A Decade of Change, the Journey So Far

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JUNE 2008 - This month marks my 10-year anniversary as executive director of the New York State Society of CPAs. The journey has been interesting.

In that time, the NYSSCPA has found a voice on the national stage, commenting on issues like diversity, mobility, and the need for CPAs to return to the profession’s core values. It is as clear to members as it is to me that the public views CPAs as the guardians of the financial integrity of the businesses in which they invest and the schools their tax dollars support. With that trust in mind, we have fought hard against any plan that would muddy the clarity of the profession’s mission. Living up to our New York pedigree, that determination has often found us alone when standing firm on issues.

In 2000, when the AICPA proposed implementing a new credential for the international community, we conducted a survey of our membership to gauge their leanings on this landscape-changing issue. The AICPA is important to our membership, and we wanted to be sure we were representing the interests of the profession as viewed through the eyes of New Yorkers.

The NYSSCPA membership firmly rejected the notion of a global credential, and we led the opposition to the proposal. We spoke up, often alone, to show that our members saw it as a competing credential that might denigrate the prestige of the CPA license. We informed other states of the many reasons we saw to oppose the credential, and other states listened to our views. Ultimately, the idea of a global credential was abandoned.

During our journey, we have consistently fought for legislation in New York State to better the CPA profession. For 10 years, we have fought to update the antiquated laws that govern CPAs in New York. Last year, we were only a few details away from a comprehensive proposal. This year, we anticipate that the essential elements of last year’s draft bill will be introduced in both houses of the legislature, at the request of the State Education Department and with support from the New York State Board of Accountancy and the Society.

Introducing the accounting profession to individuals of all backgrounds has also been on our agenda during the last 10 years. In 2000, the NYSSCPA identified the need to increase the recruitment of minority groups historically underrepresented in the profession, and suggested the statewide expansion of our Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program. This five-day summer program, now in its 20th year, consists of 10 programs held at college campuses across the state, with 375 students participating each year. The program has been hailed as a model that could be extended to other professions throughout the state.

The last 10 years have seen NYSSCPA committees become more focused, promoting positions important to the accounting profession as a whole. The Quality Enhancement Policy Committee (QEPC) recently completed a whitepaper on pre-certification education in anticipation of New York State’s move in August 2009 from 120 hours to a 150-hour education requirement to sit for the CPA exam. The paper calls for the additional 30 hours to be used for the development of critical thinking skills through completion of a graduate degree—to date, a point of view unique to New York.

The Society has become home to a number of information vehicles regarding the practice of accountancy for its members and the general public. First, NYSSCPA.org ranks as the most popular of all 50 state CPA societies’ websites. The Society’s 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 e-zine, which currently reaches 5,700 accounting professionals. The CPA Journal, the oldest technical journal published by a state CPA society, remains the best provider of in-depth analysis of accounting issues, offering insight that cannot be found anywhere else.

By fostering a dialogue that focuses on raising the bar, the press has come to respect our objective and honest perspective, and we have become a respected source to state and national media. The Society has become a thought leader, commenting on major issues during times of public scrutiny brought forth by scandals like Enron and the Long Island school district audits. Our mission has been to present the facts and to work toward solutions through regulation and legislation that holds all CPAs to a standard that best protects the public interest.

Over the years, NYSSCPA membership has remained stable, a feat unheard of in this turnover-happy climate. Our staff is one of the most racially diverse of any organization of its size at any level. Additionally, during our time together, the Board of Directors has taken control of the strategic plan, setting goals that align with our budget. In 2000, the NYSSCPA created six new chapters. A total of 16 chapters across the state now offer all New York CPAs opportunities to network, socialize, and address issues facing their firms and businesses.

When I arrived here in 1998, I put a plaque on my desk that says “It’s the Membership, Stupid.” The message is clear: Those who work for a member-driven organization are entrusted with one thing—the interests of its members. Working hand in hand, we have given the Society a voice, and it has become a leader in the profession. With your continued help, insight, and interest, we will continue to do so.

Louis Grumet
Executive Director, NYSSCPA
Publisher, The CPA Journal




















The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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