Founded in 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national professional organization of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the United States, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries in business and industry, public practice, government, education, student affiliates and international associates. It sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, non-profit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It also develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination. The AICPA maintains offices in New York City; Washington, DC; Durham, NC; and Ewing, NJ. The AICPA celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2012.
The AICPA's founding defined accountancy as a profession characterized by educational requirements, professional standards, a code of professional ethics, and alignment with the public interest.
|American Institute of CPAs|
|Purpose||Accounting and Finance|
|Headquarters||New York, NY|
President & CEO
|Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA|
|Eric L. Hansen, CPA, CGMA|
The AICPA and its predecessors date back to 1887, when the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) was formed. In 1916, the American Association of Public Accountants was succeeded by the Institute of Public Accountants, at which time there was a membership of 1,150. The name was changed to the American Institute of Accountants in 1917 and remained so until 1957, when it changed to its current name of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The American Society of Certified Public Accountants was formed in 1921 and acted as a federation of state societies. The Society was merged into the Institute in 1936 and, at that time, the Institute agreed to restrict its future members to CPAs.
In January 2012, the AICPA entered into a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), a partnership that produced the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. In 2014, the AICPA and the CIMA co-created the Global Management Accounting Principles (GMAPs). These principles, the result of research from across 20 countries in five continents, aim to guide best practices in the discipline of management accounting.
In June 2016, members of both the AICPA and CIMA approved evolving the joint venture through the creation of a new international association. The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants launched in 2017, bringing together the expertise and capabilities of the AICPA and CIMA to strengthen the entire accounting profession – both public and management accounting – through stronger advocacy, enhanced member resources and a broader platform to reach the next generation. The AICPA and CIMA membership bodies remain and provide all existing benefits to members.
The use of committees began even before the AAPA was formed in 1887. At the first meeting of what would become the AAPA on December 22, 1886, those present authorized the appointment of a committee to draft rules and regulations. Beyond this first preliminary committee the first Bylaws of the AAPA in 1897 established three committees: Finance and Audit Committee; Committee on Elections, Qualifications and Examinations; and the Committee on Bylaws. The number of committees grew continually over the years. In the 1940s, there were 34 committees. By 1960, there were 89. By 1970, the number had grown to 109.
In 1999, the nearly 120 existing committees underwent a re-organization with approximately half of the standing committees being replaced with a volunteer group model that placed an increased emphasis on the use of task forces. The increased use of task forces allowed for more targeted efforts with the task forces being given a specific assignment then disbanding upon completion of that assignment. Also in 1999, the first tracking and management of task forces began. Currently, 1,700 volunteers fill more than 2000 seats, each helping to fulfill the AICPA's mission.
The AICPA's mission is to "Power the success of global business, CPAs, CGMAs and specialty credentials by providing the most relevant knowledge, resources and advocacy, and protecting the evolving public interest." To fulfill its mission, the AICPA works with state CPA organizations and gives priority to those areas where public reliance on CPA skills is most significant.
The AICPA sets generally accepted professional and technical standards for CPAs in multiple areas. Until the 1970s, the AICPA held a virtual monopoly in this field. In the 1970s, however, it transferred its responsibility for setting generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to the newly formed Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Following this, it retained its standards setting function in areas such as financial statement auditing, professional ethics, attest services, CPA firm quality control, CPA tax practice, business valuation, and financial planning practice. Before passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley law, AICPA standards in these areas were considered "generally accepted" for all CPA practitioners.
In the early 2000s, federal public policy makers concluded that where independent financial statement audits of public companies regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are concerned, that the AICPA's standards setting and related enforcement roles should be transferred to a government empowered body with more enforcement authority than a non-governmental professional association, such as the AICPA could provide. As a result, the Sarbanes-Oxley law created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) which has jurisdiction over virtually every area of CPA practice in relation to public companies. However, the AICPA retains its considerable standards setting, ethics enforcement and firm practice quality monitoring roles for the majority of practicing CPAs, who serve privately held business and individuals.
The AICPA offers credentialing programs in certain subject areas for its members. The credentials are similar to state board certifications for attorneys, which also recognize subject matter-specific expertise. The AICPA offers the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential, the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential, the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential, the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) credential, and the Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations (CEIV) credential.
The AICPA, along with CIMA, issues the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, which is designed to elevate management accounting and further emphasize its importance for business worldwide. United by global quality standards for ethics and performance, CGMA designees maintain distinct credibility and positioning among worldwide business designations and have access to resources and learning opportunities that further elevate their expertise, skills, ethical standards, and dedication.
