New Accounting Opportunities with Next Generation of Farmers

The following post comes from the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition. They ask you to list “Farm & Ranch” as an area of expertise as it applies to you; make it easier for Montana’s farmers and ranchers to find you online!

Driving through our beautiful state, it’s difficult to miss that agriculture figures prominently in the landscape. While it continues to drive nearly a third of core economic activity in Montana, ag has gone through a lot of changes in recent decades. The change worth noting here is in the total number of farms: they’ve increased substantially (some 20%) since 1982. Surprised? Many of these operations are small at less than 50 acres in size. That is to say, CPAs: a growing number of farmers are in need of your services!

The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) is a leading non-profit dedicated to FarmLink_Vertical_Whitesupporting Montana’s beginning farmers and ranchers. One of our initiatives, Farm Link Montana (farmlinkmontana.org), serves to connect farmers and ranchers with the tools necessary to successfully run their businesses. One such resource is a guide to finding and working with accountants and attorneys with farm-and-ranch-specific expertise.

That’s where you come in. We ask you to update your profiles on MSCPA’s Find-A-CPA online tool and list “Farm & Ranch” as an area of expertise, as applicable, so that Montana’s farmers and ranchers can find you more easily. Attract more business, and support your local farmers and ranchers!

If you’d like more information about the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition and how to get your name in front of farmers and ranchers please contact Annie Heuscher. Thank you for your time!

Presidentially Speaking–A year in review from Brenda Byrnes

Byrnes Brenda 2016It’s a great time to be a CPA!  The past year as your President was incredible and it went fast.

Following the lead of Ann Deegan we (myself and your Board of Directors) continued to implement the strategic plan.  Our concentration was the introduction of an updated volunteer model.  A model that focuses on the time you as a volunteer can commit, what tasks inspire you to assist and when it fits your schedule.  The unveiling of the new Volunteer Center on the MSCPA website this month is the culmination of that process.  Now your new President Annette Hill and Board of Directors challenge you to find your spot to fill on the Volunteer Center or simply sign up for the “pool.”  The pool is for those of us who don’t see a spot that fits yet but definitely are up to a task, just waiting for it.

What else did the year entail?

  • Social media presence enhanced
  • University student outreach efforts increased
  • First virtual board meeting conducted online
  • Jane announced her retirement date of June 2017
    • ED Succession Strike Force created
  • CGMA designation opened for nonCPAs
  • Continued tax advocacy at the Federal & State levels
  • AICPA/CIMA joint venture vote
  • Jane is diagnosed with cancer, has treatment and is in remission all in one board year—She ROCKS!

What’s my biggest “take away” this year?

Our profession is a great one!  I mean it wholeheartedly.  We have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact each day in our respective careers: public, business, industry, not-for-profit, governmental, education and so many other areas.  The heart of what we learn as CPAs is valued and trusted throughout the world.  We are sought after for the value we have to offer but we do have to work hard to maintain this position.

That “take away” was driven home for me by the terrific members of your Board of Directors who served this past year.   Their commitment to our profession and the CPAs of Montana is outstanding.  Thanks to each of them for their nimbleness as we changed up meetings, activities and our volunteer structure.  The Directors provided thought provoking input and purposeful active participation which made this year successful.  It was truly a pleasure to serve with them.

However, none of these outcomes would have occurred without the team at MSCPA.  Jane, Margaret, Jean, Carol and Heidi provide tremendous support every step of the way.  We are so lucky to have them!

I was inspired at the beginning of my career by several Past-Presidents of the MSCPA to set a goal of becoming President.  The passion they showed for being a CPA and how they translated that passion into efforts aimed at keeping the MSCPA a relevant, supportive professional home for us throughout our careers was what motivated me.  This was an awesome opportunity to be a part of that legacy and I am grateful for it.  Thank you.

Brenda

Brenda L. Byrnes, CPA
Past President 2015-2016

PS  GO Annette!  You’re “it” to make an IMPACT .

 

 

 

 

 

Profiles: Linda Harris, AFWA National President

Note: This is the fourth in a series of blogs highlighting the dedication of Montana CPAs and their service nationally to the accounting profession.

AFWA (Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance) was founded in 1938 to increase the opportunities for women in all fields of accounting and finance. My involvement began when I was a student.  I went to an accounting club meeting and a member of AFWA was presenting.  I was impressed that she decided to open her own accounting firm because of her connection to this organization.  A year later I had another opportunity to attend their student night and decided to join.

