BALU.... (CCI STUDENT....) 14 August 2009
|AICPA Media Center - Frequently Asked Questions|
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national professional organization for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the United States.
The AICPA’s mission is to provide members with the resources, information and leadership that enable them to provide valuable services in the highest professional manner to benefit the public, employers and clients. In fulfilling its mission, the AICPA works with state CPA organizations and gives priority to those areas where public reliance on CPA skills is most significant.
By engaging in activities to achieve this mission, the AICPA develops standards for audit and other services provided by CPAs, provides educational guidance materials to its members, creates and grades the Uniform CPA Exam, and monitors and enforces compliance with the profession’s audit, technical and ethical standards.
The AICPA was founded in 1887 and upon its creation, established Accountancy as a profession distinguished by rigorous educational requirements, high professional standards, a strict code of professional ethics, a licensing status, and a commitment to serving the public interest.
The AICPA Board of Directors acts as the executive committee for the governing council which determines Institute programs and establishes general policies. The Council is made up of elected and appointed members from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. The Board oversees management and organizes the various volunteer committees which report to it.
Barry C. Melancon, CPA is President and CEO of the AICPA. The current 2008-2009 Chair of the Board of Directors is Ernest A. Almonte, CPA.
Yes. Detailed information is available on our AICPA Membership Figures and Breakdown page.
The AICPA has more than 350,000 members, including CPAs in business and industry, public practice, government, education; student affiliates; and international associates.
Women represent approximately 30% of the current AICPA membership and that percentage is increasing each year. According to the 2004 Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits Survey, an average of 56% of new accounting graduates over the past 5 years were women.
AICPA membership is not mandatory for CPAs. The licensing authority and requirements for CPAs fall under the auspices of the Board of Accountancy for the state or jurisdiction in which a CPA practices.
The AICPA offers several different types of memberships in order to meet the needs of the diverse CPA profession.
Regular Member: To qualify for Regular membership in the AICPA, one must: possess a valid CPA certificate issued by the authority of a state; pass the Uniform CPA Exam; complete 120 hours of continuing professional education every three years; practice in a firm enrolled in an approved practice-monitoring program, and agree to abide by the AICPA Bylaws and Code of Professional Conduct.
Associate Member: Associate members have not yet met their state’s additional requirements for certification. However, they have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. Associate members must also agree to abide by the AICPA Bylaws and Code of Professional Conduct and meet the applicable Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) and Quality Review membership requirements for their category (such as, public accounting, industry, education or government).
International Associate: In order to qualify for the International Associate membership category, one must comply with the CPE requirements of the jurisdiction in which they are licensed. In addition, mandatory compliance with the bylaws and applicable provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct to the extent that it does not conflict with foreign laws or the professional standards in their home countries is required.
Student Affiliate: The Student Affiliate membership is available from freshman year of college through graduate school. This option is also open to recent college graduates who are in the workforce and have not yet passed the Uniform CPA Exam. Recent graduates may remain in this category for up to five years following graduation, and/or completing graduate school. Upon meeting the eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA Exam, Student Affiliate members must sit for the CPA Exam at least once each year to remain in this membership category. Only students residing in the United States are eligible.
The 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam all have independent CPA societies; they are not chapters of the AICPA. The AICPA assists any and all of these societies with individual, regional or nationwide initiatives.
The seven-member board of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) authorizes and makes the accounting rules of the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The AICPA provides technical support, standard-setting (including GAAP) and guidelines in conjunction with the FASB’s work.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are uniform minimum standards of, and guidelines to, financial accounting and reporting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) are authorized to establish these principles.
The AICPA’s Business, Industry & Government (BIG) team promotes the role of CPAs in business, industry and government, highlighting their value as innovative and ethical leaders who are (1) essential knowledge resources, (2) recognized business partners and (3) strategic decision makers. The team provides practical guidance, information and tools related to traditional functional areas (Financial Accounting, Reporting, Governance, Tax and Internal Auditing) and growing areas of CPA expertise such as management of processes, technology and resources. The team champions CPAs in business, industry and government in the global accounting community, through its involvement in international accountancy organizations and partnerships with other leading management accounting bodies.
The AICPA’s Tax Team provides guidance, information, and practice tools to the tax practitioner. It also works to improve the tax system for CPAs and the public, with a major theme of tax simplification. In addition, it represents the AICPA members’ tax interests. The team publishes non-partisan studies to help legislators and other interested parties understand the tax implications of legislation. These include Understanding Social Security Reform: The Issues and Alternatives and Understanding Tax Reform: A Guide to 21st Century Alternatives.
The AICPA has established a credential for CPAs who specialize in personal financial planning (PFP). This designation can only be acquired by CPAs who are AICPA members, have business experience and lifelong learning within the five-year period preceding the date of application in addition to passing any one of six financial planning related exams. Personal Financial Specialists strive to demonstrate their knowledge, skill and experience by earning this exclusive credential. For further information on how to obtain the PFS credential, please visit the PFP Web site.
A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) is a CPA that has earned recognition for his or her unique ability to bridge the gaps between business and technology. The AICPA credential encourages and recognizes excellence in the technology-related services provided by the profession. The AICPA offers the tools, training, and support for CPAs to become technologically adept and to benefit the business and academic communities they serve. Please visit https://infotech.aicpa.org for further information.
The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) program provides specialized access to information, education, tools, and support that enhance credential holders’ ability to make a genuine difference for their clients and employees. The mission of the Business Valuation and Forensic and Litigation Services Community is to raise awareness about the importance and value of Business Valuation and Forensic Litigation support services, serve as a comprehensive resource provider for members, create a community of individuals interested in and/or experienced in providing their specialized services and create a community of experts through the AICPA’s ABV credential. Please visit https://bvfls.aicpa.org for further information.
