Friday, January 18, 2008

Regulatory Relief, Or Consumer Rip-Off?

Accountants licensed in other states will face less red tape to practice in California, under proposed legislation endorsed by the California Board of Accountancy.

The proposal would remove California's current requirement that out-of-state accountants notifying the state of their qualifications before practicing there. Eleven states have already modified their laws to eliminate local registration requirements, and accounting regulators in another 33 states including California are supporting similar legislation, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

That didn't prevent the Orange County Register from running a grandstanding column that portrays the measure as the latest in a series of plots by the Big Four CPA firms and industry lobbyists to rip off consumers.

Brian Joseph, the Register's regular "Capital Watchdog" columnist, wrote:

Board staff warned that eliminating the requirement would make it impossible to prevent unqualified accountants – or even convicted felons – from preying on California consumers. Furthermore, the board itself recommends that Californians carefully review qualifications before hiring an accountant. The board's enforcement chief, Greg Newington, even prefers notice. The board, however, ignored its own advice and approved draft legislation to eliminate prior notice, even though a key section of the bill was left blank at the time.

The piece continues in that vein. In fairness to the columnist, I should add that he does give ample space to the other side, quoting lengthy and convincing rebuttals from representatives of the accounting profession.

Proposal would relax rules on CPAs [OCRegister.com]

1 comment:

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