PICPA Strategies to Succeed in Profession’s New Frontier

by Michael D. Colgan, CAE | Sep 04, 2018

This past June, PICPA’s Annual Meeting returned to Pennsylvania with a new one-day format. Members had the opportunity to build their network while hearing about key issues within the profession and the PICPA. In addition to our change in elected leadership, our Council had the opportunity to finalize PICPA’s strategic priorities.

Mark Koziel, CPA, vice president, firm services, for the AICPA, provided an insightful presentation on accounting in extraordinary times. He discussed how technologies such as blockchain, big data, cybersecurity, and machine learning are disrupting the profession, and the resulting need for CPAs to elevate their game and learn new skills. He also discussed progress in several areas that are key components of PICPA’s strategy (outlined below), including enhanced audit quality, the CPA pipeline, diversity and inclusion, and the future of finance. Using Koziel’s presentation to frame their discussion, Council adopted strategic priorities in the areas of engagement, professional development, voice of the profession, and talent pipeline that are built on a foundation of enhanced technology and operational excellence.

PICPA chapters are a critical component of the engagement strategy, with compelling local events driving personal connections and network-building opportunities that enhance the value of membership. At the same time, we will continue to build more digital opportunities to engage members and thought leaders throughout the profession to deliver the latest information when and how you want it. We will also be looking to our Corporate Finance Cabinet to create new opportunities to engage our members who work in industry.

It is imperative for the PICPA to continue to grow our learning and development programs to provide even more opportunities for members to build the competencies and skills needed to thrive and succeed. In addition to our ability to be the provider of all Pennsylvania-specific information, we will continue to explore new learning formats and strategic partnerships. Embracing lifelong learning is a critical component of your future success. As technology continues to transform many CPA services, your ability to develop skills in emerging areas will enable you to grow and hold your title of most trusted business adviser.

With nearly 22,000 members, the PICPA is the voice of the accounting profession in Pennsylvania. We will use this advantage to position CPAs as thought leaders on financial issues affecting the profession, businesses, and consumers. Our advocacy efforts are not limited to elected officials in Pennsylvania, as our member-led efforts will seek out regulatory agencies and standard-setters at the local, state, and national level. As the world becomes more complex, we have a unique opportunity to highlight the value that CPAs provide daily to their clients and businesses.

Talent has been identified as the top issue of concern for the profession. Last year, the PICPA formed the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation to provide strong educational, financial, and motivational support to those pursuing the CPA credential. Following up on an extremely successful first year, the Foundation is poised to continue its growth through outreach to potential accounting students and will work with member firms to continue to raise awareness of the need for a diversity and inclusion strategy as a business imperative.

Of course, the PICPA is not standing on the sidelines as the profession goes through a digital transformation. Council supports adding technology to create organizational efficiencies and to improve our members’ experiences. Also, an increased use of data analytics will help us better understand member needs and drive strategic decision-making.

It would be impossible to achieve positive results for these strategic priorities without the support and guidance of our volunteer leaders serving on our boards, chapters, committees, and task forces. Their commitment to the future of the CPA profession is exemplary, and greatly supports the efforts of our professional team.

Do you have any ideas about our strategic priorities or other areas where the PICPA can increase membership value?

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