Barry C. Melancon
President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, American Institute of CPAs
Barry C. Melancon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the national professional association of CPAs with approximately 330,000 members. Elected to this position in July 1995, he directs the Institute’s operations in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Durham, N.C., and Texas. He has been active in further defining the role and responsibilities of the accounting profession, both prior to, during and since the profession has been faced with increased challenges and demands for expanding thought and accounting initiatives. As the head of the AICPA, Melancon represents the most diverse and largest group of CPAs in the world. That representation ranges from the Institute’s base of individual practitioners, small to mid-size firm practitioners and practitioners active in the CPA profession globally to those CPAs who are employed throughout America ‘s business community in a range of positions including CFO and controller. With more than 25 years’ experience in the CPA profession, Melancon is called upon to represent the Institute with state, national and international organizations and is sought after by key opinion leaders for his expertise of the profession. Melancon also travels the country meeting with members of the profession and the business community as a means of ensuring that the profession and its members’ opinions are voiced. He frequently meets with representatives of state CPA societies, CPA firm associations, and CPAs from all segments of the profession to help them understand the challenges facing the profession, and to obtain from the members their grassroots feedback, which is then included in the Institute’s planning process. Recent initiatives that Melancon has overseen include the establishment of two audit quality centers to help CPA firms practicing in specialized areas—the Employee Benefit Plans and the Governmental Audit Quality Centers. The Centers are voluntary firm membership organizations designed to better equip auditors practicing in these areas. The AICPA’s multifaceted anti-fraud initiative was launched under Melancon’s direction and includes guidelines for management, continuing professional education for CPAs, and academic research. Melancon also supervised the transition of the Uniform CPA Examination to a computer-based format from a paper-and-pencil format; the new exam was introduced in April 2004. The computer-based CPA exam is more closely aligned with real-world requirements of entry-level CPAs. In May 2004, he steered to inauguration 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, a diversified education program designed for everyone from school-age children to retirees. Under Melancon’s leadership, the AICPA established the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, to offer thought leadership and build liaison with key influential groups, and a Grassroots Mobilization Team, to work with the state CPA societies to create local programs. Most recently in October 2006, he led the AICPA’s launch of a national public service financial literacy campaign in partnership with the Ad Council. Feed the Pig features print, radio, television and Internet-based advertisements that aim to help Americans aged 25-34 to begin saving and planning for long-term financial security. Under Melancon, the AICPA was the first national professional association to receive the ISO-9001 certification in recognition of its management and quality practices. In addition to serving as President and CEO of the AICPA, Melancon is a member of the AICPA’s delegation to the International Federation of Accountants, whose broad objective is the development and enhancement of a coordinated worldwide accountancy profession with harmonized standards. Prior to joining the AICPA, Melancon served for eight years as Executive Director of the Society of Louisiana CPAs. He began his accounting career in 1979 at the firm of Bergeron & Company, CPAs, a small local firm in Louisiana. In 1984, he was elected a firm partner. Melancon graduated in 1978 from Nicholls State University in Louisiana, majoring in accounting with a minor in government. He also earned an MBA in 1983 from Nicholls State University and subsequently served as an adjunct professor of accounting at his alma mater for four years.