Growing Effective Committees

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Although the increasing number of members who joined NYSSCPA committees as its new year began on June 1 doesn’t surprise me, the number who serve on two or more committees does, given how overscheduled and overcommitted I know Society members are.

Although I sense a trend among professional societies toward fewer and smaller committees, and fewer members serving on them, I think the NYSSCPA committees are the exception to the rule because our members recognize their organizational mission, as demonstrated by our increasing participation in the legislative and regulatory arenas. There is tangible evidence of our accomplishments: the comment letters we submit to legislators and regulators increased from six in fiscal year 2001/02 to 26 in 2003/04. In addition, our conferences have drawn increasing numbers of high-level speakers and panelists, registrations have been growing, and attendee evaluation ratings have been rising.

We recognize that when we submit comment letters, our perspective is only one among many. Developing a relationship with agencies such as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) takes time. The Society is proud that William McDonough’s first public address as newly appointed chair of the PCAOB was at our September 2003 conference “SEC Practice Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.” After the Exempt Organizations Committee commented last year on proposed federal antiterrorist financing guidelines for voluntary best practices by U.S. charities, the Treasury Department asked the committee to send a representative to a conference it held this past April.

Another aspect of committee service is that members develop themselves in several ways. In addition to opportunities to improve their technical knowledge and build a professional network, they can also gain experience in public speaking and working on group projects, which benefits both committee members and their employers.

Committee Give and Take: Learning and Contributing

A reasonable theory about why people serve on more than one committee is that they experience the benefits of working on one effective committee, then seek out another committee where they can contribute and learn. Another theory is that the professional community offers fewer opportunities to do so.

The mission of NYSSCPA committees is to provide opportunities for CPE and networking at regular committee meetings; contribute to and participate in policy, regulation, and legislation related to each committee’s industry or area of expertise; and increase the knowledge base of the broader professional community through conferences and other activities.

If members serving in committees are overextended, usually it’s because they’re in demand, and they’re in demand because they’re good at what they do. Our most effective committees consistently attract capable people who work well together, using the committee’s collective and individual resources, including technical, organizational, and interpersonal skills. That includes the responsibility of leadership to keep the committees moving and growing in the same direction as the Society’s mission.

Louis Grumet
Publisher, The CPA Journal
Executive Director, NYSSCPA




















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