Cover Story
Impending Changes Affect Accountancy
Laws and Rules

An obscure section of the highly publicized Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has prompted the development of proposed legislative and regulatory changes for the accounting profession in Michigan.

Section 209 of the Act requires each licensing jurisdiction (i.e. the Michigan State Board of Accountancy [MSBA]) to conduct an independent review of the Act’s provisions and make a determination if any should apply to privately held businesses, and to the CPAs who provide services to such businesses. MSBA members worked diligently for 18 months, examining in detail the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, ultimately yielding a series of recommendations. Throughout the process, the State Board relied extensively on input from CPAs and business leaders.

MACPA members were among the first to learn about the State Board’s recommendations at the May 2004 Members Advisory Forum. Now, just over a year later, legislative language is drafted and will be introduced to the state legislature soon.

Standards, copycat CPAs, MSBA board make-up, record retention, firm registration and practice monitoring (peer review) are among the areas addressed by State Board recommendations. A summary of the State Board’s recommendations is available on the MACPA web site.

The MACPA has championed these recommendations, which protect the integrity of the CPA profession in Michigan. In cooperation with the Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG), MACPA will be coordinating efforts to secure passage of the legislation.

The recommendations require both legislative changes and amendments to the Administrative Rules regulating CPAs under DLEG. The legislative portion of this reform requires amendments to three different Michigan statutes: the Occupational Code, the Code of Criminal Procedures, and the State License Fee Act.

MACPA’s Legislative Advisory Group, staff and Lansing-based lobbying firm Public Affairs Associates, have tentatively targeted an introduction of these three bills for late August or early September; however, drafts of the legislation are currently available on the MACPA web site.

“Over the next two months, the MACPA will be launching a comprehensive communication campaign to ensure all members are aware of the upcoming changes and, more importantly, to garner their help to usher this reform through the legislative process,” said Stephen H. Epstein, Chair of MACPA’s Legislative Advisory Group.

Some of the member information resources will include:

  1. Articles in MACPA’s weekly electronic newsletter;
  2. Frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents and other resources on a designated area of the MACPA web site; and
  3. Personal outreach to MACPA task force meetings and monthly meeting groups.

As this process begins, MACPA’s most significant asset remains its strong membership – and questions and feedback from MACPA members are vital as these initiatives move forward. If you have questions or comments, contact members of the MACPA Legislative Advisory Group and Government Relations staff.