OK, as many of you know by now it’s not just someone, it’s our good […]
You may not know this but AICPA leadership consists mostly of the same old white […]
Taking a break from CPA exam stats because we're all sick of them at this […]
Contributor note: I'm in Annapolis all day with Tom Hood and the amazing Maryland Association […]
First, I never implied the AICPA Leadership Academy was awful in the first place, I just to make sure we’re clear on that. I only use “awful” because you lot seem like the sort of people who mostly care about money and fulfillment, with neither of those necessarily mutually exclusive. It’s totally fine, we can’t all be leaders.
But one day, you kids are going to inherit the empire (scary, I know). When all the Boomer partners have retired and you’re looking at filing 2025’s tax returns, will you be at the top of the food chain setting the tone or still lingering at the bottom picking up DUIs on Saturday nights? Just think a the following is an account of the AICPA’s recent Leadership Academy in North Carolina by Joshua Partlow. Joshua is a CPA under 40 and a partner at Johnson Lambert & Co. LLP. I share it with you guys only because it’s pretty interesting, which can’t usually be said for a lot of the pro-industry fluff we come across.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the AICPA’s Leadership Academy—as a member of its third class—in Durham, NC. I was among 33 participants under the age of 36. The Academy started off like many seminars do in this mobile age, with participants glued to our smartphones and somewhat disconnected from our surroundings. But that disconnection would be short-lived.
The mood transitioned quickly to one of collaboration and engagement as the instructors—Gretchen Pisano, president Sounding Board Ink, LLC, Tom Hood, CPA, executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs and Jeannie Patton, AICPA vice president – students, academics & membership—began the Insight to Action process. We broke up into three groups to tackle three challenging real-life scenarios in business, non-profit and personal relationships. These tasks forced us to focus on the strengths of our characters, utilizing the i2A Strength Based Leadership program that we had been introduced to during our preconference workshops. The program coaches participants for leadership, teaching them self-awareness techniques, how to work from a source of natural strength and how to inspire their team to do the same.
My breakout group was tasked with the personal relationship scenario, helping a large, multi-generational family plan an annual vacation. What we learned was classic succession planning: the matriarch and patriarch of the fictional family had always taken the lead on making flight and destination arrangements and planning day-to-day activities. However, with a new dynamic involving grandchildren and in-laws, it was time for their adult children to step up and take the reins. It was a situation we could all relate to. The combination of strategic thought and the high quality of each and every participant’s contribution was amazing.
Strategic planning within the i2A model allowed us to interact, learn from one another and see, in a creative way, how our scenarios directly reflect what many of us are facing in our careers. We are all roughly the same age and coming into our time as leaders in our firms or organizations. Now, it’s not so much about building accounting experience and achievement (although that certainly plays a role). It’s more about finding within ourselves the courage and ability to mentor, guide and inspire. The experience opened my eyes to think differently—to think like a leader.
Why am I not surprised to see Tom Hood’s name show up?
Anyway, it’s too late to get on board for 2011 but if any of this sounds remotely interesting to you (hint: “leadership” = “getting people to do your evil bidding”), details on the 2012 Leadership Academy will be issued by the AICPA in January.
Our favorite revolutionaries over at the Maryland Association of CPAs never take a vacation, and for those of you interested in leadership, you might be interested in their latest project. Or at least enjoy the following without making snide comments about overachievers that mask your true feelings of jealousy. Let’s face it, you’re probably not as cool as Tom Hood. It’s fine, just embrace it.
A team of graduates from MACPA’s 2011 Leadership Academy say CPAs must become more global-minded, proactive, future-focused, balanced and tech-savvy to maintain their competitive edge in a complex and constantly-changing world. Getting there, they say, will require a brand new set of skills and characteristics. Among them: Unity and flexibility, the ability to collaborate and crowdsource, a mind shift from history to possibility, and a new tech-focused mindset.
It is likely no coincidence that Gen Yers, as the future leaders of the industry, are hyper-connected, collaborative and far more interested in the “possible” than the “already been done.”
Forty members of the MACPA’s 2011 Leadership Academy used those infamous collaboration skills to shape a new MACPA white paper, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: Maryland’s Young CPAs Create a Vision of the Profession’s Future.”
“These young CPAs care deeply about their profession,” said MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood, CPA. “They know we’re facing an increasingly complex and challenging future, and they see each challenge as an opportunity not only to help clients and employers, but to position CPAs as the world’s most trusted business advisor.”
The white paper comes on the heels of the profession’s CPA Horizons 2025 project, which leveraged input from CPAs, regulators, thought leaders and futurists to identify key trends and map what the profession will look like in 2025.
The interesting part about the MACPA’s project is that opinions and visions are a dime a dozen in this industry, but Leadership Academy participants went beyond postulating about the future to map opportunities from a future CPA leader’s point of view complete with action plans, timelines and desired results. This isn’t simply a report on the state of the industry at some point in the future but a report on how young leaders can get us there in the here and now.
“There have been a lot of questions swirling about the next generation of business leaders. Topping the list is, ‘Are they ready to lead?’” said Hood. “Our Leadership Academy provides the answer: Not only are they ready to lead, they’re hungry to lead, and this white paper is their starting point.”
Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.
That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.
ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:
Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO
I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.
Of course Tom Hood had something to do with this.
Get your MACPA vanity license plate, complete with the CPA logo and tagline “CPA – Never Underestimate the Value” prominently featured. Let everyone know you are a member of the Maryland Association of CPAs. Plates cost just $25. They’re a fun way to show you are proud to be a CPA.
