95 years of invaluable service

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JOEL L. TAN-TORRES

THIS year marks the accountancy profession in the Philippines’ commemoration of 95 years of rendering invaluable service to the country and global accountancy community.

In 1923, accounting was legally recognized as a profession in the country when the sixth Philippine Legislature approved Act No. 3105 on March 17, 1923. This law created the Board of Accountancy (BoA) vested with authority to promulgate rules and regulations, to set professional standards for the accounting profession practice and to issue certified public accountant certificates to those who have qualified in accordance with the requirements of the law. The board then was composed of a chairman and two members. The first Board of Accountancy was composed of Chairman W. W. Larkin, and Domingo Dikit and Felix Tiongson, as members. I am the incumbent chairman of the seven-man board, having been appointed by former President Benigno Aquino last May 2014.

The 95th anniversary commemoration this year will be celebrated by Filipino accountants here and abroad, and their many stakeholders. Since 1923, there have been over 185,000 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who have passed the licensure examinations and joined the ranks of the profession,

There will be a year-long celebration of the anniversary. An official logo is being used for the anniversary. The accounting leaders and stakeholders are encouraged to download the logo from the BoA website (boa.com.ph) or Facebook (Accountancy95years) and use this for their anniversary activities.


Various events and activities are being organized by BoA and the different accountancy organizations. These will involve the participation and involvement of the many Filipino accountancy communities in the country and worldwide.

Some of the activities are the holding of conferences and other learning special events, writing of articles for special edition publications, a Miss Diamond CPA beauty and personality contest, an anniversary shirt design competition; arranging for the proclamation by Malacañang of 2018 as the 95th year of the accountancy profession; issuance of a postal commemorative stamp; roll-out of the applications for Asean Chartered Professional Accountants, documenting the history of the accountancy profession; release of accountancy trivia; a write-up; and recognition of prominent accountancy graduates from the various schools; advocating for the approval of Accountancy Law amendments, implementation of the eQAR; and an accountancy anniversary song competition.

The accounting professionals play an integral part in the country’s development. CPAs abound in commerce and industry, government, academe and the public practice sectors. The more prominent CPAs include Heidi Mendoza, Undersecretary General for the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight; Manuel Villar, a billionaire businessman and former Senate president; and the current National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran.

The notable CPAs in the past include Vicente Fabella (1891-1959), who was the first CPA of the Philippines and was the founder of the Jose Rizal University; Jose Diokno (1922-1987), who was a senator and human rights advocate; and Washington SyCip (1921-2017), a Philippine and global business icon.

The profession is currently abuzz, with so many notable activities occurring. The academic learning tracks have recently been reformed with the promulgation by the Commission on Higher Education of Memorandum Orders No, 27 to 30, Series of 2017. These provide guidelines for three new accounting courses and a reformat of the existing program that will become effective in school year 2018-2019. The future accountants in the Philippines will now have more options as they pursue their chosen learning track.

After many years in the back burner, the Quality Assurance Review (“QAR”) over the work of the auditors and the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Accountancy Services (“MRA”) are now being implemented. The QAR and MRA are important measures that will result in significant impact and involvement of the stakeholders of the profession.

The high impact regulatory measures of the BoA continue in 2018. The accreditation rules for the various accountancy sectors; the monitoring of the implementation of the Expanded Auditors Report and the Certificate of Compilation services; the review of the audit threshold; the oversight of the Accredited Professional Organization; the new accreditation rules on the partners and professional staff of accounting firms and partnerships, all have gained ground. All of these measures will go a long way towards putting in place a conducive environment for the furtherance of the practice of the professional and law-abiding accountants, while curbing the irregularities of the erring CPAs.

The results of the public consultations on the revisions of the antiquated 2004 Accountancy Law are now pending in Congress for the start of the public hearings. A revised Accountancy Law will address the many concerns of the profession.

With all of these developments, Filipino accountants have so much to celebrate in their diamond year. Their many stakeholders fully appreciate the contribution and the service they have been rendering for all these 95 years

A large number of graduates of the Harvard schools are CPAs. I encourage them to touch base with the BoA (at boa.secretariat@gmail.com) and provide information on their business and interest in being involved in the anniversary and accountancy activities.

For more information on the 95thanniversary celebration, go to https://www.facebook.com/Accountancy95years/

Joel L. Tan-Torres is the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy. He is a Certified Public Accountant who placed No. 1 in the May 1979 CPA board examinations. He is a partner of Reyes Tacandong& Co., CPAs. He Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue from 2009 to 2010.

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