Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.
Do you know who the advocates for the CPA profession are? Well, yes, they are Society staff … and certainly we have a lobbyist … but, more importantly “they” are you. You understand the issues. You see the problems that need to be solved in your business and that of your clients. You deal with complexity everyday to make things easier and more efficient in businesses across Indiana. So, “yes,” you are the advocate we need for the CPA profession. The problem is, this is where the conversation usually ends. Most members agree CPAs have all the knowledge and skills to be great advocates, but most do not want to take the next step and become one.
Why is that? I hear from members that it is because people think it will take a lot of time, or an intimate understanding of the legislative process, or maybe someone will ask a question for which you do not know the answer. Those are all invalid reasons because, it doesn’t take a lot of time, you have staff to walk through the issues and the process, and you know where to find answers to any questions you might be asked.
Chances are you have seen an article in the Society’s magazine or read an email asking you to volunteer to be a legislative key person or to attend the INCPAS Legislators Breakfast, and you have received a letter to contribute to the Indiana CPA-PAC. A vast majority of our members read the messages and do not act. For the few who take up the banner and take the next step, most find it is an easy, rewarding and meaningful experience.
So, how about it? Now will you consider being an advocate for the CPA profession?
As the Indiana General Assembly reconvenes to begin the short session, you have several opportunities to be an advocate for the profession.
- Contact your state representative and state senator introducing yourself either by email or phone. It is as simple as saying, “I am a constituent and a CPA. As a CPA, I have expertise that may be of use to you when considering business and tax related legislation. I would be happy to talk with you at any time. Here is my contact information:”
- Let the Society know that you will serve as a Legislative Key Person for each of your legislators. You will be added to the list to receive an e-newsletter that helps you know what issues the Society is working on during the legislative session.
- Plan to attend the INCPAS Legislators Breakfast on January 16, 2014. Contact your legislators to invite them personally and to arrange to meet them for breakfast. (Think of this as having breakfast with a potential client or employer – you want to get to know as much about them as possible so you can use your expertise to solve their problems and help them be successful).
- Can’t attend the breakfast? At least contact your legislators and invite them to attend. Let them know that our board members and members involved in government relations will be on hand to greet and have breakfast with them. (Then let the Society know you did this.)
Not ready to do any of the above? Set a task for yourself to do one advocacy-related step every couple of months. You will be surprised at the progress you can make. Because when it comes to being an advocate for your profession … If it’s not you, then who?