History of AICPA. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and its predecessors have a history dating back to 1887, when the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) was formed. In 1916, the American Association was succeeded by the Institute of Public Accountants, at which time there was a membership of 1,150. The name was changed to the American Institute of Accountants in 1917 and remained so until 1957, when it changed to its current name of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The American Society of Certified Public Accountants was formed in 1921 and acted as a federation of state societies. The Society was merged into the Institute in 1936 and, at that time, the Institute agreed to restrict its future members to CPAs.
History of Committees. The use of committees began even before the AAPA was formed in 1887. At the first meeting of what would become the AAPA on December 22, 1886, those present authorized the appointment of a committee to draft rules and regulations. Beyond this first preliminary committee, the first Bylaws of the AAPA in 1897 established three committees: Finance and Audit Committee, Committee on Elections, Qualifications and Examinations, and the Committee on Bylaws. The number of committees grew continually over the years. In the 1940s there were 34 committees, by 1960, there were 89, and by 1970, the number had grown to 109. In 1999, the nearly 120 existing committees underwent a re-organization with approximately half of the standing committees being replaced with a volunteer group model that placed an increased emphasis on the use of task forces. The increased use of task forces allowed for more targeted efforts, with the task forces being given a specific assignment then disbanding upon completion of that assignment. Also, in 1999 the first tracking and management of task forces began. Collectively, more than 2,000 volunteers contribute to the AICPA’s fulfilling its mission.
Need for Volunteer Groups. The AICPA organization consists of volunteer groups and staff working together to achieve the Institute's objectives. Volunteer Groups help present the interests, needs' and attitudes of the membership; and assist the Institute in maintaining high standards of professional practice, promoting the interest of CPAs, serving as a spokesperson for the profession, and providing appropriate services to members. An effective volunteer group structure can generate sound group judgment, provide continuity of thinking, and help bring together a cross section of member knowledge and experience. It also provides for leaders of the profession. The most important reason for organizing a volunteer group is the need for member guidance and representation.