The AICPA also runs extensive public interest programs, most notably the multiple award-winning campaign Feed the Pig and the award-winning site 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. Feed the Pig, a national public service campaign sponsored by the AICPA and the Ad Council, encourages Americans aged 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances by providing free savings tips and resources. 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation's CPAs to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor, from children learning about the value of money to adults reaching a secure retirement.
The AICPA has a Washington office and a political action committee. On behalf of its members, the AICPA monitors and advocates on legislative and other matters that affect the accounting profession. Working with state CPA societies and other professional organizations, the AICPA provides information to and educates federal, state and local policymakers regarding key issues. Whether serving as an information resource or offering recommendations, the AICPA represents the profession while protecting the public interest.
The AICPA is an affiliate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
Members of the AICPA must attest annually to meeting the requirements for their membership types, complying with the AICPA's bylaws and upholding the AICPA's Code of Profession Conduct. Members are subject to audit and, if found to be non-compliant, may be expelled from the AICPA.
In the United States, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) is the senior technical committee designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to issue auditing, attestation, and quality control statements, standards and guidance to certified public accountants (CPAs) for non-public company audits. Created in October 1978, it is composed of 19 members representing various industries and sectors, including public accountants and private, educational, and governmental entities. It issues pronouncements in the form of statements, interpretations, and guidelines, which all CPAs must adhere to when performing audits and attestations.Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws to allow CPAs from other states to practice in their state. State licensing requirements vary, but the minimum standard requirements include passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150 semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.
Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfillment of the required CPE or who have requested conversion to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation "CPA Inactive" or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.
State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title "accountant." For example, Texas prohibits the use of the designations "accountant" and "auditor" by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.Many other countries also use the title CPA to designate local public accountants.Certified in Financial Forensics
Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) is a specialty credential in financial forensics issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).Committee on Accounting Procedure
The Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP) was the first private sector organization that had the task of setting accounting standards in the United States. It was a committee run by the American Institute of Accountants (now known as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). CAP is the predecessor of the Accounting Principles Board, itself a predecessor to the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Its formation and activities were early efforts to rationalize and legitimize the reporting of business performance. However, it is widely regarded as having failed.
George O. May was vice chairman of the committee from 1937 to 1945.
The committee published Accounting Research Bulletins.Comprehensive annual financial report
A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is a set of U.S. government financial statements comprising the financial report of a state, municipal or other governmental entity that complies with the accounting requirements promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). GASB provides standards for the content of a CAFR in its annually updated publication Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards. The U.S. Federal Government adheres to standards determined by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB).
A CAFR is compiled by a state, municipal or other governmental accounting staff and audited by an external American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) certified accounting firm utilizing GASB requirements. It is composed of three sections: Introductory, Financial and Statistical. It combines the financial information of fund accounting and Enterprise Authorities accounting.Digital Accounting Collection
The Digital Accounting Collection (DAC) is part of the University of Mississippi Libraries. The collection contains both current and historical accounting materials, with over 2,400 items in digitized searchable full-text format, and over 33,000 bibliographic citations for other materials.
Within the DAC, there are several discrete collections, most in full text. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ non-current professional standards, codes of professional conduct, and exposure drafts relate to professional auditing and accounting standards in the United States. The Academy of Accounting Historians' Journal and Notebook contain, respectively, scholarly research on accounting history and information on the activities of the Academy. The Accounting Pamphlets - Full-Text collection contains searchable full-text accounting pamphlets that are not under copyright. The McMickle and Accounting Pamphlets – Citations Only collections list in searchable indexes an eclectic mix of thousands of accounting monographs. The Photographs and Illustrations collection offers portraits and drawings related to accounting.Financial Accounting Foundation
The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) is located in Norwalk, Connecticut, United States. It was organized in 1972 as a non-stock, Delaware Corporation. It is an independent organization in the private sector, operating with the goal of ensuring objectivity and integrity in financial reporting standards.
