CEO Compass - Fall 2019

by Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA | NJCPA CEO and Executive Director | September 25, 2019

Welcome to the inaugural edition of CEO Compass.

This is my conduit to share thoughts, ideas and plans, and sometimes even questions and challenges that we are facing here at the New Jersey Society of CPAs. I plan to send CEO Compass to you each quarter, but if there’s something exciting going on you may receive a bonus issue from time to time.

With more than 14,000 members, the NJCPA exists to make you and your companies successful. The more we help you, the better we contribute to the advancement of CPAs, their businesses and the profession. What will it take to be indispensable to you and your staff for the foreseeable future? What types of support and resources will be most helpful and meaningful to you?

The more we work together, the more we accomplish. We recently formed a new vision for the NJCPA that articulates this goal and will take us into the future: To equip and empower New Jersey’s accounting and finance professionals to thrive in their careers.

These days, young professionals are increasingly on my mind. As we dig deeper into economic factors and other elements that impact those who are advancing through their accounting education or have successfully progressed from student to CPA and how we can better assist them, we’ve heard that support is needed after they graduate. And so, we have a few things underway.

We’re exploring fresh ways to support new and future accounting professionals.

  • Student loan debt relief: Student loan debt is more than $1.5 trillion nationwide, and it has officially been dubbed a crisis — impacting lending, home purchasing and, some say, economic growth. How can we support young CPAs faced with burgeoning student loan debt and/or their parents and guardians? We are currently advocating for pending federal legislation that would allow student loan repayments made by an employer to be tax free, and we have drafted legislation at the state level to make student loan debt interest tax deductible. Should we convene leaders of CPA firms and companies to discuss new ideas for employer support programs? Should the NJCPA explore debt relief support vis-à-vis its Scholarship Fund, which to date has awarded over $3 million to more than 1,400 students?
  • CPA Exam fee assistance: Preparing for the CPA Exam not only takes a significant commitment of time and a lot of ball juggling, it can also pose financial hardship when coupled with student loan payments. Next month, the NJCPA will launch a pilot program enabling our CPA Candidate members to enter a lottery for vouchers to cover CPA Exam fees. We are excited about the opportunity to support young professionals who have made the commitment to pursue the CPA license.

Although it may seem unconventional, as the landscape shifts, so must our mindset. We must begin to think outside of the box about what we do and the role that the NJCPA plays.

I look forward to hearing from you. Drop me a line and share your thoughts anytime.


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