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Changing for the Better, as Professionals and Individuals

Maria L. Murphy, CPA

In my first message as CPA Journal editor-in-chief in the September 2013 issue, I noted that the accounting profession is exciting and constantly changing. As I was thinking about which current hot topic in the world of accounting, auditing, and regulation to write about this month, I decided to take a slightly different approach and address how we, as CPAs and financial professionals, can deal with change in the profession on a more personal level.

Professional Dedication

For this month's In Focus article, I had the privilege of spending some time with PCAOB Board Member Jay D. Hanson. For the February issue, I was fortunate to meet both former FASB Chair Leslie F. Seidman and Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) Executive Director Cynthia M. Fornelli for the first time. I was impressed and motivated by the energy that all three of them demonstrate toward the profession and by their commitment to making improvements in the fundamentals of accounting and auditing. Examples include Hanson's stated desire to help audit firms and individuals improve by pointing out what others are doing right, rather than what they are doing wrong, and his statement that the people he works with are the best part of his job; Seidman's new role at Pace University's Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting after spending many years at FASB, to focus on continuous improvement in how financial information is provided to the public; and Fornelli's leadership of the CAQ, and its outreach and free resources to improve audit effectiveness and communications.

Simple actions can become avenues for becoming more engaged with what is happening in the profession.

In the face of constantly changing standards, regulatory oversight, and investor demands, such as those faced by Hanson, Seidman, and Fornelli on a daily basis, it is easy for professionals to become discouraged and even to question the choice of accounting as a career. So what can we do to get reenergized about the profession?

Building Involvement and Effectiveness

In my opinion, the best way to overcome our professional challenges is to tackle them head on by finding a current topic or specialized area of personal interest and getting more involved. There is definitely a correlation between job satisfaction and feeling effective, confident, and engaged. For example, psychologist Abraham Maslow placed self-actualization (including creativity and problem solving) at the top of his “hierarchy of needs.”

Simple actions—reading up on a topic of interest, subscribing to online newsletters, viewing webcasts, attending continuing professional education seminars and conferences, joining a professional organization or a technical committee, becoming a mentor, running a training program, or writing an article (perhaps for The CPA Journal)—can become avenues for becoming more involved with other professionals and more engaged with what is happening in the profession. Besides the personal satisfaction that it can provide, these are great ways to meet others, to network, to exchange information, and to find new clients and resources. Sometimes it is easy to put our heads down every day and work with minimal interaction other than through e-mails and texts, but this will not help us feel energized or connected with others in our profession.

A Season of Change

As we enter another spring season—and another busy season for many—I encourage you to think about ways to get more involved and excited by our challenging environment. Try to reinvent yourself in some small, positive way. It will certainly increase your effectiveness as part of your organization, and it will also increase your energy and your passion for what you do. Don't be afraid to take a new direction or try something new. Change is good.

The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of the NYSSCPA, its management, or its staff.

Maria L. Murphy, CPA. Editor-in-Chief.

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