President’s Corner: To Everything There is a Season

This is my second to last President’s Corner. Throughout 2021, we are in the midst of transitioning the role of president of CPAmerica to Grace Horvath who will take over the role on January 1, 2022. It is indeed an interesting process full of all sorts of emotions for both of us. For me, I am looking forward to my retirement, but am also trying to imagine not being part of this organization. I will miss all the members and staff! I’m pretty sure Grace will be providing insight into her thoughts and feelings in subsequent President’s Corner articles.

Part of this transition process is giving the future staff leaders of CPAmerica a chance to participate in this column, so after this article you won’t “see” me again here until December.

I am reminded of the song by The Byrds from the mid-sixties, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 in the Old Testament. You may remember it as “To everything there is a season …” and so it is with the process of moving on. There is a time to do it yourself and there is a time to teach others to do it themselves.

The transition to a new president is moving along nicely. Grace and I built a plan for this transition last fall and with the board’s approval and regular inspection, we are proceeding along with that implementation plan.

Grace has named her successor, Jenn Walker, from our staff, to be the new leader of services. Jenn was a senior member services manager supporting A&A among other duties. So her first task will be to find and train her replacement. Grace is coaching and training Jenn on her new role as director of services.

In the coming months, Grace will start managing more and more of what is, and was, my role. She has already begun work on our innovative technology support to firms, implementing an enhanced learning management system (more on that in coming months), and preparing to assume responsibility for our marketing and new member development efforts this summer.

New member development took about 20 percent of my time. Development is critical to the association’s health. New firms not only help us grow, but replace firms that have sold or merged up. New firms and members also provide our association new thinking and a fresh perspective.

During the shutdown times of 2020, we were able to continue a number of programs and events virtually. However, the Visitation Improvement Program (VIP) was completely cancelled in 2020, putting us a whole year behind. Our plan of each firm hosting a VIP every four years was already a challenge with the recent growth in firms, but by missing a whole year of VIPs, we are seriously challenged. We are working hard to catch up and have scheduled 25 VIPs for this summer and fall. In past years, Grace

and I have split up the VIPs to assist the two visiting leading partners and we plan to continue that practice this year. That said, it will be a very busy July, August and fall for traveling to VIPs along with our regular events that are planned to be in person this year.

If all goes to plan, Grace will be trained on all her new responsibilities as president, and will be over a number of activities by fall. I’m sure she will do a great job as your new president of CPAmerica.

A phrase that made me a bit sad over my career was whenever I heard someone talk about a recently retired executive, stating, “…he retired a couple of years before he left.”

I promise that I’m working to try to not have that be a comment about my remaining time at CPAmerica. I continue to be responsible for CPAmerica and achieving our mission of members improving through sharing. It just happens that my primary responsibility today has changed from doing it myself to making sure Grace is comfortable and capable to be president on January 1.

by Alan Deichler, CPAmerica President