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State Board Report

May 2013

Country music artist George Jones died in Nashville on April 26 at the age of 81. Now for most of the country, his passing probably did not get the full front page coverage that we saw here in Middle Tennessee. In the “Music City” George was royalty. He and his former wife Tammy Wynette were once called “the king and queen of country music” and, in fact, his and their hits in the 70’s played a big role in developing the huge following that country music has today. George lived in the same town where I live, Franklin, TN, and I had the opportunity to meet him. Despite his troubled past and bouts with alcoholism, I found him to be a very pleasant fellow.

But what does this have to do with NASBA? In one of the numerous obituaries about George, the author wrote that the “country music family” was mourning his loss. It caused me to think of “the NASBA family,” something we often talk about. Before I joined the staff of NASBA, I was a volunteer like most of you, and I truly felt I was a family member. NASBA meetings and conferences often have as much the feel of a reunion as the serious working sessions where so many important issues are addressed. We welcome new members into the fold just as one would bring newlyweds into a family – with some guidance, friendship and high expectations.

When events, tragedies or circumstances put our family’s members in harm’s way, the response of the family is almost always immediate. When the recent bombings occurred in Boston, we quickly reached out to find out if the members and staff of the Massachusetts Board were safe. The NASBA family is much larger than just our member Boards and their staff. Our friends and associates in state societies, other organizations and associations, as well as our candidates, are under the family umbrella. When the bombing occurred, we quickly ascertained the wellbeing of AICPA Chair Rich Caturano and his family, who live in Boston, and the staff members of the Prometric sites in the Boston area. Note: Prometric sites in Boston were shut down during the search for the perpetrators of this horrific event and NASBA staff worked closely with Prometric to communicate with and reschedule disrupted candidates.

Other recent events created a similar reaction: When hurricane Sandy slammed into the east coast causing catastrophic damage and service disruptions, the NASBA family immediately stepped up, offering everything from direct State Board support to material supplies, while providing prayers and moral support for all those affected.

The family feel of NASBA goes much further than reaction to major events. As President, almost daily I see emails and other communications about illnesses, injuries and, sadly, deaths affecting our family somewhere in the country. In every case, there was an immediate outpouring of support, condolences and offers of assistance from all across the country from folks whose sole nexus is the relationship developed through NASBA. Similarly when there has been good news: births, weddings, graduations and other successes, the outpouring of congratulations and the sharing in that joy was tremendous. We rejoiced in the appointment of NASBA Past Chair Dave Vaudt to GASB Chairman, the 100th anniversary of the North Carolina State Board and the success of Michael and Carol Weinshel’s (CT) charity that sent 30,000 packages to military personnel. How great is all that!

I should point out that it is not always about NASBA and NASBA folks reaching out to help others. When Nashville was hit with the devastating flood in 2010, almost immediately the Prometric CEO Michael Brannick offered whatever services he or his company could provide. Ultimately some of our phone and service lines were transferred to Prometric’s operations so that our candidates could be serviced. Actions such as that only strengthen the bonds of the NASBA family.

The NASBA Regional Meetings are coming up soon. To Board members who have not attended a Regional Meeting, you are missing out on a great opportunity to hear and debate the most recent developments in the regulation of the accounting profession. This is a chance to meet with your peers and discuss common concerns in an informal setting. At the suggestion of the Regional Directors, this year’s Regional Meetings will include added breakout sessions to permit even more exchanges of ideas. I had the opportunity to meet with a Board of Accountancy in the northeast recently and we talked about the importance of attendance at NASBA meetings and conferences. I can easily recite a long list of objective arguments for attendance. What I didn’t say is that it is an opportunity to really become a member of “the NASBA family.”

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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