An All-Inclusive AICPA.

Author:Eddy, Kathy G.
Position:American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The Institute's new chairman beckons to State societies and all CPAs.

The poet T.S. Eliot said, "You can not at the same time be an innovator and a perfector." Certainly, we as members of a profession--spurred on by the Institute and our state societies--have been remarkable innovators during the last few years. Our efforts, most notably the Vision Project, have been considerable, and it is clear we do not need innovation in addition to those under way.

So, to help me decide which existing innovations most need to be perfected, I devised what I call the "Eddy acid test": "What specific criteria would an initiative or project have to live up to in order to receive my aggressive support?"

* First, projects and initiatives must be for all our members--or at least harm none. They must enhance or advance our profession and the publics we serve.

* Second, the projects or initiatives must be aligned with the Vision--our blueprint for survival and service in the early part of this century. We are taking that Vision and drilling down to where CPAs live and breathe.

* Third, as stewards of this organization and this profession, we must ensure that the Institute remains fiscally sound.

One of my predecessors, Ronald S. Cohen (AICPA chairman, 1995-96), emphasized the Institute's mandate to be first and foremost a home for its members--all its members. "The AICPA intends to be, wants to be and will be, the organization for and about you," he said. The best way to accomplish service to individual members is through a strategy of "coordination, cooperation and communication."

Like Ron, I see those three Cs--coordination, cooperation and communication--as the glue that binds us to our members. They will make me both insistent and persistent about reaching out to state societies. If you have any doubts about my belief in the rightful power of state societies, please remember that I am a past president of the West Virginia CPA Society, which is heavily represented here today.

State societies are the Institute's lifeline to individual members. And the Institute is the societies' lifeline to the profession as a whole.

As you go back to your state societies, I ask that you take this message with you: During my tenure, the AICPA will continue to be the professional home of every CPA. As far as I'm concerned, the letters "A" and "I" at the beginning of our name have a second--and perhaps even more important--meaning. They stand for "all-inclusive." That means CPAs of every ilk: young and old; men and women; in government, industry; in small, medium or large firms; in education.

Some people may try to convince you and our publics otherwise--SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, for one. At NASBA's recent annual meeting, Mr. Levitt added to his litany of wrong-minded notions. I took...

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