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State Board Report

September 2014

Yesterday I was flying home from a NASBA meeting and was lucky enough to get an exit seat on what was among the smallest regional jets I fly on. With my 6’4″ frame, the extra leg-room is always appreciated. Just before take-off, the flight attendant came by to advise me and my fellow row passengers, with the privileged status, of our responsibilities. She ended by saying, “please read the pamphlet that explains what to do in an emergency.” Now, I fly over a hundred trips a year, so I consider myself a subject matter expert on exit row responsibilities, and therefore, saw no need to read the bright yellow pamphlet with “PLEASE READ” plainly showing. However, it was evident that the diligent attendant was going nowhere until I pulled out and read the ‘important’ information. As we were taking off, I was thinking about potential topics for this month’s President’s Memo and what thoughts or content would be something that I wish you would “please read.”

I am often amazed and pleased by the number of NASBA constituents who comment on the various topics I have discussed in this venue. Occasionally, someone will comment that after hearing another reader discuss an article, that they dug through the pile of “I may read if I have time stuff” to search for the relevant State Board Report to read the recommended passages. Unlike the accountable flight attendant, I cannot stand over you with arms crossed and a motivational stare, but for this month’s topic, I am using the persuasive title “PLEASE READ.”

For nearly three years, I have been working to continually enhance the relevancy of NASBA. As I often comment, I truly believe that a strong and relevant NASBA has direct nexus to having strong and relevant Boards of Accountancy. One critical element of success is to be the trusted, collective voice which represents the common interests of all Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Board of Directors, particularly the eight Regional Directors, play a primary role in that endeavor.

NASBA has been blessed with great volunteers serving as officers and board members. The past year we had a tremendous slate of candidates seeking the Vice Chair and Director-at-Large positions. The number and interests of the candidates is indicative of the relevant organization NASBA has become. However, this year, as in several previous years, it was more challenging to find interested candidates for the Regional Director positions. We certainly ended the process with great candidates, but success was more onerous than it should be.

There is no doubt that the office of Regional Director is of critical importance to the NASBA mission, but it is also among the most rewarding for those that hold the office. This is evident in the fact that nearly every Regional Director seeks re-election for the maximum of three years, and then seeks continued office as Director-at-Large. So why is it so hard to get the initial interests of Board of Accountancy members to run for Regional Director? We intend to find out!

Chair Carlos Johnson appointed a special Nominations Process Task Force to consider this and other questions. The current nominations process was developed in 2004 and the review of the 10 years of implementation is to determine what has worked well and what opportunities exist for improvement. The work is not completed, and it is premature to discuss the early findings, but one point is apparent, we are not doing a good enough job in communicating with state board members about the great opportunities afforded through NASBA Board service.

It is my hope that Boards of Accountancy will “READ THIS,” have discussions at board meetings and among themselves, and begin identifying and considering future candidates for Regional Directors well in advance. We will be developing information that discusses the amount of time and effort required for NASBA office holders and board members. We also will communicate the tremendous value the service brings to the profession, to you and to your firm or employer. NASBA’s senior volunteers are at the cutting edge of information effecting the profession and are fulfilled by their participation and developed relationships.

Thanks to all who “READ THIS!” I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, D.C. at what will be a great Annual Meeting.

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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