From Member Services: A big year of transition

This will be my first of many President’s Corners as Alan referred to our transition in last month’s Advantage. This is a big year of transition here at CPAmerica as we are also excited to transition Jenn Walker into my role. Admittedly, this is a bittersweet time. I am thrilled and honored to be the next president of

your association, and can’t wait to see what Jenn will accomplish in the near future. But like Alan, I too have a hard time imagining him not being here with us. Watching your firms and understanding the importance of succession planning, it is a process done well with a methodical approach. Yet even under the best of circumstances, it is unavoidably emotional. For this year though, Alan is still at the helm while the delivery of events and services remains under my purview. We have alotgoingonandIwillbeworkingcloselywith Jenn on driving this year’s services including our events and a few other big initiatives for 2021. As the year continues to unfold, here are some of things you will hear more

about. We have made the tricky decision to proceed with our events in-person this year. We exhaustively analyzed the data together with your feedback expressing comfort in meeting in person, assessed the risks, and determined we had a strong enough case to proceed. Of course, the timing and

availability of the vaccine weighed heavily in this decision. The 2021 A&A Conference will take place in Denver. We understand not everyone who would like to attend is able or willing to travel yet, so there will be a virtual offering featuring select sessions. Taking lessons from 2020, Yellow Book will remain live the day prior, and there will also be a virtual offering because its core audience is larger than a firm can send physically any given year. Technology Roundtable will remain live as is tradition concurrent with A&A. Next Gen returns in July followed by CAS, New Partner Group and regional partners’ meetings throughout August. By fall, we expect participation very close to usual for the Leading Partners Retreat and Firm Management Roundtable, and attendance will likely grow for Tax. An added bonus for events this year is a mini Next Gen Virtual Conference to enhance the education of the live meeting. The International Group Committee is working on the December agenda right now. That is the one meeting giving us hesitancy because the multinational audience may still be restricted in their ability to travel. If we cannot meet in person, the committee is working on solutions to keep the momentum of that special interest group going.

The pandemic was a forceful distraction to our innovative technology support efforts. However, technology remained no less disruptive than COVID itself and we are revitalizing the initiative with the formation of a Strategic Technology

Support Committee. The goal is to create a program that encourages innovation and helps firms gain insights that will foster the digital transformation mindset necessary for sustainability and growth. Expect to see updates and a dedicated article to activities in this area.

We are increasing our emphasis on your training needs by exploring a learning management system (LMS) that ideally will allow your firm to centralize its training and development through the association. We have struggled for years not being able to be all things to all firms in education. Much of this has been due to varying methodologies coupled with limitations on staff time and travel. We are approaching this as an opportunity for our own digital transformation that not only allows us to continually enhance the value of membership, but also results in a deeper capacity to analyze member engagement.

This will be a fun and challenging year and it will move very quickly. I am excited to report to you throughout the year on the progress we hope to make in these areas of service. I have loved doing the work I have been responsible for here and am happy that for now I can still be closely involved.

by Grace Horvath, CPAmerica Vice President of Services