AICPA Supports Legislation Requiring US Comptroller General To Be A CPA

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants today announced that it strongly supports legislation introduced by Representatives Collin Peterson and Mike Conaway to require the Comptroller General of the United States to be a certified public accountant.

“Taxpayers are rightly demanding ever-increasing accountability and transparency from the U.S. government,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. “It is essential that the comptroller general have the education, skills, background, training, and discipline of a CPA.”

The bill would require that the comptroller general be a licensed certified public accountant. It would require further that he or she meet important minimum qualifications including significant management experience in government, accounting, and auditing.

“AICPA applauds the foresight of Reps. Peterson and Conaway, who are both CPAs, and congratulates them for introducing this legislation on a bipartisan basis. The controller general should always be a professionally qualified person who will lead the GAO effectively as an advocate for taxpayers and a steward of federal resources,” Melancon said.

The comptroller general position has been vacant since March 2008 when former Comptroller General David Walker, who was a CPA, resigned to become president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The previous comptroller general, Charles Bowsher, also was a CPA. Bowsher was appointed in 1981 and served a full term of 15 years.

Representative Peterson is a Minnesota Democrat and Representative Conaway is a Texas Republican. The bill, H.R. 4410, was introduced Dec. 19. To ensure the position’s independence from political influence, the comptroller general cannot be recalled from office except by act of Congress.

Source: AICPA