We win by working together

Published Date:
Jun 18, 2014

I joined the NYSSCPA the moment I became licensed. I knew instinctively that it was the right thing to do and could see, as a younger professional, the value in surrounding myself with talented CPAs—men and women I aspired to be like. After 14 years in the organization, I’m still in awe of the wonderful colleagues I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve received as a result of the Society. And, more than anything, I’m humbled by where the journey has led me and how it has demanded me to grow in ways I hadn’t imagined.

Though I’ve been active in the Society for years, at both the chapter and statewide level, I never dreamt in the early days of my membership that I would lead the entire organization. And yet here I stand, as the Society’s 95th president, following in the footsteps of iconic figures, such as Homer Pace and Charles Waldo Haskins. Therein lies a lesson for us all. Leadership isn’t some far off, lofty concept meant for a few. As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

As your president, I intend to do several things. One is to listen to you. The NYSSCPA represents a vast array of professionals across the state, from the sole proprietor to Big Four firm partners. Creating programs and services that speak to such a wide swath can be challenging, but it’s a challenge that I am determined to meet—with your feedback and full participation.

For starters, we’re revising the Society’s strategic plan for the first time in six years, so that we’ll be able to put forward a blueprint that communicates to all members the bold vision and strategy we have for the future of this organization. Consider this: since we last updated the strategic plan in 2008, New York’s accountancy reform law, which brought sweeping changes to the state’s regulations for the profession, took effect. Also, the way that we, as a profession, engage technology on a daily basis prompted our Foundation for Accounting Education (FAE) to prioritize the web in its strategy for delivering CPE courses. Finally, we opened our new office at 14 Wall Street, which has brought tremendous opportunities for engaging our members and the wider community of New York’s Financial District.

We have assembled an experienced and energetic Strategic Planning Committee that is charged with creating a long-term plan for the Society. The committee will bring a revised strategic plan to the board for formal approval by the end of December.

I will also bolster the Society’s legislative advocacy efforts around issues important to our profession. This includes non-CPA firm ownership, which the Society’s board spent a lot of time discussing and deliberating before it decided in 2012 to support the concept. New York is currently just one of three states without legislation in place to allow non-CPAs to have a minority ownership stake in CPA firms. It is inevitable that the state will pass non-CPA ownership legislation, and we need to have a seat at the table to ensure the rules and regulations around it are structured correctly to protect the profession’s and the public’s interests.

I look forward to taking on these responsibilities. In turn, I have a simple call to action for all members, particularly our young CPAs: Get involved, be involved and stay involved. From the start, future and young CPAs should “get involved” through Society initiatives like our NextGen program, which offers professional development and networking opportunities. However, as your professional career develops and it becomes easier to disengage due to other commitments, the Society asks you to “be involved,” lending your voice to the chorus of 28,000 CPAs that can be heard from the halls of the state capital to the steps of Capitol Hill. Finally, please “stay involved.” The Society needs your experience and expertise to ensure that the profession we have all been so fortunate to be a part of continues to thrive and is a welcoming place for future CPAs.

In closing, I’d like to acknowledge several people who’ve been there throughout my journey. One very important person I need to thank is my partner Carrie Andrews—I’m not always the easiest guy to get a long with, but she always finds a way!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of NYSSCPA presidents, an outstanding group of people who are truly committed to the profession. I’ve gathered pearls of wisdom from each one of them, for which I am grateful, but in particular I’d like to recognize two who have been helpful, both personally and professionally: David J. Moynihan and Gail M. Kinsella. Dave and Gail, you’ve been a wonderful support system, and I hope to make you proud.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank our outgoing Society President, J. Michael Kirkland. When Michael started his term last year, I knew that I would have very big shoes to fill. He did an outstanding job, and I can’t tell you how much my friendship with him has grown and how much I’ve learned from him. I’m excited about the road ahead, and proud to be walking it with our new President-elect Joseph M. Falbo. I can’t think of a greater group of committed professionals than those in our organization.


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