State Boards Developing Nationwide Licensee Database For CPAs

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Preliminary plans for a database that will quickly validate the current licensing status of certified public accountants throughout the country were unveiled at the 96th Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

This new project comes just as NASBA is in the final stages of developing a certified public accountant candidate information database, for the exclusive use of the computer-based CPA examination to be launched in April 2004.

Technical expertise harnessed for the examination project will be assigned to the licensee database project, which has long been recommended by state accountancy board representatives.

In addition, the licensee database will provide an efficient means for independent auditors of companies listed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to validate state licensing information needed for registration with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Representatives from 50 state boards of accountancy attending the Annual Meeting were urged by NASBA President and CEO David A. Costello to join forces to expedite the project. "Advances in technology, along with NASBA's strength in providing IT solutions, make this a particularly appropriate time to implement this important project," Mr. Costello said.

President Costello noted, "NASBA and its member boards are uniquely positioned to develop the licensee database. This project can benefit not only state boards, but also individual licensees and accounting firms who share NASBA's commitment to reducing barriers to interstate practice. With state board and private cooperation, we can have a licensee database that will enhance confidence in the quality of licensees practicing within the 54 jurisdictions."

NASBA Chair David A. Vaudt, CPA, stated in his inaugural address on October 28: "Remember, no one can practice public accountancy in the United States unless licensed by one of our state boards of accountancy. While the PCAOB and the SEC can prohibit a CPA from providing services to SEC registrants, only state boards can protect the public by revoking the license of a CPA to provide services to any party. Our relationship with the PCAOB is strong, and we were so fortunate to have PCAOB member Kayla Gillan as our keynote speaker at this year's Annual Meeting. The close cooperation and working relationship among the PCAOB, NASBA and state boards will result in the strongest of regulatory efforts."

November 2004 is the anticipated launch date for the new licensee database, with user panels scheduled to begin in December 2003. State boards of accountancy license approximately 570,000 certified public accountants in the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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