Decade of Change, the Journey So Far
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Executive Director, NYSSCPA
Publisher, The CPA Journal