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State Board Report

September 2013

One of the best benefits of living in Middle Tennessee is its long and beautiful fall season. Beginning now and ending in November is what we car enthusiasts call “convertible season.” Not only are there glorious days and cooler temperatures, but the area has a bounty of curving and scenic roads amid the hills and valleys.

Throughout the country, fall also marks the beginning of football season. Every social gathering brings out a myriad of school colors, optimistic predictions of winning and, occasionally, some facetious commentary about an associate’s alma mater. Fall is the season of town picnics, marathons, church outings, fish fries and barbeques, and forecasts as to who might play in, or win, the World Series.

This is also an important time of the year for NASBA. We are now well into our new fiscal year and deep into the final planning for the NASBA Annual Meeting in October. As I reflected on the upcoming meeting, it occurred to me that this will be my fifteenth NASBA Annual, my seventh as NASBA staff, and my second as President and CEO. One of the transitional outcomes of the Annual Meeting is the changing of the Chair and officers, the introduction of new Board of Director members, and often the first time new State Board members and staff from around the country will attend a NASBA national conference.

As I look back at my 15-year association with NASBA, and contemplate the relationships, friendships and acquaintances I have made, I am grateful for every opportunity, yet somewhat melancholy when thinking of those who have rotated away, retired and some who have passed on. Right at the close of August, Jerome P. Solomon (MA), the only person to serve as NASBA Chair/President for two years (1990-1992) since 1941, died at the age of 81. He was called on to serve the second year due to the death of President-Elect Richard J. Goode (UT). Few, if any, current State Board members remember Jerry or Dick, but the legacy of these NASBA leaders helps guide NASBA today. I would invite each of you to reflect on what NASBA relationships have meant to you and how future generations will benefit from our efforts.

In the process of gathering my thoughts about what I would write in this Memo, it occurred to me that I will not be writing it for the following two months, as traditionally the outgoing Chair writes the October Memo and the incoming Chair the November Memo. That consideration may have set the tone for this piece. The relationship between the CEO and the Chair is an important one. Now, as I get closer to my second passing of the gavel, that special relationship is in focus.

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with many fine men and women in my career. The two gentlemen that I have had the privilege to work beside these past two years, Mark P. Harris (LA) and Gaylen R. Hansen (CO), are near the top of that list. I have recognized Mark’s outstanding leadership before, and our current Chair has to go down as one of the hardest working in NASBA’s history. Gaylen’s dedication, enthusiasm and perseverance are attributes we should all be grateful for. As he completes the final weeks in his current role, all of us who are close to him know that this is only the beginning of the contributions he will make to the profession, to the regulatory processes and to NASBA. His steadfastness, coupled with fairness and a thirst for knowledge, set an example that we can all aspire to. Under his leadership, NASBA has moved to a new threshold of relevance.

Anyone who has heard or read NASBA’s discourses this year is aware of the importance of relevancy for NASBA and Boards of Accountancy. This year taught us that with enhanced relevance comes the responsibility to be respectful, to value relationships and to keep disagreements from becoming adversarial; however, to remain relevant, we must take stands on critical issues. We will take those important lessons into the new NASBA year.

This discussion of fall has taken us down a path of reflection, gratitude and responsibility. As we celebrate football victories, feel the wind as we cruise to our favorite vista, or simply as we enjoy the feasts at town picnics and festivals, we should take a bit of time to consider the importance of the roles and responsibilities of State Boards of Accountancy, and to remember those who came before us.

Enjoy the fall, my favorite time of the year!

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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