Are You Looking Back or Moving Forward?
2018 was a heck of a year for the Society and the profession. Let’s keep the momentum going in 2019.
ICPAS President & CEO
We’re getting into that time of the year when many of us start
looking back on the could haves, would haves, and should haves
of the past year. But I’d like to stress, more importantly, that it’s time
to take stock of 2018’s highlights and victories and look forward to
more in 2019.
For me personally, a 2018 highlight was watching ICPAS member
Lester H. McKeever, Jr. receive the AICPA’s Gold Medal of
Distinction Award, the highest award in our profession. Lester
established himself as a leader in the business community,
mentored countless CPAs, and has been a driver in advancing
diversity in our profession throughout his career. He himself was a
mentee of Mary T. Washington Wylie, whose 75th anniversary of
becoming our nation’s first African-American female CPA we
recently celebrated. Adorning light poles with banners honoring
her throughout Chicago’s financial district, and having Sept. 30
formally designated as Mary T. Washington Wylie Day in Chicago,
are victories for advancing diversity in our profession.
The Society also tallied up several highlights in its ongoing effort
to enhance the value of the CPA profession and the professional
education and connections it provides. We launched ICPAS
Connect, an online community where members virtually connect
to share insights, advice, and form stronger professional networks.
We revamped our major annual accounting event into the ICPAS
Summit, bringing you a new look and new content. We’ve
committed resources to our Academy of Learning to bring you
more hands-on, data- and technology-focused education to help
you succeed in an increasingly digital workplace. And our annual
CPA Day of Service had a record turnout — nearly 1,500 CPAs
across the state took a day to come together and give back to the
communities they serve.
We’re also in the midst of piloting a new Corporate Access
Program that extends our resources to a much broader group of
accounting and finance professionals and focuses on improving the
competencies of corporate finance teams in an easy-to-administer,
Of course, we also had a busy year on the advocacy front in
Springfield. We continue to diligently watch for any attempt to
tax professional services; we moved legislation forward to allow
government entities to continue using cash-basis accounting;
we launched Voter Voice, an easy-to-use, web-based system
for contacting your legislators when we need our collective
professional voice to be heard; and we continue our efforts to form
bi-partisan relationships with legislators to help move the state and
our profession forward.
I share all of this with you because I want to highlight that you are
part of something significant, and what we accomplished in 2018
is just the start of what we hope to accomplish in 2019.
The AICPA predicts three trends will significantly impact our
profession moving forward: technology, changes in hiring practices,
and new client demands. Over the next year, we’ll be exploring each
of these areas in greater detail to reveal how accounting and finance
professionals can innovate to capitalize on them. I hope you’ll join
us, because every CPA in every business needs to embrace
innovation. I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “don’t change
for change’s sake.” Maybe you even live by those words. But we can
no longer wait to change. To be successful in the future, we need to
start saying “the best reason to change is because we haven’t.”
I recently heard a speaker say that we’ll never experience a pace
of change slower than it is right now. I know for many of us it feels
like change is occurring at light speed. We have to keep up, we
have to stay relevant, and we have to keep looking forward — now
and in the years ahead.