Professional Issues


The profession’s image remains bright among business decision makers, executives and investors who gave CPAs favorable ratings of 97%, 95% and 89%, respectively, in a recent survey. Significantly, among business decision makers and executives, CPAs ranked several points higher than physicians, insurance agents, bankers, chief management consultants and stock research analysts ( www.aicpa.org/download/news/2005_0522a.pdf ). Overwhelming majorities of business decision makers (80%) and executives (70%) said CPAs and the profession had done what was necessary to prevent recurrences of the accounting scandals. A smaller majority (52%) of investors agreed, but very many (71%) said they weren’t familiar with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. All three groups said CPAs help fight or prevent fraud (85%, 75% and 78%, respectively). In addition, survey participants rated CPAs higher than in 2003 on reliability, integrity, ethics and commitment to the profession’s rules. Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates conducted the survey, in March 2005, of more than 500 decision makers and executives and an equal number of investors.

The Government Accountability Office issued guidance ( www.gao.gov/govaud/ybcpe2005.pdf ) to auditors and audit organizations for implementing the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements prescribed by the 2003 revision ( www.gao.gov/govaud/ybk01.htm ) of Government Auditing Standards (GAS), also known as the yellow book. The guidance expands and modernizes the types of programs and the list of subjects that could satisfy CPE requirements under GAS. Its provisions are effective for CPE measurement periods that began on or after June 30, 2005.

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The technology assessment engagement

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FEATURE

Maximizing the higher education tax credits

A counterintuitive strategy can save taxes by including otherwise excludable scholarships in gross income.