Run There's been a lot of talk about the massive changes bearing down on the profession these days. Lost in all that buzz, though, is the unbelievable speed at which these changes are happening. Consider:

  • A panel tasked with determining the future of U.S. accounting standards for private companies will present its latest recommendations during its next meeting on Oct. 8.
  • The rules surrounding preparer tax identification numbers, or PTINs, go into effect almost immediately. Tax preparers impacted by the rule must optain their PTIN before they file any return after Dec. 31, 2010. You can now register to get your PTIN online … if you don't get bogged down in technical difficulties, that is.
  • Unless they are changed, the regulations surrounding Form 1099 reporting requirements for small businesses — which will force businesses to report to the IRS any purchase of $600 or more from a vendor of goods or services — will go into effect in 2012.
  • Despite many stops and starts, the SEC's IFRS roadmap is still on track for a 2011 implementation.

None of that takes into account any potential regulations that are enacted on a state level by Maryland's General Assembly in early 2011 … and given the state's fiscal predictament, that's a distinct possibility.

So much has changed so quickly, we've almost completely forgetten about the groundbreaking Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was passed by Congress in July. Some of that law's most groundbreaking provisions take effect shortly, and's Roy Harris takes a closer look:

Among the many hot-button issues to be considered between October and December: proposals for rules governing shareholder “say on pay” votes, and other compensation-related matters, including new listing standards for compensation-committee independence. Other closely watched discussions in the tentative timetable involve the SEC's first regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives market, and proposed rules for disclosing consultant conflicts. Enforcement topics include establishing a Whistleblower Office, proposing whistle-blower incentives and protection rules, and making a report to Congress on progress in the whistle-blowing program.

If the normal 30-day comment period applies to the Dodd-Frank reforms — signed into law by President Obama on July 21 — draft rules for say-on-pay and other compensation matters could be out by mid-November. The SEC says, however, that it doesn't plan to adopt final rules on compensation committees and consultants until at least next April.

For the most part, the SEC's timetable envisions study of the many proposed rules through December, with either reports to Congress or adoption of the proposed measures slated for the months thereafter, through July 2011.

Wow … thanks for all of that extra time, SEC.

Want to find out more? Business Finance's Eric Krell takes a closer look at finance reform's winners and losers.

Bottom line: It's time to pay attention, folks.

Don't miss CPA Day in Annapolis
The first step is to circle Jan. 19 on your calendars. That's CPA Day in Annapolis, an annual event during which MACPA members meet with their legislators to discuss these and other issues of importance to the profession. It's free, you'll earn two hours of CPE, and you'll be doing your part to protect the profession. Get further details and register here.