Harris Linda 2015On May 19th this year, I had the honor of being installed as the 2016-2017 President at the National Conference hosted by AFWA’s Billings Chapter.  I am honored to lead this organization and the great women who serve on the Board.

AFWA supports our members and provides them with the skills to be successful professionally. We help our members develop relationships, be creative, have higher emotional intelligence, relate to clients and customers, present and speak well, become better listeners and much more!

The President and Board are very involved in setting the course of the organization.  Along with our staff, we develop a strategic plan, work with chapters and members to communicate that plan and support the membership on a national level.  As President, I will oversee the vice presidents who chair our committees to ensure that the goals we have set for the year will be implemented and the projects completed.  I will work closely with our Executive Director on any issues that affect the organization from a national perspective and I will represent the organization wherever, whenever needed.

My involvement in this organization has been instrumental in providing me with leadership skills that have helped me advance not only within AFWA, but in other organizations, including the Montana Board of Public Accountants, and my own practice in Absarokee as well. It has been a safe environment to hone public speaking skills, to share professional knowledge and grow my network of colleagues and friends.

Being involved at a national level has allowed me to be exposed to topics that I might not encounter Montana.  I feel like I have a broad base of knowledge AND a whole network of colleagues that I can call upon. My membership certificate still says “student member”.  I never imagined that one day I would be the National President of AFWA.

AFWA Logo

Profiles: Gordy Thompson

Note: This is the third is a series of blogs highlighting the dedication of Montana CPAs and their service nationally to the accounting profession.

Gordy Thompson, Anderson ZurMuehlen, Havre

ThompsonGordy2016Presently, I am the elected AICPA Council member representing the state of Montana.  The AICPA Council is the governing body of the AICPA with representation from all fifty states and territories based upon membership.

I am just beginning a three year term in which we normally have meetings three times a year at various locations around the country.  We meet at least every other year in Washington DC where are main focus is advocacy for CPAs.  We meet with all of our state Senators and Representatives to discuss and promote (or not promote) bills and legislative agendas that have an impact on our profession.

The AICPA is the organization that promotes, as well as offers guidance and tools to practice, as well as enforces the standards that we as professionals must maintain.  Being on Council provides me the opportunity to meet other professionals from around the country to discuss the issues effecting all of us. It also allows you to network with some of the brightest minds in business.   What I enjoy the most is listening to what all the experts have to say about what the profession will look like in the  future and how do we prepare for that.

I am very proud to be able to represent the great state of Montana and to provide input from the Big Sky Country and would strongly encourage anyone to get involved at the state or national level.  Being a CPA is not just how I make living.  It is who I am!!

Profiles: Maria Christiaens

Note: This is the second in a series of blogs highlighting the great work Montana CPAs are doing on the national level through volunteer service. 

Maria J. Christiaens, Eide Bailly LLP

Maria Christiaens 2016Currently, I serve on the Executive Committee of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC). The EBPAQC was established to assist CPAs with meeting the challenges of performing quality audits in this unique and complex area.

With the recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) scrutiny of plan audits, the EBPAQC has been very active with enhancing quality within the membership. I am in the second year of a three-year term on the Executive Committee, and in that time I have been involved in the following:

  • EBPAQC Training
    o Speaker – AICPA EBP National Conference (May 2015)
    o Moderator –AICPA Multiemployer Plans Webinar (January 2016)
    o Speaker – AICPA EBP National Conference (May 2016)
    o Subject Matter Expert –Audit Competency Exam for Health & Welfare (May 2016)
  • EBPAQC Quality Initiatives
    o AICPA Task Force on Improving Audit Quality
    o AICPA Task Force on Reporting and Assurance Models (Chair)
  • EBPAQC Resources
    o Fatal Flaw Reviewer for Primers and Audit Tools
    o Development Team for Audit Aids

My experience with the AICPA Quality Center staff has been invaluable. They are a group of smart and dedicated professionals who sincerely wish to serve the AICPA membership. The EBPAQC keeps the lines of communication open between the practitioner and the regulators (DOL, IRS, PCAOB) in order to find the balance in serving the client and protecting the public. By participating in meetings with the EBPAQC and the regulators, I am now acquainted with people who will serve as excellent resources beyond my term of service.

