The newly inaugurated chairman of the California Society of CPAs hopes to strengthen the relationship between CalCPA and California accounting firms.

Richard Simitian also intends to focus on retaining new members in the Society and developing their leadership potential. "We offer an extremely high level of educational offerings to help ensure that CalCPA members are indisputably California's finest CPAs," Simitian said in his address to CalCPA leadership during inauguration ceremonies for his term as chairman for 2013-2014. "Newcomers to the profession want to be able to impact the organization and impact the decision making very early on in their careers.”

Simitian said that CalCPA will strive to increase membership from the ranks of California's new CPA licensees and will continue to promote accounting careers to students. “What can we do to ensure that we attract more to the profession and ensure that we provide them with the tools they need to launch their careers and continue their connection with CalCPA for many years to come?” he asked members of CalCPA’s Council.

The new chair noted that CalCPA offers educational opportunities, including technical training, to help CPA firms improve the value of services their employees offer to clients. During his year as chair, Simitian said he would seek to "open dialogue on various topics of interest" with firms and ask them how CalCPA can assist them. He also will encourage feedback from young and emerging professional members on how CalCPA can be relevant to their needs.

Simitian is the regional audit practice leader of Grant Thornton LLP's West Region. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Pace University, N.Y. Since 2007, he has served on the board of the Weingart Center, a Los Angeles nonprofit that helps homeless individuals become self-sufficient.

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