The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and a coalition of eighteen associations of state licensing boards and the associations of professionals regulated by those boards provided written statements to the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development for its hearing on June 20, 2018. The hearing was entitled “Occupational Licensing: Reducing Barriers to Economic Mobility and Growth.” The committee sought to hear from several witnesses regarding how occupational licensing should be reformed.
The AICPA and NASBA were two of the organizations which signed a statement with professional associations and licensing boards representing engineers, several medical professions, landscape architects, social workers, and veterinarians. In that statement, the group wrote, “State governments use occupational licensure to ensure the quality, safety, and integrity of the knowledge-based professions. Licensure and regulation promotes high standards practice and effectuates the state’s primary goal of protecting public health, safety and welfare.”
In its own letter, the AICPA spoke specifically to the purpose of licensing CPAs and the regulatory protections provided to the public from such licensing. It stated “The CPA license is highly respected and trusted, as CPAs provide accounting services that are essential to the nation’s economy. The public relies on regulatory protections to ensure CPAs have the right degree of expertise and education to perform these services. These regulatory protections include state boards of accountancy. Every state has a state board of accountancy – with members nominated by state officials – that licenses and disciplines CPAs. These boards include experienced CPAs and public members for a balanced approach to regulatory authority.”
The AICPA letter also noted that the profession enjoys a great deal of mobility, taking away a significant barrier for practitioners to work across state lines without additional regulatory burdens. It highlighted that CPAs in “forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the United States Virgin Islands currently operate under a seamless cross-border system for CPA practice.”