American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the largest professional organization of accountants in the United States of America. It has a dual role, serving both the needs of its members, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), as well as setting Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and playing a role in defining Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States.


External Roles

The AICPA is the primary organization defining Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, although additional regulations and guidance comes from several sources. Certified Public Accountants are licensed by individual states, so they must follow the laws and regulations of the state they are licensed in. For audits involving federal monies, the Government Accountability Office has issued additional standards commonly referred to as the Yellow Book. In addition, recent legislation commonly referred to as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has affected auditing standards for public companies.

The AICPA was also a primary source for defining Generally Accepted Accounting Principles until the formation of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 1973. At the current time, the role of the AICPA in determining GAAP is to address areas that the FASB has chosen to not address and to fill in the gaps in current Statements of the FASB.

In addition, the AICPA was a primary source for defning Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Governments through the issuance of an Industry Audit Guide and Statements of Position

The AICPA is also the author and evaluator of the national test for Certified Public Accountants. The designation of CPA is done by the various states, all of which have different requirements for experience and education. The one requirement that all the states share is that the CPA test is passed. The test has recently been changed from an annual two-day examination to a test that can be taken on a computer in a testing center.

The AICPA has moved into the business of providing CPE by convincing state board of accountancy's to pass a rule that all CPA's must have 40 hours of continuing education per year. By pressing for this legislation, the AICPA has increased it's revenue dramatically as well as the income of several of its staff who would be considered "experts" in their field. Should an organization like the AICPA be allowed to enrich itself. What other message does this send to society after the accounting scandals of Anderson and E&Y?

Membership Roles

The primary roles the AICPA has for its members are to promote and protect the profession of accounting and to provide educational material for its members. It also provides other benefits such as group insurance, as well as discounts for various merchandise.

It is a major contributor to the Republican party.

See also

External link


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