Certified Public Accountants Assn. reiterates position on appointing a CPA as comptroller

By The Star Staff

The confirmation of Manuel Torres as commonwealth comptroller faced another hurdle Monday as the Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) Association declined to give his confirmation the green light.

The CPAs Association, through its president, Rosa M. Rodríguez Ramos, insisted on the organization’s stance that the person appointed to the position of commonwealth comptroller be a certified public accountant.

“As we have mentioned and reiterated on previous occasions, the Association’s stance is that this position be filled by a CPA who brings together academic preparation, technical experience, credentials and skills of the highest caliber, as well as a link to the tasks and functions that the position demands,” Rodríguez Ramos said.

The organization’s membership approved a resolution at a general assembly last Sept. 5 in favor of asking the executive and legislative branches that the person named and confirmed as comptroller be a CPA.

“In addition to the professional attributes that an experienced CPA brings to the table, CPAs are distinguished by their excellence and professional ethics, as well as the quality of their services,” Rodríguez Ramos said. “Likewise, they have to comply with rigorous canons of ethics and independence in addition to strict continuing education requirements to guarantee their professional competence at all times.”

Torres is not an accountant.

The designated comptroller has a master’s degree in public administration with a major in administration and financial policy, and in personnel administration from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras School of Public Administration. He also has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in management. Torres graduated magna cum laude from Universidad del Este. He is certified as a fraud examiner by the Certified Fraud Examiners Association. He has 35 years of experience in public service.

In January 2012, Torres became Puerto Rico’s first electoral comptroller after he was confirmed by more than two-thirds of the members of the island Senate and House of Representatives.

By constitutional mandate, the comptroller of Puerto Rico has the ministerial function of supervising all revenues, accounts and disbursements of the commonwealth, its agencies and instrumentalities, as well as of the municipalities, to determine if they have been done in accordance with the law and with the generally accepted accounting standards for government entities.

In previous remarks, the CPAs Association has claimed that, “in the historical juncture that Puerto Rico finds itself, today more than ever it is required that greater demands be made of its officials, and such preparation, competence and experience is required, to promote a healthy administration of public funds.”

“Puerto Rico needs to continue with the implementation of its agenda of discipline and fiscal control in the processes of handling public funds in order to maintain its capacity for fiscal compliance and, consequently, the well being of the people and its economy,” the Association said.

Rodríguez Ramos noted that “in the exercise of his functions, the Comptroller, as provided by law, will use and will have to comply with the established provisions of the generally accepted auditing standards that are published in the ‘Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS),’ known as the ‘Yellow Book,’ which are developed and published by the Office of the Comptroller of the United States of America.”

“The ‘Yellow Book’ provides a framework for conducting high-quality audits considering the principles of competence, integrity, objectivity and independence,” she said.

She likewise noted that for the past four decades the position of Puerto Rico comptroller in property has been held by a CPA.

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