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PRESIDENT’S COMMENTARY: Continuing the Progress We've Made

Joseph M. Falbo, CPA, NYSSCPA President
Published Date:
Jun 1, 2015

Joseph M Falbo Jr CPA CGMAWhy do you think they asked you to run? This was the question my father posed, the evening I called to tell him that I had been approached about running for president of our Society. I didn’t know how to respond. I recall muttering, ‘I guess they think I’ll do a good job...?’ We talked for a bit longer and, before we ended the call, he congratulated me, told me that he was sure I’d do a great job, and wished me good luck. The matter was closed—for him.

What my father doesn’t know is that his question has rattled around in my head for the last year and a half. Why was I asked to run for Society president? How did I become so fortunate, with so many dedicated and qualified members filling the ranks of our organization?

I still don’t have an answer. But what I do know for sure is that the NYSSCPA has held a special place in my life for the last two decades and that members like you have made it a special institution for the past 117 years.

I know, for sure, that nothing of any significance or real consequence in life is achieved alone, which is why our 28,000 members are such an important collection of professionals. I know that by working together over the next year, we’ll be able to build upon our past successes and carry forward the tradition of encouraging and cultivating the next generation of CPAs. In fact, our newly revised strategic plan mandates it. The plan, which was approved by the Board of Directors in March, was updated to provide a more targeted approach for bringing our core values and goals as an organization to life. In the last fiscal year, we were focused on getting the structure of our new approach down on paper, and I thank our 2014–2015 President Scott M. Adair and his task force for providing us with an excellent strategic foundation to build upon. This year, the emphasis will be centered on putting the plan into practice and ensuring that it drives every Society program and initiative.

I know, for sure, that it’s important to have a guiding philosophy in life. Mine may be summed up in four words: Do all things well. That’s the motto of Bishop Kearney High School, which I attended as a young man in Rochester. Nearly 30 years after graduating, I appreciate those words more and more each day. David J. Moynihan, the Society’s 2009–2010 president, whom we lost earlier this year, invoked a similar sentiment, albeit with slightly different phrasing, when he was installed: Quality matters. If you knew Dave, you knew that phrase and the challenge that lay behind it. It was a call to action for the profession and the state’s business leaders.

I met Dave in the early stages of my Society service. From day one, he pushed and debated me. He tormented me in his fun-loving way, always with that familiar Moynihan grin on his face. This undercurrent of challenging each other to do and be better is the reason I stopped calling him my friend years ago and began telling him he was the older brother I never wanted. Never wanted, but was so very lucky to have had.  Thank you Dave, for always being there, for me and so many others!

I know that CPAs are imperfect. But I also know that CPAs are some of the most intelligent, giving and caring people you’ll meet. Look around your communities, organizations and houses of worship. When things are getting done or when a helping hand is needed, often, somewhere just outside the limelight, you’ll find a CPA pitching in and quietly going about his or her business. While at times imperfect, we must not—and will not—ever end our pursuit of the highest level of quality in all that we do. We must strive to do all things well, every day, because quality does matter.

A word of thanks

Our profession is one of apprenticeship and of mentoring. CPAs across New York state and throughout this country can provide you with the name or names of those who have helped them throughout their professional journey—a college professor, the person who gave them their first job, the manager who took a little extra time to teach them about the profession. I’d like to share with you a few such people from my State Society life, and say two of the most important words in the English language: Thank you.

Fran Engel,
my college tax professor, called me a few years into my career, when she was president of the NYSSCPA’s Buffalo Chapter, and asked if I would be on the chapter’s first YCPA committee. Fran believed in me, and for this, I’d like to thank her.

Thank you, Steve Langowski, who was the Society’s president the year I, at 35, became a first-time board member. Steve called me and asked me to serve on his Executive Committee. I doubt he ever knew what a thrill that was for me to receive his call.  Thank you for the leg up, Steve.

To all the NYSSCPA members I’ve met while volunteering—so many of you have become personal friends. Your commitment to the Society and to our profession, along with your encouragement and continual support, inspires me every day. Thank you.

Thank you to my partners and associates at Tronconi Segarra & Associates LLP. You have afforded me one of the most valuable gifts in life: time. More specifically, time to volunteer for the Society.

Thank you to my parents—I’m the product of their love, support, sacrifice and, I suspect, countless hours of prayer! To my children, Nicholas and Samantha: You are the reason I get up in the morning.

And thank you all for the privilege of serving as the 96th president of the institution that I have come to know as my professional home, the NYSSCPA.


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