“Disappointment” seems rather mild when describing the defeat of the diligent and sincere efforts made by the SCACPA Board along with the Legislative and Advocacy Committee relative to House Bill 4546, which would have allowed a pilot project whereby the Board of Accountancy, along with six other regulating boards, would operate as self-directed and semi-autonomous. The proposed legislation was expected to generate some healthy debate, however, the House voted down the bill by a vote of 66-43. Apparently, the $32 million in carry forward funds at the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) suggested as the means to fund the start-up of the boards identified in H.4546 drew the ire of many who are facing primary opposition in a budget year as difficult as this one. There were also other political factors and conflicts that came into play during the debate that unfortunately overshadowed the bill. Moving forward, the upside is that the base legislative support is strong and licensees are engaged and devoted to substantive reforms. Additionally, the process is underway to make a formal request for a comprehensive Legislative Council Audit of LLR.
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the time and effort put forth by John Camp, CPA (past president of SCACPA), who spearheaded the effort from SCACPA’s standpoint and Malane Pike, JD, who spearheaded the effort from the Board of Accountancy’s standpoint. Also we thank many SCACPA members, including key contacts, members of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee and others who participated in the all-important advocacy effort. Lastly, we must recognize SCACPA’s lobbying team and in particular Kim Kent, who put in countless hours since August of last year helping us advance this issue of LLR reform.
Unfortunately this year’s cycle will remove all proposed bills from the legislative agenda. But this defeat is only temporary. The Board and the Legislative and Advocacy Committee is still very active. Our current plans are to regroup and strategize the next steps to take in relation to this issue. As frustrating as this process can be, we are determined to protect this profession and the citizens of South Carolina from unethical practices of accounting. It is without a doubt that SCACPA members will see SCACPA’s leadership continue to fight the good fight for common sense reform and transparency in our profession in such a way that maintains our impeccable reputation in the business world.
Blogger: Charles ‘Eddie’ Brown, CPA