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A Lovely Ride

My Time as CPA Journal Editor-in-Chief

Maria L. Murphy, CPA

A few weeks ago, I heard the sad news that the brilliant comedian Robin Williams had passed away. Like so many other people, I grew up with his comedy, and I was always amazed at his energy, the frenetic pace he maintained in his standup routines, the different roles he assumed and mastered, and his caring and compassionate side. He didn't tell many jokes about accounting—there was one about the Madoff scandal, which I will not repeat here. He also used this line, which struck me: “You're only given a little spark of madness, and if you lose that, you're nothing.”

In this past year as Editor-in-Chief, I have most enjoyed rediscovering the passion and energy that so many CPAs in so many different roles bring to this profession. There is so much to do and so much to learn, and there are so many avenues to take as a CPA. But without a little spark of madness and an excitement about being a CPA, it's just another job—when it can be so much more.

A Spark of Passion

I have been so fortunate as CPA Journal Editor-in-Chief to work with authors, reviewers, editors, and artists who possess a spark of passion; they care deeply about their creations and want to share them with readers. Because this is my last column in that position—I am leaving the NYSSCPA at the end of August to pursue my new life and career in North Carolina—I particularly want to acknowledge the following people for their exceptional passion and energy: all of the first-time authors published in the Journal in 2014; Leslie Seidman, Cindy Fornelli, and Jay Hanson, whom I interviewed for the February and April issues; the authors and reviewers who contributed to our timely and very well-received March issue on sustain-ability; and our “young CPA” panelists in the August issue.

I also have had the pleasure of working with a talented editorial team who taught me what I needed to know in order to hit the ground running and who accepted my own brand of creative “madness.” I want to thank the NYSSCPA for giving me the opportunity to direct the editorial content of this great publication. I also want to thank the staff and leadership of the peer review department, where I began at the Society, for teaching me the complex language of peer review and for demonstrating commitment to and passion for the work that they perform on a daily basis. I also had the pleasure of working with the NYSSCPA's SEC Committee; meeting after meeting, its members impressed me with their knowledge and commitment to the committee and to the profession.

Feeling Energized by Your Career

I recently had the pleasure of speaking for the first time with a partner in charge of an accounting firm on the West Coast. He is nearing the end of his career, but rather than coasting into his retirement, he still focuses on managing his firm and serving his clients, while constantly striving to inspire both his most experienced partners and his most junior staff. He mentioned a May 30, 2014, article in the New York Times, “Why You Hate Work,” which indicated that, according to a 2013 Gallup report, only 30% of employees in the United States feel engaged at work; this percentage is even lower in other countries, according to the article. Engagement (including passion, enthusiasm, commitment, and focus) leads to higher performance and employee retention. Better client and customer service are a natural outcome. During our conversation, this partner also shared with me a quote from one of his favorite books: “Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I would like to close with some words from my favorite song by James Taylor:

  • The secret of life is enjoying

    the passage of time.

    Any fool can do it,

    there ain't nothing to it.

    Nobody knows how we got

    to the top of the hill.

    But since we're on our way down,

    we might as well enjoy the ride.

    Try not to try too hard,

    it's just a lovely ride.

    … Now the thing about time

    is that time isn't really real.

    It's just your point of view,

    how does it feel for you?

    Einstein said he could never

    understand it all.

    Planets spinning through space,

    the smile upon your face,

    welcome to the human race.

    Some kind of lovely ride.

    I'll be sliding down,

    I'll be gliding down.

    Try not to try too hard,

    it's just a lovely ride.

I wish you all a career that makes you come alive every day. Wherever life might take you, I hope that you enjoy the ride.

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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