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We can’t be great without you

DSC05537 This is guest post from our Communications & Multimedia Manager, Julia Deligatti

Have you ever seen a room move by the energy inside it - aside from an earthquake or other natural disaster?

I've seen it a couple of times on TV when the Evangelist heals the sick or a player scores a goal. Motivational speakers are known to build energy in a room in just minutes. But a CPA? Really? Yes, really.

I attended the MACPA Managing Partner meeting at the Columbia Sheraton and watched as MACPA's CEO Tom Hood, CPA, started the meeting with the usual stuff membership associations are known for ...we need your involvement...only need a couple of hours a year...give us names...etc. And it appeared the partners in the room may have been thinking the same thing: 'Tom wants our money.' Defensive postures were posed, arms were crossed, heads were low and lips were pursed - Rams ready for battle. But slowly, as Tom talked about issues that cost firms and their clients money, the postures changed - faces relaxed, arms unfolded, pens to hands. At one point, the entire room seemed to lean forward - interested in what was unfolding before them.

The meeting was planned for two hours as partners' time is very precious (two hours of unbillable time!) but it went over by 40 minutes because the discussion was so compelling. Turns out MACPA members don't know how much the association does on behalf of CPAs in Maryland. But Tom explained it well. Members are well aware of the CPE and resources MACPA provides its members, but many were surprised to learn how instrumental – and influential – MACPA is on preventing bad legislation and introducing good legislation (as it affects CPAs and their clients). And that, my friends, is when the room leaned forward.

Tom unraveled the story of MACPA's advocacy efforts and legislative successes on behalf of CPAs in Maryland and the tenor of the room changed. Eyebrows raised, heads nodded - it really was a transformation to witness. Special guest speaker Del Brian Feldman, CPA, also motivated the group to create relationships with their legislators. Tom closed the session with a message that really resonated with the group. "We know you don't have time to keep up with all the issues and regulations – that's what we do on your behalf. And that allows you to get back to your business and serve your clients, knowing someone is looking out for you. That is what we [MACPA] do."

The content of that meeting galvanized the group in their awareness of what the association does for them - well beyond providing education to maintain their licenses - but to take care of their businesses as well.

And it wasn't all body language. Partners' comments during the Q&A session backed up what the group's bodies already said. "MACPA is doing such a great job!" But Tom's message wasn't "look at us, we're great." His message was, "we can't be great without you."

See our CPA Legislative Insider blog for the latest update, What have we done for you lately?

Watch a video of what the managing partners of Maryland Major Firms had to say here