A Year of Moving the Ball Forward
J. Andrew Weidman, CPA
One year ago, I stepped into my new role as president of PICPA. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect—lots of chicken dinners and meetings with legislators. I was not disappointed. Recently, I have been asked, "Was it worth it?" and, "Are you glad you did it?" The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes! Not only have I had the opportunity to travel throughout our beautiful state, but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many intelligent, dedicated individuals who are as passionate about our profession as I am.
There are many issues that we need to address, and we have many talented CPAs in our organization addressing them. For that, I am grateful, as is PICPA. In the past year, I attempted to move the ball forward on several important issues that I think are critical to us all.
The first issue is our effort to promote financial literacy. I believe that we, as CPAs, have a unique ability to take this message to the masses. This important work gets done mainly at the chapter level, and there have been a number of financial literacy events held throughout the state, reaching out to a wide range of Pennsylvanians. We also heralded the arrival of the Ad Council’s Feed the Pig campaign and its life-sized piggy bank mascot, Benjamin Bankes. Since October, the Feed the Pig Web site has received more than 5 million hits, and thousands of people have signed up for weekly savings tips.
A second issue I wanted to address was passage of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 251, which would amend the CPA Law that governs the practice of public accounting in Pennsylvania. The bill, among other much-needed updates, would have embraced substantial equivalency. Making Pennsylvania a substantially equivalent state is critical to our profession. This amendment is designed to enhance the mobility and portability of the CPA license across state lines. Although we were not successful during my term, we made significant progress, and reintroduced a new bill, Senate Bill 838, in May 2007 with 25 sponsors.
We now have more than 50 freshman legislators that need to become familiar with PICPA and the resources we can provide as they evaluate pending legislation. We took our first step, holding a freshman legislative breakfast in April. In the coming year, our legislative success will hinge on the ability of our members to reach out to this important group and begin to build relations.
A third area I wanted to focus on were the efforts to increase the participation of young CPAs in our organization. I spoke at chapter meetings as well as college accounting clubs, and delivered a consistent message: accounting is a great career path, make passing the CPA Exam a priority, and getting involved in PICPA gives back to the profession and is a great way to develop networking, leadership, communication, and organizational skills. We need to make this personal. Many of us have experienced personal and financial satisfaction from the professional path we have chosen. Go to your neighborhood school and offer to make a presentation. Next fall, attend your child’s open house, bring a business card, and offer to do a career presentation. You’d be surprised how easy it is to create these opportunities. We need to find those talented individuals to replace us in the future.
We also held PICPA’s first Emerging CPAs Conference in Hershey last August, and it was a great event. This new annual program complements the local programs offered in many chapters that are designed to help emerging CPAs build their local network.
There are a number of people who I want to thank for allowing me to fulfill my duties as PICPA president. First of all, I would like to thank the staff at PICPA. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of professionals on our team, and speaking from experience, they are a pleasure to work with.
Secondly, I thank my partners at Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP and my family. Obviously, when I’m representing PICPA, it takes time away from my duties at Reinsel Kuntz Lesher. This work does not get done on its own, so I thank my partners and co-workers for filling in for me. As for my family, all the meetings and dinners take me away from them, so I thank my wife Kathy for doing double-duty while I’ve been away, and I thank all of them for being willing to share me with PICPA.
I also thank Bob Krebs for his guidance over the past year, and wish Denise Devine well as she assumes the role of president for the upcoming year.
I truly enjoyed my year of serving the profession as PICPA president, and I thank you all for this honor.
J. Andrew Weidman, CPA, is chairman and CEO of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP in Wyomissing, and PICPA president. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAST UPDATED 6/1/2007