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AICPA Plans 'Council Effectiveness' Task Force

The American Institute of CPAs announced Friday that it’s forming a task force to gauge the effectiveness of its Council.

The “Task Force on the Role and Responsibilities of AICPA Council” will probe a number of issues, including how Council members get a seat on the Council, whether they should speak for themselves or their states, how well they’re kept informed of profession developments, and ways to improve communication among all CPAs.

“The task force should recommend any and all changes that (it) believes would better enhance the Council process,’ the Institute wrote. The creation of the task force was announced on Wednesday by AICPA chairman Bill Ezzell via a conference call with AICPA Council members around the country.

At the Institute’s Fall Council meeting in Hawaii late last year, the New York CPA Society proposed a resolution to create a similar task force, but the motion was tabled. That resolution sought to have the boards of each state society choose task force members, and would have forbidden council members to serve.

It was not immediately clear how the AICPA’s task force members would be chosen.

Over the past couple of years, a vocal minority of CPAs have questioned the Council selection process, often criticizing the group as serving as a virtual rubber stamp for the organization’s agenda. Criticism reached a fever pitch after the global credential initiative failed, and it was learned that AICPA President Barry Melancon stood to earn a fortune from the group’s for-profit Web portal, CPA2Biz. Melancon has since donated his stock to charity.

“I think we’re just getting more lip service,” said Andy Blackman, an executive committee member of CPAs Reforming Our Profession (www.cpas4reform.com) , a grassroots group formed over the summer by CPAs who are seeking to democratize the entire AICPA Council process. “I think it’s a political manipulation to appear to be a voice for change. I’m only going to be convinced when I see results.”

Ezzell will offer further details of the task force’s composition sometime in the first week of February.

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