Years of a Common Purpose
2007 - If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster
some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form
were written in 1835 by Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political
thinker and historian who wrote Democracy in America.
He thought that association, the coming together of people for
a common purpose, would bind Americans to an idea or notion larger
than selfish desires.
The New York
State Society of Certified Public Accountants was incorporated
in 1897 for the purpose of elevating and maintaining the standards
of proficiency, integrity, and character, of CPAs, and to promote
and protect the interests of CPAs and the public they serve. Over
the last 110 years, the mission of the NYSSCPA has been to bring
together professionals who believe in maintaining the excellence
of their profession.
the Society Succeeded?
After a law
established the CPA designation in 1897, John Hourigan, one of
the first CPAs in New York, wrote that a society of accountants
would be of great value to its members. At a subsequent meeting
with Hourigan, S. Eugene Sargent, Francis Gottsberger, Farquhar
MacRae, and Henry Harnery, the first society of CPAs in the United
States was born.
Haskins, founder of Haskins & Sells, (a precursor to Deloitte
& Touche) and the first dean of New York University’s
Leonard N. Stern School of Business, served as the inaugural president.
Beginning with a small nucleus, the Society has grown to become
a haven where CPAs can gather. Cultivating and disseminating information
concerning the public accounting profession, 30,000 members now
come together to discuss issues that are of utmost importance
of people of intellectual distinction made famous by the Enlightenment,
act as a blueprint for the Society’s committees. With more
than 60 technical and administrative committees that range from
Accounting & Auditing to Information Technology, members are
kept abreast of the latest developments and issues, reflecting
the changing landscape of the profession.
create a forum where members interact with their peers to discuss
important issues facing accounting professionals, and help to
develop solutions. For example, the Society’s Committee
on Practical Reform for the Tax System prepared a position paper
on a simplified approach to income tax. The concept has been discussed
with representatives of the Treasury Department and members of
Congress, and is now a viable option for tax reform.
now 16 chapters across the state so that all New York CPAs have
the opportunity to network, socialize, and share issues facing
their respective firms. Offering activities that include wine
tastings, museum visits, clambakes, and blood drives, each chapter
provides the opportunity to be a professional but also an individual.
furnishes information regarding the practice and methods of accountancy
to its members and the general public through a number of vehicles.
First, according to Alexa, a subsidiary of Amazon that provides
information on web traffic, NYSSCPA.org ranks as the most popular
of all 50 state CPA societies’ websites.
biweekly newspaper, The Trusted Professional, offers
up-to-date news on legislative, regulatory, and administrative
developments, as well as coverage of Society news, services, and
events. Accounting professionals who want more frequent updates
on news and information regarding the profession can subscribe
to the weekly NYSSCPA.org Ezine, which currently reaches 5,700
also publishes challenging and thought-provoking articles in The
CPA Journal, the oldest and only technical journal published
by a state CPA society. This peer-reviewed publication showcases
original research on topics currently facing accounting professionals,
analyzes the issues, and offers unique perspectives. The Journal
uses a double-blind review process that rivals any other financial
publication by drawing on the expertise of a minimum of two subject-matter
experts. Going beyond the geographical boundaries of New York
State, the Journal not only reaches a nationwide but an international
nearly 6,000 CPA professionals attended conferences hosted by
the Society. The highest-attended included the Nonprofit, Antifraud,
and Broker Dealer conferences. The Society offers an array of
other events that feature top-quality continuing professional
education seminars, technical sessions, trade shows, and special
events throughout the state. The events are offered with one goal
in mind: to help members keep up with changes in the profession,
techniques, and technologies. The Society gives its members every
opportunity to become better CPAs.
From a small
group that believed in the idea of coming together, the Society
has grown by leaps and bounds. In addition to promoting and maintaining
excellence in the profession, the Society offers members an opportunity
to give back with programs like Career Opportunities in the Accounting
Profession (COAP), designed to recruit underrepresented minorities.
Through its devotion to promoting professional development, camaraderie,
and to examining issues regarding accountancy and its methods,
the Society has grown from a handful of men to more than 30,000
members throughout New York State. With the question of success
aside, the first 110 years have been well spent.
Publisher, The CPA Journal
Executive Director, NYSSCPA