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Help Shape the Accounting Profession Through Service to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy

July 17, 0023

By Christina C. Roderick, CPA, MST – REDW Principal, Tax Practice Leader

Volunteers are fundamental to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy, which depends on highly talented individuals to help advance the accounting profession in the public interest.  

Certified Public Accountants, accountants and auditors act as guardians of the public trust. Since our profession is so complex and diverse, and much of our work centers around investigative methods, our ability to offer contrasting opinions, advice and intelligence adds great value in both public practice and industry. Part of this guardianship role can include serving on one of six regulatory committees for the Board:

  • Accounting and Auditing Advisory Committee
  • Tax Advisory Committee
  • Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee
  • Law Review Advisory Committee
  • Certification Advisory Committee
  • Continuing Professional Education Advisory Committee

The Board’s mission is to protect the public from unlawful, incompetent, unqualified or unprofessional CPAs through certification, regulation and rehabilitation. Working together, we create a legitimate financial system that works for everyone.

The Partnership of CPAs and Public Service

Wesley Ryan Benally, CPA, and Anthony R. Gerlach, CPA, are REDW principals who have served in board advisory committee positions since 2015, sitting on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee and the Certification Advisory Committee, respectively. They signed on to a second five-year term.

Inclusion and Duty Drive Board Service

With a few exceptions, professionals who want to serve on Board committees must be active CPAs and licensed in Arizona. Applicants need to write a letter of interest and send their resume to the Board; recommendation letters may also be accepted.

“When I wrote my letter of interest, I saw an opportunity to give back to a profession that has provided a generous livelihood to me and my family,” said Gerlach. 

As a member of the Certification Advisory Committee, he finds it rewarding to help others navigate the same journey to becoming a CPA that he did many years ago. By striving to make the process as objective as possible, the Certification Advisory Committee ensures there is a standard level of fairness built into the evaluation.

Benally was also drawn to Board service from a desire to improve the profession. “I wanted to ensure more minority voices were represented on the Board,” said Benally, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. As a member of the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee, he helps oversee the Board’s peer review administering entity.

The Value of Qualified CPA Service

Board service is an act of self-regulation, CPAs regulating their own profession with the profession’s highest standards of integrity.

Benally describes his service on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee as monitoring the peer review process itself, a responsibility shared between the Board and its administering entity, the California Society of CPAs. The objectives of oversight are to ensure compliance with the peer review standards and consistency.

“As a committee member, our work aids in the oversight of the Review Acceptance Body (RAB) to make sure that members of the RAB are consistent in their decision-making process and adhere to the AICPA peer review standards,” Benally explained.

 “For example, if a firm fails its peer review and that report appears before the RAB, we oversee the RAB’s decision to accept that report and ensure it’s based on the fact patterns. In some instances, the RAB may require additional information based on the documentation provided by the peer reviewer.” 

This allows committee members to regulate the formal process, detail what’s next for firms, including the quality control procedures for certain audits and guide practices in the right direction.

On the Certification Advisory Committee, Gerlach is part of a group that ensures that applicants for the Uniform CPA Exam are qualified to sit for the exam and make it through the certification process.

“We review each application to ensure an applicant has the necessary education, work experience and recommendations from other CPAs to qualify for the CPA credential,” Gerlach said. “We ensure that the evaluation process is not personal or based on who you know. For example, we look to see if an individual has the right credit hours. The use of judgment comes from examining whether some of the credit hours are duplicates.”

Benefits of Service

Serving on boards brings benefits, including expanding professional networks and learning skills. One benefit to Gerlach and Benally has been exposure to many different industries and types of firms – from sole proprietors to large firms and every size in between – and learning how the regulations affect each of them differently.

Benally elaborated, “Staying current with the latest state and AICPA regulations on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee helps keep our firm safe and maintains the integrity of the profession and our jobs within it.”

How You Can Help

We know that you're busy, and it’s not always easy to allocate time to non-revenue-generating work. That’s why there are different ways for you to get involved through committee participation.

According to both Benally and Gerlach, minimal preparation is required, as the peer review and candidate files are reviewed and decisions made during monthly committee meetings. Committee meetings typically last two to three hours, leaving plenty of time for CPAs at all professional levels to participate.

For a complete description of the tasks, skillsets, and time commitments required for Board membership, please visit and click on Board Advisory Committee Volunteer Opportunities.