The Institute policy is not to recommend specific members over others for referrals. However, many state CPA societies have chosen to set up their own referral services. For more information on your state CPA society, visit /states/info/index.htm.
The Institute publishes the following magazine and newsletters:
Journal of Accountancy: a monthly magazine which focuses on the latest news and developments related to the field of accounting.
The CPA Letter: An invaluable monthly news report that covers the most current developments in the CPA profession, and offers information on initiatives, products and services of interest to AICPA members.
AICPA AcSEC Update: Published three to four times a year, this newsletter provides information about recently issued Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC) pronouncements and current projects.
AICPA Tax Insider: Published every week for tax and financial planning professionals, this e-newsletter provides need-to-know news of the profession, hard-hitting commentary, recommended products and professional development resources.
CPA Exam Alert: Published quarterly, this newsletter contains the latest information about the Uniform CPA Examination.
CPA Career Newsletter: This monthly newsletter offers CPAs job opportunities, plus powerful tools, guides and research to help CPAs take their career to the next level.
In Our Opinion: Published quarterly by the Auditing Standards Team of the AICPA, this newsletter keeps interested parties up-to-date on recent pronouncements, current projects, and new publications of the Auditing Standards Board and the Accounting and Review Services Committee.
State Society Communicator: A bimonthly e-mail publication intended to highlight best practices in communications among the state societies and the AICPA. This initiative is just one of the ways the AICPA Communications Team works to enhance idea exchanges and foster communications between the state societies and the AICPA.
The Practicing CPA: Published by AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS), the newsletter provides ideas for new methods, techniques and procedures that make managing an accounting practice easier and more profitable.
Info Tech Update: A bimonthly newsletter that focuses on new technology and useful practice-related information, relevant trade shows, and more.
Business & Industry E-Newsletter: Contains timely information on current issues and developments in areas related to business and industry.
Members in Government E-Newsletter: Distributed periodically, the e-newsletter provides timely updates about what’s going on at the AICPA and in the profession, with a focus on CPAs in government.
The Institute publishes the following reports: Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits,Understanding Social Security Reform: The Issues and Alternatives,Understanding Tax Reform: A Guide to 21st Century Alternatives,The Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, and the Private Company Practice Section’s National Management of an Accounting Practice Survey (in conjunction with the Texas Society of CPAs).
The AICPA headquarters:
1211 Avenue of the Americas, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10036.
Other AICPA locations:
1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004
1720 Lake Point Drive, Lewisville, TX 75057
Parkway Corporate Center, 1230 Parkway Avenue, Suite 311, Ewing, 08628
The Palladian, 220 Leigh Farm Road, Durham, NC 27707
Becoming a CPA
No. The licensing authority and requirements for CPAs falls under the jurisdiction of the Board of Accountancy for the state, district, or country in which a CPA practices. In adherence to the AICPA mission, the Institute seeks the highest possible level of uniform certification and licensing standards while promoting and protecting the CPA designation. The national organization representing the state boards is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
The requirements, which are set by each state board of accountancy, include: completing a program of study in accounting at a college or university, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and obtaining a specific amount of professional work experience in public accounting (the required amount and type of experience varies according to licensing jurisdiction).
One of the world’s leading licensing examinations, the CPA Examination serves to protect the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). The Uniform CPA Exam is one of the “Three E’s” – Education, Examination, and Experience – that are required for licensure as a CPA. Consequently, passing the Examination is not, in itself, sufficient to meet requirements for licensure. Information about the CPA exam may be found at www.cpa-exam.org.
CPAs provide a wide range of services and are employed in public accounting and other professional services firms, business and industry, government and education. CPAs in public practice are engaged by their clients for a variety of services including accounting, auditing, tax, personal financial planning, technology consulting and business valuation. CPAs employed in business, industry and government are likewise responsible for activities from accounting and financial reporting, implementing and managing internal controls and information systems, to compliance with tax and other laws and regulations and other areas of business and financial management.
Fees or services vary depending upon considerations such as: the nature of the service performed, time involved and complexity of the service. A person seeking services should have an understanding of the cost of the services to be provided prior to the engagement.
Upon joining the AICPA, a member agrees to abide by its Code of Professional Conduct and Bylaws adopted by a vote of the membership. The bylaws provide a structure for enforcement of the Code by the Institute's Professional Ethics Division. When allegations come to the attention of the Ethics Division regarding a violation of the Code, the division investigates the matter, under due process procedures, and depending upon the facts found in the investigation, may take a confidential disciplinary action, settle the matter with suspension or revocation of membership rights, or refer the matter to a panel of the Trial Board Division for a hearing. The bylaws mandate publishing the member's name if he or she is found guilty by a hearing panel, is suspended or expelled by settlement.
The bylaws of 51 state and/or territorial CPA societies provide for their participation in a Joint Ethics Enforcement Program so that, depending upon membership status, actions taken by one or more of these societies or the AICPA are in the names of both the society and AICPA.
State regulatory agencies (Boards of Accountancy) issue practice licenses to CPAs and only those agencies may act to affect those licenses. The AICPA does not license CPAs. Those state regulatory agencies may take disciplinary action affecting practice licenses under statutes, regulations and rulings of the state. Also, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other Federal government agencies may, under Federal law or regulation, discipline CPAs who practice before these agencies.
All CPAs are accountants but all accountants are not CPAs. In many states, anyone can call himself/herself an “accountant.” In order to become a CPA, almost all states require that an individual meet educational, experience and ethical requirements and pass the Uniform CPA Examination. Only then are individuals granted licenses to practice by state boards of accountancy. Also, only CPAs can perform the mandatory audits of all publicly traded U.S. companies.