AAM Minute - Best Practices

Five Ways to Partner with your State CPA Society for Success

Chris O’Day, Abrams Little-Gill Loberfeld PC

 

 

Accounting marketers wear many hats. On Monday you are helping with recruiting; Tuesday is scheduling volunteer activities; Wednesday includes networking events for business development; Thursday you are writing an article on tax issues facing clients; and Friday you are working with younger staff to develop their interpersonal skills. With a multitude of responsibilities, things can get hectic!

 

Many professional societies have staff dedicated to the many hats accounting marketing professionals wear including recruiting, networking, public relations, government affairs, and professional development. Collaborating with them can make your life easier and help your firm.

 

Below are five ways you can partner with your state accounting society for success:

 

1.       Recruiting

Recruiting qualified staff remains a top priority for a majority of accounting firms. It is hard, even for the ‘Big 4,’ to have a presence on all college campuses where qualified talent resides; this is where your state society can help. Many offer student membership to high school and college accounting students across the state. They host networking events and career fairs where you can meet accounting students from a wide array of schools, all in one setting. Becoming involved in these student member events can help decrease time spent on recruiting and provide your firm wider exposure to schools you may not normally visit.

 

2.       Networking

There is an old saying, “You can either network, or not work,” and your state accounting society is a great place to get your networking game on. These professional societies offer committees where you and your staff can make key contacts, gain business, and advance your careers. For example, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs offers a wide variety of networking events, including joint events with law firm groups. These events are great places for your staff to build their referral network and practice their interpersonal skills. They also host relaxed networking events (like a night at a local professional sports game) where your staff can network in a fun environment. These types of events also work well for staff retention!

 

3.       Volunteering

Many accounting firms are committed to volunteering and giving back to the community. However, finding opportunities and coordinating events can be a time consuming task. Many accounting societies put on days of service, where they help match firms with charities to create volunteer events. State societies also offer options on their websites, including opportunities for CPAs to lend their accounting skills to non-profits. Firms also can become involved with helping the next generation of accountants by sponsoring scholarships and volunteering to speak at student conferences.

 

4.       Government Affairs

Many bills are pushed forth in states without much foresight of how adversely the new law could affect taxpayers and tax preparers. It pays to have a watchdog looking out for the accounting profession’s interests; this is accomplished through the role of government affairs in accounting societies. They help lobby for or against laws that could affect accountants and general taxpayers. They also lend a unique voice to lawmakers on how to avoid making the tax process even more cumbersome.

 

5.       Skill Development & Continuing Professional Education

For most accountants, the initial thought that comes to mind when they think about their state society is continuing professional education (CPE). These organizations specialize in offering CPE programs, conferences, and webinars to their members on a variety of topics. Many societies have CPE hour trackers, where members of your firm can ensure they are on track with license renewal requirements. In addition, as competition for CPE audiences has grown more competitive, accounting societies have started to offer CPE conferences in interesting locations like breweries, factories, and sports stadiums. They also offer soft-skill conferences, such as future leader events, where younger staff can learn how to further their career within the profession.

There are advantages to partnering with your state accounting society, and the American Institute of CPAs’ website provides this comprehensive list of state associations. Find yours to become more involved and gain the most out of your affiliation!