Since April I’ve have the pleasure of traveling the state through the Professional Issues Update series. It’s been an educational and enjoyable experience to greet the more than 2,500 OSCPA members who’ve attended. They’ve provided valuable insight into the challenges CPAs face in 2013. And I’m finding it’s no small list.
I wanted to share some key observations formed from these group discussions and one-on-one conversations. During the PIUs, we conducted instant polling to get a better picture of issues commonly affecting CPAs’ businesses. Topping members’ list were increasing regulation and internal controls, leadership changes and employee retention, the economy, and health care reform.
Beyond those issues is the more important question of how can The Ohio Society of CPAs help members succeed in this swirling morass of business and environmental instability?
Take the economy, for example. On a scale of 1 to 5, CPAs’ confidence for sustained U.S. economic growth through 2013 was just 2.7. Not very optimistic, but understandable given the slow movement in Washington on issues most think will move the economy forward: slowing the deficit clock and enacting major tax reform.
Last month, I joined our Governmental Affairs team and 12 Ohio CPAs for the annual Legislative Fly-In. Over several days, we met with Ohio’s elected leaders who appreciated hearing directly how indecision in Washington caused headaches during tax season, and how laws and regulations are affecting Ohio businesses and individuals. We also urged their support of bills for mobile workforce rules and tax due date simplification. Finally, we again offered CPAs’ help to simplify our tax code.
We’ll continue to watch the developing controversy around IRS overreach, and will seek to offer our members’ experiences where appropriate.
Health care reform is the two-ton elephant in the room at every business meeting this year. CPAs continue to prepare for a new system even as it is still taking shape. OSCPA is committed to being your partner in the implementation and beyond, offering education and valuable resources to help CPAs prepare to guide their own organizations and clients.
Increasing regulatory obligations is one area OSCPA is weighing in on. We have worked closely with Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to identify red tape in Ohio that is slowing business growth. When new or revised accounting standards are released for public comment, OSCPA’s various committees are quick to weigh in on behalf of all Ohio CPAs.
Building effective controls at all levels in an organization is an unfortunate byproduct of increased regulation. But it’s also an opportunity for CPAs to lead by developing new controls, improving existing ones and ensuring accountability. OSCPA continually seeks the best experts in the business to conduct educational sessions on this growing topic.
Retaining a talented workforce is a key concern of CPAs today. We’re competing with a smaller student talent pool for the best and the brightest to fill our future ranks. CPA societies must act quickly and creatively to ensure a steady pipeline for the future. OSCPA now has Student Ambassadors promoting the CPA profession on 15 Ohio college campuses. We’ve increased the number of ASPIRE! community college minority recruiting programs we hold yearly and we were the first state CPA society to partner with the AICPA this May on a regional workshop for college students.
I appreciate your candor during the PIUs, and I’m thrilled by the high level of engagement and passion Ohio CPAs have shown on the issues that matter. Working together, we will continue to make a difference.