AICPA is looking out for rural CPA firms

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) commended the U.S. House of Representatives' removal of a provision in the Farm Bill Extension Act of 2007 that would have resulted in unfair competition to small CPA firms.

"The AICPA thanks House members for their vote because enacting such a provision would lead to unfair competition for CPAs, especially smaller CPA firms in agricultural communities," Barry C. Melancon, AICPA President and CEO, said.

The provision was part of a larger effort to expand the charter of the Farm Credit System (FCS) so that the FCS would be able to offer not only loans but also other financial services, such as accounting and tax services, to a large new class of non-farm borrowers. The House defeated the effort on a voice vote on a Floor amendment.

Because FCS institutions have lower costs as a result of their advantaged government sponsored entity status and because the provision would have allowed the FCS institutions to bundle services such as tax, lending, and books and records keeping to a broader group of non-farm businesses than they can at present, CPAs would have been at a competitive disadvantage. Likely types of businesses include hardware stores, truck and farm equipment dealers, transportation companies and small manufacturers and others who sell their goods and services to farmers.

The farm bill must still be considered by the Senate, which has not yet finished drafting its farm bill. "We'll be watching Senate action very closely," Melancon said. He noted that Congressional leaders plan final action on the farm bill by the end of September, when the current Farm Act expires.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the national, professional association of CPAs, with approximately 330,000 members, including CPAs in business and industry, public practice, government, and education.

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