The real value of associations (and meetings)

Dsc03783I just returned from MACPA's Beach Retreat, which was held in Ocean City at the Clarion Inn & Conference Center on 101st Street. I joined our MACPA team and about 100 CPA members for sun, surf and CPE.

I always love these events because it is a great chance to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. I ran into my first boss in accounting (pre-CPA days), my best friend from Loyola College during my accounting degree days, and dozens of other CPAs who I have gotten to know over the years. I also had an opportunity to meet plenty of new friends as well. That is the point of this post.

Dsc03675 It occurred to me as I listened to the conversations in the halls, during breaks and at the luncheon (sponsored by our UMUC) that the real value in this event is the network. How many times have you relied on your network to give you great tips? How many times have you relied on reliable sources of information and just plain support? I found myself reflecting on my 23 years as a member of the MACPA and how valuable all the many connections I have made (and continue to make) were and are to my career and my profession.

It wasn't just me, either. Many of the members in attendance talked about how much fun the new networking luncheon we held was and asked for more opportunities to get to know each other. Next year, we plan to do more to build a stronger community and network at all of our events. I hope to see you at the beach next year as we go back on July 2-5, 2008.

Dsc03782 Imagine the "value" of the collective knowledge and wisdom of 10,000 CPAs and the power of that group working to better the CPA profession and the public interest that we all serve. That is exactly what our State Tax Committee is trying to do. They want to make sure CPAs are represented and ready to weigh in on the numerous tax bills and other issues affecting CPAs that are expected to show up in the Maryland General Assembly when it reconvenes in January 2008 (more about that in future posts).

Pictured at right are State Tax Committee members Beverly Richard of KAWG&F and Joe Flack of Biegel & Waller, LLP presenting the legislative issues and getting feedback during the professional issues update that I was presenting at the conference. The members in the session weighed in and gave plenty of suggestions and ideas to help us find the right answers to the challenges we will be facing in the legislature and in the profession as a whole.

Thanks to all of you I have connected with over the years and all of our members who volunteer their talents and energies to our profession. You do make a difference!

Tell us your story of how important (or not) networking and connections are at meetings or what the real value you get from your association.

Resources: Professional Issues Update materials