For many years, New York State Society members who also serve on AICPA Council have participated in the institute’s biannual Capitol Hill visits in Washington, D.C., in an effort to communicate the profession’s position on national issues and offer the services of CPAs as a resource for members of Congress throughout the year. This year was no different; May 23 found our members visiting New York’s federal representatives in the nation’s capital armed with talking points on federal tax reform, improving IRS taxpayer services, and support for legislation that would require the U.S. Comptroller General to provide an annual audit presentation on the federal government’s financial statements to a joint session of Congress.
About two weeks before the D.C. event, however, NYSSCPA members were in Albany meeting with New York lawmakers to share some talking points of our own. While only a small contingent of NYSSCPA members participated in the Society’s inaugural Lobby Day, their impact was immediate, as they met with no fewer than 20 assembly members, senators, or their staffs and secured bill sponsors in both the Senate and the Assembly for Society-supported legislation mandating peer review for all CPA firms that conduct audit and attestation services.
Senator Pamela Helming (R) and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D) are the respective sponsors of S6026A/A7895A, a bill that seeks to close a loophole in the accountancy reform law of 2010 which exempts small CPA firms (those with two or fewer CPAs) that provide audit and attest services from mandatory quality review (or peer review). The Society never advocated for a carve-out for small firms, believing that peer review should be mandatory for all CPA firms providing audit services in New York, but it became a negotiating tactic for one legislator and a point of compromise in order to secure the reform bill’s passage. The Society is now seeking to close this loophole to protect the public interest and establish uniformity in the way CPA firms are regulated in New York.
Introduced on May 10 in the Senate and May 17 in the Assembly, both bills now sit in their respective bodies’ Higher Education Committees, by which any professional practice legislation must be vetted before it can reach the floor.
While the current legislative session ends in June, the NYSSCPA’s advocacy initiatives continue throughout the year. Whether meeting face to face with legislators, becoming a member of the Society’s Political Action Committee, attending committee meetings, serving on the Board of Directors, serving on a chapter’s board, or even leading a CPE session, everything that our members do has the same end goal: to advocate for the CPA profession in New York State. There are many ways for members to get involved; the only hard part is deciding which opportunity you want for yourself. To get started, check out http://www.nysscpa.org.