Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CPA For Head of GAO?

NOTE: Happy New Year!! This probably will be my last post in 2009.

Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) have introduced legislation (HR 4410)which would require that the Comptroller General (CG), who heads up the General Accountability Office, be a Certified Public Accountant. The bill would also require that those nominated as Comptroller General have considerable management experience, including some experience managing in governmental sector, significant governmental accounting and auditing experience and a post-graduate degree. In endorsing the idea, AICPA President Barry Melancon called on the Comptroller General to be an advocate for taxpayers and steward of national resources. The two most recent Comptrollers General, David Walker and Charles Bowsher, had CPAs while interim CG, Gene Dodaro, has an accounting degree but not a CPA.

I am fully a fan of the intent behind HR 4410 and believe that the Comptroller General needs the stature of professional licensure. In some ways, it would seem that the skills of a Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Management Accountant would also be valuable in the CG position; perhaps either allowing the CIA or CMA to substitute for the CPA OR requiring the CPA plus either the CIA or CMA would improve an already well-thought out piece of legislation.


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