Membership in the AICPA offers a wide range of resources, tools, information and initiatives designed to help CPAs succeed professionally and personally. The AICPA works year-round to advocate for its members and the public, and to provide valuable products and services for CPAs in their various work environments. Read this special feature to find out about numerous Institute initiatives and the many benefits of AICPA membership.
Professional Information, Tools and Assistance
* CPAs can have up-to-the-minute access to news and special features about the latest developments affecting the accounting profession through AICPA Online (www.aicpa.org). Members will find valuable information on standards and other professional and technical matters and news releases, as well as access online newsletters and magazines. In addition to providing a spotlight on important new AICPA initiatives and the latest hot issues for the CPA profession, the site has a wealth of archival content on professional and Institute activities.
Community Web Sites
* Members can access valuable resources and timely information and learn about advocacy efforts on their behalf through several specialized online community Web sites. They are the Accounting Education Center (www.aicpa.org/aec); the Financial Management Center (www.aicpa.org/fmcenter); the Forensic and Valuation Services Center (www.aicpa.org/fvs); the Information Technology Center (www.aicpa.org/infotech); the PCPS Firm Practice Center (www.aicpa.org/PCPS); the Personal Financial Planning Center (www.aicpa.org/pfp); and the Tax Center (www.aicpa.org/tax).
Audit Quality Centers
* Three audit quality centers represent member firms in advocacy initiatives as well as provide them with the timely, comprehensive technical and educational resources needed to conduct high-quality audits. The Center for Audit Quality (www.thecaq.org), an autonomous public policy organization that is affiliated with the AICPA, serves investors, public company auditors and the capital markets; the Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (www.aicpa.org/ebpaqc) guides firms performing ERISA audits; and the Governmental Audit Quality Center (www.aicpa.org/gaqc) is designed for firms performing audits under Government Auditing Standards, including single audits, HUD audits, and other similar compliance audits; government audits; and not-for-profit audits.
Audit Committee Support
* There are numerous resources available for CPAs who work with audit committees or serve on them. The Audit Committee Matching System provides members with opportunities to serve on boards of directors and, as a public service, matches qualified, credentialed candidates with boards and their audit committees. Three Audit Committee Toolkits--public companies, not-for-profit and government--contain a broad sampling of checklists, questions, reports and guidelines developed to help audit committees achieve best practices in managing their roles. These and other resources can be found at www.aicpa.org/audcommctr/homepage.htm.
AICPA Library Service
* The AICPA library service, located at the University of Mississippi, gives members access to a comprehensive collection of literature related to all aspects of the CPA profession. The University of Mississippi Library staff is available to provide valuable reference and research assistance to AICPA members. To contact the library, call 866/806-2133 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also search the library catalog on the Web at www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/aicpa.
Answers to Technical Questions
* The Technical Information Hotline, which provides valuable assistance with difficult technical questions, now features expanded hours and a new dedicated phone number. Members can use the hotline to receive non-authoritative responses to member queries about accounting, financial reporting, auditing, attestation and accounting and review services. Access this free service by calling 877/242-7212 (or fax 212/596-6233). Under the newly expanded hours, the toll-free number will be staffed till 8:00 p.m., ET, throughout the year. The hotline encourages members to submit questions in writing electronically as an alternative to calling the toll-free number. Questions may be sent to the hotline online at www.aicpa.org/members/div/in fohot/index.htm.
* The Professional Ethics Division's Ethics Hotline offers valuable information and can act as an ethics sounding board to members who face ethics issues in their practices and to members who are not in public practice. In addition, members who notice, suspect or are aware of significant deficiencies in the work of another member should contact the hotline for guidance. The hotline's e-mail address is email@example.com and its toll-free number is 888/777-7077, prompt 5 followed by prompt 2.
Valuable Publications With News You Can Use
Journal of Accountancy
* The Journal of Accountancy, the leading accounting publication for CPAs, business executives, accounting professionals and educators, covers the latest news, industry trends, compliance standards and official releases. The JofA now offers more tax, auditing and international coverage, practical guidance and interviews with high-level compliance and government officials. It is included in the cost of membership and is available online at www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/joahome.htm.
Small Firm Solutions
* Small Firm Solutions, an award-winning e-newsletter, is designed to meet the information needs of CPAs in the smallest firms. Each issue contains an executive briefing from Jim Metzler, AICPA Vice President, Small Finn Interests, as well as articles by and about small practitioners (http://pcps.aicpa.org/Community/Small+Firm+Advantage.htm).
Standard Setting Developments
FASB's GAAP Codification
* As part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring that CPAs remain current on new developments in standard setting, the AICPA has launched a series of education efforts on the FASB Accounting Standards Codification[TM] (www.aicpa.org/Professional+Resources/Accounting+and+Auditing/ GAAP+Codification/). This landmark effort by the Financial Accounting Standards Board is slated to become the single source of authoritative generally accepted accounting principles after a one-year verification period. Members can review and use the Codification without charge through Jan. 15, 2009, and submit comments by visiting http://asc.fasb.org. AICPA resources designed to help members understand and effectively use the new Codification include a Web cast (now archived) and CPE courses (www.cpa2biz.com).
International Accounting Standards
* The AICPA supports the ongoing effort to develop one set of high quality, comprehensive accounting standards that will enable U.S. public companies to prepare transparent and comparable financial reports throughout the world. The AICPA is taking a number of steps to make convergence a success, including educating members about International Financial Reporting Standards (www.ifrs.com); increasing awareness among public company financial statement preparers and users; collaborating with accounting educators and educational institutions to prepare future professionals; and planning for the incorporation of IFRS into the Uniform CPA Examination. The Institute has also called for the creation of a Blue Ribbon panel to address the issue for non-public entities.
Audit and Attest Developments
Treasury Department Advisory Committee
* AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon is one of the accounting profession's representatives on the Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, formed by the U.S. Treasury Department. He also serves on one of its three subcommittees. A report with the committee's recommendations is due out this summer.
* The AICPA understands that practical implementation guidance is important to practitioners. As part of Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services No. 17, Omnibus Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services--2008...