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How CalCPA is Working to Serve You in Extraordinary Times
Your growth and prosperity as a member of CalCPA, and as a member of our profession, is at the heart of all we do. In this time of changing conditions and circumstances, we are especially focused on meeting the professional needs of our members, firms and employers. CalCPA wanted to hear directly from members about what matters most in this unique time. We chose a data-based approach through a survey of our membership and incorporated feedback from our Board, Committees and Chapters.
The data from the study yielded three main themes:
I want to expand on what CalCPA is doing for you as a member in response to each of these themes:
#1: Share data with members to keep you updated on how our profession is doing.
Members are highly interested in how other CalCPA members are responding to the pandemic, including when some of us are returning to our offices full time and how we are navigating the new ways of working with clients, customers and colleagues. At CalCPA, we remain committed to providing members with appropriate resources and support as we all look forward to returning to our places of business. I hope you find our recent guide, "Reopening With Confidence," to be helpful when you plan for reopening while also ensuring the safety of employees and clients. This guidance is one example of many efforts we are undertaking at CalCPA to provide you with a robust support system for navigating these times together.
In addition to the programs and opportunities described further below, CalCPA will incorporate what we've learned from the survey, as well as other input from our Board, Chapters, Committees and members to guide our strategic plan and continued investment in member experiences. We will keep you updated on our progress as CalCPA monitors member engagement and satisfaction with new and existing programs and services. We will share this data in multiple formats, like social media, monthly California CPA magazine updates and through virtual programs (like those described below) and as topics of discussion in upcoming Financial Empowerment podcasts.
Members are also looking to CalCPA to provide guidance on compliance with new government relief programs. Our Government Relations team is focused on keeping you apprised of the latest information from state and federal regulatory and governmental agencies. This includes working closely with the California Board of Accountancy on how to navigate exam, licensure and renewal processes during these extraordinary times. The team also continues to work with others to educate lawmakers about the negative economic consequences of a proposed tax on professional services in light of the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on California's budget. We will continue to provide you with learning opportunities about the effects of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect on July 1. Advocacy efforts like these remain an essential value of your membership in CalCPA, especially now.
Speaking of advocacy, CalCPA members are meeting with state legislators as part of CalCPA's virtual District Drop-In Week. During these meetings, members will be maintaining key relationships with policy leaders, discussing a variety of topics—and perhaps most importantly—offering the services of the CPA profession to help guide legislators and their constituents through these turbulent times.
#2: Create new opportunities for members to engage and learn from one another on new and emerging issues.
In this time of physical isolation, CalCPA members want new opportunities for meaningful connections and engagement, not only to gain new content knowledge—but also to learn from each other. In the months ahead, CalCPA is committed to providing you with multiple and varied opportunities that bring members together for meaningful connections. This includes expanding our catalog of on-demand webinars on current topics, as well as live webinars with real-time Q&A and member-led roundtable discussions. I want to highlight two key areas where CalCPA is focusing these efforts:
Chapter Events and Activities
CalCPA's 14 Chapters are at the core of who we are and are central to our mission of facilitating your growth and resiliency. CalCPA and our Chapters have been working to create virtual connections designed to foster and enhance relationships among members and content experts.
As many of us remain isolated at home or offices, the ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance can be particularly challenging. That's why it's especially important to stay connected with each other in times like these. CalCPA is helping on this front, too, by sponsoring fun and engaging activities for you which are hosted by local Chapters with CalCPA staff support. These include Coffee & Conversation meetups and virtual Happy Hours, where new members and experienced CPAs have opportunities to chat or provide mentoring and advice to new CPAs in a casual environment.
CalCPA's Lunch & Learn series provides you with opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction, with engaging speakers and roundtable discussions. We offer a variety of workshops on timely topics, such as best practices for virtual engagement with colleagues and clients, resume writing and interview skills, and learning how to maximize the features of Zoom and other digital platforms to enhance virtual meetings.
Plans also are underway to offer new and innovative ways to acquire competency and learning (CPE). And our newly-launched CalCPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission (CDEIC) has plans underway to help members and their employers recruit, train and retain diverse talent by fostering a work environment where everyone is respected as a vital part of our profession. And with the upcoming launch of CalCPA Connect, members will have access to virtual hubs of information, education and resources that bring members together in tight-knit communities around shared interests such as Tax or Management of an Accounting Practice. Through the CalCPA Connect Platform, members will be able to interact with each other to share insights and experiences. We are excited to share information about this exciting new platform this fall.
Student and Candidate Engagement
Student and candidate engagement remains a top priority for CalCPA. Virtual workshops on topics such as License Pathways, interview best practices and exam preparation are in the works. We're also planning a virtual "Meet Your Local CPA" program, designed to connect students with experienced CPAs for informal Q&A sessions. An upcoming "Meet the Firms" series will feature a different firm each week, including a virtual tour of the office, followed by a Q&A session.
By providing programs and opportunities like these for students to connect with experienced practitioners, CalCPA is ensuring that talent remains engaged with CPAs and firms in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. Firms also have an opportunity to recruit and mentor the next generation of our profession.
Additional Opportunities to Connect
A healthy work/life balance is especially vital in times like these. CalCPA is working to provide you with fun activities like virtual escape rooms, paint nights, e-sports and virtual cooking and yoga classes. Chapter-sponsored trivia and game nights are also underway, where participants compete for fun prizes that can be mailed directly to your home. Expect to see more events like these soon.
You can check out CalCPA's upcoming programs in this area by clicking here.
#3: Help businesses, including not-for-profit organizations, with reevaluating their budgets and business plans to help ensure long-term sustainability.
A top concern for CPAs is the need for guidance on budgeting and planning moving forward. To meet this need, CalCPA will soon publish guidance that assists members through the process of evaluation budgets in a post-COVID world. In addition, we will also host virtual Q&A sessions for CPAs working in the not-for-profit sector so members can learn best practices from experts and each other. We have developed a wide array of Competency & Learning (CPE) around various COVID-19 issues, both paid and complimentary, which we have offered since the pandemic began.
While these remain uncertain times, you can always count on CalCPA to keep you connected, informed and engaged. In addition to the advocacy, actions, programs and initiatives described above, we are doing much more—and I will share additional details with you soon. By working together as a profession with the resources and access that CalCPA provides you as a member, I am confident that we will make it through this challenging period even stronger and more resilient than ever. Thank you for your membership.