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 A New Day in Fla. Politics, CPAs Hold Strong in Elections

Image: Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMALast Tuesday was an exciting day in Florida politics. We saw another close gubernatorial election and a shift in power in the House of Representatives.

Some immediate good news is that all four CPAs who were on the ballot were successfully re-elected. Long term, the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott and the furtherance of the Republican majority in the Florida Legislature most likely will produce a continued focus on economic growth, government accountability and less regulation.

Almost as exciting as the elections, the AICPA recently installed an FICPA member into office and honored another. Tommye Barie, CPA became chair of the AICPA Board of Directors and Bob Harris, CPA/CFF, CGMA received the AICPA's Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service. Please join me in congratulating these longtime members for their boundless service to the profession.

Looking ahead, the FICPA is positioned to be at the forefront of national and state issues. We'll continue to keep you informed and seek your participation in our efforts to advocate on your behalf.

Sincerely,

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Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA
FICPA President/CEO



AICPA Elects Tommye Barie as Chair, Presents Gold Medal to Bob Harris

Image: AICPA Elects Tommye Barie as Chair, Presents Gold Medal to Bob Harris On Oct. 21, during the fall meeting of the AICPA Council, Tommye E. Barie, CPA became chair of the AICPA Board of Directors for a one-year term. Her inaugural speech, "Relevance, Rigor and Reach: Building from the Core," focuses on how the CPA's foundation contributes to the sustainability, strength and agility of the profession. Barie compared guiding the profession's future to one of her favorite activities: kiteboarding.

"Out on that kiteboard, maneuvering to catch the wind, I watch the waves…I know that if I am not vigilant, I will travel a great distance in a direction I don't want to go. I want to control my direction. That's where our profession is today – charting a course to our destination and making sure we leverage the winds to position us for success."

Also during the fall Council meeting, Robert R. "Bob" Harris, CPA/CFF, CGMA received the AICPA's Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service. The Gold Medal is the highest award granted by the AICPA and is given to CPAs who have made major contributions to the CPA profession.

"We congratulate Tommye and Bob on their tremendous accomplishments and thank them for their exemplary service to the profession," said FICPA President/CEO Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA. "We're very proud to have such amazing FICPA representatives who've contributed so much at the national level."

Read a Journal of Accountancy profile of Barie.

Read an AICPA article about Bob Harris' gold medal.



FICPA Looks for Member Input on A&A Requirements

Image: FICPA Looks for Member Input on A&A RequirementsThe FICPA Board of Governors recently discussed an FICPA chapter recommendation that the FICPA pursue a statutory change allowing an alternative to the minimum requirement for 20 hours of Accounting and Auditing (A&A) continuing education every two years.

The FICPA believes in having a healthy and robust conversation about the composition of the total 80 hours of education as it currently stands, and whether or not FICPA members believe a revision is beneficial. If our members support a statutory change, the FICPA would work with the BOA and seek consensus before presenting the recommendation to Florida legislators.

To stand as the FICPA's voice on this matter, we need your help. Please take five minutes to weigh in on your vision of the A&A continuing-education requirements by taking the short survey. If you have questions about the survey, email webservices@ficpa.org.

(Note: Only voting-class members of the FICPA are eligible. Thank you!)



Peer Review Requirement Begins Jan. 1

Image: Peer Review Requirement Begins Jan. 1Florida's peer review law requires firms that perform certain audit and attestation engagements under Florida Statutes 473.302(8)(a) to enroll in a Florida Board of Accountancy peer review program. The requirement takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Firms that are not already enrolled in the AICPA Peer Review Program need to enroll in an approved program beginning Jan. 1. To do so, firms may click here to visit our website and complete the FICPA Peer Review Program Enrollment Form under Enrollment Requirements.

For more information about regulatory requirements, see Peer Review Regulation or contact FICPA Director of Technical Services Paul Brown, CPA at (800) 342-3917, Ext. 251, or brownp@ficpa.org.



Florida CPAs Win Re-election

Image: Florida CPAs Win Re-election Among the candidates who found themselves on the winning side of last week's elections were four CPAs. Congressman Patrick Murphy and Reps. Michael Bileca, Dan Raulerson and David Richardson all were soundly re-elected by the constituents they represent.

Congressman Patrick Murphy from the 18th Congressional District won a highly contested race against former Florida Rep. Carl Domino by 60 percent of the vote. Murphy will return to Washington as one of 10 CPAs serving in the U.S. Congress.

"I am proud of what I've been able to accomplish as an independent voice in Congress," Murphy said in an email to his supporters. "We demonstrated that a positive campaign can win – even in our district that is closely divided on politics."

Overcoming an effort by the Democratic Party in Miami, Rep. Bileca defeated his Democratic opponent by 59 percent of the vote. Reps. Raulerson of Plant City and Richardson of Miami Beach both were successfully re-elected without any opposition during the primary elections in August.

The FICPA congratulates all the CPA legislators for winning re-election last week. We look forward to working with them on issues important to the profession.



Florida CPA/PAC Recap of 2014 Elections

Image: Florida CPA/PAC Recap of 2014 ElectionsDuring the 2014 election cycle, the Florida CPA/PAC contributed more than $160,000 to Democratic and Republican candidates. The PAC was actively engaged in 132 Florida races, and 97 percent of PAC-supported candidates were elected. The Florida CPA/PAC directors considered hundreds of candidates based on extensive interviews, responses to questionnaires on CPA-specific issues, and recommendations from FICPA members.

Mid-term election turnout hit 50 percent, which was more than the 2010 mid-term turnout of 49 percent, and the 2006 turnout of 47% percent. The Florida Senate remains unchanged with 26 Republican and 14 Democratic members. Six incumbent Democrats lost in the House, taking the Republican majority to a supermajority with 81 members. All Cabinet positions remained unchanged after a close gubernatorial race. Gov. Scott overcame his opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, by more than 65,000 votes.

We extend special thanks to all FICPA members who've supported the Florida CPA/PAC.



2014 Constitutional Amendments — One Passes, Two Fail

Image: 2014 Constitutional Amendments - One Passes, Two FailVoters decided on three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution last week. Each required 60 percent voter approval to pass, and only one passed. Supporters of each initiative made substantial effort to have them approved by the electorate.

Here's a review of each, along with the final results.



Amendment 1: Water and Land Conservation – Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands

Summary – Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.

Passed – 75% approved / 25% opposed



Amendment 2: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions

Summary – Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients' medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

Failed – 58% approved / 42% opposed



Amendment 3: Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies

Summary – Requires the governor to prospectively fill vacancies in a judicial office to which election for retention applies resulting from the justice's or judge's reaching the mandatory retirement age or failure to qualify for a retention election; and allowing prospective appointments if a justice or judge is not retained at an election. Currently, the governor may not fill an expected vacancy until the current justice's or judge's term expires.

Failed – 48% approved / 52% opposed



Florida CPA/PAC Reloads

Image: Stronger Together: Your Florida CPA/PAC The 2014 elections have passed, but the Florida CPA Political Action Committee (Florida CPA/PAC) still needs your support.The PAC works to ensure that Florida elects the candidates who will best oversee the future of the profession.

Help ensure CPAs count in the political process by contributing as little as $25 today – just click the contribute button below.

For more information about the PAC, visit ficpa.org/pac or email govaffairs@ficpa.org.

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