You Are Our Priority

May 28, 2020

By Anthony Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP
Like you, CalCPA is adjusting to ever-evolving conditions related to COVID-19 and the responses by federal, state and local representatives. Our profession, and this organization, will continue to provide essential services as we work through current conditions and look ahead to recovery efforts. 

While CalCPA supports members through every stage of recovery, we also must adapt to new regulations and public health guidance affecting how we can best serve you as members. I’d like to share with you CalCPA’s plans as we move forward.

Your Health & Safety Are Our Priorities
CalCPA continues to assess the effects of the pandemic on our member services and operations. Know that CalCPA will do all that we can to ensure the safety of members, staff, instructors, partners and stakeholders. We all must adhere to the new regulations, restrictions and best practices promoted by our state and local authorities. Within those guidelines, CalCPA will continue to make decisions with the best interests of our members and stakeholders in mind. We always have been about member services; the prosperity and well being of every member of the CalCPA family is the core of who we are. 

We continuously review multiple sources and factors to inform our practices. These include the latest guidance from the WHO, CDC and health experts; data trends on community spread of COVID-19; criteria for and compliance with state and local requirements (e.g., cleaning procedures, physical distancing); the availability of meeting venues that comply with current guidelines and requirements; the needs of our members, staff and stakeholders; office constraints surrounding an extended tax season; and, of course, everyone’s comfort level with returning to group settings. 

CalCPA’s Plan for In-Person Meetings & Events
CalCPA planned to offer virtual events until July 1. However, updated projections and guidance from state and local authorities clearly indicate that we must extend this practice. To serve and protect you, our staff and others, CalCPA will convert all in-person chapter, state committee and education programs to virtual formats in most cases, and delay or cancel a small number of others. CalCPA has embraced virtual meetings for more than a decade, so this transition will be a smooth one.

As a result of this temporary shift, CalCPA will refrain from contracting with venues or services for in-person events until conditions improve. We also will refrain from in-person chapter board meetings, state committee meetings, planning sessions and scholarship meetings. As circumstances evolve in the weeks ahead, we will evaluate our practices and update them accordingly. 

Given current restrictions and guidelines from state officials, chapters and state committees will refrain from offering CPE for virtual events due to requirements associated with monitoring and tracking attendance. CalCPA’s Member Competency & Learning team will continue to offer an expanded portfolio of virtual programs that offer CPE to members and nonmembers. This portfolio includes free webcasts and resources, as well as scheduled online courses and virtual conferences.

Regionalized Approach to Recovery and Response
California is wonderfully vast and diverse, and the effects of COVID-19 vary by region. We know that local guidance and restrictions within our state’s 58 counties can differ widely. The state has established a County Variance website to tailor regional guidance based on local trend data. At the same time, CalCPA is committed to adjusting our in-person gathering practices to maximize opportunities for the continuous growth of every member and chapter. CalCPA staff and the board of directors will remain in close contact with chapter leadership to tailor member service options as local conditions permit. 

The Path Forward 
CalCPA recognizes the high value that in-person meetings, conferences and events provide members. The governor’s office recently announced a four-stage plan and industry guidance for returning to regular business operations as quickly and safely as possible. As I write this column, California is in stage two of the plan. CalCPA will, of course, adhere to the state’s guidance and use the roadmap as a guide to inform how and when we plan for and hosts in-person events. In the current version of the plan, CalCPA’s in-person meetings and events will be permitted beginning in stage three. Staff is already working in anticipation of when the state reaches that threshold so CalCPA will be ready to relaunch our popular in-person programs and events for members.  

Resources and Continuous Engagement
As the pandemic and recovery efforts unfold, CalCPA will continue to provide timely, relevant resources on our dedicated COVID-19 resource webpage. There you will find links to free webcasts and other helpful information. Additionally, CalCPA will continue to innovate and offer “coffee and conversation” virtual chats and other online social events for members to talk about important topics. CalCPA chapters also are beginning to host virtual roundtable discussions.

COVID-19 has touched all of our lives in profound ways. You can be assured that CalCPA will be there to support you and the accounting profession throughout this historic event. 

As always, please let us know how else we can help. Stay well and take care. 
Anthony Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP is CalCPA CEO.
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