How did you get involved with working with the AICPA, both as a speaker and as part of its committees?
It was three years after I had started my own firm, IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC, and I was still trying to figure out a way to differentiate myself. I had recently obtained the CITP credential and was looking for a volunteer opportunity that would help with my professional development. While reading one of the AICPA newsletters, I saw a call for volunteers. Clicking on the link took me to the AICPA’s Volunteer Central where I was able to look through all of the committees, their purpose, and members.
I was quite amazed to see how many active committees and opportunities there were to get involved. Given my passion for IT, I applied to serve on AICPA’s IT Executive Committee. This aligned with one of my specialty areas, and the intersection of accounting and technology was creating opportunities for a new type of professional. Luckily then Chair, David Cieslak, and AICPA Senior Manager, Nancy Cohen, saw the potential in me and accepted my application to the committee. I definitely owe them much thanks for that opportunity since it was the start of my “volunteer career” with the AICPA.
From there, Nancy referred me to the TECH+ Conference Steering Committee to help provide a new perspective to the conference as a younger CPA who focused in the small business area. Timing was in my favor. They were looking for some new speakers and gave me the opportunity to co-present a session on Business Intelligence at the 2008 conference. Attendee feedback was positive, and my contributions to helping to ensure that the conference agenda was meaningful and insightful, so I was asked to continue serving on the committee and still do today.
Once I was exposed to the IT Executive Committee, more opportunities arose to serve on other Committees and Advisory Boards, especially since I displayed a willingness to get involved and was a strong contributor. So it all started with getting a foot in the door and then showing my commitment to the profession. When I first started I was by no means an “expert” and many committee members had more experience than I did, but I showed that I could learn quickly and help them to deliver strong products. Though I now serve in a leadership capacity for the Information Management and Technology Assurance Executive Committee (the renamed IT Executive Committee), I continually seek opportunities to make cross-Committee contributions and facilitate awareness of the issues and opportunities for the profession.
Having served on various leadership positions on multiple AICPA Committees and advisory boards, I can say with confidence that the AICPA is always looking for CPAs to get involved and connect with its committees, task forces, and conferences. And you don’t have to know everything about the Committee or Task Force that you join, but be ready to work and prove yourself—then other opportunities will naturally arise.
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