CPA AGENDA: Critical Issues and Solutions for the Profession.
Loretta Doon (pictured), chief executive of the California CPA society (the nation’s biggest state society, by the way), is pushing hard for interstate mobility. But first California CPAs must bring their state regulations into line with the national 150-hour educational standard.
Here’s our Q&A with Doon for the CPA Agenda:
QUESTION: What’s the most important issue impacting your organization in particular, or your members in general?
DOON: Mobility. Achieving national uniformity on mobility is critical. It is necessary for consumers, businesses and CPAs in the United States to remain competitive in the global marketplace. In today’s economy, it is imperative that consumers and businesses be able to adjust strategies quickly by relying on CPAs to provide expert advice regarding tax laws and accounting issues around the world.
In California, to achieve this, we need to adopt the 150-hour pathway to licensure as the sole option for new licensees. Our profession is changing. In California, now, 60 percent of all new licensees are women and, even more telling, at least 40 percent identify as being part of a minority group. Since it has been offered, the number of licensees choosing the 150-hour pathway has risen dramatically every year. Six years ago, no one was licensed under the 150-hour pathway. Today, almost two-thirds of new licensees choose — and are licensed under — 150 hours as their preferred pathway.
QUESTION: How’s it going?
DOON: Legislation has been introduced in California that has broad professional and business support. The bill recently was taken off the State Assembly’s calendar, but the issue is not dead. CPA mobility is critical to California businesses and the profession.
QUESTION: Good luck. What else?
DOON: Our educational initiative to support global convergence of accounting standards.
QUESTION: Considering California’s position in international trade, that makes sense.
DOON: CalCPA is working to create educational programs and resources with the support of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation. It is our goal to make sure that our members understand the impact of international convergence in accounting standards and our duty to ensure that CalCPA provides them with the proper education. We operate in a global marketplace and are committed to providing the tools and resources that all our members need to succeed in that marketplace.
We’re planning an international standards conference for August. The international standards issue is a train coming down the track. And we have to lay the track for it. It will drive GAAP standards in the future.
QUESTION: Hmmm. Interstate mobility. The 150-hour rule. International standards. You don’t pick easy issues, do you? What’s next on your agenda?
DOON: Attracting more young people to become CPAs and showing them the wide variety of professional opportunities available. To that end, we are holding our second annual Young and Emerging Professionals Conference in May. The conference, which will be held on separate days in San Francisco and Los Angeles, will provide students and young professionals with insights on career trends, guidance on how to succeed, and opportunities to get advice from seasoned professionals.
We also are leveraging new technologies such as a professional networking site, YouTube, blogs and more to reach this new generation of CPAs.
QUESTION: And so far, it’s working?
DOON: Yep! Our number of members in this demographic have tripled over the past three years; activity is brisk on our professional networking site; our YEP conferences are at capacity. Our chapters all have active YEP groups.
QUESTION: What else should we be asking?
DOON: The CPA field is becoming more diverse and specialized. How are you dealing with specialization within the profession? How is the economic downturn affecting your organization and what are the related issues that are of concern?
QUESTION: We’ll see what can do to get some answers.