No Time to Rest on Our Laurels

by Michael D. Colgan, CAE | Jun 05, 2017
Pennsylvania CPA Journal

In May I had the opportunity to honor our inaugural Women to Watch award winners during the PICPA Women’s Leadership Conference, recognize the 10,000 downloads benchmark for our CPA Conversations podcast series in less than a year, watch a quick-to-market hot topic webinar on the Pennsylvania tax amnesty program sell out in 10 minutes after it was announced to members, and experience the successful launch of PICPA’s new CPE simulcast platform. Nobody can accuse us of being a taxi in today’s Uber-driven world.

The PICPA is fortunate that under our new governance model we have an engaged body of PICPA leaders who make sure that we are addressing the needs of the profession in Pennsylvania during these transformative times. PICPA Council has provided the thought leadership for our strategic direction and has ensured that the organization remains accountable to our members. Through Council task forces devoted to pipeline opportunities, the future of learning, emerging practice areas, advocacy, and the evolving role of corporate finance, a road map has been provided to our volunteers and staff to focus our strategic initiatives on programs and services that help our members navigate the changing landscape within the profession.

In addition to the recent highlights outlined above, the road map has paved the way for the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation, a Corporate Finance Cabinet to enhance programs and services for members in corporate accounting, a collaboration with the AICPA on a pilot program geared toward members in corporate finance, an outside grant to study the engagement level among millennial members of the PICPA, collaboration with universities on innovative programs in emerging growth areas, enhanced partnerships and programs with minority accounting organizations, and strategic investments in technology solutions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of PICPA operations.

So, did all of this activity satisfy Council to the point of resting on its laurels? Not a chance! Council met immediately after busy season to begin plotting the organization’s next steps, and there is no shortage of issues affecting the profession. Technology’s impact remains a high priority, especially in the areas of automation of services and big data, and the resulting changes to the delivery of audit, tax, and other services. Another area of frequent discussion relates to the talent issue. It is currently at the top of both public accounting and industry’s list of concerns going forward. This concern touches on many subissues, including expectations in the workforce, diversity and inclusion, women’s equality, and the impact of increasing social change, succession planning, and merger and acquisition activity. Just for good measure, mix in the increasingly complex regulatory and legal environment.

Council concluded that the PICPA should continue to focus its resources on opportunities to increase engagement; to support the evolving demands of professional development; to expand our advocacy efforts on behalf of members before both regulatory and legal bodies at the national, federal, and local levels; and to use our Pennsylvania CPA Foundation to drive awareness of pipeline challenges that will impact the profession for years to come. Continued strategic investment in technology will provide opportunities to tackle these issues with an emphasis on operational excellence to maximize available resources.

Of course, none of this happens without the critical contribution of time, talent, and expertise provided by our network of almost 1,400 members who give back to the profession through volunteer service on a committee, task force, or leadership position. We are also fortunate that another 1,000-plus members engage with us through technology or social media to provide thought leadership and share input on issues affecting their roles.

I look forward to reporting back to you throughout the year with examples of new programs, products, and services that address the strategic road map that Council has articulated. 

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