Coalition launched to protect professional licensing

By Julia Woislaw

In the wake of various state deregulatory proposals that threaten to have an adverse effect on the CPA profession, the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) have helped found a new coalition of advanced professions focused on educating policymakers and the public about the importance of rigorous professional licensing standards.

The coalition, the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), is designed to educate lawmakers on the need to maintain standards for highly complex, technical professions such as accounting that have a clear impact on the public’s fiscal health and welfare.

As the topic of licensing is debated at the state level, the coalition will provide leaders of advanced professions with a platform to voice their concerns to lawmakers.

“Weakening professional licensing standards on a state-by-state basis will destroy the confidence in qualifications and completely disrupt existing mobility models for advanced professions like ours,” Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, said in a news release. “Employers will be less inclined to accept out-of-state licenses if some states have rigorous requirements and others have weak requirements. The result: It will become more difficult for CPAs to move and maintain their careers across states.”

NASBA CEO Ken Bishop said the public must have confidence in the accuracy, thoroughness, and integrity of an audit performed by a CPA.

“The most effective way to maintain this confidence is to continue to have CPAs show rigorous education, examination, and experience for their licensing requirements,” Bishop said in a news release. “Broad-brush attempts to weaken or undermine licensing requirements threaten to sweep up advanced professions like certified public accountants, diminish public protection, and jeopardize the fiscal integrity of the work our professionals do.”

Learn more about the ARPL and the importance of professional licensing by visiting the group’s newly launched website.

In other advocacy news:

Responding to OECD digital tax proposals: The AICPA responded to a discussion draft issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with specific recommendations to address the tax challenges of a digital global economy. The AICPA’s recommendations detail the four elements that a consensus-based, equitable, and successfully durable rebalancing of multijurisdictional taxing rights must have. Read more.

Colorado adopts CPE reciprocity: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation into law earlier this summer to allow nonresident CPAs to meet Colorado’s CPE requirements as long as the CPAs meet the CPE requirements in their home states. Read more.

Senate ratifies international tax treaties and protocols: In June, the AICPA urged the U.S. Senate to approve eight bilateral income tax treaties and protocols that have been long delayed. Recently, the Senate ratified four international tax treaties with Spain, Switzerland, Japan, and Luxembourg. Read more.

Julia Woislaw is manager—Advocacy Communications for the AICPA. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ken Tysiac, the JofA’s editorial director, at

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