Fourteenth of a series

What is the status of the initiative of the accountancy community, led by the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, in moving forward the proposed amendments to Republic Act (RA 9298), or the Accountancy Act of 2004? Public consultations by the BOA started sometime in March 2021.

There were several online meetings and discussions conducted in the past months. I understand that the BOA is presently seeking for some legislators to sponsor the bill that they have drafted.

Passing a law is generally a tedious and long process. When I was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2010, I was able to move forward into law the Philippine Tax Academy Act in the last few months of my term as head of the BIR. I recall the efforts that my staff and I exerted to move, in the halls of Congress, this proposal that we drafted. There was a lot of time and activities expended in drafting the legislative proposal, engaging with the various stakeholders, using my network to make progress, interacting with the legislators and their staff, and a host of other imperatives. Finally, after about six months of focused attention, the PTA bill was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on February 1, 2010 and June 4, 2010, respectively. The measure, lapsed into law—Republic Act 10143—on July 31, 2010 without the signature of the President, in accordance with Article VI, Section 27 (1) of the Constitution. It was an exhausting, but exhilarating experience, to be able to accomplish a milestone of being involved and instrumental in the passage of a law.

This ongoing process of amending the Accountancy Law is not a novel one.  During my term as Chairman of the BOA, I launched in 2015 an initiative to amend this charter of the accountancy profession that needed updating with the passage of time since its passage in 2014. The BOA, under my helm, started deliberations on the contents of the amendments sometime in July 2015.  We came up with several proposals on six major areas pertaining to(1)Structural changes; (2) Mandate of the Accountancy Regulatory Office and BOA; (3) Practice of Accountancy; (4) Accountancy Examination and Program Matters, including the three additional competencies for the Certified Accountant and Certified Professional or Public Accountants; (5) Special Provisions, including the Accountant “branding” and title; and, (6) Penalties and Sanctions.  The BOA conducted several stakeholders’ consultations and liaison meetings with legislators and their staff for about three years until late 2018. Unfortunately, the legislation process was not completed when I, the principal mover of the initiative, was replaced as Chairman of the BOA in August 2018. Alas, the time-tested fate has again arisen where the departure of the champion of a certain advocacy results in the discontinuation of such champion’s initiative.

I hope that the initiative of the present BOA will result in a different positive outcome.

To be continued.

Joel L. Tan-Torres is the Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, and partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979.

This column accepts articles for publication from the business and academic community. Articles not exceeding 600 words can be e-mailed to [email protected].

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