AICPA launches initiative to explain role of accountants

NEW YORK: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has begun a series of initiatives to contend with the communications challenges facing the accounting profession in a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world.

NEW YORK: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has begun a series of initiatives to contend with the communications challenges facing the accounting profession in a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world.

The trade group appointed Robert Becton to the post of VP of media relations in October, and is reexamining the content of its magazine, the Journal of Accountancy (JofA).

"We want to communicate the breadth of services that a CPA provides to a company. They're not just people who use their calculators and do bookkeeping," Becton said.

According to Becton, MS&L will conduct a grassroots campaign aimed at getting CPAs out in the communities to talk about the profession.

Becton replaced Geoffrey Pickard, who has taken the position of project team leader for the JofA, which the AICPA hopes will take on a more strategic role as the publication approaches its 100th anniversary.

With a circulation of nearly 400,000, the JofA has already started to add editorial content that includes the voices of those shaping the industry, including William J. McDonough, head of the recently created Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which helps oversee accounting standards. McDonough was featured in the December issue.

The publication is also aiming to reposition itself in the minds of potential advertisers.

"Right now, it's primarily business-to-business," Pickard said. "There should be more lifestyle advertisers."

The group is also looking to expand its profile with several external audiences by building new relationships with corporate America and Wall Street.

One of the AICPA's early initiatives is the creation an "audit committee tool kit." Audit committees of boards of directors are supposed to oversee the veracity of a public company's financial statements.

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