Leadership / Management | Organizational Development | Training & CPE

How to be more involved in your profession

DSC09992 When two past chairs of the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy (and one of whom was a prior MACPA board member, committee member, etc.) ask to meet with you, you go.

The question I was asking is, "What would make them want to meet with us right in the middle of one of the busiest tax seasons on record?"

The firm is Abrams, Foster, Nole & Williams, P.A. (Pictured are me, Alicia Foster, Helen Holton, and Arnold Williams.) They wanted to discuss how they could get their CPA firm of 40 more involved in the profession through the MACPA and how they could use some of our leading innovations to help them recruit and retain the new generation entering their firm.

Needless to say, we were honored.

Arnold had on that trademark grin of his as he called in his IT manager, Jonathan, and asked him to log us on to Second Life. He then asked us (Jackie Brown and I) to give them a tour of our islands -- CPA Islands 1 and 2, that is. Arnold had attended our last CPE session via Second Life (see what blogger Dave MacDonald had to say on his blog post, Layman's Story of Professional Development in Second Life) and wanted to share his epiphany with his colleagues. He explained that he had been reading about how to engage the "gaming" generation and finally took the plunge to get in and try it, and he was impressed. He sees tremendous potential to engage these digital natives with tools like Second Life.

We showed him our Educators' Pavilion with kiosks from many Maryland colleges and universities and several others from all over the United States. We showed them our virtual training centers, our exhibit hall for our Maryland Business and Accounting Expo, even some offices of a CPA firm and other strategic partners who are renting space on the island and using our facilities. He talked about his vision of how the firm could use this for CPE, meetings and recruiting.

We also showed him our latest free on-ine learning tool for us digital immigrants -- www.cpalearning2.com, a blog that teaches you the latest social media technologies in 15 minutes a day. You will learn about blogs, wikis, RSS, Facebook, MySpace and, yes, even Second Life in a safe, CPA-centric learning plan. Next we talked about the pipeline and our upcoming CPA swearing-in ceremony.

Our approach to the talent pipeline is to engage and serve members from the moment they think about a career (high school) through a happy retirement, with the hallmark event being their entry into the CPA profession as a licensed CPA. 

It turns out that Arnold is the man responsible for initiating the official swearing-in of newly licensed CPAs. Dring his tenure as State Board chair, he worked with the DLLR to start a tradition of having CPAs take an official oath to recognize the public interest and commitment to an ethical code of conduct as licensed certified public accountants. He recanted how at the last ceremony, he connected with many of his firm's former interns who were thanking him for getting their careers kick started.

He stressed how important this event is to recognize the importance of our profession, to strengthen our ties between the profession and the DLLR, and to celebrate the accomplishment of these young professionals. Check it out on this quick YouTube video of last year's event.

This event is sponsored by the top CPA firms in Maryland and will be held again this year in conjunction with the Maryland Business and Accounting Expo on June 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center.

We talked about the need for legislative and regulatory involvement. (Arnold volunteered to join our Legislative Executive Committee.) We gave them an update on our State Board activities (changes in CPE regulations, the 120 / 150-hour issue, etc.) Did you know that we attend every State Board meeting to advocate on your behalf?

Did you know that supporting professional associations leads to increased retention and productivity on the job due to higher levels of satisfaction and morale? See the study on association benefits for both employers and members from the latest research report and then join the other leaders in the profession with our 100 percent membership initiative.

Here are some of the "pipeline" resources we discussed:

Thanks, Arnold, Helen and Alicia, for taking time out to meet with us and for your support as a 100 percent member firm.