American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

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American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Founded 1887
Headquarters Washington, DC
Key People President and CEO Barry C. Melancon

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and its predecessors have been representing the country's Certified Public Accountants for more than 120 years. The AICPA currently represents more than 338,000 U.S. CPAs in public practice and private employment with corporations, and administers the profession's Uniform CPA Examination.


The AICPA was formed in 1887 as the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) and in 1917 became the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).[1] A sister organization, the American Society of Certified Public Accountants, was created in 1921 and formed a merger with the IPA in 1936. The combined group became the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 1957.

The AAPA was launched by a committee formed in 1886 and the association had three committees in 1897, rising to 89 by 1960 and about 120 in 1999. That year the AICPA shifted its emphasis to the greater use of temporary task forces charged with fulfilling specific assignments and then disbanding. The AICPA's board of directors acts as its executive committee and meets five times annually.

The AICPA recently came out in support of an SEC staff recommendation in December 2008 to retain fair-value accounting with some alterations. In a December 31, 2008 press release[2] the AICPA said fair-value accounting "provides increased transparency and allows for better decision-making" by investors.

Key people[edit]

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon was first elected to the position in 1995 and has over 25 years of experience as a CPA.[3] Under his leadership the AICPA inaugurated its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy education program and became the first U.S. professional association to receive an ISO-9001 certification for management and quality practices. Melancon had previously spent eight years as Executive Director of the Society of Louisiana CPAs after beginning his career as a CPA in 1979 with Louisiana firm Bergeron & Co., where he was made a partner in 1984.

Latest news[edit]

The AICPA recently launched a preliminary ethics investigation against the accounting firm that signed off on disgraced investment manager Bernard Madoff, New York-based firm Friehling & Horowitz.[4] An AICPA spokesman said the firm had not undergone a professional review for 15 years and had reported to he AICPA that it was not performing company audits, although apparently it had audited Madoff's advisory business.