“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

BetterI have no idea whom to attribute this quote to and when I Googled it, it seems it might be sports-related so I became immediately disinterested in its origins. But, I heard the mayor of Newark, N.J., say it in a radio interview once and I loved it, so I took it on as a kind of mantra. (Our CEO Gary Bolinger thinks this might make me scary to people who work with me, but I don’t mean it to be scary.) The phrase simply speaks to me about the need for continuous improvement. As fast as the world changes around us, if we aren’t continuing to change, to get better if you will, we might be actually slipping behind. It’s why I love working at the Society so much; we don’t rest on our past good deeds, we continue to get better.

And this isn’t always the norm. Assessing yourself, your staff, your business or your strategy – this is hard stuff and people don’t like to do it. I was talking to a professional recently who told me they’d been with their organization for almost 20 years and they hadn’t had a performance review in 17 years. So, how do they know how they’re doing? Did he really perfect everything once he hit the c-suite? I don’t know about that.

A lot of the work we are doing in creating the CPA Center of Excellence® is about helping organizations and individuals understand, in clear terms, if they are getting better. Or not.

The CPA Core Competency Study powered by SenseMaker® will re-launch soon and it’s aimed at setting an overall benchmark for the profession in the areas of the core competencies as identified by the AICPA’s Horizons 2025 report. When we launched it earlier this year we got 500 participants; we are looking for 500 more responses from across the country in order to issue our first benchmark report. Look for more information very soon.

CPA Excellence: A Quick Start Guide to Defining and Mastering Vital Skills for Success is a book which outlines – in detail – how to assess where a CPA in public accounting is on a scale of 1-5 related to each of the core competencies of the CPA profession. It explains how you know if you’re doing well. Or not.

The CPA Center of Excellence® Online – a community just for CPAs that allows you to ask others … does this make sense? Am I doing it right? How could I get better?

CPA Excellence Online Interactive Courses – these are a new way to work on core competencies. With the social component of the courses, participants challenge themselves, and others, to think a little harder and ask a few more questions in order to get better.

Assessing where you are and deciding where you want to be is an integral part of being the best at what you do. And you know what they say? If you’re not getting better…well, you know…