AINew York (Aug. 12, 2003) -- He's only been on the job for a week, but Jim Metzler is already hard at work in his new role as vice-president, small CPA firm interests, at the American Institute of CPAs.


Acknowledging that the perception among small firms is that "they weren't being heard in the right places," Metzler said one of his goals is to "rebuild our community."


"It's hard to build closeness with 45,000 firms, but we're going to do it," Metzler vowed.


Metzler, who spent nearly three decades as partner at a small Buffalo, N.Y. firm, said he looks forward to coming up with tools geared specifically toward smaller CPA firms to help them in their practices.


"We hear a lot that CPAs love our insurance program, but there have to be other key deliverables," Metzler said.


For the next few weeks, Metzler and his team will devote time and resources to listening to the concerns of small firms, strategizing and building a framework of ideas to present to the AICPA's board in early September. After a framework is approved by the board, Metzler will come up with a series of action items to carry out over the next year.


Already, Metzler is busy forging closer ties with state societies and expects to be cris-crossing the country on a fact-finding mission over the next year. He also plans to set up some kind of electronic communication or online forum for small firms, and work with the AICPA's for-profit Web portal, CPA2Biz, to see what synergies might be found there for small firm interests.


-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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