Why is it important for CPAs to advocate for the profession? Many professions, such as insurance professionals, bankers and attorneys, give unique perspectives and expertise to business. CPAs can tie all of those perspectives to their own area of expertise in a way that benefits all.
How have you been proactive in the past? It started with my membership in The Exchange Club, a club my grandfather was active in beginning in the 1920’s. From there, I’ve been active in First Tee, the Alabama Golf Association, President of Indian Hills Country Club, the Chamber of Commerce, The University of Alabama’s President’s Cabinet, DCH Hospital’s Foundation Board of Directors, past Chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, past Chairman of ProgressPAC and now, Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama.
Why did you decide to get involved with the BCA? Being involved in ProgressPAC gives you the opportunity, on a local level, to interview candidates, and make recommendations to the [BCA] Board on which candidates to support. Having the opportunity to recommend candidates who are pro-business was all the reason I needed. While serving as the chair of our local RAC [Regional Advisory Committee], I called Mr. Canary, the President and CEO of the BCA, and told him if there was ever an opening from our area on the state board, I would like to serve. My involvement locally with the ProgressPAC and RAC led to my election to the BCA Board; now I am serving as chairman.”
What are your goals as BCA chair in 2013? Well, in the first part of the year, the legislative agenda is always our foremost priority. Once the session is over, we will be focusing on our education initiatives to support better education throughout our state. Without an educated workforce, it’s difficult to compete globally; and in order to move forward in today’s world, you must be prepared to compete globally.
What are the top issues for CPAs right now? Of course the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – the ‘Fiscal Cliff Bill’ and how that will affect our clients, is definitely a top issue. Then there are the fiscal and financial pressures of four years of a bad economy to deal with along with several others, such as healthcare reforms, etc.
How can individual members of the Alabama Society be effective in advocating for the profession? “Do an exceptional job at what you do, be ethical, do the right thing, and give great service to your clients. This promotes our profession more than anything, in my opinion.
How can support of the Alabama CPA PAC aid in that process? Anytime you can get people involved in the process of electing good candidates, it helps. Some can give time, but almost all can give financial support. I imagine most don’t, but in my opinion, they should.
What advice do you have for younger professionals in terms of advocacy? Get out in your community. Get yourself known. Volunteer with a cause that means something to you.
There are a record number of CPAs who will be serving as members of the U.S. House and Senate this year. What impact will their presence have on the complex financial issues facing Congress? They will bring a business perspective to their co-legislators and help them to make more objective decisions on fiscal matters.
originally published: Alabama CPA magazine, member publication of the Alabama Society of CPAs.