California Panel Studies Changing Accounting Profession

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Faced with tough new national and state reform legislation, a high-profile group of Californians is launching an ambitious project to study the impact of the evolving political, cultural and regulatory environment on CPAs and their clients.

Under the chairmanship of John Lacey, a professor of accounting at California State University, Long Beach, the group expects to produce a report with recommendations for California's accounting professionals, as well as the political and regulatory bodies and professional associations that affect the accounting profession. Questions addressed at the group's first meeting on October 29, 2002 include:

  • Is enactment of the Uniform Accountancy Act in California in 2000 in the best interest of the public?
  • Should the state license all CPAs or should it only license auditors?
  • Should there be different rules governing CPAs engaged by SEC-registered companies than for CPAs engaged by private firms?
  • Should the Rules of Professional Conduct governing CPAs in California be amended? If so, how?

Joining Professor Lacey in this pioneering effort are Aulana Peters and Harold Williams, former SEC commissioners; Michael Josephson, an expert in the area of ethics; Anthony Anderson, managing partner of Ernst & Young in Los Angeles; John Dodsworth, president of CAMICO Insurance; Loretta Doon, CFO of the California Teacher's Association; William Holder, professor of accounting at the University of Southern California; Dan Koskovich, CFO of Cannon Communications, LLC, Los Angeles; Ira Landis, former president of the California Board of Accountancy; Kenneth Leventhal, chairman emeritus of the Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group, a division of Ernst & Young, Los Angeles; Kenneth Macias, founder and managing partner, Macias, Gini & Co., accountancy corporation in Sacramento; Roger Molvar, CEO of IndyMac Bank, Los Angeles; Tracey Westen, executive director of the Center for Governmental Studies; and Robert G. O'Donnell, portfolio counselor, Capital Group Companies, Los Angeles.

The group is meeting under the auspices of the California Society of CPAs, which represents more than 27,000 CPAs including mostly small or solo practitioners. But CalCPA CEO Susan Waters says independence is key to the project's success. "Our intent is to let the group arrive at its own conclusions independently, and CalCPA is here only to offer a place and a reason to meet. We feel the timing is perfect for a group of experienced people to come together and discuss where accounting is headed as a profession and a public service in California."

-Rosemary Schlank

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