We compiled this list of resources to keep accounting professionals up-to-date on licensing requirements, state regulations and common practices in the field. Professionals can find information on national and international associations that provide networking and continuing education opportunities. We also included a list of publications, blogs and Twitter accounts run by working accountants that provide commentary on the state of the professional field.
Accounting Regulations and Standards Boards
The responsibilities and burdens of accounting standards might seem complex at first glance. When it comes to licensing regulations, U.S. state and territory boards of accountancy are the primary authorities for their jurisdictions, meaning that the U.S. does not have a single national board for licensing. However, national boards do regulate accounting best practices and professional standards. Some of these large-scale organizations are formed around specific activities, like investing and government accounting.
State Boards of Accountancy: This directory includes the phone numbers, addresses and contact information for 55 U.S. state and territory boards of accountancy. Since there is no national licensure board, the state boards define the CPA standards for each jurisdiction. Professionals rely on them for initial licensure, renewals, firm registration and practice guidelines.
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy)(NASBA): This umbrella organization for the 55 state and territory boards advocates for regulatory laws, accessible CPA training and state sovereignty in making accountancy licensure decisions. NASBA also provides CPAs with professional services like a National CPA database, licensing library and education tools.
Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board(FASAB): This regulatory board sets federal financial reporting and accounting standards. Members include six public members and three federal members.
Governmental Accounting Standards Board(GASB): An independent standards board for accountancy regulations applied to state and local governments in the United States. Professionals can subscribe to GASB Online, a virtual library of all board pronouncements and implementations.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): This agency of the federal government enforces investor and securities protections. It oversees five divisions: Corporation Finance, Investment Management, Trading and Markets, Economic and Risk Analysis, and Enforcement.
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS/ IASB): The IFRS Foundation is a nonprofit that oversees industry guidelines at a global level, while the IASB works as its independent standards-setting board. Both of these organizations host public meetings that can be attended in-person or through web conferencing tools.
FASAB Handbook of Accounting Standards and Other Pronouncements: A current version of the FASAB Handbook is available as a free PDF download. Topics covered include federal standards statements, technical bulletins and interpretations.
AICPA Statements and Standards: Quickly refer to industry standards governing practice areas such as professional conduct, peer review and taxes by browsing this web-based reference tool.
FASB Accounting Standards Codification: Professionals who are working with non-government organizations can refer to this database of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) catalogued by the FASB. While the basic version is free to access, the professional subscription requires an annual payment of $850.
GASB Pronouncements: Statements on concepts, technical bulletins, standards and interpretations issued by GASB are available as free downloads on their website.
US SEC Publications for Investors: This digital library includes links to dozens of SEC publications on topics like arbitration, investment companies, trading securities and stock.
New CPAs should pay close attention to the renewal requirements defined by their own state's board of accountancy, since these vary based on jurisdiction. Generally, CPAs are expected to gain new professional skill sets by earning Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, which can be obtained through AICPA- and NASBA-approved classes, conference workshops and webinars.
Continuing Education for CPAs
AICPA CPE: This national resource for prospective and current CPAs offers continuing education in three formats: a library of 350 self-study online courses, webinars and site-based training in locations across the U.S.
Learning Market NASBA approved programs: Learning Market is a database of 1,900 NASBA-approved continuing education courses provided across the nation. Prospective students can narrow their search with parameters like date offered, subject area, state, delivery method and type of credit.
Advanced or Alternate Certification
Certified Management Accountant (CMA): This professional credential enables accountants to specialize in cost and management accounting. According to the IMA, accountants with this certification can earn 1/3 more than non certified accountants.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA): Accountants can expand their professional horizons with up to six different global certifications on topics like risk management assurance, government auditing and financial services.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): Professionals who wish to specialize in IT concerns can gain a global certificate that places an emphasis on the risk management, security and governance of information systems.
Licensure for Accounting Firms
Ultimately, state and territory boards of accountancy regulate accounting firm licensure processes. However, there are some steps firms can take to meet the requirements across multiple jurisdictions, especially if these firms are operating in several states. The following resources play a significant role in the firm licensing process:
Accountancy Licensing Library: This NASBA database gives accountancy firms a single point of reference for licensing requirements across all 55 U.S. jurisdictions. Customized searches can be saved and exported into Excel reports for later viewing and sorting.
CPA Verify: Firms can use this free online national database to keep track of CPAs current licensing statuses without having to sift through listings for each state board. Search parameters include name, license number and state of licensure.
CPAs are thoroughly acquainted with the level of hard work and dedication it takes to get licensed in a single state. The idea of moving a CPA practice can seem very daunting. Licenses received in some jurisdictions may or may not carry over to new locations. Find out which states will honor an out-of-state CPA license at CPAMobility.org.
Professional Networking Organizations
State CPA societies (directory): CPAs should get in touch with their respective state society to learn about networking events, local CPE opportunities, publications, relevant legislative updates and policy changes. Membership fees vary between state societies.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): Network on a national level by attending some of the 60 different AICPA conferences hosted annually on auditing, accounting practice and regulation. AICPA membership fees range from $235-$425 based on role and industry.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants(IFAC): Contribute to the global community of accountants by attending IFAC and partner organization events in cities like London, Rome, New York and Toronto.Associate member annual dues are estimated at $5,000.
American Accounting Association (AAA): Members are invited to attend regional meetings, research conferences and boot camps that are hosted multiple times each year. Additionally, AAA membership comes with access to an exclusive job board, publication opportunities and CPE programs. Annual membership costs vary based on level of education. A non-academic full membership amounts to $215 in dues each year.
