If Frank Pinto is trying to build a case for becoming the next auditor general, he should start by looking up the definition of “CPA.” His crass reference to the 67 current employees in the auditor general’s office who are CPAs as “bean counters” demonstrates his lack of respect for the knowledge, experience, and training required to obtain and maintain a CPA license. The reference appeared in the April 2 edition of the Harrisburg Patriot News, but he has also used this term on PCN and in other interviews.
To earn a CPA license, one must graduate from an accredited college or university, pass a rigorous national CPA Exam, and meet a work experience requirement. The CPA Exam has four distinct categories: auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and business environments and concepts.
CPAs use the knowledge and experience needed to earn the CPA license to serve not only as auditors who provide valued and trusted information to the investing public, but also as business advisors for clients, CEOs and CFOs of major corporations, and managers at state-funded programs to insure that they are administered appropriately. CPAs are trained to look for waste and fraud, and to identify ways to create efficiencies.
Time after time, CPAs are found in studies to be the most trusted business advisors, recognized for their honesty, integrity, and objectivity.
CPAs are critical to the office of auditor general because they are the only professionals licensed to conduct audits. The auditor general does not have to be a CPA, but the effectiveness and leadership capabilities of auditor general would be greatly enhanced by possessing knowledge of the office’s staff. Mr. Pinto clearly does not understand the role a CPA can play in the auditor general’s office. Through his trivializing of their experience, he has publicly insulted more than 20,000 members of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) who have worked hard to earn and maintain their CPA license.
The audit function is essential to protect the public. CPAs and the general public should be appalled that Mr. Pinto would trivialize and insult the licensed professionals that perform this function.
Cheri H. Freeh, CPA