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Dodd-Frank: The best (or worst) is yet to come

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This one pretty much blew my mind.

The Dodd-Frank Act, a package of financial reforms signed into law in July 2010 in the wake of the credit crisis, isn't even close to being completely enacted. In fact, The Washington Post's Danielle Douglas claims that barely a quarter of the act's regulations have been put into place so far.

That's 25 percent in 17 months. Guess what we've got to look forward to in 2012?

"Bankers have complained that the slow-going implementation makes it difficult to get a handle on added compliance costs and regulators’ expectations," Douglas writes. "Regulators argue they are moving as fast as they can considering 30 federal agencies are tasked with writing some 400 rules of varying complexity. ... There is still a ways to go before the full impact of the legislation is felt. More than half of the rules are not due until 2012 or later."

Then again, given Dodd-Frank's shear size, maybe we shouldn't be surprised after all. The law is an astounding 2,319 pages long. To put that in perspective, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act -- arguably the most important piece of accounting-related legislation to come along since the securities acts of 1933 and 1934 -- is 66 pages long.

It all strikes me as Exhibit A for why you should be planning to attend CPA Day in Annapolis on Jan. 18. If CPAs don't step up and offer some input, politicians will be crafting accounting-related legislation on their own.

Does that sound like a good idea to you? Me either.

Not that Maryland politicians will be considering anything approaching the scope of Dodd-Frank. But you never know when they'll look at something like sales taxes on professional services and say, "That seems like a good idea."

That's when CPAs need to step up and respond, "No, it's not, and here's why."

That's the power of CPA Day. The more CPAs who join us in Annapolis, the more powerful our legislative message becomes.

Don't sit there waiting for something to happen to you. Make something happen yourself. Join us in Annapolis.

And brace for a wild 2012. There's a lot of Dodd-Frank waiting in the wings.


Bill Sheridan