ACPAPP would not be what and where it is today had it not been through the visions and initiatives of some of the great names in the profession. Formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 11, 1980, the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice is the outcome of two years of informal association of six reputable accounting firms. The head of these firms: Banaria, Banaria & Co., Carlos J. Valdes & Co., Jesus J. Zulueta & Co., Joaquin Cunanan & Co., Luis C. Diaz & Co., and Sycip, Gorres, Velayo & Co., drafted the first articles of incorporation and identified the fifteen incorporators. They were respected accounting professionals most of whom were senior partners from both big and small accounting firms during that time. The incorporators included Pascasio S. Banaria, Cesar F. Bocaling, Luis C. Diaz, Prisco N. Evangelista, Arsenio P. Maralit, Dominiciano C. David, Corazon S. Dela Paz, Enrique Ramos, Amparo F. Rodil, Ulpiano C. Sazon, Lucito L. Sioson, Benjamin T. Teodoro , Carlos J. Valdes, Jesus J. Valdes and Jesus Zulueta.
In its early years, ACPAPP was an organization of individual practitioners not of firms. It was created primarily to strengthen the position of the CPAs in public practice and to reserve the unity of the combined strength of all CPA professionals. Its activities were directed towards the fulfillment of four areas of service such as concern for members, professional development and increased capabilities for practice, high standards of professional services to clients and society, and harmony and cooperation.
The first president of the Association was Jesus J. Valdes, then the Managing Partner of Carlos J. Valdes & Co. but was later replaced by Luis C. Diaz when he was appointed associate commissioner of the SEC. It was during Mr. Diaz’s presidency when a formal link and continuing dialogue with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Central Bank of the Philippines was established on proposed regulations. The purpose of this dialogue is to promote wider interest and understanding to generate effective implementation and follow-up in the profession of the general public.
In 1985, Lucito L. Sioson, then Partner of Joaquin Cunanan & Co. and one of the incorporators, was concurrently the president of ACPAPP and chairman of the special committee which prepared the Audit Manual. It was a comprehensive reference on auditing practice. In his foreword, Dean Pascacio S. Banaria, who was then the chairman of the Board of Accountancy, wrote that the book was a response “to a pressing need for comprehensive guidelines for auditors and members of their staff in their tasks of examining clients’ financial statements, evaluating their system’s internal control and reporting on the results of examination.” The manual extensively used as guides and references for its preparation, professional pronouncements and technical bulletins of the Philippines Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Accounting Standards Council, International Federation of Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The history of ACPAPP was laced with numerous milestones which significantly shaped its present status. In 1987, during Joaquin P. Tolentino’s time, the membership of individuals from big accounting firms was limited to 35. It was also during this period when the concept of integration of all CPAs under the umbrella of PICPA was explored.
As the years rolled on, ACPAPP continued to perform its mandate to promote the interest of public practitioners. The unwavering support of its early members and dedicated officers helped the Association weather the chills of integration which gripped the profession towards the end of the decade and early nineties.
At its twentieth year, ACPAPP has more than enough reasons to celebrate. It is growing and getting stronger more than ever. Realizing the importance of being part of a dedicated professional association, many smaller-sized accounting firms are joining ACPAPP and its members are becoming more actively involved in its activities.
After several year of hibernation, ACPAPP has emerged as a truly revitalized organization with distinct focus on its thrusts and objectives. A new generation of focus of leaders in the profession made the event a reality and with more intense vigor and cohesiveness, the Association is interestingly becoming a real mover in the industry.
New Structure for a Stronger ACPAPP
Under the stewardship of Benjamin R. Punongbayan, the Managing Partner of one of the largest accounting firms in the country, Punongbayan and Araullo, the Association was suddenly plunged into a flurry of structural reforms to make it more attuned to changing times. A year after, the by-laws was amended to pave the way to a stronger internal organization. It now opens its membership to individual members who have left the practice but would like to remain as members, thus, they are admitted as associate members.
Furthermore, to achieve a balance between large and small accounting firms, and to have representations from regions where there is a significant number of institutional members, the amended by-laws specified that the distribution of the board seats among these groups is to be determined every three years by the Board of Directors and approved by the institutional members. The classification of accounting firms as to large and small shall also be determined by the Board and approved by the institutional members. Starting 1999, the regional distribution of the fifteen board seats included 12 members from Metro Manila and one member each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Six members were from large accounting firms and nine came from small accounting firms.
As a result of this restructuring, two important functions were identified to demonstrate the strength of organization: first, to provide service to its members that will maintain and further enhance their professional development; and second, to take advocacy role in promoting and protecting the interest of its members, promote high professional standards and high ethical standards in the profession. Strategic plans including the setting up of a website and the establishment of a foundation were developed to ensure the attainment of the Association’s long-term objectives.