insight magazine

Today's CPA | Winter 2022

Looking Back on an Amazing Journey

Before I venture on, I’d like to pause to reflect on where I’ve been.
Todd Shapiro ICPAS President & CEO

Many of you may know that I’ll be retiring on Feb. 3, 2023, after serving as the Illinois CPA Society’s president and CEO for the past 10 years. This will be my final column in that capacity, and I want to reflect on what’s been an amazing journey.

I can’t express how much I’ve loved leading this organization. When I set out on this journey in 2013, I was laser-focused on meeting and talking to members. Since then, through hundreds of conferences, town hall forums, networking events, firm visits, and more, I’ve traveled to every corner of our wonderful state—from Quincy out west, to Mt. Vernon and Collinsville down south, to Sterling up north, and across the entire Chicagoland area. Meeting and becoming friends with thousands of Society members over the years has been a highlight in my career, and it’s something that’ll stay with me for my lifetime—it’s also one of the things that I’ll miss the most.

It’s been an honor to lead this organization as it continues to strive toward its mission of “enhancing the value of the CPA profession.” Throughout my tenure, we’ve attempted to fulfill that mission by advocating for the profession and providing CPAs with meaningful education, information, and connection opportunities, all focused on helping our members achieve greater success. But we didn’t stop there.

As an organization, we’ve never shied away from addressing the challenges impacting the profession—or helping members navigate the change these professional issues necessitated. I’m proud of the fact that the Society has established itself as a national thought leader in driving the future of the profession. We’ve always tried to deal with the issues facing the profession fairly and honestly, no matter how complex. We’ve talked about the importance of audit quality, the “talk versus the walk” of work-life balance, and the need for increased diversity in the profession. We’ve dealt head-on with the challenges of a technological revolution, increased offshoring, a shrinking pipeline of new CPAs, changing expectations of young staff, and increasing demands from clients and companies. We've said that “trust” alone isn’t enough and contended that CPAs must become the “most trusted and strategic business advisors” to remain relevant. I hope we’ve made you proud to be a member of the Illinois CPA Society.

Every step along the way, we’ve maintained our focus on enhancing the value of the CPA profession and tried to instill that being successful as CPAs in the future means being prepared to navigate a fast-changing and increasingly complex business environment. After all, it’s been said that the pace of change will never be slower than it is today. Technological advancements and business demands will only accelerate.

You may have heard me say, “If it isn’t broke, break it,” or, “The best reason to change is because you haven’t.” I hope that you’ve seen how the Society has embraced that philosophy during the past 10 years. Now, it’s time for a change. Geof Brown will take the reigns as president and CEO when I retire on Feb. 3. Geof, a seasoned executive, is committed to continuing the Society’s role as a thought leader in the profession. The future is in good hands.

My thanks to all of you for allowing me to be part of the profession, the Society, and your lives. These past 10 years have afforded me the most amazing professional experiences of my career, and I’ll be forever humbled to have led this amazing organization. While I won’t miss getting up at 5 a.m. to be in the office by 7 a.m., I will miss talking, debating, and laughing with so many of you. You’ve touched my life and I hope I’ve touched yours. I wish the Society and all its members nothing but the best in the future—a future that I believe is bright.

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