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Have you experienced the Power of A?

DSC03293 There is an old saying that there is power in numbers.

Associations are made for organizing and magnifying that power into what is now called the Power of A.

This Sunday, I got to experience that power as the Maryland Association of CPAs' Board of Directors voted unanimously to support Bill Ezzell's request for help with the AICPA Foundation's Accounting Doctoral Scholars (ADS) program with a donation of $25,000. (That's Bill pictured at right holding the check with MACPA Chair Bill Riley on the left holding the check, along with the rest of the MACPA's board.)

So, what is the Power of A?

It's an effort to highlight examples of associations working together and solving big problems. It was started by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The impact of associations goes back to colonial times and was observed by Alexis deTocqueville in his classic book, Democracy in America (Penguin Classics). He articulated the value of associations well as he wrote:

"In America I encountered all sorts of associations of which, I confess, I had no idea, and I often admired the infinite art with which the inhabitants of the United States managed to  fix a common goal to the efforts of many men and to get them to advance to it freely. ... Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite (to form associations). ... From then on, they are no longer isolated men, but a  power one sees from afar, whose actions serve as an example; a power that speaks, and  to which one listens."

In this case, the AICPA started an effort to unite the CPA profession to quickly address one of its most pressing problems, a severe shortage of accounting professors. The shortage of accounting Ph.ds has become a major bottleneck between the growing supply of students interested in a career in accounting and the demand for more accounting students (and ultimately, CPAs) by employers.

The problem has become so acute that recent studies show that the supply of accounting professors now stands at less than 50 percent of the demand. It is so bad that several colleges and universities are turning away qualified accounting students because they simply do not have enough professors.

This is where associations come in.

The AICPA Foundation started the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program (ADS) to encourage practicing audit and tax professionals to consider careers as accounting professors. In just two years, they have recruited nearly 60 candidates who are now in their first and second years of accounting Ph.D. programs. The MACPA's contribution of $25,000 helped them accumulate almost $17 million and more than 97 percent of their goal in just two years! We joined 44 other state CPA societies,the AICPA, the Big Four firms, and almost 80 of the top 100 CPA firms in the Major Frms Group.

Now that's the Power of A!

Have you hugged your professional association today?

More importantly, have you renewed your investment in your hard-earned CPA by renewing and becoming active in your professional associations (both the AICPA and your state CPA society)?

Here are a few more resources on the Accounting Doctoral Scholars program: