I’m not a CPA yet. I’ve only been working for two years. I’m busy. My boss didn’t tell me to do it. I don’t know anyone outside of my firm/company/school so I don’t see how I could help or benefit. These are just a few of the reasons I’ve heard from young professionals about why they don’t join the Society, why they don’t actively share their opinions or why they don’t participate in some way with this organization. Well, I’m here to tell you to jump in, the water’s fine. We’ll keep you afloat. It’s what we do.

We are talking directly to young professionals (five or fewer years of experience) to tell them what we do as the Indiana CPA Society to support their chosen profession and to give them a stronger sense of the wide world of accountancy and how they fit into it. We are doing this through our new Young Pros Forums (held in a few cities around Indiana). The agenda includes a discussion of who we are and what we do as the only professional organization in Indiana dedicated to serving CPAs. We talk (yes, it’s a conversation and not just a presentation) and share information about why they chose accounting, what they hope to get out of it, how a CPA license works (and why they should maintain it), how a lot of their future is riding on what happens through our government relations and advocacy efforts (and how their opinions can influence what we do).

We talk about ethics and peer review, the AICPA Horizons project outlining the core services, competencies and future of the CPA profession, and big picture issues like private company financial reporting, international financial reporting standards, the new CGMA credential, and the emerging area of integrated reporting (which we think CPAs should care about). We wrap up with discussion of not-for-profit board service for personal and professional development (and how we can help with this) as well as talk about leadership training opportunities within INCPAS and the AICPA.

We’ve only held two forums so far, but I can tell you I’ve already heard stories and opinions that will help me in the way I think about services we provide to young members.

CPAs have long, dynamic careers — it’s a PROFESSION (not an industry, and not just a particular job at a particular time). Having a solid understanding of the complexities of the CPA profession is what makes someone want to stick with it and figure out how they want to grow and what they want to achieve. Newer professionals don’t have to wait to get involved and share their views — so, if you are a young professional jump on in and take part in the Society and if you are more experienced, then maybe push someone from your firm or company into the shallow end and let us take it from there.