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CELEBRATES 100 YEARSLast year The CPA Journal commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first CPA licensing law in the U.S. It happened in New York with the passage of enabling legislation in April 1896. The first CPA certificates were issued and the first CPA examination given later in that year, also in New York. On January 28, 1897, another very historic event took place with the incorporation of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. The idea for a society of the newly created CPA profession seems to have come from John Hourigan, one of the incorporators and holder of CPA certificate no. 19, who wrote a letter to the first recipients of the certificate (75 in total) asking them if they would be interested in forming a society similar to those of physicians, architects, and civil engineers. "I think a society of accountants could also be of great value to its members," he wrote.

The society held its organizational meeting at the Hotel Waldorf on March 30, 1897, at which Mr. Hourigan was joined by the other incorporators, S. Eugene Sargent, Francis Gottsberger, Farquhar J. MacRae, and Henry Harney. Eleven other CPAs signed the Articles of Incorporation at that first meeting and became charter members. A nominating committee was formed and the first officers elected, those being Charles W. Haskins, president; John Hourigan, vice president; A.W. Teele, secretary; and H.S. Corwin, treasurer.

The society held its first annual meeting on May 10, 1897, at which it listed a membership of 24. Its bylaws stated that no dues would be assessed until membership reached 50. One of its first acts was to form a legislative committee to deal with proposed legislation in Albany that the society opposed.

The bylaws approved at the May 10 meeting listed the objectives of the society as follows:

This Society is incorporated for the purpose of elevating and maintaining the standard of proficiency, integrity, and character and promoting and protecting the interests of Certified Public Accountants; also of cultivating a spirit of professional cooperation and social intercourse among its members.

One hundred years as a profession and as a state society of CPAs is a long time. CPAs at the state and local level have contributed a great deal to the enormous growth of commerce and capital markets over those 100 years. In some ways, the CPA of 1897 was not a whole lot different than the CPA of 1997. While giving assurances to third parties about the reliability of financial information, of utmost importance throughout the period, the CPA has been the consummate business advisor and confidant.

The next 100 years will be very different, technology and Bob Elliott have seen to that. What should not change, however, is the trust and confidence that is held by clients, regulators, and the public of the work that the CPA does. What also will not change is the need for CPAs to gather (in person, in print, or electronically) as societies to learn about and address professional issues, to support one another, and to demonstrate to the public the value and benefits of the CPA professional in the marketplace.

The CPA Journal is proud to have been a part of what the New York State Society has done for its members over many of those 100 years and joins in offering its congratulations and best wishes to the society, its officers, its committees, and most importantly its members. *

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

©2009 The New York State Society of CPAs. Legal Notices

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