Although the recent Council Meeting was run procedurally exactly as many Council meetings I have attended, I did notice some very importanct differences.

When the AICPA Spring Meeting Of Council is held in Washington, you expect political advocacy topics to be the bulk of the agenda. But this year, unlike past years, virtually all of the attending Council members seemed very comfortable with it. In talking to some of the Council members, I found they had a deep understanding of the importance that political advocacy plays at both the federal and at the state level. That appreciation was not as widespread years ago.

It was nice to hear how very successful the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy and the Feed the Pig campaigns are, both in terms of spreading the message and in proactively enhancing the reputation of CPAs after some of the beatings the profession took post-Enron.

The Council members were also told of feedback favoring the creation of a new designation for forensic accounting. There will additional research performed with the objective to present a business plan for consideration at the Fall Council Meeting as to whether the AICPA should create such a designation.
Council members were also told that the AICPA’s move of the bulk of its operations is virtually complete.

This Council meeting is in marked contrast to past ones that I attended years ago that focused on the Vision project, Cognitur, or on the discussion to eliminate specialized designations offered by the AICPA, all really lacking traction or success. What I saw at this meeting is an AICPA more attuned to its membership, and taking greater care to pick major initiatives focused on providing more immediate benefits. The AICPA is also taking a much more measured approach and there seems to be a greater effort on obtaining initial feedback on the viability of an initiative before a decision is made to go forward.

This combination of leadership and consensus building bodes well for the AICPA, and for the CPAs it serves.

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