The California Society of CPAs marked a milestone Monday, with chairman Lewis Sharpstone saying the organization now has 45,000 members, making it the biggest state CPA society in the country.

“We are gratified that so many California certified public accountants, CPA candidates, students and financial professionals have decided that membership in the California Society of CPAs is vital to advancement in their careers,” Sharpstone said in a statement. “We believe that membership in CalCPA is beneficial both to our members and to the public. Through its various programs, CalCPA promotes the highest professional standards, and our members are committed to improving the financial literacy of all Californians.”

A big part of the credit goes to CPA firms in the Golden State. More than 130 accounting firms in California have all their CPA staff members enrolled in CalCPA. One of the society’s new initiatives to serve its members is CalCPA Connect, which gives participating members a way to communicate online.

“We envision CalCPA Connect as a way members can easily tap the expertise and knowledge developed through our various committees and sections,” said Sharpstone. “Members not only will be able to access best-practice studies and other research through CalCPA Connect, they'll also communicate directly with member experts and colleagues to get their advice.”

CalCPA dates back to 1903 when the California State Society of CPAs was organized. In 1909, it merged with two other state CPA associations to form the current organization. CalCPA has 14 chapters throughout the state. There are several categories of membership, ranging from student to lifetime members, who have been CalCPA members for 40 years. CalCPA also offers membership to financial professionals who aren’t CPAs. Based on a survey, CalCPA estimates its members performed more than 1.2 million hours of volunteer service over the past year, such as leading financial literacy programs throughout the state.

CalCPA's headquarters in Burlingame
CalCPA's headquarters in Burlingame

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