For the nearly 20 years I have been involved with NASBA, either as a volunteer from the Missouri Board or as an employee for the past dozen or so years, and I have been perplexed by the public’s lack of knowledge as to what State Boards do – and what NASBA does. I often speak about the importance of the “relevance” of NASBA, and I sincerely believe we have made significant strides in increasing stakeholders’ and national and international bodies’ awareness of who we are and what we do. Yet, I recently had a telephone conversation with a State Board member who remarked: “I guess now that it is summer, all you NASBA folks will get a break.” While his comment caused me to chuckle a bit, it made me wonder whether State Board members know what NASBA does during this time of year, the “NASBA Summer”?
First let me say that there is a period of time when activity, particularly of volunteers, slows down a bit. From January through April (the “busy season”) we have traditionally been respectful of a time when many of our members are wall-to-wall with their own businesses and responsibilities. During these four months we schedule fewer committee and task force meetings and we are prescriptive in why and how often we communicate with our volunteers. As a result, phone call volume and emails to volunteers (not including examination, licensing and CPE-related calls which are busy all year) and in-person meetings are somewhat curtailed. We’ve kept busy with holding the legal counsel and executive directors conferences, planning for the Regional Meetings, addressing exposure drafts, working on international agreements and communicating with other professional bodies.
When spring temperatures start rising in Nashville in April, so does the activity, as we assemble materials in final form for the April Board of Directors meeting. In late April, the NASBA Board of Directors meeting typically addresses an inventory of matters that have accumulated since January. The preparation for that meeting starts well in advance.
In early May, the NASBA Nominating Committee meets to nominate the next Vice Chair/Chair-elect. In mid-May the current Vice Chair’s Planning Meeting takes place in Nashville. The preparation for the Planning Meeting is intense, as we develop a current portfolio for every volunteer who submits a committee interest form. The information includes terms of office, practice/expertise information, and a record of participation in NASBA. A majority of committee and task force placements are made during this meeting. Also, in May, the NASBA Audit Committee has its planning meeting to map out the audit strategy for NASBA.
The activity in June ramps up even more with our two Regional Meetings. Of course, the planning for these meetings begins months before, developing the agendas and identifying topics, speakers and support materials. The determination of locations, hotels and logistics often takes place years in advance, but it is all the final preparations that need to be attended to in June. The NASBA Nominating Committee meets again in June to choose the nominees for the open Regional and At-Large Directors seats on the NASBA Board. Although the work begins in May, in June the NASBA budget preparation for the upcoming fiscal year creates work processes that involve all staff executives and directors. June also brings international activity, including the North American Summit with the U.S., Canada and Mexico accounting associations and institutes meeting to work on issues of mutual interest.
July brings the end of the NASBA fiscal year. The budget is finalized and approved by the Board of Directors. The activities and capital expenditures for the new fiscal year are mapped out in conjunction with the budget.
In August the leadership of NASBA and the AICPA come together for their biannual discussions and meetings. With our partnerships in the Uniform CPA Examination, the Uniform Accountancy Act, legislative plans and other efforts, the preparation and execution of this meeting is critical as it often sets the joint agenda for both short-range and long-range endeavors.
While I have only provided you a flavor of what our summer is like, it is important for State Boards to generally know what NASBA does in addition to the more visible activities such as the administration of the CPA Examination, our legislative work, State Board relations and our communication efforts.
Speaking of summer, I hope that each of you has a wonderful summer and gets the opportunity to enjoy the warm months. We love what we do. I can assure you that all of us in Nashville, New York, Guam and Puerto Rico, and our volunteers and governance from all over the country, will be enjoying our busy NASBA summer!
Semper ad meliora (Always toward better things).
— Ken L. Bishop
President & CEO