Maryland's Mehta brings tenure as AICPA chair to a close
After a year of traveling the globe and bringing an inspiring message of strength, diversity and growth to all corners of the profession, Anoop Mehta can finally catch his breath and pass the torch.
Mehta, a Maryland CPA and former chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs’ Board of Directors, brought his yearlong tenure as chair of the American Institute of CPAs to an inspirational close on May 24 during the spring meeting of the AICPA's Governing Council in Washington D.C.
“I’m so incredibly humbled by this honor, and I’m eternally grateful to the countless leaders who have mentored me throughout the years and helped put me on this path,” said Mehta. “Maryland has a long history of forward-thinking leadership in this profession, and I’m proud to carry that tradition forward.”
Mehta is succeeded as AICPA chair by Okorie Ramsey, CPA, CGMA, vice president of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
Mehta visited most U.S. states and numerous countries during the past year, focusing at each stop on three of the profession's most critical issues:
- Helping others to grow professionally and personally. The profession must adopt a people-first approach that encourages mutual support, lifelong learning and personal development. “People should be at the center of our practices and decisions, large and small, the chief focus for where we want the profession to go,” he said.
- Diversifying the pipeline of new accountants. Projects such as CPA Evolution, a new model for licensure, and new apprenticeships for CGMA candidates, will help. But the profession also must set and track progress toward DEI goals to ensure accountability, he said. He vowed to visit as many high schools and colleges as he can during his tenure to talk up the profession.
- Preserving trust in the profession. Mehta cited the profession’s recent role in economic recovery and business relief, and described how that’s built trust with clients and the public. He also pointed to new areas where CPAs can serve, such as assurance and advisory work related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics. “I’ve spent my entire career working with organizations that conduct research on our planet’s natural systems,” he said. “This is one of the places the profession will be looked at in 10, 50, or even 100 years from now as having instilled confidence and consistency in the production of this data.”
“The CPA is a foundation to open doors, broaden horizons and build career journeys,” Mehta said. “It was true when I passed the exam in 1991, and it’s just as true now, if not more. Serving this profession has been my life, and helping others join this profession will be my life’s work.”
Mehta is chief strategist of the aerospace firm Analytical Mechanics Associates. Before taking that position, he spent more than four decades at Science Systems and Applications, Inc., eventually rising to president. During his time there, the company grew from a two-person firm to an organization with more than 1,000 employees. Mehta actively supported NASA and NOAA programs in his executive management capacity at SSAI.
New chair's agenda
Ramsey's agenda as AICPA chair will focus on three key areas :
- Innovation to advance the profession. Ramsey hopes to capitalize on the advancements made by the profession over the past few years by embracing and leveraging technology to streamline processes, increase efficiency and drive greater value.
- Instilling integrity and trust into sustainability. Ramsey believes environmental, social and governance (ESG) is an area where professional accountants can drive meaningful change. He will encourage the AICPA and the Association to work with stakeholders to integrate responsible and sustainable practices into their businesses and operating models.
- Supporting the next generation and give them enhanced opportunities to succeed. Ramsey supports working together with other professional organizations, state CPA societies, colleges, high schools as well as firms and employers to create a more inclusive accounting and finance profession.
“We are a profession of leaders,” Ramsey said in his acceptance speech. “And it is our duty to guide people, firms, businesses and economies. Together, we can seize the moment and shape our future.”
Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA, managing partner of Alexander Aronson Finning CPAs, will serve as the AICPA’s vice chair during Ramsey's tenure.