The calendar says we’re still in the middle of the coldest, snowiest winter in recent memory. The Winter Olympics are in their first week. Even the groundhog said six more weeks of winter. But inside the Society office, the pace of planning (if not the temperature), is rising.

WinterAs Gary Bolinger alluded to in his blog post on January 30, we have a new strategic plan. The plan is designed to be flexible and emergent, with broader objectives. The goals and action steps will be specific and evaluated on an annual basis. Staff is currently working on identifying the key performance indicators and developing the initiatives that will correspond to the new objectives. Not surprising, we are focused on membership growth, member competency, advocating for the CPA profession, attracting and retaining talented individuals, and positioning CPAs as trusted business advisors.

We are also in our budgeting season, and that, of course, ties in with the strategic plan initiatives. Budget requests will link to the new initiatives, and will enable us to effectively plan for fiscal year 2015.

Speaking of 2015, what a special year it will be for INCPAS. We will celebrate our centennial anniversary in May of 2015. The official celebration will be at CPA Celebration on May 15, 2015, in downtown Indianapolis. But this is more than one day or even one month. It will be a year-long celebration … really even more than a year, starting this spring in the year leading up to the celebration and lasting throughout the year. Staff is already planning, not just for the 2015 CPA Celebration, but for other centennial-related activities and items. Look for a commemorative book, a historical video, special website features, and much more next year! Do you have any stories or memories to share?

And then there’s the CPA Center of Excellence™. You’ve been hearing about this for awhile now, but it’s not just an idea or a concept any more. Plans are in place, and you will be seeing many exciting elements of the entire CPA Center of Excellence™ project throughout the year. We already have the Fusion Network and their informative blog site (for written and audio blogs) called The Smoke Detector. If you haven’t subscribed, you need to. Emerging trends and issues that should be important to you are discussed each week.

We’ve been talking a lot about competencies and skills. The CPA Center of Excellence™ is the center for it all. New interactive, on-demand, competency-based education modules are in the final stages of development and will be available this spring and summer. You can even earn digital badges upon completion. A quick start guide for mastering the critical skills (core competencies) of the CPA profession will also be published and available this spring.  In addition, there are assessment tools, new live classes, and even advisory services all created with one goal – to make you a better CPA.

The final piece of the CPA Center of Excellence™ revolves around networking and intelligent collaboration. There will soon be a robust online community called the CPA Center of Excellence™ Online available to all members, in which you can create groups and profiles, endorse colleagues, start discussions, ask questions, and much, much more.  We will continue to create awareness of all the CPA Center of Excellence™ has to offer during 2014. How will you use it?

Stay warm. Spring will be here before we know it, even if Punxsutawney Phil plans to stay in hibernation for another few weeks.