There is an old saying that “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  I was thinking about that saying last week after our most recent Not-for-Proft CFO Peer Group meeting. Most everyone in the room is the OFO (only financial officer) of their organization, so we all have to reach out to others when we have unfamiliar situations pop up that we aren’t sure how to handle. It’s always so educational to get a group of peers sitting around a table talking about similar issues or problems that we are facing, and to be able to lean on the collective knowledge of a group.

GroupsBack in October, the group met and we talked about fraud. Specifically about what we were doing with small staffs and limited resources to apply best practices and minimize risks. Almost everyone at the table had a story to tell about a fraud that they had experienced at some point in their careers, and what they learned from it. It was very helpful to share these experiences that others could relate to.

In February, we had a group discussion about outsourcing back end support services within our organizations. We talked about what worked and what didn’t. We shared stories of cost savings, improved efficiencies, and also stories about failed attempts to outsource. We talked about the steps required to sell the idea of outsourcing to our CEOs and to our staffs. In other words, the culture changes that have to take place for a successful experience at our organizations.

These are just two examples of topics from this one particular group. There are other groups currently in existence or potentially to be formed in the future, and many other topics of interest to be explored and shared. The possibilities are endless.

I personally find it so helpful to be able to talk to peers about different issues, and I am guessing that our members who participate do as well.  The CPA Center of Excellence® Online Community also allows for the opportunity to ask questions and share knowledge with your peers outside of these occasional group meetings. When you use the online community, it  may be people you know, but sometimes its people you don’t even know. Either way, the knowledge shared is invaluable.

Don’t be afraid to get involved in peer groups, networks, online communities or whatever forum is comfortable for you and ask questions and share your knowledge. Take advantage of what the Society and the CPA Center of Excellence® offers to help enhance your skills, broaden your horizons and ultimately advance your career. It’s a great way to learn something new!