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NextGen and the Next Chapter of the NYSSCPA

Joanne S. Barry, CAE

Last month, the NYSSCPA held an open house event at its new offices on Wall Street. We threw open the doors and invited members to see the space that we had built from the floor up in order to meet their current and future professional needs. The open house, a fantastic member-focused event, showcased our new space and celebrated our 116-year history. One inspiring takeaway—and there were many of them—was the number of younger and student members who stopped by to get a look at their new professional home.

These members (and some nonmembers who came along as guests) were articulate; thoughtful; and, most importantly, engaged. They wanted to learn more about participating in the Society and getting involved with committees and chapters.

My experience at the open house rein-forced two theories I have about our next generation of CPAs: 1) not everything you read about the millennial generation and their lack of engagement with professional associations is true, and 2) the Next Generation (i.e., NextGen) program we launched earlier this year is already benefiting them. The aim of the NextGen program is to create an all-inclusive community where young and aspiring CPAs can find answers and advice on professional issues, as well as learn about the latest trends and opportunities for CPAs—all while building a supportive network of professional relationships. Furthermore, NextGen programs give future CPAs a better sense of what it means to work in the profession—long before they start their first jobs.

Resources for Young CPAs

What have we been up to? If you haven't seen NextGen, our newest publication created exclusively for future CPAs and CPAs just starting out in the profession, you might want to visit http://www.nysscpa.org/nextgen. (Aside from being available online, NextGen is mailed to every member age 35 and younger.) This quarterly magazine gives young professionals information they need to know now on topics such as technology and social media, CPA exam resources, and professional development tips. Some articles feature other young professionals who want to share their advice or experiences.

An upcoming issue of NextGen will debut our “30 under 30” recognition program. Some of the featured young CPAs include members of our Young Leadership Circle, which aims to identify rising stars of the profession's next generation and give them opportunities to interact and learn from Society officers and participate in NYSSCPA leadership events, such as the annual Governance Forum in Albany, New York. This year's inaugural class of young CPAs consisted of five members: Emily Gardner, of Kenneth A. Peworchik, CPAs in Ithaca, New York; Darwin Jones, of KPMG in New York; Jaime Scott, of Grassi & Co. in Jericho, New York; Amanda Sexton, of Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company P.C. in Hauppauge, New York; and Matthew Taylor, of AP Professionals in Rochester, New York.

New recruits to this program will be asked to participate on an annual basis. These young professionals will be eligible to obtain the Foundation for Accounting Education's new Emerging Leaders Certificate via a three-part program that must be completed in 18 months. This program requires participants to attend net-working and continuing professional education (CPE) events at their local chapter, view five webcasts in the Leadership Webcast Series, and attend the annual Young CPA Conference in June. (For more information about this program, visit http://www.nysscpa.org/microsites/2013/emerging/index.htm.)

Other initiatives that our NextGen department is working on include establishing NYSSCPA student chapters at New York State colleges and universities, an online mentor/mentee pro-gram where young professionals are paired with established CPAs in the same field, a CPA exam preparation app, and virtual communities for discussion and peer-to-peer networking.

Delivering Value

No professional association can operate or promote its benefits (or even offer the same benefits) in the way it did just 20 years ago. Young professionals are just as savvy as their predecessors, but in different ways. Talk has never been so cheap. We must be able to deliver what young CPAs need now; the world has moved on and we have to move with it or risk losing our connection with them.

Young professionals are busy. They are active and philanthropic. Moreover, they are online—and that's where we need to be. That's what NextGen is about. That's what this move to downtown Manhattan and our new, customized offices represent. The future of the profession is complex and rapidly changing, and we're changing with it. It's a bit of a wild ride, but the journey is half the fun. I hope you decide to join us.

Joanne S. Barry, CAE. Publisher. The CPA Journal Executive Director & CEO, NYSSCPA.

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