Montana CPAs have a unique perspective that we can bring to the AICPA. In most cases we are directly in contact with the owners of small businesses and we are in a position to demonstrate how the practitioner can follow the audit and accounting standards in a cost-effective manner without compromising the quality of our work. Understanding this, I encourage everyone to seize the opportunity to serve our profession at the national level, as we all have the ability to make a positive impact.

Profiles: Rick Reisig

This blog is the first in a series featuring Montana’s national accounting leaders. For a state with our size population, we have a tremendous representation of leaders serving at the AICPA, NASBA, ASWA and more. In this series we will learn more about the work they do and why they feel it is important to volunteer. We are grateful for their service and the impact they make.

Rick Reisig, Anderson ZurMuehlen, Great Falls

Reisig Rick 2014Presently, I’m involved with two national groups – the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board.

NASBA’s mission is to enhance the effectiveness and advance the common interests of the various state boards of accountancy (including Montana, of course) that regulate all certified public accountants and their firms in the United States and its territories.

The AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board is the AICPA’s senior committee for auditing, attestation, and quality control standard-setting applicable to the performance and issuance of audit and attestation reports for non-issuers (non-public companies).

With NASBA, I’m in my third year on the Board of Directors, the first year as a Regional Director and the last two as an At-Large Director not tied to any particular region. For the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board, I’m in the last year of my three-year term on the board.

While the missions of both groups are very different, my involvement, and my main take-a-way from serving, is very similar. For both, my service is focused on the strengthening of the profession, while protecting the public interest. To serve in that role, for the profession I love, is tremendously rewarding! That leads, of course, to my main take-a-way from serving – the opportunity for professional and personal growth that comes from working with the brightest, most committed, individuals in our profession. At each meeting, for each organization, I try to be a sponge absorbing all the knowledge I can for the time that I’m there. I’ve learned so much from my participation, and made so many wonderful life-long friends from all across the country that share my love of the profession.

I would definitely encourage any involvement on a national level, as you will then have a real “say” in the future of our profession along with meeting some fabulous individuals that feel as strongly about the profession as you do!

Fairmont – Over 100 years of hot water and good times

DCIM100GOPRO

Aerial View Fairmont Hot Springs

We are excited to hold the 103rd Annual Conference at Fairmont and many members have asked why we made the decision to go to a resort this year after so many years in our more urban areas. The answer is simple: Fairmont built a beautiful new convention facility!

Our hotel block for the 103rd Annual Conference expires on May 23rd (that’s next Monday folks!) which means YOU MUST MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS BY MAY 23rd. We have the awesome rate of $119/night (plus tax) so you don’t want to miss this discounted hotel room rate.

To make your reservations go to: https://reservations.fairmontmontana.com/vRes/Custom/GroupLogin.aspx .
You will be asked for a group id number 17120 and password 486; from here you may enter your information.  if you have any issues please call Fairmont at 800.332.3272.

We also have spots reserved at the near-by Fairmont campground. But like the hotel reservations, the availability of these spots expires May 23rd. There are 30amp and 50 amp electrical sites available. Make your reservation by calling 406.797.3505 and be sure to tell them you are with the Montana Society of CPAs group. The campground is about 1/4 mile from the Resort and DOES NOT include swim passes to the hot springs.

After, Indoor Pool 2013You’re going to love the new convention facility and you will have so much fun in the hot springs! But we thought you’d enjoy a learning about Fairmont’s colorful history. Please enjoy this brief history lesson excerpted from Fairmont’s History brochure.

Long before the white man knew about the hot springs, Native American tribes such as the Flathead, Nez Perce and Shoshone set up tepees in the surrounding trees. The Native Americans called the 12 hot pools “Medicine Waters”.

In 1869, George and Eli Gregson acquired the hot springs from a squatter named Hulbert for $60. Can you imagine?! We pay twice that to stay one night and that’s with our discounted rate!

Gregson 1In the years to come, George and Eli turned their attention to the 12 pools of hot mineral water. They built a well-furnished and two-story hotel that could accommodate 50 -60 guest, a plunge bath and five large bathing rooms. Away from the main building a bar room and separate sleeping apartments were constructed. A covered flume was used to conduct the hot and cold water to the bath houses. The cold water was taken from a pure cold stream flowing about 700 yards south of the hotel.

The springs offered cures for rheumatism and other types of ailments. It was said a savory soup could be made by adding salt and pepper to the hot spring water. The soup was consumed in the hopes of curing various ailments.

