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CPA Now
Aug 25, 2014

CPAs, You Have the Power – Why Not Use It?

By Mike Colgan, PICPA Executive Director and CEO 



Through polls, surveys, and personal interactions with members, I have access to a lot of information regarding members’ impressions of PICPA’s services. Consistently, the top three benefits identified include CPE, advocacy, and engagement opportunities. It is no coincidence that these benefits align with our strategic priorities of professional development, engagement, and voice of the profession.

I am passionate about advocacy. Many think advocacy is restricted to representing members’ interests in Harrisburg, but it is so much more. It also includes giving voice to our concerns in Washington, D.C., at the State Board of Accountancy, at the Department of Revenue and other Pennsylvania agencies, with regulators, with standard-setters, and at the AICPA, among others. When the collective voice of more than 21,600 PICPA members speak on an issue, we can have an impact. 

I am also passionate about the many members who assist with our advocacy efforts, whether it is serving on a committee or task force, providing testimony or input to a legislative or regulatory body, authoring articles and making presentations, or advancing thought leadership on emerging issues such as private company accounting standards or diversity within the accounting profession.

Advocacy also means being vigilant on behalf of our members. It is easy to celebrate the victories and successes, and there have been several in the past year alone:

  • Act 15 of 2013 amended the CPA Law for a general experience requirement. 
  • Act 52 of 2013 reformed the Board of Finance and Revenue and the appeal process. 
  • Act 71 of 2013 repealed the Corporate Loans tax among other changes. 
  • Act 42 of 2014 clarified and provided greater certainty regarding local business privilege tax.

But, in an increasingly complex and regulated profession, many times it is what did not happen that is as important as the successes. Successful opposition includes challenges to the CPA statute and attempts to implement a sales tax on services.

A primary tool that makes the victories and defensive battles possible is your CPA-PAC. The funds raised through CPA-PAC go primarily to candidates in the General Assembly who have a history of working with the PICPA.

Herein lies the problem: while 100 percent of our members benefit from CPA-PAC activities, less than 4 percent or our member contribute! That’s right, a little over 700 of our 21,600 members have made a contribution this year, despite the fact that we are in an election year where all five of our CPA members are seeking re-election in a few months, and after we have had unprecedented success in accomplishing our objectives in Harrisburg.

Whether you like PACs or not, they are a reality of government in Pennsylvania and many other states. Your CPA-PAC board of directors (all PICPA members) make wise decisions on the disbursement of funds to candidates who support the positions of PICPA members and their clients.

I am passionate about increasing our influence, not only in Harrisburg but on a national level. That would be a much more attainable strategy if the PICPA was able to get more than 4 percent of our members to support your CPA-PAC.

I know our members are passionate about success and helping their clients and businesses achieve greater levels of prosperity. Marry that passion with the power you can have as a collective voice of 21,600 strong. If you are one of the 96 percent of members who have not made a commitment to support the CPA-PAC, please consider joining with other members to make a difference in Pennsylvania.

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Disclaimer
Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.