Business Strategy | Leadership / Management | Not-For-Profit | Personal Financial Planning | Practitioners | Technology

New membership model, renewal system, website usher in ‘frictionless’ MACPA membership

Some revolutionary and exciting new things are happening at the Maryland Association of CPAs.

We hope you won’t notice them.

The MACPA will soon be rolling out a new membership model and renewal system that are designed to make your lives a bit easier. They’re designed, in fact, to make your interactions with us as frictionless as possible. Things you used to have to take care of yourselves will now be automated, letting you get on with the important work of building your businesses and living your lives.

Here’s what has changed Your annual membership will renew – and the renewal fee will be applied to your credit card — automatically. We won’t be bugging you to renew any longer … unless you want us to. If you really, really like getting a paper renewal form in the mail, we’ll be happy to send one to you.

But trust us: The new system is way easier.

We will also be inviting you to “subscribe” to your membership and pay monthly rather than annually. These automatic and recurring billing systems offer you many benefits.

  • First, there is no annual renewal ordeal. You simply are or are not a member.
  • Second, the new billing model (and streamlined online user interface) will make it easier for members to make ongoing purchases, like contributions to our political action committee or Education Foundation, or to subscribe to new CPE products.

Simply put, we are removing the friction from how members pay for MACPA services, including membership.

We also are working to connect our members with future-focused non-CPA leaders. More and more CPA members are being supported by leaders in IT, finance and accounting, many of whom don't plan to become CPAs but have relevant college and post-college degrees. We believe creating opportunities that benefit both CPAs and these non-CPA leaders is important. As advisory services continue to grow quickly, we believe this trend is here to stay.

Connecting non-CPA associates to the profession in this way also could convince them to consider the CPA credential. Former MACPA Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor is a great example; she started in IT and then realized the benefit of adding the CPA. Today, she serves as vice chair of the American Institute of CPAs. She will be installed as Maryland’s first AICPA Chair in October.

MACPA transforming itself as well These new models will be launched in tandem with a new MACPA website that’s designed to be cleaner, intuitive,  mobile-friendly and much, much easier to use. Included in that new site will be robust communities that will connect members with relevant content, CPE, and perhaps most important, fellow members who share common interests.

These changes are part of a larger transformation taking place at the MACPA. For years now, we have been espousing the virtues of “social business,” flexible and open work environments, and cloud-based infrastructure. Now, we’ve decided it’s time to put our money where our mouths are. The MACPA has been working in an open-office environment for nearly two years, with impressive productivity results. A number of our employees work virtually full or nearly full time. And now, we are in the process of implementing a completely cloud-based, app-based infrastructure that will give us the flexibility and nimbleness to adjust to future trends and opportunities.

Our association is now future-ready. Adjusting our membership model will help make our members future-ready, too.

What won’t change is our commitment to serving Maryland’s CPAs:

  • We are still committed to connecting you to the people and resources you need to succeed.
  • We are still committed to protecting and promoting the CPA profession in Maryland and D.C. through legislative advocacy.
  • We are still committed to helping our members achieve success through technical excellence, thought leadership and best-in-class professional development.

‘The membership economy’ The changes are inspired in part by what Robbie Kellman Baxter calls “the membership economy.” In her book by the same name, Baxter says the key to your business’s future isn’t innovation, or learning, or finding your next competitive advantage — though each of those things is vitally important and will give you a huge leg up on the competition.

No, Baxter says the biggest key to your future success is people.

“I define membership as the state of being formally engaged with an organization or group on an ongoing basis,” Baxter writes. “An organization able to build relationships with members — as opposed to plain customers — has a powerful competitive edge. It’s not just changing the words you use; it’s about changing the way you think about the people you serve and how you treat them.”

Baxter’s point is clear: When you start treating your stakeholders as members rather than mere customers, amazing things start to happen.

“Companies that enjoy a membership relationship with their customers are enjoying multiples of about eight times of their transactional peers,” Baxter said. “The companies that understand how to create subscription models and build community and create stickiness are seen as being eminently more valuable than the ones that don’t.”

At the MACPA, our goal is to add value and solve problems for our members by reducing friction.

As your professionals association, we are dedicated to helping you connect the dots. You’re busier than ever. You’ve got your work to do, so we do the work of connecting you to the people, information and resources you need to succeed.

In a world defined by social connections, our networks and relationships matter more than ever. That’s the power of associations. We build your networks. We make those connections. We protect your profession. We bridge the gaps.

Relationships matter. Networks matter. Associations matter. In the social age, they might be the only things that matter.

Our hope is that these updates will be small steps in our ongoing journey toward strengthening those networks.


Bill Sheridan