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Are You the Future of the NYSSCPA?

Joanne S. Barry, CAE

Every organization—from Fortune 500 companies to sandwich shops on Main Street, from the Red Cross to the local Boy Scout troop—needs a plan for success and strong leadership to execute it. The NYSSCPA is no different in this respect. A professional association of CPAs encompassing more than 29,000 members, nearly 40 sitting board members, 15 different chapters, and more than 60 committees, each with its own chairperson, requires an agreed-upon strategy to guide it. This is essential, not only when new opportunities arise or unforeseen external forces threaten to derail success, but also to aid Society leaders and staff in setting priorities and operational goals. Without such a plan, an organization is only as good as the reactionary response of any individual or group acting, often in isolation, within the organization.

The NYSSCPA’s Strategic Plan

The NYSSCPA Board of Directors drafted and approved our strategic plan in December 2008. Although it was only five years ago, consider how different things were then: the country was only three months into the financial crisis, social media was considered a fad, an understanding of mobile technologies was limited to a tech-savvy elite, and the Society was firmly focused on updating an outdated accountancy law in New York State. Much has changed in five years. As I have communicated to our members and strategic partners over the past three years in my role as executive director, it is imperative that the Society remain nimble and flexible enough to respond to rapidly changing regulatory regimes, technological advances, and market forces. We’ve made a lot of progress, but now it is necessary to ensure that the shared vision of the Society’s leaders is documented and communicated, so that every NYSSCPA member and staff member knows the operational and philosophical goals of the Society and can act—and plan—accordingly.

The board will begin work on the strategic plan in November, but the process will continue through next year, under the direction of our current president-elect, Scott M. Adair. The Society’s board of directors, who are the keepers of this plan, must now consider the current and future position of the NYSSCPA as it relates to young professionals; defines the Society as an advocate for the profession in New York State and on a national scale; and reflects what New York CPAs and other financial professionals fundamentally want and need from their professional association.

A Call for Participation

It is critical for members who care about this profession to consider serving on the NYSSCPA Board of Directors. Eligibility requires that a nominee be a CPA and a Society member for five consecutive years and have at least two years of service, either on a statewide committee, a chapter executive board, or a combination of both. Although some active participation is required of board nominees, having a diverse collection of nominees is even more critical. The National Council of Nonprofits advises that an organization’s board should reflect the diversity of the community being served so that it is better able to build bridges to potential donors or policy makers. Board diversity also enhances the board’s ability to identify and cultivate new board members in the future.

Through the end of December, any members who meet the nomination criteria may submit their name to nominations@nysscpa.org; interested individuals can find out more at http://www.nysscpa.org/page/about-us/governance/nomination-center. Submissions are relayed to the Society’s Nominating Committee, which selects a slate of candidates through a series of discussions and interviews. This upcoming year, the committee will nominate a president-elect, who serves a one-year term before automatically becoming president for an additional one-year term; four vice-presidents; a secretary/treasurer; five at-large directors; and five chapter representatives (this year from the Adirondack, Nassau, Rochester, Staten Island, and Suffolk chapters).

Once the committee has decided upon the candidates, each CPA member of the Society receives a ballot in the mail, on which they may cast their votes for the candidates they believe can best help the Society reach its goals. I hope to see your name on the ballot—and to work with you in the boardroom.

Joanne S. Barry, CAE. Executive Director & CEO. Publisher, The CPA Journal Executive Director & CEO, NYSSCPA jbarry@nysscpa.org.

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