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Certificates don’t expire, licenses do

Regardless of whether the public attention span has room for further examination of Eric Rosenthal’s accounting credentials (I highly doubt it), I will forge ahead and try to clarify something Mr. Rosenthal has pointed out as inaccurate in one of my stories.

I said in an Oct. 14 story that Rosenthal’s accounting certificate in Illinois was “expired.” Not true, he has informed me. Certificates never expire. Doesn’t happen. What does expire, and what did, was his authorization to practice as a CPA. My feeling is this causes no confusion in the general public. The effectiveness of the certificate expired, not the certificate. Big deal. People thought Rosenthal wasn’t authorized to practice in Illinois, and…he wasn’t. Now Rosenthal, with the weight of the Gazette’s editorial board (I’m not a member) behind him, is arguing that there was “confusion” about his accounting credentials, confusion that has now been corrected.

Um, not really. Rosenthal and I talked for nearly an hour Tuesday afternoon, and we agreed that the public has been informed from the beginning that he has a master’s degree in accounting, that he practiced as an accountant in Illinois in the late 1980s, that he did not practice as an accountant for almost 20 years and that he never practiced or was licensed to practice in Iowa. This is all very clear. What’s also clear is that the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board takes a dim view of men and women who call themselves CPAs here if they’re not licensed here. Whether this matters very much is a different question, but on the basic facts there is no confusion.

The lion’s share of the confusion can be directly attributed to Rosenthal. He has said simply that he is a CPA, in campaign material and in conversation. That’s confusing to people when you don’t mention that you have no license and haven’t practiced for almost two decades. Now he has renewed his license in Illinois (as of Oct. 22), something which has no bearing on his pre-Oct. 22 statements and the confusion they caused. But it does prove that he has the background to be a CPA, something I for one never questioned, not after he stopped by my office and showed me photocopies of his 1985 certificate and his master’s degree from the University of Iowa.

Filed under: County Government, ,

One Response

  1. i got a certificate once for good penmanship …

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