Being the first new hire at the CPA Society in more than a year, it was awkward coming in.

The second newest person had already been here a year and a half, and the longest for 30.

Every company has their established staff circles and dynamics, and at a certain point in life it gets harder to start from social scratch – to introduce yourself and your interests without feeling odd. So I have been pretty quiet, avoided microwaving fish and have moved my desk decor in bit-by-bit over the course of eight months, and people might not even have noticed much that I’m here, except for one thing –

I ask a lot of questions. I want to understand how and why things are done the way they are so I can identify opportunities for improvement and collaboration.

And even more than that: everyone wants to make meaning out of the 40+ waking hours they spend of their life at work each week. When your ability to learn and shape your environment stops, so does your interest in making any new observations.

So even if your company is right-sized with a happy workforce, still regularly prompt for feedback from your current employees and/or bring in new blood. Not necessarily a hire – could be interns, even a client.

New people can bring fresh energy, creativity, experience and above all questions to systems that might not have adapted at the same rate as the organization, environment, technology or processes available.

Sometimes a question only requires an answer – other times it requires change.

It might not result in a huge shift in how you do things. It could be as simple as “is the paper copy still necessary?” or “why do you buy so many water bottles instead of installing an endless filter?” or that kid who asked the government “why don’t you save millions in printer ink by using a different font?”

Questions impact process, which can impact your relevance, bottom line and momentum.

Fortunately for you as members and me as the newest staff person, the Indiana CPA Society was built for change.

With INCPAS 2025 task forces planning for the future, the CPA Center of Excellence® staff team striving to challenge traditional learning to better accommodate member needs, advocates laying the groundwork for evolving policy needs, and the Society’s first foray into integrated reporting – INCPAS is asking the questions that others might not have time to consider. It’s an ongoing S.W.O.T. analysis of the CPA environment, the results of which will help identify some of those larger-picture discussions that need to be had.

One of those larger-picture discussions even led to the recent launch of the CPA Center of Excellence® that will help ease CPAs into the evolution of learning, advancement and online collaboration – a very tangible, user-friendly, engaging and practical outcome to stem from the many, many questions asked over the past several years. If you haven’t already, do check out the new members-only online community forum – I only wish I could have a local resource of this caliber in my role as a communications professional.

Finally, I’m so pleased I arrived here when I did. Not only to learn how things are and where they are heading, but also to find out where we’ve been in this profession. With the Society’s 100-year anniversary coming up on May 15, 2015 (save the CPA Celebration date – it’s at the Indiana Roof Ballroom!), I’m getting to hear about how other people’s questions and ambitions have gotten us to this point. If you’d like to read some of what we’ve learned so far, you can read our archivist’s latest history update.