A Day at the House of Lords

Today (04/04/17) I LIVED the term gobsmacked. It’s a strange word that so adequately describes the experiences I had today at the House of Lords. To enter through Westminster Hall which was built in 1097, a place that saw the conviction of William Wallace and speeches made by Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth, it was overwhelming in the best way. 

I want to share my speech that I made today, representing the Montana CPAs. Photos of the actual event and the people in attendance will have to wait for a later date as only the official photographer is permitted to take pictures in Parliament. What you will see are photos I took from the outside and, if you go to our Facebook page, you will see a short video I made outside Parliament right before we were admitted this morning. What an honor it truly was!

I was introduced by the Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensberry.

My Noble Lords, Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have served as the Communications Director of the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants for 17 of the organization’s 104 years. It is a pleasure to be at the House of Lords with you today. It is a tremendous honor, one a farmer’s daughter from rural Montana never would have had the courage to dream! A heartfelt thanks to Baroness Cox!

Montana is a beautiful state with dramatic mountain vistas and sweeping plains and of course the skies. Montana is called Big Sky Country for a reason.

Montanans are known for our strong work ethic. Our agricultural roots come through no matter what our chosen profession. Similarly, certified public accountants are known for their strong work ethic, high standards and strong morals. They are the foundation of the business world. We have a member in Montana who is known to say, “some people speak Spanish, Arabic or English. I speak accounting; the language of business.”*

For over 30 years, the Montana Society of CPAs and the Association of Certified Public Accountants International, have worked together to help our members succeed in the “language of business”. We are proud of this partnership that allows us to have an international presence, one that allows accounting professionals with the right credentials, to be members in the Montana Society of CPAs no matter what part of the Globe they live.

Throughout our 30-year history, world events have shaped our international membership numbers.  We’ve has as few as 17 international members as we began our partnership and we have boasted as many as 94 international members in 2008.  Today we hold steady in the mid-50’s, including 18 who reside in the UAE.

Regardless of the numbers, one thing has remained true and strong through the years; the leadership of Dr. Anthony Edwards. For many years, through different staff and leadership at MSCPA, Dr. Edwards has remained dedicated to the Association of CPAs International’s objective to advance the science of accountancy and financial management.

Many members in the Montana Society of CPAs work as auditors. Their work is invaluable in the business world and they must strive to keep up with the constantly changing standards. This is not work for the faint of heart, but it is important work for the economies of the world. So with this in mind, we congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the passage of the Auditing Law we are celebrating today. A strict code of ethics is what makes true accounting professionals stand out and we applaud your regulatory efforts.

Being here with you today at the House of Lords is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and my husband. I am proud to represent the Montana Society of CPAs as we celebrate the UAE’s enhanced standards for this most honorable profession. And meeting representatives from around the globe makes the international business world seem a lot closer to Montana. On behalf of the Montana Society of CPAs, I wish the very best to all of you and to our members serving the accounting profession in the United Arab Emirates. Thank you, and thank you Baroness Cox for this honor.

After the speeches from all the guests, we dined together in the Attlee Room in the House of Lords. Afterwards, the Baroness, who is charming and so funny, gave us a private tour of the House of Lords, explaining how they vote by going out and standing in either the “Content” or “Not Content” hallways. Finally, we ended our day by helping the English economy with a healthy visit to the gift shop.

What an experience! What an adventure! The things I saw and learned, the people I met, including the Ambassador from the UAE. I truly am gobsmacked and thankful for a word the describes the enormity of this day.

*The member I am quoting is Walt Kero of Missoula. Thank you Walt for giving me such a good line that I find myself using it in nearly every speech I give on behalf of MSCPA.

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