What channels are there for CPAs to give to their profession?
CPAs, newly minted and experienced alike, can participate in many opportunities and channels at the local, state, and national level. Opportunities for getting involved at the international level can be a bit more difficult to come by and usually require someone more senior in the profession since they often are regulatory or standards related—but you never know….
There are tons of opportunities to get involved at any level, it just depends on what you want to do any why you’re getting involved. Consider the following:
- The AICPA has what feels like hundreds of Committees and Task Forces. A listing of all of the formal committees and standing task forces can be found at the AICPA’s Volunteer Central. (Note that you must be an AICPA member to serve on an AICPA committee or task force. Sometimes that seems expensive, but trust me, you’ll get back a hundred fold what you get from volunteering in networking and access to national level experts.) There are quite a variety of opportunities to get involved with the AICPA from technical (standards, guidance, and practice aid development), community building (young CPAs network, conference planning committees), and community involvement (scholarship, member welfare, and academic outreach committees). AICPA involvement often involves travel (average is about twice a year for committees) which can be good (the travel and lodging are all reimbursed by the AIPCA) or bad (having to get time off from an employer).
- State societies also have many committees that connect CPAs at the regional level (some states have multiple chapters as well). The depth of technical development will vary depending on the size of the state society and its staff capability, but there is often a lot of opportunity for community building and community involvement at the state level.
- There are also networking and mentoring professional groups like the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA). And then there are industry or specialists groups like the Association of Governmental Accountants (AGA).
So there really is a variety of channels to get involved, it really depends on what your professional goals are and how you want to get involved. For those more senior in the profession, getting involved is a great way to share your expertise and mentor those coming up in the profession.
And getting involved doesn’t have to be a completely serious endeavor. I was really touched by something written by a colleague of mine from Rhode Island, and it really opened my eyes to part of the value that I bring to the profession:
“In my opinion, one of Donny’s true strengths is his ability to expand not only his network of resources, but everyone else’s in that network as well. Each time I have been at Council meeting or [conference] with Donny, I have met other CPAs that I might not have met if not for him. Those interactions have allowed me to discover new things about my profession and develop new perspectives.”
— Jacquelyn Tracy, CPA, Partner,
What she notes above is not only true about me, but also about many of the other CPAs involved at the national level. Each of us individually may not have all the answers, but through the networks we build by getting involved, we gain this network of resources that can help us tackle any problem life may throw our way. This is why I think you get back a hundred fold what you give when getting involved.
So, if you are looking for an AICPA or state society opportunity and aren’t sure how to proceed, let me know what you’re interested in and I can try to help put you in touch with the people to find a good way for you to get involved.
– continue in next post –