There’s one resident of Maryland who probably would like one of these that simply says “JDA” but we’re guessing “CPA wranglers” aren’t eligible. As for the legit CPAs out there, unless there’s a proctologist out there that’s already nabbed it, we suggest you move quick to get “ASSMAN” because it won’t last. We’ll hear your other clever suggestions now; shoot for style points.
What do you get when you cross 150 CPAs with the state capitol? You get the Maryland Association of CPAs’ CPA Day and, lucky me, I got to be there when a record number of MACPA members stormed Annapolis, Maryland (on Inauguration Day, none-the-less) and brought their passion (and the sun) with them.
Driving in the dark at the crack of dawn to Annapolis, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. I’d heard about previous CPA Day successes and knew the day involved legislators and CPAs swarming their offices but I had no idea the day would be so powerful, nor did I expect the passion I gathered from those in attendance.
For the day, I got to chase MACPA vice chair and association Legislative Executive Committee head Allen DeLeon, CPA. Al is partner at Gaithersburg’s DeLeon and Stang, a 2010 Accounting Today winner for best places to work, and yet another CPA touched by MACPA CEO Tom Hood’s powerful social media message.
As Tom so eloquently stated yesterday, the MACPA’s primary legislative mission is to protect the CPA license in the state of Maryland. Their secondary level of legislative influence means keeping an eye on tax policy in the state. The association has identified the following five issues for the 428th session of the Maryland General Assembly:
1. Pass 120/150 legislation. This legislation will allow students to sit for the CPA exam after completing the accounting requirements in an undergraduate program. They would be able to get their license upon completion of the 150 credit hours. This bill (HB 1137) passed the House and Senate committee last year but ran out of time before the end of the legislative session. See our prior post about this issue.
2. Stop sales tax on accounting, tax and consulting services. The real issue here is the compliance costs to CPA firms (and their clients), as intangible services are hard to identify where and when they are delivered to and from.
3. Exempt CPAs from proposed regulation of debt counselors. The CPAs education, examination and experience requirements, along with rigorous state licensing and oversight, make it unnecessary to include CPAs in this legislation. See our prior post here.
4. Stop the lawsuit tax. Efforts by the trial bar to liberalize tort law will be detrimental to CPAs and small businesses as the basis to argue suits would increase and liability would be linked to the entities with insurance. This means more suits and more settlements, effectively creating a lawsuit tax. This is bad legislation even in a good economy.
5. Pass “safe harbor” legislation. This is a technical correction necessary since the passage of mandatory peer review legislation in 2005. This will clarify the definition of “attest” and practicing certified public accountancy in Maryland law. This will allow non-licensed CPAs to prepare compilations for clients provided that they do not use AICPA SSARS language and state that they are not required to undergo peer review.
For Al’s part in yesterday’s event, we met with Senator Rob Garagiola, Senator Nancy King, Delegate Brian Feldman and Andrew Aleshire, aide to brand spanking new Delegate Aruna Miller. Having done this several years in a row, Al wasted no time bringing up the key issues with each legislator. We cruised between the House of Delegates and the Senate buildings (he’s done this so many times he even knows of the secret underground tunnel that connects them both) discussing taxes, the 120/150 rule, reviews and compilations and regulation of CPAs as debt counselors.
I was especially impressed by Senator King’s willingness to sit down with Al and discuss current issues, including a highly controversial (Tom Hood called it “dangerous”) 2 – 3% gross receipts tax, which the state is apparently considering in lieu of a sales tax hike. Al volunteered to give any proposed legislation a good once over as a politically-independent CPA, something young CPAs getting involved in legislative issues should take note of. While MACPA members came to Annapolis to push the association’s legislative agenda, it’s also important to remember that part of protecting the public interest also means protecting the profession from unnecessary or burdensome legislation.
Comments from first-time attendees included “I was surprised at how receptive everyone was” and one Rockville CPA noted that though CPAs had invaded state buildings, they did not get the sense that they were perceived as “a bunch of people coming to bother them.”
Barrett Young, one such first-timer in attendance yesterday, stated that he was surprised at how “normal” legislators were. The 27 year old Charles County CPA (who can be found blogging at CP…eh?) attended CPA Day after Tom Hood came to his area for a town hall on these issues and, like me, didn’t realize the full impact 150 CPAs would have in Annapolis that day. He came because he wanted to meet other CPAs in the state, not because he knew it would be a legislative day of action. But now that he’s attended one CPA Day, he is both informed and inspired to take action moving forward. “The MACPA keeps us focused on a bigger picture than our revenue sources,” he said.
Did yesterday change his view on these important issues? Absolutely. “I do have a big chance of running into my delegates at the store,” he said, “and now, I have the confidence to know that they are approachable – and interested – in my views on the profession. The MACPA knows what impacts us, and is doing a great job to remain nonpartisan. [They do not favor] a specific county, but protect our license as a whole.”
Tom reminded those in attendance that making face-to-face contact with legislators allows CPAs in the state the opportunity to show lawmakers that we care enough to show up, shake hands and make our concerns known. For young CPAs like Barrett, it also gives the next generation of the industry a chance to see how powerful their profession really is. “I have a responsibility to see that the profession is greater than just me, my career, and my need to make an income. CPA Day does this by introducing me to older CPAs, and connecting me with peers from my own age group,” he told us. Who would pass up a chance like that?
“If we had two or three hundred of you, we could rule the state,” Tom joked to the audience.
Judging by the tangible buzz yesterday, I’d say Maryland CPAs are pretty close to ruling the state as is.
Once again, we have to congratulate the MACPA for a job well-done and I’m already looking forward to following along next year.