Over twenty major firm Managing Partners met in Columbia yesterday to hear an update on the major trends facing the Profession and help rank top priorities for MACPA.
The genesis of our Managing Partner Roundtable was the Enron – Tyco crisis in 2002 and the need to mobilize the major accounitng firms in Maryland in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2003. That meeting led to success in stopping unintended consequences at the federal, state and state board level, said MACPA CEO, Tom Hood as he opened the meeting. Today is important as many firms have merged and changed names and we need a strong community to continue our proactive work in the Profession in the critial areas of Legislative advocacy, talent and emerging technology.
Lexy Kessler, CPA,CGMA, MACPA’s Secretary – Treasurer and partner at Aronson kicked off the meeting with an update on the major issues facing our Profession from the AICPA Major Firms (Top 100) Group meeting she chaired. Lexy shared her insights from a series of keynotes that incuded culture (Dee Ann Turner), diversity & incusion (Steve Robbins), firm transformation, and disruption. She concluded with the latest report from the 2019 AICPA PCPS Firm Survey.
MACPA CEO, Tom Hood, CPA, CGMA,CITP and Rebekah Brown, CPA, Director of Development followed with MACPA’s key initiatives to help Maryland firms thrive in these rapidly changing times. The partners prioritized the MACPA initiatives they found most relevant in order of importance:
Top Programs Firm’s Value the Most
- Emerging technology & Innovation (AI, RPA, etc)
- Advocacy – Legislative & Regulatory
- Recruiting to the Profession Student Pipeline Initiatives
- Emerging leader development and initiatives
- Learning & CPE
- Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
- Anticipation – Using Strategic Foresight to Stay Ahead of Trends
- #FutureReady Up-skilling & Re-skilling the Profession
‘Emerging technology and Innovation’ shot to the top of the list and ‘Recruiting to the Profession’, ‘Emerging Leaders’ and ‘D&I’ all moved up for the first time in the Top 5. Advocacy maintained a top spot.
The second major conversation was around advocacy and key legislative issues facing Maryland firms. State Senator, Brian Feldman, CPA (D – District 15) and Vice-Chair of Senate Finance Committee addressed the group (see video clip here) and emphasized the importance of getting active as a Profession and supporting CPA Day in Annapolis (January 23, 2019). When we asked the group what issues scared them the most and they responded, “all of them!”
Top Legislative Issues
Here are the top issues they are most concerned about for 2020:
- Firm Liability – Preserving Contributory Negligence
- Stop sales taxes on services
- Stop Excessive Data Protection & Privacy Legislation
- Stop efforts to eliminate State Boards of Licensing CPAs (Deregulatory risk)
- Stop service contracts and employee tracking
- Weigh in on business policy issues
- Stop excessive Over-Time Legislation
- Increase involvement in Maryland Tax Policy
The other significant insight for the group is that Maryland has the most favorable practice environments for CPAs and CPA Firms in the nation because of our proactive legislative and regulatory advocacy (Note: most of these bills were sponsored by Senator Feldman).
Tom Hood made three points as follows:
- The tremendous increase in the types and volume of legislative threats has increased dramatically in the last ten years with over three thousand bills in the 90-day legislative session;
- Join the over 100 firms who pledge 100% membership.
- There is strength in numbers in politics. MACPA needs the support of major firms to have the financiasl resources and grassroots connections to continue effective and proactive advocacy. We have two signature events that show our collective strength, our Newly Licensed CPA Swearing-In Ceremony on November 14, 2019 and CPA Day in Annapolis on Janurarty 23, 2020. Stay up-to-date on our legislative issues here www.macpa.org/advocacy
Opportunities in these Exponential Times
- Emerging technology & Innovation – AI in Auditing, Blockchain, Data Analytics and RPA
- Client Accounting Services (CAS)
- Cannabis Industry – We have received approval for thois type of pratice from the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy. Here is our latest podcast about setting up a cannabis practice.
- #FutureReady Learning and T-Shaped Professional – Our firm and corporate specialists are ready to help you design the prefect curriculum to keep your firm up-to-date
- #FutureReady resources – articles, whitepapers, podcasts and whitepapers to help you ride the waves or change
- Join us in a virtual interactive conversation about the Future of the Profession at CPA Convene on October 3, 2019 from 12:00pm – 3:00pm (ET)
Tom asked a final question, What are we not doing that we should be doing?
Answer: NOTHING, and one MP added, “The MACPA is doing a world class job of representing their members!”