveness of the American entrepreneur that has driven our economic engine,” Bob Harris, incoming chairman of the AICPA, told the committee.
 
The House is considering a number of bills that would revise the regulation of financial firms and financial activity. This includes the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that would regulate financial products and services for consumers.
 
“The CPA profession is currently heavily and effectively regulated with regard to protecting consumers. Not exempting CPAs providing customary and usual services to their clients from the scope of this bill will drain necessary resources from each agency and increase costs to consumers without any corresponding benefit,” Harris said.
 
Harris is vice chairman of the AICPA and will become chairman at the AICPA’s governing Council meeting in October. He is managing partner of the accounting firm Harris, Cotherman, Jones, Price & Associates in Vero Beach, Fla., a small business with 11 CPAs in the firm.

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