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State Board Report

December 2012

Confucius observed: “There are three methods of gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is imitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.” As we come to the end of the year, it is a natural time for me to reflect on this, my first year as NASBA’s President and CEO, and to measure how we have grown in wisdom, relevance and success as an organization. Did we seek out best practices and methods? With an open mind, did we imitate those strategies that made others successful? Are we leveraging our over one hundred years of experiences, both good and bad, to continuously adapt and improve? Upon reflection, I say we have done all those things.

To begin with, we made some significant changes and enhancements this year, the cornerstone of which has been the “Mission Driven – Member Focused” mandate towards which we measure everything we do. This was clearly demonstrated when 2011-12 Chair Mark Harris called for a new strategic plan, which was developed primarily by current State Board members. We also saw that when 2012-2013 Chair Gaylen Hansen took on the challenge of enlisting sitting State Board members to fill the majority of seats on NASBA committees and task forces, to encourage fresh input and participation. The consideration of mission and focus by NASBA’s staff is now part of all our operational decisions.

This year we stepped outside of our comfort zone a bit to challenge ourselves as to our culture and the lack of diversity in our leadership positions. My “President’s Memo” entitled “Photos on the Wall” in September resulted in an unprecedented response from you our stakeholders. My belief in the high quality of the people associated with NASBA was reinforced by the comments in the numerous calls, letters and emails I received, and through the individual conversations I had with many of you. Most gratifying to me were the private discussions that I have had with women and minorities who were appreciative of the exposure of this issue and, more importantly, by their decision to seek office in NASBA. Early next year a task force will meet in New York to seriously discuss the issue and to make recommendations to the Chair as to how to encourage and support diversity.

We made significant advancements in our efforts to ramp up NASBA’s relevance in national and international matters that impact the protection of investors and those reliant on accounting services. The time has passed when NASBA and the State Boards of Accountancy would accept being excluded from participation in processes impacting the quality and credibility of relied upon accounting services. NASBA’s volunteer and staff leadership are being given enhanced roles in discussion panels, roundtables and other deliberative processes. With volunteer committee support, we are issuing thoughtful and intuitive responses to exposure drafts and requests for comments. We continue to strive to make and improve our working relationships with state, national and international bodies that develop standards, rules or policies that set or impact public accounting practice. Our work is not done. We should not rest until Boards of Accountancy are recognized for their primary regulatory role and have their proper place at every relevant table.

Finally, as we approach the end of 2012, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing amount of support and friendship that you have shown me during my first year as your President. I will never forget it. I want to thank you for that and express my hope that you and your families have a joyous and safe holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year.

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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