November 2014 AKCPA Newsletter

November 3, 2014

Fenway Park

Fenway Park on Top of the Green Monster


USS Constitution “Old Ironsides”

President's Message

Oh what a busy Month in the Alaska Society Office. The AICPA Council meeting was in Boston a few weeks ago; it was a “wicked awesome” meeting. The AKCPA Board passed legislation recommendations on to the State Board of Accountancy; great job to the legislative committee and AKCPA Board.  In addition, members of the Accounting and Auditing Committee met to discuss the California contract renewal for Peer Review Oversight in Alaska.  It has been a very busy time for our State Society Office.


The baton was passed from Bill Balhoff to Tommye Barie as the AICPA Chair at the Fall Council Meeting in Boston.

It will be another extremely busy year at the AICPA.  There are a lot of initiatives that are on target to be finalized in the next fiscal year.

John Rodgers, our Current AICPA Council Representative, will provide details on the meeting.

Here are a few of the initiatives that I wanted to comment on:

#1-       Evolving the CPA Exam:

The AICPA is progressing with evolving the CPA Exam to encompass testing that fits the current landscape of the Accounting Profession.  This would entail cases and questions that are applicable today.  It will be an interactive way to test the candidate’s knowledge and experience in the accounting profession. 

There was a breakout session at the Fall Council for AICPA Council Members to weigh in on this topic and provide feedback from practitioners on how this could be presented.

#2-       Future of Learning:

The AICPA is working to get a curriculum together that can be introduced as a high school advanced placement (AP) course.  The AICPA is concerned that the CPA profession is losing out on talent because of the lack of promotion.  Providing curriculum as a high school AP Course would mitigate this concern and get the profession to students at an earlier age.

There were many other initiatives and happenings at the AICPA Fall Council Meeting, but I will hold off on stealing John’s thunder.


The Legislative Committee presented to the AKCPA Board of Directors on September 23rd the recommendations for the Alaska State Board of Accountancy.  These recommendations were in response to a letter received May 13, 2014 regarding the top issues identified by the Alaska State Board of Accountancy.

The following are the recommendations that were passed by the AKCPA Board and forwarded to the Alaska State Board of Accountancy. 

Alaska Society of CPA’s

Resolution 2014-09

September 23, 2014

Be It Resolved that:    The AKCPA Board of Directors unanimously agrees to support the            following proposed recommendations:

Task Force Item 6 – Sole Proprietorships and Firm Permits

Alaska Board of Public Accountancy Issue:

Explore if sole proprietorships, doing business in name other than the licensed CPA’s name, should be required to get a firm permit and if they meet the ‘other legal entity’ definition as a result of using a ‘doing business as’ name. 

Where as:  The AKCPA Board of Directors recommends that a space for a firm’s d/b/a (doing business as name) is added to the application license. 

Task Force Item 7 – Continuing Professional Education and License Renewal Timing

Alaska Board of Public Accountancy Issue(s):

Research and evaluate timing of licensure renewal and continue education (CE) cut off to try to minimize time that a practitioner may operate without being licensed when there are CE audit or other licensure issues.

Evaluate renewal verses reinstatement timing and impact this has on unlicensed activity by practitioners.

Where as: The AKCPA Board of Directors recommends that continuing professional education be certified by each CPA on December 31 of odd years and that the license renewal period be changed to begin on February 1 and end on January 31 of even-numbered years.

Task Force Items 4 and 8 – Attest Hours and Experience Licensure Requirement

Alaska Board of Public Accountancy Issue(s):

Defining ‘practice of public accounting’ 

Evaluate current definitions and use of terms in statue and regulation as it relates to the ‘practice of public accounting’. 

Determine whether additional clarification is needed as it relates to work experience for licensure applicants working in public practice.

Attest Hours Requirement for Licensure

Revisit research done regarding how Alaska’s requirements for licensure compare to the other state licensing jurisdictions (Alaska is currently 1 of 3 states requiring attest hours).

Evaluate the historical reasons for the current 500 hours of attest and reasons why other states moved away from this requirement.

Evaluate if current requirements are inconsistent with UAA mobility and reciprocity.

Evaluate difference between out-of-state firm and individual license approval process (firm has no evaluation of how firm’s CPAs achieved their license and individual CPA’s applying for licensure have their license reviewed for attest experience).

Determine ASCPA member’s views on this requirement.

Where as:  The AKCPA Board of Directors recommends that the 500 attest function hours be eliminated as a requirement for initial licensure.  In addition, the task force recommends that the two-years of experience required for initial licensure be reduced to one-year of experience. 

Task Force Item 11 – Ethics CPE Requirement

Alaska Board of Public Accountancy Issue:

Alaska Specific Ethics 

Revisit research done regarding how Alaska’s requirements for State specific ethics fits with other licensing jurisdiction practices. 

Evaluate the historical reasons for the current Alaska specific ethics requirement and reasons why other states moved away from this requirement.

Evaluate if other methods (such as 1 page summary of Alaska specific requirements with application and renewal) might be as effective without the administration burden.

Determine ASCPA member’s views on this requirement.

