Bruce Alt Says Health Care Reform Will Have Huge Effect on CPAs

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 12:00 am  

Bruce C. Alt

Bruce Alt joined the Arkansas Society of CPAs in December as associate executive director then succeeded longtime executive director Barbara Angel when she retired on April 1.

Alt earned a bachelor’s degree in forest resources management from West Virginia University and an MBA from the University of Mississippi.

Alt is a certified association executive who previously served as executive vice president of the Mississippi Forestry Association and as director of conservation programs for the Mississippi chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He worked in the timber industry as a division manager for the Forest Resources Association and in management positions with Westvaco Corp. He is an Ironman triathlete who has taught cycling and strength training.

What is the mission of the Arkansas Society of CPAs?

The ASCPA is an active professional organization of CPAs working together to improve the profession, the quality of professional services and serve the public interest. The society is a leader in providing CPAs with continuing professional education and is committed to serving its members with a future-oriented approach to exceed their professional needs and expectations. Our professional staff works to tirelessly promote the professional interests and image of our CPA members to all the citizens and elected officials of Arkansas.

How is an association of accountants different from the types of associations you have managed in the past?

Serving the needs of CPAs is similar to other professions; they depend on ASCPA to provide timely communications and relevant news, professional networking opportunities, effective government relations and advocacy, and continuing education. The most significant difference is the heavy statutory requirement in Arkansas for 40 hours of continuing education per year, more than any other profession.

What are the biggest issues facing the accounting profession in 2013?

CPAs are continually challenged to serve their clients, whether small businesses, large corporations, individuals or governments, as trusted business and tax advisors. Guiding regulatory and legislative bodies, particularly Congress, in reforming tax policy is a service cornerstone of our profession. Assisting clients with implementing all the provisions of the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act will be a huge opportunity for serving both clients and the public. And there is a very significant opportunity here in Arkansas to expand the diversity of our profession by encouraging all young people to become CPAs.

What effects will the Affordable Care Act have on the accounting profession?

In one word: HUGE. Although the law continues to be a moving target, it now requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning next year, with open enrollment starting in October. Understanding the provisions of the law will be a daunting and time-consuming task for many people. CPAs will be helping people make the best decisions for their health and financial situations. From another perspective, many CPAs in public practice are considered small businesses, and provisions of the health care law will apply to them as employers.

How will demographic changes affect the profession?

People with busy and demanding professional and personal lives will continue to rely on CPAs. Retirees will continue to seek advice for managing their financial needs pertaining to retirement, care of aging parents, grandchildren’s educations, health care and more. Our profession has actively recruited talented students for years to meet this increasing demand. CPAs and Chartered Global Management Accountants are the most qualified professionals to guide both citizens and business decision-makers.



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