NCSA LEADERSHIP DAY
Pinewood Country Club
JULY 17, 2015
President Elect Jim Holmes has requested that I present to you a history lesson in order to explain why NCSA exists and the interrelationship with the Chapters. I must have done such an inspirational job in 2014 for President Elect Ron Powell that I am back to try again this year.
If you read the website or the directory, you will see this organization was charted in 1947. But take a moment and think about the issues and anxieties that led up to the formal formation.
How would your practice have been affected if you received a letter from the NC Board of Accountancy with which you have no relationship that you are to cease and desist doing financial statements for your clients?
How would you have felt if someone questioned your professionalism, your integrity, and in their eyes you are not educated enough to practice the principles of accounting?
How would you have felt if you learned that you would be required to inform your most important clients that you are not legally permitted to prepare the financial statements they must supply to their banker or their board of directors?
How would you have felt if you were informed that you are considered by the CPA Community to be a “Second Class of Professionals” not worthy to be compared to their exclusive society?
Our founding fathers and one lady, Carrie Beal, formed this Society to protect your practice rights as NON- Certified Public Accountants and had the term “ACCOUNTANT” inserted into G.S. Chapter 93(6). If this responsibility was forced on YOU today, could you be AS successful? Could you address the members of the State Legislative bodies? Could you explain why you are NOT “Second Class Professionals” in today’s complex accounting world?
WHO ARE WE?
In previous meetings I have tried to explain confusing definition of Practice of Public Accountancy and our legal right to hold ourselves out to the general public as an “Accountant”. Mr. Curt Lee will be addressing this issue this morning.
Our Society is a diverse group. We consist of Accountants, Enrolled Agents, CPAs, Bookkeepers, and Tax Preparers. Many of our members hold credentials such as Accredited Business Accountant, Accredited Tax Preparer, Accredited Tax Advisor, Enrolled Agent, and now AFSP (Annual Filing Season Program).
We offer a variety of services to thousands of small businesses. Even though we are not mandated to do Peer Review like the practicing CPAs we compete with on a daily basis, the Society offers its own voluntary version of financial reviews called Quality Assurance Review. “The stated purpose of the QAR is to offer a professional and confidential review of the member’s client’s financial statements that are submitted to their clients. This will be performed in an agreed upon format from the committee’s perspective and should help you increase your confidence that your presentations are in accordance with accepted professional standards”. We have been assisting our members in the understanding and presentation of their financial statements since 1995.
Our Legislative Committee monitors the monthly meetings of the NC CPA Board of Examiners. The current relationship we have with the Board and the Executive Director, Bob Brooks, is no accident. It has taken years of service from Curt Lee, the Legislative Committee, and other members to maintain our relationship.
We pay a legislative lobbyist thousands of dollars each year to monitor the State Legislature. As stated on our membership invoices, we apply 10% of the state dues toward the legislative expenses. The 10% portion is non-deductible expense. We also encourage voluntary non-deductible contributions from all of our members, and we have started a tradition to accept pledges at the June convention. Thanks goes to James Upton for starting this tradition.
Our Education Committee works hard to oversee the development, promotion and coordination of continuing professional education programs that include seminars and conferences. We support and encourage attendance at the Professional Tax Institutes (PTI) annual tax conferences.
There are a total of 32 standing and ad-hoc Committees appointed by the President.
We are a sleeping giant. We do not preach to the Legislature as the Moral Majority does, even though every citizen has that right. We maintain a professional attitude and a grass roots campaign. When outside efforts try to change the accounting law we will ask our thousands of accounting and tax clients to join the NCSA Line Officers, Board of Directors, Legislative Committee members and our rank and file members to protect the best accountancy law in the United States.
TO THE FUTURE:
Today, we are still facing anxieties and the possibility of legal actions. With AICPA’s implementation of Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) 21 we must understand the long reach of these changes. The CPA community has finally inserted in the codification of the standards the fact that a Compilation Report is an “Attest Function”. We now have a new accounting standard called “Preparation of Financial Statements” that replaces the old SSARS 8 and the “Restricted For Management Use Only” reports. These new reports will now require a disclaimer on each page of the financial statements. Sample language may be “No CPA (Accountant) provides any assurance on these statements” or “These financial statements have not been audited or reviewed and no CPA (Accountant) expresses an opinion or a conclusion nor provides any assurance on them”. Personally, I do not know why “compiled” was omitted or how we actually get such in depth language on every page.
