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CPA Journal Symposium Postponed

The AICPA and the SEC on May 21, 1997, jointly announced the formation of a new standards setting body to deal with the issue of auditor independence for companies whose securities are registered with the SEC. The new body is called the Independence Standards Board (ISB) and will be operated as part of the AICPA, with funding coming from the AICPA for its executive director and staff. The board will be comprised of eight members, four representing the public interest and four from the CPA profession. The board will be assisted by a nine-member independence issues committee, all of whom will come from CPA firms that audit SEC reporting companies. The committee will identify emerging issues that impact on auditor independence for consideration by the ISB.

The ISB will establish and maintain a body of independence standards. The standard setting process will be open to the public and be subject to the usual due process used by other standard setters, including a public exposure and comment period.

SEC chair Arthur Levitt in the joint release stated, "Independence is the soul of the public accounting profession, and today we take a decisive step to ensure that it remains so." AICPA president Barry Melancon applauded the move and said, "This important and far-reaching proposal will serve investors for decades to come."

Because of the announcement of the ISB, The CPA Journal's symposium on the report of the GAO, The Accounting Profession--Major Issues: Progress and Concerns, scheduled for June 30, 1997, has been postponed until sometime in the fall. A major aspect of the GAO report deals with auditor independence, and the establishment of the independence board is a major step in addressing its concerns. A discussion of the report would be premature until the full details of the role of the board and the issues it will address are available. *

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.

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