Are you tired? It’s OK. Take a break. Then, get right back at it. That’s my advice.
I must tell you that right now I’m tired. Tired of winter (yes, I know it’s been mild here in Indiana, but I still don’t like it.) I’m tired of gray skies, social media, politics, opinions and maybe even a little tired of facts. I’m bombarded with media and ideas and I am doing a terrible job of slowing it down because, let’s face it, there’s just no way around it, is there?
Things can move faster than we want them to and expectations of ourselves and others seem to be getting bigger all the time. This was clearly illustrated recently when a co-worker was cleaning up her office and found a list of goals we wanted to achieve here at the Society about 8 years ago. That list included making sure we had recyclable cups in our break area when members are here for classes. Seriously. I’m not saying we didn’t also do important work at that time, but when you go through the list (which every staff person contributed to) you can’t help but see a different, less complicated level of expectation.
We were streamlining marketing processes and updating branding (important, but not earth-shattering.) We were interested in dipping our toe in the waters of webinars. Now our professional development catalog includes hundreds of options. We wanted to increase member engagement and membership numbers (a perennial goal), but we also were anxious about the economy then and we wanted to help members during tough economic times. Our goals seemed just a little simpler – one staff member put it like this: “I hope the crowning achievement for INCPAS in the year ahead will be that we were able to go above and beyond to help make our members’ lives easier, no matter how time consuming the task may be. We are here for our members and the CPAs of Indiana and need to give them the attention they deserve. If not for them, we would not be here.”
Wow. That’s a great sentiment in 2009 and it’s still great in 2017. And to do that, to be here for our members, our priorities have changed and our goals have grown. We’re learning more every day about a somewhat complex new software we launched to help target marketing messages to members. We have a bill right now making its way through the legislative process in this state to fundamentally change the way continuing education may be acquired for licensed CPAs in Indiana. We continue to work to promote our wholly-owned subsidiary organization, the CPA Center of Excellence®, including its new competency-based Ethics course that is already very popular among our members and has been hailed by some members as “the best ethics course they’ve ever taken.”
There’s more … We’re looking ahead at our professional development offerings and how we can provide what members need in this important 3rd year of the reporting cycle while also planning for a future where, frankly, we don’t know if we’ll offer as many seminars because of the increase in competition and options available. We’re also literally changing lives of high school students across Indiana with our INCPAS Scholars program as we try to increase the number of minority students studying accounting in Indiana (all while national numbers on diversity in the profession remain stagnant). We’ve developed an app for members in business and industry. We’ll soon release a comprehensive white paper from a board-level task force on innovation. We’re working to figure out what the CGMA credential does and should mean and how we best serve our membership. We’re considering changes to our volunteer leadership structure and working to ensure members in our INCPAS-sponsored insurance program keep the exceptional plan we’ve been able to provide for so many years. We’ve developed networks of firms, a network for not-for-profit CFOs, a network for CPAs in healthcare and a new group for members working in manufacturing.
That’s a partial list of what we have going on. I know those of you who are in tax season probably stopped reading when I said I was tired (what do I know about being tired during tax season?!) But, during this time when so many members are otherwise engaged, this is when we slow down just a tiny bit. I’m taking a vacation in a couple of weeks. To an island. My husband and I have no adventures or sightseeing planned (rare for us); in fact, we intend to be fairly lazy so we can recharge and get right back at the work we love.
There’s no shame in being tired. The shame comes when you don’t do anything about it. I’m excited about the future of the CPA profession and Indiana CPAs, and I want to be at my best so I can “go above and beyond to help make our members’ lives easier.” Or, at least as easy as they can be in these fast-moving times we live in.