The foundation is responsible for:
Establishing and improving financial accounting and reporting standards;
Educating constituents about those standards;
The oversight, administration, and finances of its standard-setting Boards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), and their Advisory Councils;
Selecting the members of the standard-setting Boards and Advisory Councils; and
Protecting the independence and integrity of the standard-setting process.FAF operates four branches in its organization:
The Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC). This branch is composed of FASB constituents and consults with FASB on issues.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC). This branch is composed of GASB constituents and consults with GASB on issues.The FAF Board of Trustees is made up of members from constituent organizations having interest in financial reporting. These constituent organizations include:
American Accounting Association
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Financial Executives International
Government Finance Officers Association
Institute of Management Accountants
National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers
Securities Industry and Financial Markets AssociationThere are currently five officers and fourteen trustees. The FAF operates seven committees:
the Executive Committee
the Development Committee
the Appointments and Evaluations Committee
the Finance and Compensation Committee
the Audit Committee
the Standard-Setting Process Oversight Advisory Committee
the Corporate Governance CommitteeGenerally Accepted Auditing Standards
Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, or GAAS are sets of standards against which the quality of audits are performed and may be judged. Several organizations have developed such sets of principles, which vary by territory. In the United States, the standards are promulgated by the Auditing Standards Board, a division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
AU Section 150 states that there are ten standards: three general standards, three fieldwork standards, and four reporting standards. These standards are issued and clarified Statements of Accounting Standards, with the first issued in 1972 to replace previous guidance. Typically, the first number of the AU section refers to which standard applies. However, in 2012 the Clarity Project significantly revised the standards and replaced AU Section 150 with AU Section 200, which does not explicitly discuss the 10 standards.In the United States, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board develops standards (Auditing Standards or AS) for publicly traded companies since the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; however, it adopted many of the GAAS initially. The GAAS continues to apply to non-public companies.Generally Accepted Privacy Principles
Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) is a framework intended to assist Chartered Accountants and Certified Public Accountants in creating an effective privacy program for managing and preventing privacy risks. The framework was developed through joint consultation between the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) through the AICPA/CICA Privacy Task Force.The GAPP framework was previously known as the AICPA/CICA Privacy Framework, and is founded on a single privacy principle: personally identifiable information must be collected, used, retained and disclosed in compliance with the commitments in the entity's privacy notice and with criteria set out in the GAPP issued by the AICPA/CICA. This privacy objective is supported by ten main principles and over seventy objectives, with associated measurable criteria.Privacy is defined in Generally Accepted Privacy Principles as "the rights and obligations of individuals and organizations with respect to the collection, use, retention, disclosure, and disposal of personal information."IFACnet
IFACnet, the KnowledgeNet for Professional Accountants, is the global, multilingual search engine developed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and its members to provide professional accountants worldwide with one-stop access to good practice guidance, articles, management tools and other resources. This enterprise search engine was launched on October 2, 2006 by INDEZ. Originally marketed to professional accountants in business, IFACnet was expanded in March 2007 to provide resources and information relevant to small and medium accounting practices. It now includes resources and information for accountants in all sectors of the profession.
The following 31 organizations participate in IFACnet:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes
Conseil Supérieur de l'Ordre des Experts-Comptables
Consiglio Nazionale Dottori Commercialisti
Délégation Internationale Pour l'Audit et la Comptabilité
Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
Institut der Wirtschaftspruefer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW)
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Institute of Management Accountants
Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA)
Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Registeraccountants (Royal NIVRA)
Malaysian Institute of Accountants
Malta Institute of Accountants
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
Union of Chambers of Certified Public Accountants of Turkey (TÜRMOB)International Qualification Examination
The International Qualification Examination (IQEX) is an examination sat by certain non-U.S. qualified accountants seeking the Certified Public Accountant designation in the United States.
The examination is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).Jack M. Greenberg
Jack M. Greenberg (born September 28, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois) was Chairman and CEO of McDonald's Corporation from 1999 through 2002, when he was replaced by James R. Cantalupo. He was promoted to CEO in 1998, succeeding Michael R. Quinlan in that role as Quinlan retained the title of Chairman.