Where as:  The AKCPA Board of Directors recommended that the current biennial requirement for 4 hours of continuing education covering ethics and statutes and regulations under AS 08.04 and 12 AAC 04 be changed to a 4-hour ethics CPE requirement and that the Alaska State Board of Public Accountancy seek a method other than continuing education to educate licensees about Alaska-specific statutes and regulations that are different from professional standards or the Uniform Accountancy Act.

The Legislative Committee made a commitment to provide recommendations that would benefit Our Profession.  I want to again say a personal thank you to all of the legislative committee members that provided time and assistance on the issues.


Steve Pence, Deb Mason, Paul Brandon, Linda Plimpton, and I had a phone conference with Linda McCrone, who is the CalCPA Director for the California Peer Review Program.  The State Contract has come up for renewal and the Society Members above were gracious enough to spend time reviewing and commenting on the contract.

CalCPA provides the Peer Review Oversight for California, Arizona and Alaska.  Overall, Linda McCrone was very pleased with the Engagement Performance of Alaska CPAs in the Peer Review Program in comparison to the other states that she administers.

Our members had a few pointed questions for Ms. McCrone in regards to the Peer Review Oversight.  The first was the timing of the Peer Review.  It has been brought to the Society’s attention numerous times that the Peer Review Performance Letters are being issued 90 days after the Peer Review was submitted.  Ms. McCrone informed us that the AICPA allows up to 4 Months to submit Performance Letters to the respective CPA Firms.  

Ms. McCrone gave a great recommendation to our CPA Firms. She recommends each CPA Firm follow up regularly with their respective Peer Reviewer.  Ms. McCrone mentioned that a lot of the timing issues stem from non timely receipt of the Report from the Peer Reviewer and lack of Peer Reviewer timeliness in responses to the technical review questions from the CalCPA Oversight Team.

The next question was whether she had enough staff to effectively administer the Peer Review program.  Ms. McCrone said their workload doubled several years ago because peer review became mandatory for California CPA firms and they were short of staff. She believes she now has enough staff to effectively administer the program.  She pointed to the fact that her and her staff’s performance is well within the AICPA guidelines and that she does contract with Independent Contractors to assist with reviewing the Peer Review Reports being submitted.

Ms. McCrone is committed to quality Peer Review and Peer Reviewers.  She does not want Peer Review Professionals that just review checklists.  She informed us that she is active in choosing certain Peer Reviewers for oversight and review of their Peer Reviewer Reports and Performance Recommendations.   As many as 15%-20% of the reports pulled and reviewed for oversight may be overturned.

Ms. McCrone was not hesitant to emphasize that her goal is to ensure she has Peer Reviewers that understand how to Peer Review correctly, report appropriately under CPA Firm Pressure, and can work towards eliminating mistakes. 

There is a Disagreement Panel that is put together if you do fall under scrutiny from the Peer Review Process. The Members were concerned on the timing of this panel and response letters from CalCPA.  Ms. McCrone was aware of this, but because of scheduling with the Panel Members, this may take time to coordinate.  CalCPA is committed to advancing this Process as timely as possible.

Again, Ms. McCrone informed us that her goal was to make the Peer Review Process one of Integrity and Quality.

The Members thanked Ms. McCrone for her time to discuss the concerns of Our Membership. 

Based on the above responses and the timing of the contract renewal, we recommended that AKCPA sign another 3 year contract with CalCPA to administer our Peer Review Program. 

AKCPA Members: this is a busy time and there are many opportunities to get involved.   Please do not hesitate to contact Linda Plimpton if you are looking to get involved.

Thank you for your time and talk to you in December.

Lance Bodeen, CPA

AKCPA Leadership Academy

Earlier this year the AKCPA graduated its first Leadership Academy class of 5 young professionals. It was an honor for me to be one of those individuals! During the Leadership Academy we heard from key leaders in the AKCPA as well as having Donna Salter with the AICPA and Donny Shimamoto from IntrapriseTechknowlogies, LLC lead our program. Throughout the program we gained valuable leadership and life skills. From discussing our strengths and using those strengths to become better leaders to covering topics of crucial conversations, personal branding, and creating a career projection plan, the Leadership Academy provided relevant and timely resources and topics to its participants.

Now that the Leadership Academy is over, the AKCPA is actively working to continue to offer this opportunity to more emerging professionals. The next Leadership Academy is expected to begin in November of 2015.  Applications will be available in December of this year and will be due February 2015. With the due date just around the corner, we are asking for your support. Please consider sponsoring an applicant from your firm or organization that embodies the qualities of an emerging leader. We are looking for members of the AKCPA who have 3-7 years in public accounting, industry, government or education.  If you meet these requirements, consider applying yourself! Applicants will graduate from a program that fosters leaders to contribute to the future success of your firm, the AKCPA, and the profession as a whole. Again, please encourage and support these emerging CPAs by urging them to apply and offering your support in their participation.

 Kelly Ward, CPA, EA, MBA

Robinson & Associates, PC

Fairbanks, AK

Mark your calendar: December 5, 2014 

Webinar:  Alaska Specific Ethics:  10 Ways to Lose your CPA License

The AKCPA has partnered with CPA Crossings to present a webinar on Alaska Specific Ethics presented by Gary Zeune.  The class will qualify for the Alaska Specific Ethics requirement for your license renewal in December 2015.  Plan ahead and get it early.  Check out the link below to register! You must register directly with CPA Crossings.

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