State Board Report

January 2012

Norman Vincent Peale, the early twentieth century American clergyman, once preached the words, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” I have been thinking a lot about change these past few months, as I prepared to accede to the position of President and CEO of NASBA. Experience with organizational dynamics has taught me that change, particularly in thought processes, is often easier to talk about than it is to accomplish. Within NASBA we are experiencing several aspects of change while undertaking transition, reorganization and restructuring. While there is typically an expectation of change with the introduction of new leadership, a change in thinking is critical for any transitional – and lasting – success.

My predecessor, David Costello, made many innovative changes to NASBA during his 17-year tenure that resulted in NASBA becoming a robust, relevant and recognized entity in the global accounting universe. As I begin my new role, I have the benefit of my time with David as an unparalleled mentor, and of my recent experiences associated with the CEO selection and contract negotiation processes.

Through the Selection Advisory Committee’s candid questions and comments and consultations with NASBA’s volunteer leaders, I was able to clearly infer that not only did they anticipate change, they expected it. One particular strategically important question was how I would address NASBA’s relationship with State Boards who have not been actively involved with NASBA. My response was, “I often hear about State Boards of Accountancy who have drifted away from NASBA, but my fear is that NASBA has drifted away from some State Boards.”

I should be clear that NASBA has not been resting on its laurels. With the transition to computer-based testing, major legislative efforts such as Mobility, and our efforts toward enhancing NASBA’s relevancy both nationally and internationally, we have been doing some heavy lifting and enjoying success. In the process, however, we may have somewhat taken our eye off the ball of our core mission. During my interview, I committed to prioritizing the improvement, repair or reestablishment of relationships with our member Boards, if selected as CEO. I have a personal rule of: “Don’t write checks that can’t be cashed.” I take my commitment seriously and we have already made substantial steps toward that end, in what I am calling our “back to our roots” initiative.

The change in thinking for this initiative has to begin with staff leadership. I have communicated to staff that, while our business and legislation related activities are important to our success, our resources, passion and energy must always be balanced with our attention to State Boards and the core mission to enhance the effectiveness of State Boards of Accountancy. A critical first step was the creation of the new NASBA executive position of Vice President of State Board Relations. Daniel J. Dustin, CPA, the former Executive Secretary of the New York State Board for Public Accountancy, began his duties in this new position on January 1, becoming responsible for insuring NASBA’s advocacy and support for State Boards. Dan’s experience, ability and skills, combined with his knowledge and relationships with State Boards’ staff and volunteers will be tremendous assets as he undertakes his work.

It is a fun and exciting time at NASBA. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization. We have tremendous people on our staff in Nashville, New York City, Guam and San Juan. Our volunteers on committees, task forces and serving in leadership positions bring a depth of talent and professionalism that is unequaled. Together we will change our thoughts and change our world to make NASBA a model for all associations.

Wishing you a safe and happy new year!

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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