AICPA Passes Budget With No Dues Increase


Members of the AICPA Council on Monday unanimously approved an operating budget for 2009-2010 with no increase in member dues.

The budget calls for $174.4 million in total net revenue and $172.3 million in total expenses for the fiscal year beginning Aug. 1—an outlook that is basically flat compared to the current-year budget.

The budget was calibrated to the current economic climate and designed to afford the Institute maximum flexibility as it charts a course for the upcoming fiscal year, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, told attendees at the 2009 AICPA Spring Meeting of Council in Washington.

“Management can and will implement changes as quickly as needed through the course of the coming year with a focus on not disrupting our valued member services,” said Anthony Pugliese, CPA, senior vice-president, finance, membership and operations.

In a speech Monday, Melancon touched on the Institute’s efforts to have a voice in financial regulatory reform, and he offered updates on a number of key AICPA initiatives including promoting financial literacy and fiscal accountability and helping CPAs prepare for a potential requirement to convert to IFRS for public company filings. Melancon also outlined AICPA efforts to redraft Statements on Auditing Standards to improve their clarity and a committee proposal that would allow an accountant who performs internal control services for a client also to review that client’s financial statements. Melancon has emphasized that 2009 will be a pivotal time for progress on differential standards for private and public companies because of the increasing trend of U.S. GAAP exceptions for private companies in corporate reports.

 

The three-day Council meeting includes speeches by AICPA leadership, lawmakers, political pundits and media personalities. The meeting concludes today with visits by CPAs to legislators on Capitol Hill.

 

To prepare CPAs from around the country for those talks with lawmakers, Tom Ochsenschlager, AICPA vice president, taxation, and Mark Peterson, AICPA vice president, governmental and public affairs, briefed the crowd on the focus of the Hill visits—the roles CPAs are playing in economic recovery; financial regulatory reform; tax strategy patents and mobile workforce legislation. CPAs were urged to share with legislators what the profession is doing to guide businesses through the economic crisis by, among other things, providing small businesses with knowledge, skills and tools to survive the recession.

 

Regulatory areas the AICPA is focusing on include broker-dealers and investment and hedge fund advisers. The AICPA is also telling lawmakers that patents for tax planning methods undermine the integrity, fairness and administration of the tax system.

 

The Institute is also voicing support for a mobile workforce proposal being led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that would impose a uniform national standard on nonresident state taxation for short-term workers. Under the measure, employees working for less than 30 days in an area outside their home state would not be subject to state or local taxation on those wages.

 

During a point-counterpoint discussion on Monday, analysts from opposite sides of the aisle, conservative Pat Buchanan and liberal Donna Brazile,  spoke of challenges the Obama administration faces while trying to cope with the economic crisis. Brazile, a CNN political contributor and ABC political consultant, said she believes President Obama will need to use the sizable political capital he has built up to push through his agenda on issues such as health-care reform and comprehensive energy reform. Buchanan, a columnist and MSNBC political analyst, said Obama faces potential obstacles including stagflation as well as unrest in Pakistan and fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan that could take attention away from economic issues.

 

In response to a question about the backlash resulting from the financial crisis, Brazile said companies must do a better job of telling their own stories. “Not every banker is a crook and not every Wall Street trader sought to harm us,” she said. “We must distinguish between the bad apples and the good apples.”

 

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