What Was the Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC)?

The Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC) is the former senior technical organization within the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that determined the AICPA's technical policies related to financial reporting standards. The group is now known as the Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinREC) when the group changed its name in 2010.

FinREC is authorized to make public statements on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants without explicit consent from the AICPA's board of directors.

Key Takeaways

  • The Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC) manages the technical aspects of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AIPCA).
  • As of 2010, AcSEC is known as the Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinREC) of the AIPCA.
  • AICPA is a non-profit professional organization representing certified public accountants (CPA) in the United States.

Understanding the Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC)

The Accounting Standards Executive Committee's (AcSEC) duties have been assumed by the Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinREC). According to then Chair of AICPA, Robert R. Harris, the name change was to better reflect the committee's ever-changing role and its broader responsibilities.

FinREC exists to create technical policies for, and to act as, the spokesbody for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. FinREC meets four to six times per year and meetings are open to the public (except when the meeting pertains to administrative or otherwise confidential matters). FinREC is responsible for compiling letters of comments on behalf of the AICPA to external groups including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) was founded in 1887, under the name American Association of Public Accountants, to ensure that accountancy gained respect as a profession and was practiced by ethical, competent professionals. The AICPA exists to provide its more than 418,000 members with the resources, information, and leadership to provide CPA services in the highest professional manner.

From its earliest iteration in 1887 to as late as the 1970s, the AICPA was the only body setting generally accepted technical and professional standards for CPAs in a number of areas. In the 1970s, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) took over responsibility for setting generally accepted accounting principles (GAAPs). However, the AICPA still retains its standards-setting responsibilities in such areas as professional ethics, business valuation, financial statement auditing, attest services, and CPA firm quality control.

The AICPA is integral to rule-making in the largely self-regulated CPA profession and serves as an advocate for legislative bodies and public interest groups. It sets standards for obtaining and maintaining the CPA designation, which is earned by accountants who pass a series of accounting exams and satisfy other experience requirements, and oversees CPA practitioners to make sure they are meeting competence and performance standards.

Members of the AICPA consist of professionals in business and industry, public practice, government, and education. Offices are located in New York City; Washington, D.C; Durham, North Carolina; Ewing, New Jersey; and Lewisville, Texas. 

Although the AICPA obtained its current appellation in 1957, the organization traces its history back through several iterations, beginning when the American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) opened in 1887.