A 21-year veteran of the company, Greenberg held the top spot during a tumultuous period, with the company suffering earnings declines in each of the last seven quarters of his tenure. As Greenberg explained, "We were going through a transition from what I call a founder's company to a modern, global enterprise. There is a cultural shift from what we were to where we want to end up."A graduate of the DePaul University College of Commerce (renamed the Driehaus College of Business in 2012), Greenberg also earned a juris doctor degree from the DePaul University College of Law. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society and the Chicago Bar Association, where he served as former chairman of the federal tax committee, and was president of the board of trustees of the Chicago Bar Foundation. Greenberg is a member of the DePaul University Board of Trustees. Greenberg is currently Non-Executive Chairman and Presiding Director of The Western Union Company.He originated the "Made for You" production system, a cooking platform that facilitated a broader variety of menu offerings by allowing stores to precook meat patties and finish them to order. Previously the McDonald's chain had used a "build to stock" manufacturing process, precooking, dressing and wrapping most food prior to receiving customer orders. By postponing the finishing process (dressing and wrapping sandwiches), McDonald's could offer a wider variety of sandwich combinations without significantly increasing customer wait time.Cradles to Crayons is a national non-profit organization dedicated to serving children in need of basic necessities. In early 2016, the organization appointed Greenberg to be chairman of Cradles to Crayons Chicago, a location that he was very active in establishing. The organization also tapped Greenberg to be a member of the National Board of Directors.On-ramping
On-ramping is the process of re-entering the workforce after taking a career break (usually to care for family). It is paired with the term "off-ramping", or exiting the workforce as a temporary career break.
The Hidden Brain Drain, a taskforce led by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, defined the term as "many professional women in the US do not drop out of their careers altogether, but they do take breaks. However, they often find it difficult to re-enter the workforce. This has been called 'off-ramping' (taking time out of a career for one reason or another) and 'on-ramping' (rejoining the career path). Women in the US, on average, spend a relatively short amount of time off-ramped (around 2.2 years), but even this can incur financial penalties. Women who spend around three years off-ramp see their earning power decrease by 37 per cent." A study by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that more than 90 percent of those women who off-ramp eventually wish to on-ramp back into the work force.
The term appears as early as 2005, reaching public mention on NPR
that same year. The term appears in articles in publications such as the Wall Street Journal by 2006,
and by 2008 appears in formal training materials for organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as a business best practice.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, as the likeliest originator of the term (in Hewlett & Luce (2005),) has developed a career site (YourOnRamp) to capitalize on it and is a supporter of the entrepreneurial networking organization LadiesWhoLaunch.Sabal Financial Group
Sabal Financial Group, L.P. is a California-based real estate and finance company, founded in 2009, with headquarters in Newport Beach, and additional offices nationwide and in London, UK. Sabal Financial holds a Commercial Mortgage Primary Servicer rating of CS3, a Construction Loan Servicer designation and a Special Servicer rating of CC3 from Morningstar, and a Special Servicer designation from Fitch with a CSS3+ rating. In 2015, the company completed its SOC 1 audit, conducted in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).Statement on Auditing Standards No. 55
Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 55: Consideration of Internal Control in a Financial Statement Audit, commonly abbreviated as SAS 55, is an auditing statement issued by the Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in April 1988. It requires the auditor to obtain an understanding of an entity’s internal control sufficient to plan any audit on such entity. Identifying and evaluating relevant controls is an important step in the user auditor’s overall audit approach.Statements on auditing standards
Statements on auditing standards, commonly abbreviated as SAS, provide guidance to external auditors on generally accepted auditing standards (abbreviated as GAAS) in regard to auditing an entity and issuing a report. They are usually issued by the certified public accountant authoritative body in the region where the standards apply, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in the United States.Taxpayer First Act
The Taxpayer First Act of 2019, H.R. 1957, is a bill introduced in the 116th United States Congress which, according to one critic, would make it illegal for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to create free tax preparation software in an effort to prop up businesses like TurboTax and H&R Block. The bill has bipartisan support. Its passage by the House of Representatives on April 9, 2019 was praised by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The legislation also addresses identity theft protection and taxpayer rights during an income tax audit.Trueblood Committee
The Trueblood Committee was formed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 1972, and developed the Objective of Financial Statements. The committee's goal was to create financial statements that helped external users make decisions about the economics of companies. In 1978, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), whose purpose is to develop generally accepted accounting principles, adopted the key objectives established by the Trueblood Committee.The Trueblood Committee was named for its chairman Robert M. Trueblood. His previous experience on the executive committees of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Accounting Principles Board (APB) earned him the position of chairman.The AICPA began hunting for new objectives of financial statements because prior to the development of the Trueblood Committee many accountants were confused and dissatisfied with the current objectives. Identifying the objectives to financial statements was the purpose behind the creation of the Trueblood Committee. The committee's mission was to create the objectives in a way that would be more easily understandable by accountants and also more relatable to their work.The two key concepts to take away from the findings of the Trueblood Committee are:
The basic objective of financial statements is to provide useful information to external users for making decisions about a company.
The management of a business is responsible for effectively using resources to achieve maximum profits.