insight magazine

Today's CPA

Let's Talk About Relationships

Don’t worry, I'm not talking about the touchy feely kind. Think business, advocacy & leadership.
Todd Shapiro ICPAS President & CEO

Connection. It’s such a simple word yet it means so many different things to so many
different people in so many different situations. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the act of connecting two or more things or the state of being connected.” In a professional sense, connection is all about bringing two or more people together in a mutually beneficial manner. And for that reason, when we think of connections, we typically think of people meeting up at a networking event and hopefully generating business opportunities through it. It’s absolutely true that networking is one—if not the primary—way for CPAs, whether in public practice or corporate finance, to generate new business. New opportunities come from bankers, lawyers, suppliers, customers, clients, fellow CPAs and a myriad of other sources.

Yet connections go far beyond business development. Advocating for the profession is critical to delivering our mission of “Enhancing the Value of the CPA Profession.” We build relationships with the AICPA, NASBA, state agencies such as the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Department of Revenue, and with state and federal office holders. Relationships are key to influencing our regulatory and legislative environment and fulfilling our advocacy role. ICPAS members are already forging those relationships via the Legislative Contact Program. Look for more on the topic of advocacy in my upcoming columns.

We also look to connections to help us build a successful team. Most of us are constantly looking for staff, both entry level and experienced. We use networking to find top talent at universities, through recruiters and in other businesses. Connecting is becoming more important than ever as organizations seek to diversify their workforces.

And it goes without saying that connections are key to career development. The Society’s Young Professional Leadership Conference is a good example. This past June we held our third annual event, with the goal of providing young professionals with opportunities to develop the skills they need to assume leadership roles in the future. In the same vein, SuperConnect (on October 29), in partnership with fellow professional associations such as the Chicago Bar Association, Financial Executives International and the Chicago Finance Exchange, brings together professionals from all areas of the business world to forge relationships vital to business and professional growth. The Society’s committees and conference task forces also allow CPAs to expand their knowledge bases, while influencing the profession’s future. And, of course, the Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase coming up in August brings together almost 2,000 CPAs with opportunities to learn, interact and possibly generate business leads.

Connection. What a powerful word with so many different meanings, all critical to “Enhancing the Value of the CPA Profession.” I hope you watch the newest video in our CEO Video Series, which focuses on this important theme, and take full advantage of all the profession and your ICPAS has to offer. I look forward to connecting with many of you over the upcoming months. After all, connections are what it’s all about.