You Guide Our Strategic Direction

by Michael D. Colgan, CAE | May 30, 2019

Technological advances and workforce changes are some of the driving factors behind a rapid pace of change. The PICPA is fortunate to have engaged volunteers who serve in leadership and committee roles and share their perspectives and insight to help the PICPA stay laser-focused on providing value to members.

Late last year, we expanded our outreach to more of our membership via a member survey. The results provided data related to awareness of PICPA programs, products, and services, and identified core strengths and opportunities for change. Here are a few of the takeaways from members:

  • To take the next step in their careers, CPAs need to master/improve soft (success) skills and expand their professional networks.
  • Remaining current with accounting and regulatory standards hinders CPAs’ ability to do their jobs.
  • Many accounting professionals maintain a membership in the PICPA to address their most pressing challenge: staying up to date.
  • Most members are satisfied with their PICPA membership and plan to renew.
  • PICPA’s CPE offerings are the most important benefit of membership.
  • The top four attributes associated with the PICPA brand are informative, relevant, trustworthy, and accessible.
  • Provision of information, delivery of high-quality CPE, networking opportunities, and advocacy are core strengths of the PICPA.

The research did raise several strategic issues connected to PICPA’s membership value and the future of the organization. We continue to analyze the data using various demographic, geographic, and career choice entries. We held a management retreat and a PICPA Council meeting to further interpret what we learned and begin to set a path to guide PICPA strategy for the next several years.

Six themes emerged from those discussions, and they will be the focus of our strategy moving forward.

Data integrity and decision-making – The PICPA needs to continue to improve key data elements and records, and establish metrics to monitor progress toward enhanced data integrity. We will identify how to use that data to improve member engagement.

Eliminate and innovate processes – Develop a measurement to evaluate programs, products, and services to determine which should be maintained, streamlined, enhanced, or eliminated to drive the highest value. We defined innovation as “making changes to something established” or “new, refined, reduced, enhanced; not necessarily more.”

Future proof and digital first – Highlight PICPA’s focus and continued diligence on data security. Platform enhancements should be sought to ensure that processes focus on making it intentionally easier to conduct business and education online. Build a go-to-market process to release products and information quickly when changes occur.

Integrated content plan – Identify the content and delivery methods that serve diverse member segments and align with their specific needs. Determine whether, and to what extent, to serve non-CPAs as talent within the profession continues to expand to address data and technology areas. Explore the creation and curation of partnership opportunities among firms and members.

Member value proposition – Value propositions change as a professional’s career evolves. Collecting more feedback and using predictive analysis will focus recruitment and retention strategies. We will communicate value of membership beyond price, identify different member value personas, and add more relevant services to firms and companies based on their unique characteristics.

Partnerships – The PICPA can benefit from strategic partnerships and alliances. We will define criteria on who to collaborate with and how we will judge a successful partnership, and determine potential new partners while evaluating current alliances.

The resulting strategic plan will be adopted and monitored by the PICPA Board and Council, and executed by our volunteers and staff. I appreciate the input we received from members during this process. Stay tuned to this column and our social media outlets to see the strategy turned into action.

Do you have any ideas as to how the PICPA can adapt our programs, products, and services to remain relevant?

Michael D. Colgan, CAE, is CEO and executive director of the PICPA. He can be reached at


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