COVID 19-Pandemic. It seems unreal but we reached the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am extremely proud of your State Board’s response to the pandemic including minimal disruption to operations. Although the Board cancelled meetings with the goal of protecting members, staff, and the public, we later were able to meet virtually after Governor Pete Ricketts issued executive orders allowing for the meetings. The State Board continues to hold virtual meetings, including in January and March of this year.
Uniform CPA Examination. The pandemic has disrupted the CPA examination; however, our Nebraska test sites responded well and mostly remained open and operational (it should be noted as of late March the Omaha site has closed temporarily). Additionally, those candidates impacted were given the opportunity to extend the 18-month window to complete the examination through December 31, 2020. At its March meeting, the State Board provided a further extension for those impacted until September 30, 2021. On the national front, the Board of Examiners (BOE) has launched a pilot project to allow for remote testing within a candidate’s home and/or other approved locations in response to emergencies such as the pandemic in the future. More to come on this.
Two Task Forces Addressing Issues. The State Board has launched a task force to review regulations within Chapter 5/Rules of Professional Conduct. Several State Boards have adopted the AICPA Uniform Code of Conduct to address regulatory issues and have removed their specific state codes, as we have in Nebraska. Other charges of the Chapter 5/Rules of Professional Conduct Task Force are to ensure the current Chapter 5 rules are relevant, modernized, and in line with the need to protect the public. Recommendations from this task force will be made to the State Board. In addition to myself and State Board staff, task force members on this important project include Dr. Thomas Purcell, CPA, chairman; Dan Davis, CPA, vice chairman; Melissa Ruff, CPA; Rand Hansen, CPA; Michele Stromp, CPA; and Joni Sundquist, president, Nebraska Society.
Additionally, the Nebraska Society of CPAs launched a task force with the assistance of the State Board to address succession issues of small CPA firms in Nebraska after a firm questioned current requirements. We anticipate recommendations arising from the task force that will include changes to the current Nebraska Public Accountancy Act and State Board regulations regarding non-CPA ownership in Nebraska. Stay tuned—more to come on this! In addition to Society President Sundquist and myself, task force members include Ryan Burger, CPA, chairman; Marcy Luth, CPA, vice chairman; Dr. Thomas Purcell, CPA; and Dana Weber, CPA.
New Members! It is always exciting to have new members join the State Board, although we will miss those who have been with us for the last eight years. Christi Olsen, CPA, and Mark Manning, CPA, have been appointed by the Governor and made the commitment to volunteer their valuable time to address the needs of the public and the profession as State Board members. Please join me in thanking them for their service! Additionally, the State Board is looking for new members this year, including a CPA from the second congressional district and a CPA from the third congressional district. If interested, go to the Governor’s website at https://governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req.
Take care and never hesitate to contact us with any questions and/or concerns!