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Guy Who Cares Way More About Governmental Accounting Than You Do Is Next GASB Chair

Joel Black, partner in charge of the audit practice at Atlanta-based Mauldin & Jenkins, will be the next chair of the GASB, and he eats, sleeps, and breathes governmental accounting.

“I am very excited to take on this new professional challenge,” said Mr. Black. “I have been immersed my entire adult life in the important, complex world of governmental accounting. I am eager to join my new colleagues in the mission to establish and improve accounting standards, and to engage with the remarkably diverse groups of stakeholders who care so much about public sector financial reporting.”

Joel Black

A former KPMGer, Black joined Mauldin & Jenkins in 2004, was named a partner in 2005, and was appointed PIC of audit in January 2019. He will take over the GASB chairmanship from David Vaudt once Vaudt’s term ends on June 30.

Black will serve a single seven-year term as GASB chair beginning on July 1, and he’ll start hanging around GASB’s offices on a regular basis in a few months to make sure his move to the big chair is smooth, seamless, or whatever other adjective PR types like to use to describe a transition.

Black certainly has the chops to lead the Financial Accounting Foundation’s lesser-cared-about standard-setting offspring.

He leads [Mauldin & Jenkins’] government professional practice group covering more than 400 public sector clients. He has personally led engagements for diverse government clients, from communities of fewer than 10,000 residents to states and state agencies, large counties and cities, school districts, and special-purpose entities with multibillion-dollar budgets.

Mr. Black has been involved in numerous professional activities concerning government accounting. He was appointed to the GASB’s Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC) in 2019. He served on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) State and Local Government Expert Panel from 2015–2019, and its Government Audit Quality Center Executive Committee from 2012–2015. He is a frequent conference speaker and webinar instructor on governmental accounting issues and received the 2017 Service Award from the Georgia Government Finance Officers Association.

Last month, FAF named EY chief accountant and partner Richard Jones as chairman of its other little bundle of joy, the FASB. Jones will succeed Russell Golden on July 1.

UPDATE: So I learned something new this afternoon. Apparently all of the previous GASB chairs, as well as current chair David Vaudt, have served as a state auditor during their careers:

  • David Vaudt (Iowa)
  • Robert Attmore (New York)
  • Tom Allen (Utah)
  • James Antonio (Missouri)

Joel Black will be the first GASB chair to come directly from public accounting and with no state auditor experience, and once Vaudt’s term ends at the end of June, there won’t be a former state auditor or treasurer among the seven members of the GASB board, Bond Buyer reported. And three public sector associations don’t seem very happy about that:

The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) said the absence of a state auditor or treasurer “fundamentally compromises the diversity of the GASB.”

“GASB sets generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for state and local governments,” the joint statement said. “However, states themselves — often state auditors — have the sole responsibility to determine accounting and financial reporting standards for their state and local jurisdictions. Thus, state support of GAAP is essential for its continued and increased widespread use.”

However, the groups said that Black is “highly qualified” to serve on the GASB board as a representative of the public accounting profession, Bond Buyer noted.

Related article:

FAF Did Not Pick You to Be FASB’s Next Chairman