In 1890 the Gregson Resort was leased to Miles French and a town site was plotted in 1892. On December 9, 1893, the Butte Miner carried a story about the dedication of the town site. It was also reported that the new B & P Depot has been built at Gregson. In 1901 the Resort was sole to Con Hays and James Breen.

Many organizations and clubs held their annual picnics and parties at the springs. On August 12, 1912, the Butte Miners held the most infamous; 14,000 people took part in the event! A brawl broke out between the Anaconda smeltermen and the Butte miners. Two men died in the disturbance but at the inquest the judge could not determine what really occurred so no one was prosecuted. We’re pretty sure MSCPA’s 103rd will be a lot calmer than this!

Tragedy struck on December 23, 1914 when the dance hall and adjoining buildings caught fire. A week and a day later, the hotel plunge caught fire and burned along with the remaining buildings. The fires were blamed on faulty wiring. At the time of the fires, ownership of the resort has passed on to the Montana Hot Springs Association.

George Forsythe bought the Gregson Resort in 1916 and rebuilt and expanded to accommodate tourists. George died in 1935 and his wife, Victoria, ran it until 1959 when she sold it to Treasure State Industries.

The resort closed in 1971 because it fell into such disrepair, but on August 29th that same year the Gregson Surveyor’s Picnic was held as the last chance to see the old hot springs before new construction began. The Montana Standard reported that federal funds would help build a complex including an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, picnic area, outdoor pool and 190 guest rooms. In 1972 the remaining buildings were demolished to make way for the new complex.

The new construction began in 1972 under the direction of new owner Lloyd Wilder of Fairmont Hot Springs British Columbia. It was designed with an indoor pool 80 x 120 feet and an even larger outdoor pool. A cabaret was once located on the second level which connected via an enclosed “bubble” walkway.

Mr. Wilder sold Fairmont to Leroy Mayes in 1981 but repurchased it again in 1990 after it had been taken over by two financial institutions. Wilder died in the last decade and left the ownership of the hotel in trust for his children.

Today, many owners and a stories later, Fairmont offers a new convention center in addition to the hot springs, golf, tennis and many outdoor recreation opportunities. The 168 degree water is cooled to comfortable temperatures that invite you to indulge in the pools and water slide. The hotel’s main restaurant was recently remodeled and you can enjoy a morning latte in the coffee shop.

Fairmont Fun Facts

  • Fairmont Golf Course’s 5th hole is “mile high, mile long” being a mile high in altitude and at 649 yards long the longest hole in Montana.
  • The large pools contain around 220,000 gallons of water. The smaller pools contain approximately 50,000 gallons of water.
  • 58 laps in the indoor pool is 1 mile. 45 laps in the outdoor pool is 1 mile. 
  • The hot water contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, silica, chloride, fluoride, lithium and other chemicals. Most “smelly” hot springs have a high sulfur content. The sulfur content of Fairmont’s hot springs is very low. 
  • The hot springs originally bubbled to the surface in twelve pools. There are three shingled huts near the Wildlife Zoo where the springs come to the surface near the current resort. Now, most of the hot water comes from a 600 ft. well because this source is cleaner and hotter than water that has been allowed to bubble to the surface.

We hope you’ll join us at Fairmont for the 103rd Annual Conference to make a little history of our own. This year’s Conference boasts:

  • Up to 13 hours of CPE
  • Young Professionals Track
  • Highest honors being awarded
  • Dueling Pianos
  • New book club event
  • Fantastic speakers
  • Crazy fun events
  • Ethics credits
  • Super connections with CPAs from across the state

Be sure to register before June 1st to take advantage of early bird pricing and don’t forget to make your hotel reservations by May 23rd.

FHSR outdoor pool 300dpi

So Much Awesomeness! Introducing the MSCPA Book Club

Change is everywhere in the accounting profession and MSCPA’s opportunity is to harness change and turn into something truly valuable for YOU. As our Vision states, we want “to be the most valued professional resource for our members.” This year at the 103rd Annual Conference we are implementing a new feature that came about from discussions with members.

Johnston, Reidun 2014

Reidun Johnston

A year ago, right before the 2015 Industry and Annual Conferences, Missoula member and MSCPA Director Reidun Johnston conducted focus groups with a number of Montana female CPAs of all ages, representing every area of accounting. They discussed ways that would encourage women to participate in the profession, become engaged and build their confidence and skills. One of the things they come up with was an idea to have a book club at the Annual Conference.

