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Advocacy’s Greatest Asset

by Ashley Kittrell | Nov 08, 2017
people at government building

During my junior year in college, I took a business class and had to complete a group project to create a business and technology plan for a designated company. My group’s proposal was so incredibly boring and mundane that I don’t remember very much about it.

One of the more interesting proposals from a group was a plan for Kodak. Their plan involved creating a contact lens that allowed a person to take a picture simply by blinking. I remember laughing incredulously with my classmates (and the professor).

Yet, less than five years later, that concept is quickly becoming a reality. Samsung, Sony, and Google have all filed patents for developing smart contact lenses with tiny sensors that have the ability to record content. (I guess Kodak never received my classmates’ plan.)

There is no doubt that technology is changing the business world as we know it—including the accounting profession. Cloud-based software and technologies have transformed accounting programs and practices.

From the expansion of worldwide virtual offices to the continued growth of blockchain and other innovative technologies that Microsoft Word does not recognize and shows as spelling errors, there are many developments that the accounting world must either adapt to in order to remain relevant and competitive, or fail. In a continuously changing profession, however, there is one facet that has remained constant and will continue to do so: advocacy.

As a CPA, the crucial task of advocacy will always be yours. You will remain the voice of your profession, and technology will never change how integral one-on-one communications with your elected officials are.

The importance of advocacy is evident when the profession is faced with questions such as: how will a statute requiring accountants to register as a private investigator affect the forensic accounting field, can excess state board funds be used for the benefit of the profession, and how would a uniform definition of attest and firm mobility help or hinder your firm? These are all questions that we have asked and you have answered; technology did not and cannot.

It is only through your active participation and vigilance that the State does not require accountants to register as private investigators. It is because of you that the WSCPA Foundation is more robust than ever and awards over 65 scholarships every year to the brightest accounting students in Washington. And it is only with your help that the State adopted a comprehensive definition of attest and firm mobility. You are, and will remain, our greatest asset.

Our work is never done though, and we are excited to continue working alongside you and have several new advocacy resources and opportunities in the year ahead.

  • The WSCPA’s Inaugural Hill Day will take place in January 2018. These events will not only facilitate meetings with your legislators and discuss the profession’s interests and concerns in-depth but will also allow you to develop relationships and connect with fellow members.
  • The recently launched Key Contact Program will enable members to utilize relationships with their representatives and effectively communicate and testify on the impact of proposed legislation with state, local, and federal representatives. This is a vital resource to your elected officials who both value and respect the profession.
There are also several new resources on the WSCPA advocacy webpage where you can access recent news and highlights.
  • Our blog, All Things Advocacy, has the latest and greatest news on, well, all things advocacy!
  • Be on the lookout for WSCPA’s quarterly newsletter, The Advocate, which provides in-depth information on both state and federal legislation as well as current news and updates surrounding the profession.

Your participation continues to be the most valuable aspect of the WSCPA’s advocacy strategy. I would love to hear from you and discuss how you can get involved. In order to ensure that you learn about the new advocacy resources and opportunities, add advocacy to your fields of interest by clicking “Update Your Preferences” at the bottom of any WSCPA email or contact me directly.

Ashley Kittrell headshotAshley Kittrell is the WSCPA Government Relations Coordinator. You can contact her at akittrell@wscpa.org or (425) 586-1150.

This article appeared in the fall 2017 issue of the WashingtonCPA Magazine. Read more here.

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