Efforts to create a shared member database between the American Institute of CPAs and state CPA societies will come to a halt, J. Clarke Price, chairman of Shared Services LLC, said last week.
In a July 6 memo to state society chief executives, Price said that the involved parties had all underestimated the complexity of integrating Oracle's large-scale software platform with the computer membership systems of about 50 different partners. Price, who is also the chief executive and president of the Ohio State Society of CPAs, had been running a beta site of the project. He said that problems integrating the Web sites of state societies and order entry resulted in operational inefficiencies and that further state implementations will be postponed indefinitely.
"Reaching this conclusion has been an extremely difficult one for members of the SSNI and SSLLC Boards, AICPA and SSLLC staff, and for me personally," Price said in the memo. "Many people have made significant sacrifices in an effort to execute on the vision that we created together nearly six years ago."
The SSLLC, which is jointly owned by the AICPA and the State Society Network Inc. (the nonprofit comprising societies in the 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico), was formed in 2001 with the goal of allowing CPA members to access membership updates and discount offers though the AICPA Web site portal, CPA2Biz.com. When the plan was first announced, some state society heads expressed concern about what a one-stop portal could mean to the individual identities of the state societies and whether CPA members would be deluged by marketers.
Clarke said that the AICPA would continue to utilize the platform advances made as part of the so-called Member Solutions Partnership. He said that a number of issues that are causing conflicts with data from individual state societies were not a concern for the larger AICPA organization, which doesn't rely on real-time data entry for certain CPE programs.
Aid will be given to states using the customer relations management or the enterprise resource planning components of the partnership platform to transition off of the software. Full refunds will be made to all states that contributed either a reservation or implementation fee deposit and did not receive any services.
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