Legislation directly impacts the work of CPAs more than most other professionals, and not just through tax law changes.
Laws and policies that impact ethics, regulations and the general business environment within Indiana can all make a difference in your work. They can also determine the integrity of the profession.
Becoming a CPA is a license that holds weight. It’s a sign of your expertise and skills. Upholding standards or making thoughtful changes to protect the CPA profession are important to making sure the license maintains its meaning.
"I look at the CPA license as a starting point, a baseline, a level of knowledge. And we know where you launch from that point can be so very different,” says Shelley Johnson, CPA, and former chair of the Indiana Board of Accountancy. “I think regardless of what someone chooses to do with those credentials, it’s important to protect that baseline and that skillset."
That’s where advocacy comes into play.
Why is advocacy important to the CPA profession?
Advocacy makes sure your voice is heard, whether expressing concerns for how new laws will impact your clients or industry or how it will affect your licensing requirements.
INCPAS serves as a unified voice for our members. We step up to the plate for the CPA profession every year to respond to key legislation in the Indiana Statehouse. Our advocacy team and member leaders also engage in conversations around topics of interest, assess needs within the profession and business community, and provide overall guidance for our advocacy efforts.
Historically INCPAS’ advocacy has centered around licensing, regulatory compliance, ethics and other professional issues. This has led us to develop ethical, legal relationships with organizations that directly impact CPAs and business, including the state Board of Accountancy and Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
As our organization and the CPA profession have transitioned through the years, the key areas of interest have expanded, but our core interests still remain a high priority.
Overall, we’re here to support you, your work, your status as a leading business professional, and the business and financial sector overall.
How do we do it?
A few of the actions we take on your behalf include:
- Monitoring the legislature to track key issues
- Informing you of what’s happening in the Statehouse as well as national news impacting CPAs and accounting
- Forming the Advocacy Council (AC), Tax Resource Advisory Council (TRAC) and Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC) to steer the direction of our advocacy efforts
- Managing the Indiana CPA-PAC, directly identifying and engaging with elected officials who support the integrity of the profession and support our key stances
- Hosting events to keep members informed of our initiatives and key issues
Forming the 2022 agenda
On November 12, INCPAS hosted a Legislative Preview In the Know to review the upcoming year and legislative session. In addition to broad overviews of what is happening in Indiana politics, we dedicated time to review our working 2022 legislative agenda
. This agenda is put together by the INCPAS Advocacy Council in conjunction with GRAC and TRAC.
When forming our agenda we take a Lead, Engage and Monitor approach, identifying key issues for each category.
Lead issues are those INCPAS chooses to take a significant stance. These are often the issues we actively work to introduce legislation or join an appropriate partner (legislators, agencies, coalitions/partners) to introduce the legislation for INCPAS to actively support.
As of this time, there are no active pieces of legislation INCPAS is working to introduce, but the following topics are of high priority if pieces of legislation are introduced in the Statehouse.
The 2022 Lead Topics are:
- We oppose licensure legislation that is not in the public interest and would be detrimental to CPAs’ ability to provide professional services to the organizations and clients whom they represent.
- We support legislation, if introduced, to clarify the use and application of Indiana’s Research & Development Credit for Indiana’s businesses.
Engage topics are those that are of interest to the society and our members but are not the primary advocacy focus at this time. Our advocacy policies determine the extent of our engagement in these topics, including whether we choose to support, oppose, or take a neutral stance on a bill or issue. Members’ expertise may be utilized for Engage issues to deliver expert testimony or meet with influencers as needed.
The 2022 Engage Topics are:
- We support consideration and review of Internal Revenue Code and federal conformity issues by the State for potential coupling and decoupling benefits to Indiana taxpayers and the State and to reduce confusion and simplify implementation.
- Revenue Agent Reports (RARs) related to partnership audit adjustments may be considered/introduced by Department of Revenue or Indiana Chamber.
- In our continued efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, we will assess the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative agenda for common ground issues to advance DEI topics related to equity and excellence in education, pipeline and workforce.
- We also seek to support legislation that promotes broadband access and expansion to rural and underserved populations and areas in Indiana.
Monitor topics are those we watch and, as they arise, take time to assess our involvement, including if/when we should take action and what type of action. Our overall advocacy policies and goals play a role in determining our involvement with Monitor agenda items.
The current 2022 Engage Monitor is:
- While the society does not take a stance on the legalization of marijuana , we support inserting model language to any legalization of marijuana bill to protect CPAs providing professional services for clients in the marijuana industry legally operating according to state law. This is to prevent your license from being subject to discipline by the State Board of Accountants for violating something legal under state law and illegal under federal law.
How to get involved in advocacy
Most people perceive advocacy work as something big and complicated. The truth is taking small steps to stay informed can be just as critical as more involved advocacy work. You don’t need to serve on a committee to make an impact.
- Bookmark the INCPAS Advocacy Hub to stay up-to-date. This hub provides easy access to our agenda, areas of interest, critical news, and additional opportunities to get involved in advocacy work.
- Become a CPA Advocate to receive more insights on what is happening at the Statehouse and INCPAS’ agenda efforts.
- Attend INCPAS Advocacy events, which are free and accessible for members only, or watch a replay of recent events.
- Contribute to the Indiana CPA-PAC to help us continue leveraging relationships and make sure your voice is heard.
- Ready to take a bigger leap? Explore volunteer opportunities to join an INCPAS Advocacy committee.