State Board Report
In late July, I was in Big Sky, Montana, attending the end of the fiscal year NASBA Board of Directors meeting. This is an important gathering in that it provides the opportunity to formally evaluate the year to ascertain how we measured up to expectations, as individuals and as an organization. As with any NASBA event, there were opportunities for socializing, building relationships and, of course, enjoying good food together. It was one of those occasions that served as the catalyst for this President’s Memo.
Typically we invite Board of Accountancy members to join us for an event or dinner when the Board meets in their state. In Montana, we met for an outdoor barbeque alongside the Gallatin River near Big Sky. I was very pleased that four members of the Montana Board were able to join us for dinner. As we were talking, I casually asked if they lived nearby. The response surprised me: Every member had driven literally for hours from different locations in the vast state of Montana to spend a brief time with us. I was so honored — and I immediately knew my topic for this month’s Memo.
The gesture by the Montana Board members was certainly unique in terms of the distance travelled and time spent, but their welcoming camaraderie was not: We’ve experienced it throughout the country. Nearly six years ago we made the important decision to strive to build strong and trusting relationships with all our State Boards. What the Montana visit demonstrated is our outreach efforts have not been in vain, as we have benefitted from the reciprocal actions of State Board members.
It occurred to me when developing this Memo that I spend a significant amount of time talking and writing about things NASBA does for you, our State Board members, but not nearly enough talking about what you do for us. Almost every week I hear a story from one of our staff about the courtesies and support they were shown when visiting a State Board. I can think of so many personal examples when I too have shared their experience. So many times, I have reached out to a Board Chair or Executive Director advising that I would be coming to their state for a quick business trip and asking if there might be an opportunity to get together. I know that folks are adjusting their calendars and manipulating their busy schedules to enable us to meet. This is my opportunity to express my gratitude for the gracious hospitality.
It should come as no surprise to you that we find it rewarding when a Board of Accountancy reaches out to us for some type of assistance. We constantly beat the drum proclaiming that supporting and enhancing State Boards is why we exist as an organization. Just this week we have received requests ranging from providing information to an emergency call to come to a state to help fight off threats to the Board’s ability to maintain staffing required to perform their public protection mandate. As is almost always the case, we were able to say “yes” to each of the requests, and we will expend the resources necessary to work toward a positive outcome. Effectively fighting these battles as they occur helps preserve the credibility of our national State Board system of accounting regulation. Again, we thank you for the trust you put in us when you make these important requests.
Finally, I want to thank you for the patience and indulgence you give us when we appear to be overly persuasive. While NASBA always strives to support individual state’s rights, occasionally challenges arise that are deemed to potentially threaten other states and the system that allows the states to effectively regulate individual CPA mobility. Usually it is related to licensure, education, or examination requirements. In these cases, we often take strong positions and aggressively attempt to persuade states to change or reconsider the issue at hand. Regrettably, these types of issues pop up almost every year including this year. Once again, I am extremely grateful for how State Boards typically respond to these types of matters and their thoughtful approach to resolving them.
I am very proud of where NASBA is today in financial soundness, national and international relevance, and in our increasing capacity and capabilities. This message is to acknowledge that it is because of the great support we receive from you that we are able to be successful. So, please accept my end of year, “Thank you!”
Semper ad meliora (Always toward better things).
— Ken L. Bishop
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