It’s a flat world after all

DSC01168Why would 25 municipal and provincial auditors from Jiangsu, China come to Maryland to learn about "next practices" in governmental auditing?

Answer: Because they can.

Thanks to the University of Maryland's China Initiative and the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits, this delegation of Chinese auditors came to Maryland for a three-week training program.

The MACPA hosted the group on Sept. 20 to present the structure of the accounting profession, how our associations are structured, and the latest trends and issues facing our U.S. CPAs.

The group arrived by bus and entered our Towson CPA Center and immediately took their seats, eager to learn about the US CPA Profession. They said that their profession is fewer than 20 years old, and they wanted to learn from our 120 years of experience. Anoop Mehta, the MACPA's secretary / treasurer, welcomed the delegation and told them why he belongs to the MACPA and how we have helped his career.

Maryland has a proud history in the CPA profession as the third state to have a CPA licensing law (1901) and claims the first president of the AICPA (Edward Cockey) and the man credited with inventing the idea of the Certified Public Accountant in the late 1800s.

What was interesting to me was how many similarities there are between us. Here are a few insights from our session:

  • They are called CPAs and are licensed by the government (Ministry of Finance).
  • They have an exam covering most of the topics on our exam (BEC was new to them).
  • They have continuing education requirements (120 hours over three years).
  • They are facing a shortage of qualified students to sit for the exam.
  • They have generational differences impacting the workforce.

The highlights for them included these observations:

  • They liked our three innovative ideas (slide 40) -- financial literacy, sustainable reporting and XBRL.
  • They liked the idea of covering general business trends (slide 38) in addition to technical training (they liked our Business Learning Institute's focus on soft skills).
  • They were surprised that our associations (AICPA and states) are independent of the government. I gave them a history of associations back to the U.S. Constitution (slides 15-18).

I finished with the research on the benefits of belonging to your association. Did you know that association members earn more (on average, $10,000 per year for life) and are 19 percent more satisfied with their jobs (which leads to higher retention rates), giving enduring benefits to both the individuals and the organizations that support them?

It is truly a flat world.

The us cpa profession orientation View more presentations from Tom Hood.

You can view photos here.

Here is a great article from Edwin Kliegman in the NYSSCPA about CPAs in China and a post about the impact of volunteers in associations and our organizations.