“Accounting used to be a profession for men, but we’ve all seen the number of women who have joined this profession,” Johnston stated. “The MSCPA member numbers exemplify this change. In 2001 MSCPA records show almost double the number of men compared to women and today there’s only 48 more men than women in the membership. That’s why we needed to have this conversation.”  (see charts below)

Gender2001Gender2016

 

InPraiseofSlownessGraphic311

 

 

 

 

 

So as a result of these great discussions, we are excited to announce the first MSCPA Book Club featuring the book In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore.  The book club will be a way for men and women both to network and discuss an issue that affects all genders, all ages—the hurried pace we try to keep. The book covers research that explains how to create a slower, healthier pace of life and find time to enjoy and savor, instead of fast tracking with no time to do anything that helps us make a life, not just a living.

Reidun stepped up to the plate and offered to moderate this idea. “I think this session will be a lot of fun—the book sounds great!” shared Johnston. “And we are working to get the London-based author to join us remotely for the first 10 minutes or so of our discussion. He’s really interested so . . . schedules and time-zones permitting, we’ll get that opportunity.”

The MSCPA Book Club is an optional early morning session at the 103rd Annual Conference, Friday, June 24th at 7:00am. It’s worth an additional hour of CPE. Check out the purchasing options at your local book store, or buy it at AmazonSmile and make the MSCPA Legacy Foundation your charity of choice. You’ll not only get a great read but you’ll be supporting the future of the accounting profession in Montana!

Our thanks go out to the many women who participated in these focus groups—for your ideas and your openness. It’s part of what makes for so much awesomeness in the Montana Society of CPAs and at the 103rd Annual Conference!

Read So Much Awesomeness Part I and learn about the big schedule changes to the 103rd Annual Conference.

AICPA’s Proposed Joint Venture with CIMA–A Member’s Perspective CON

by Joshua Herbold, PhD. CPA, MSCPA Secretary/Treasurer

In this blog post, Josh will address the CON side of the proposed venture between the AICPA and CIMA. Scroll down to see previous posts on this issue from President Brenda Byrnes and MSCPA Director Clint Morrison.

Herbold Josh sitting 2014

Josh Herbold, MSCPA Secretary / Treasurer

The American Institute of CPAs has proposed a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (based in the UK). While there are some benefits to such an endeavor, I believe this proposal is, overall, not in the best interests of CPAs for the following reasons:

  1. It dilutes the “CPA” brand in pursuit of membership growth
  2. The AICPA is trying to be too many things to too many people
  3. The value of the CGMA designation has not yet been established in the marketplace
  4. Closer to home: For non-CPA members, the Montana Society of CPAs will be providing benefits (i.e., incurring expenses) with no control over the revenues from those members

The following paragraphs explain these points in more detail.

Those members who have been around for a while probably remember when the AICPA proposed to open AICPA membership to non-CPAs. These non-CPA members were to be called “Cognitors,” and the proposal went on to state that the term would also refer to CPAs. This proposal was soundly (and wisely) rejected by the AICPA membership. After all, what would be the point of becoming a CPA/Cognitor if others could qualify for the same designation without completing the “four Es” (education, experience, ethics, and the CPA exam)? How would a CPA signal to clients and employers the extra effort and dedication that they put forth to become more qualified? Obviously, it would be difficult for anyone outside of the profession (and even for some of those within the profession) to determine how a Cognitor had earned that credential, and AICPA members were rightly concerned about this brand dilution. The current proposal makes things even more confusing by using the same acronym for the new organization as the American Institute of CPAs: the Association of International CPAs. This proposal allows for both CPAs and non-CPAs to earn the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) credential and become members of this new organization, and thus has the same potential as the failed “Cognitor” designation to dilute the CPA brand.

Related to that point, one of the stated goals of the joint venture is to “further advance advocacy, achieve economies of scale and better support accounting professionals.” While I agree that all of these are worthwhile pursuits, I have to wonder which accounting professionals the AICPA has in mind. Not all accounting professionals are CPAs (even though I believe that the designation and the work required to achieve it would benefit most accounting professionals). Is it the job of the American Institute of CPAs to advocate for all accounting professionals? Or would our profession be better served by having the various professional groups (the AICPA, the IMA, the ACFE, and others) participate in a consortium of some sort? Furthermore, “advocacy” is a tricky issue even within a given jurisdiction; it gets trickier when an organization tries to represent multiple jurisdictions, which is exactly what the AICPA intends to do. The AICPA is trying to be everything to everybody—a strategy which usually ends up satisfying nobody.

And the fact is that the overwhelming majority of CPAs have opted against obtaining the CGMA designation. Prior to this year, current CPAs were grandfathered in and could obtain the CGMA designation simply by checking a box on their membership renewal and paying an extra fee. Even with no other effort required to obtain the designation, “90% of the AICPA’s members declined multiple invitations to become CGMAs.”[1] Also, when faced with the choice of which designation or designations to pursue, students have yet to see the value of the CGMA. (See http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cgma-designation/ for one blogger’s take on the decision between the CGMA and CMA designations.)

Finally, we get to some details of the joint venture that could have an impact on our state society. If the joint venture proceeds, CGMAs who are not also CPAs will become members of their respective state societies through their membership in the joint venture. On the surface, that’s great! But for those non-CPA members, dues will be set by and collected by the joint venture, then shared with the MSCPA. This means that we (the MSCPA) will be providing non-CPA CGMAs with all of the same benefits of membership that every member of the MSCPA receives, yet we will have no control over the dues that these members pay. While we expect the number of these non-CPA CGMAs in Montana to be small, incurring expenses when you have no control over your revenues seems like a risky strategy at best, and a losing proposition at worst.

 

[1] While the AICPA has noted that there are more than 150,000 CGMAs worldwide, only 40,000 of those are in the US. For more details, see: Miller, Paul B.W., and Paul R. Bahnson. “Transparency, integrity, prophecy and the AICPA merger.” Accounting Today 1 Jan. 2016: 22. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

AICPA’s Proposed Joint Venture with CIMA–A Member’s Perspective PRO

by Clinton J. Morrison, MSCPA Director

In this blog post, Clint will discuss the PRO side, the advantages to the AICPA’s proposed joint venture with CIMA. Scroll down to read the recent blog post by President Brenda Byrnes that introduced this subject. 

Morrison, Clint 2013

Clint Morrison, MSCPA Director

Despite your busy schedule, you may have heard that the AICPA wants to join forces with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to create a new accounting association, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, while continuing to operate the membership bodies of both existing associations.  Your MSCPA board of directors reviewed this issue at its recent board meeting, and I was impressed with the vigorous discussion that took place among the board members regarding this topic.

First, it is important to point out that the AICPA dues should not be affected by this proposal, and your existing membership in the AICPA should not change.  AICPA members would automatically become members of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.  As a small business owner, I watch costs like a hawk, so this was the first hurdle that I was able to get over with this proposal.  Though I am a tad skeptical in this regard, the proposal does include the integration of management and operations, which should provide economies of scale and cut costs.

By joining forces with CIMA’s 227,000 members, our voice in advocacy efforts will be that much stronger.  To me, that is one of the most compelling arguments for this integration.  In an era of increasing rules and regulations for our clients and our own businesses, advocacy is important.  For me, oftentimes when I learn of a new rule or regulation, I can see the merits of its objective.  However, nearly as often, the implementation of policies and procedures in an attempt to comply with the new rule or regulation are costly at best, and often impractical particularly for small businesses.  In today’s environment, strength clearly comes in numbers, and sometimes, those numbers may be called upon to help create rules with common sense derived from professionals who understand and are affected by the consequences of such rules.

This proposal is also an extension of the joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA that launched the CGMA designation in 2012.  As such, AICPA members, typically in industry, were able to receive the designation based on meeting certain criteria.  But more importantly, these members, often accounting managers, controllers, and CFOs from small businesses, were afforded access to resources that were not readily available to them before this joint venture was launched.

Another aspect to consider is this proposal’s potential to broaden the appeal of the accounting profession to the next generation.  As an adjunct instructor at Carroll College, I regularly interact with students.   When I ask my Introduction to Business class, “What do CPAs do?” most students answer, “Prepare taxes”.  I enthusiastically respond, “Yes, many CPAs prepare taxes, along with other professionals who do not obtain the CPA designation.  But only CPAs can perform financial statement audits!” I don’t get a lot of enthusiasm in return.  It is not until I speak of the broad array of consulting services and other aspects of the accounting profession that I seem to peak their interest.  Thus, I believe that this new association will help broaden the appeal of our profession to students today, which may help encourage them to seek employment in accounting-related jobs, and once there, they will be able to realize their career goals and dreams.