The important questions you should be asking are, “What does this mean to non-certified accountants in North Carolina?” “How does the new financial statement requirements affect your relationships with the Banking community and with our State Legislators?” “How does it affect your continuing existence as an “Accountant” which you enjoy today?”
North Carolina has the best accounting law in the country. Kansas and North Carolina are the only two remaining states with no restrictions. Prior to SSARS 21 there were five. We can only maintain our diligence with members who respect what this Society stands for. The fact that we have endured is due to the leaders that have offered to serve and give their time, energy, and loss of billing hours to represent the rights of ALL “Accountants,” whether or not they support the membership of this Society.
This month you received a membership invoice with an increased full membership dues to $180.00. We have not increased our $150.00 full membership dues for twelve years. It is normal to question increases in our expenses. But, we need to address the tremendous return our members are getting in return for $15 per month and to work hard to maintain all of our membership base.
NCSA’s By-Laws, Article V, Government, Section 5 Chapters, gives the State Board of Directors the power to charter local chapters. It gives the Board the authority to appoint a committee who will approve the bylaws of the Chapters with a reference to the number of officers to be elected that are members in good standing with the State.
There is no mention in the State By-Laws of the Chapters drafting their own Charter. There is no mention of a class of membership called “Chapter Members”. Maybe we need to update our state bylaws to the reality that occurs within the local chapters. When a new State membership is issued, the member is informed as to the closest chapter to his residence. The question remains, is a State member voluntarily assigned to a Chapter and therefore a voluntarily member of the Chapter? Most of our Chapters have membership applications and charge a small voluntary fee to be registered as a dues paying chapter member. This procedure should be reported in the Chapters’ By-Laws which should have previously been approved by the State’s Board of Directors.
Many Chapter members feel they are only associated with the Local Chapters. Many chapter members have limited understanding of the State functions. They do not feel the necessity of joining and paying dues to the State. Many in fact mistakenly assume they are State members by simply paying Chapter dues.
Our members at the State level often do not relate information adequately to the Chapter members. The State Nominating Committee tries to nominate board members that will understand that it is an honor to be elected and is your duty to represent your local Chapter. The current board members need to understand it is their responsibility to regularly report to the chapters everything that happens at the state level. Past leaders of the State need to continue their association with the chapters. Their experience is invaluable.
It is a difficult task getting prospective members to attend and support the grass roots chapter level. The Society cannot survive without strong local chapters and their members. They are the State’s lifeline. The State Certificate of Incorporation states we: (a) elevate and maintain among the members of the public accounting profession a high standard of proficiency and integrity, (b) promote the interest of public accountants in NC, (c) develop and improve accountancy education, (d) compile and distribute information to the members for their benefit, and (e) promote harmony and fellowship.
In accordance with the State, the Local Chapters are where our purpose needs to grow. Granted, the State sponsors several accounting and tax seminars, but the chapters can promote the State and their local chapters by having CPE at their monthly meetings, by fostering fellowship not only among the dues paying members, but the entire volunteer membership of all State Members in your area.
We need to unify the “Chapter People” and the “State People”. All of our members are representatives of the Society. Ideally, we need our members to be members of the State and of the Chapter.
It has been said that this Society moves too slowly and that nothing gets done. Maybe this is true. It has been said that the Chapters are in an organizational darkness. Our AP Manual Committee chairman, Louise Pistole, is working on updating the manual concentrating their efforts at the Chapter level. Past President Margie Strider has agreed to chair the Mentor Leadership Committee and continue her vision for educating and training prospective members. Hopefully, leadership meetings such as this one will bring light into the darkness.
We must not be lulled to sleep or take for granted the privileges we have in North Carolina. We must fight to continue having the best accounting law in the country.
We must take our message across the state to all members and non-members.
We are in a NEW ERA.
Being the leader of any organization is difficult, time consuming, and costly. All of our members must agree to disagree if necessary and continue to look at the bigger picture.
The honor to serve will always remain with you. Giving back to your given profession, your church, or your community, is indeed one the highest honors.
The State Society and the Local Chapters need for you to pick up the banner and carry it forward to the future. The State officers, board members, and all past presidents are available to assist you in any endeavor you choose.
The Society needs YOU!
David L. Hooker Past President 1995-1996.