Texas and Amex Pause
T he Texas State Board of Public Accountancy and American Express appear to have ended their disagreement without reaching a resolution. In a press release the TSBPA claimed a victory, saying that State District Court Judge John Dietz refused to grant a motion for summary judgment to American Express Tax and Business Services. This would have allowed American Express CPA employees to issue financial statements in Texas. TSBPA Executive Director William Treacy told the Journal that this affirms what the board has argued all along: "CPAs not working for a CPA firm cannot do compilations or reviews. They can't do 'Opella' reports either." The latter are approved formats that non-CPAs can issue, because only CPAs can claim compliance with statements on standards for accounting and review services. (See "Confusion on Compilations in Texas," JofA, June96, page 19.)
Sarah McKenzie, American Express vice-president for government relations, told the Journal the issue was not resolved because the judge said he did not have jurisdiction in this instance and thus refused to make any ruling at all. She said American Express still believed its CPAs should be allowed to perform compilations.
The question in Texas is only philosophical now, as American Express no longer owns any firms in the state. However, McKenzie emphasized this will continue to be an important issue as American Express intends to return to Texas when the issue is resolved.