Association of Accounting and Financial Professionals in Business(IMA): The same organization that oversees CMA certification is also the home to a bustling, 70,000-member professional networking experience. Benefits include a proprietary online community, access to local chapter events and discounted admission for the IMA Annual Conference and Exposition. The cost of annual membership is $220.
Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA): Members of the IIA have networking options at the local, national and global scales through chapter events, conferences and volunteer leadership abroad. Individual professionals pay $240 a year for IIA membership.
National Society of Accountants (NSA): This society is dedicated to professionals who work within the fields of auditing, accounting, management services and estate planning. Members can take advantage of CPE and join the "Find a Professional" directory. The annual cost to join the NSA is $199.
National Association of Tax Professionals (NATB): Tax preparers who join the NATB can trade resources and connect via local chapter events or attend the National Conference and Expo at a discounted rate. Alternatively, non-members can gain a complementary single year of membership by purchasing a 4-day pass to the national conference.
Global Body for Professional Accountants (ACCA): Members of the ACCA participate in vibrant communities both online and in-person. Join and follow along with local and national event listings on ACCA's members-only LinkedIn groups and Twitter events feed. This organization also hosts annual International Public Sector and Alternative Finance conferences. All ACCA members pay a membership fee of £211 – roughly $313 – every year.
The Professional Association of Small Business Accountants (PASBA): This professional society is open to Enrolled Agents and CPAs practicing within the United States. PASBA hosts three conferences each year on marketing, management and training. PASBA members can also connect with one another through online forums, regional meetings and mentorship programs.
Events and Conferences
AICPA Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference:
This two-day event is comprised of four programs on national practice, digital CPA processes and technology, a practitioners symposium and a business development summit. Professionals also get a chance to relax and network on Disney golf courses with advance tee time.
Annual International Conference on Accounting and Finance:
This event is open to multidisciplinary professionals who work broadly within the fields of accounting and finance. Speakers keep the theme of the conference in mind by emphasizing international practice standards to reduce reporting issues.
Annual Financial Management Conference for Nonprofits:
Every year, professionals meet to experience over 25 seminars and an intensive training workshop geared toward the financial success of nonprofit organizations. Training topics include accounting software, loan servicing software and audit preparation.
IMA Annual Conference and Expo:
IMA has been hosting annual conferences for almost a full century. Join other business, finance and accounting professionals for a five-day event full of presentations by industry leaders, product showcases and networking meetups. Attendees can also earn up to 26 hours of CPE credits.
Accounting News and Social Media
Journal of Accountancy:
This is AICPA's official digital and print publication where professionals can find headline news regarding tax, practice management, financial reporting and management accounting.
Strategic Finance Magazine:
IMA's print magazine is distributed once a month to subscribers, highlighting tech, practice and standards updates that impact the way accountants and finance professionals work.
Tune into this Economist online newsfeed to read up on international corporate accounting news and keep track of the latest standards updates.
This ACCA publication is dedicated to the continued professional development (CPD) of accountants. Many articles are accompanied by multiple-choice quizzes so that readers can test themselves on the content while catching up on the latest corporate and practice news.
Accounting & Accountants:
Monitor the pulse of consumer and industry accounting concerns by following this New York Times' news and commentary feed, which includes over 5,500 archived articles.
This industry blog covers a diverse range of industry topics, including financial planning, tax practice and auditing. Accounting Tomorrow also highlights the new and noteworthy influencers within the international CPA community.
The Accounting Onion:
Grove Technologies' co-founder and CPA Tom Selling strives to demystify the world of accounting by examining the accountancy professions and reporting issues in detail. He also composes accounting reference materials for McGraw Hill.
Dr. Lusardi is a professor of economics and accountancy at the George Washington School of Business. This blog features her extensive experience in financial literacy training around the world.
Re: The Auditors:
It is difficult to explore accounting blogs without running into references to Re: The Auditors, a news blog run by industry expert Francine McKenna. She writes about her experiences with the Big 4 and posts regular updates on auditing issues.
Webinars and Podcasts
Inside Talk and Leadership Academy are monthly discussions hosted by IMA on topics like professional development and future industry trends. Attendees can earn one hour of CPE credit by participating in the live versions of the webinars.
Accounting Best Practices:
Podcast host Steve Bragg has penned over 70 books on accounting and has worked with Big 4 companies as a consulting manager. His iTunes podcast covers GAAP for accounting professionals.
Organizations, Businesses and Publications
The official Twitter feed of the Journal of Accountancy includes news about current case studies, credit rules and revisions to tax rules.
Get the scoop on the latest events and news relevant to CPAs and firms practicing in Massachusetts.
This organization publishes ongoing national news regarding business, accounting, finance and tax policies.
Access breaking news about the global accountancy industry and economic trends.
Nearly 20,000 followers keep track of testing center news, study tips and inspirational accountant quotes as they prepare for the Uniform CPA exam.
Francine McKenna is a journalist and CPA with tenure at two Big 4 firms. Her Twitter feed observes the pulse of international trade and accounting news.
Jody Padar, a CPA and adjunct professor, answers followers questions regarding accounting.
This CPA exam instructor continually post news and congratulatory updates for CPA candidates as they progress through their licensure journey.
Blogger and avid Federal Reserve commentator, Adrienne Gonzales provides online audiences with her unfiltered reactions to accounting news. She blogs at Jr Deputy Accountant and Going Concern.
Wray Rives is a CPA and a Chartered Global Management Accountant at Rives CPA. He posts daily accounting news and Quora answers on his Twitter feed.