CEO Compass - July 2023

by Aiysha (AJ) Johnson, MA, IOM | NJCPA CEO and Executive Director | July 13, 2023

A Great Start and a Path Forward

I am thrilled to be writing to you after my first month here at the NJCPA —  a month that started with our Convention & Expo in Atlantic City, where we celebrated our 125th anniversary, said “mahalo” to Ralph Albert Thomas, learned many ways to move the profession forward and held numerous side conversations. Our annual event even made it into the pages of NJBIZ

For me, the best part was being able to make face-to-face connections with so many members. I will put those takeaways to good use over the next 100 days or so as part of our statewide member listening tour. I look forward to meeting with you and all of our volunteer leaders to hear what our community needs and wants from their Society.  

This event and others illustrate that accounting can have a pretty good elevator pitch. We need to share our stories with students and graduates whose impression of the prestige and intrinsic value of accounting (and pursuit of CPA licensure) has been diminished by concerns over college debt, extensive CPE, long hours and slow career advancement. 

Earlier this year, I wrote in Accounting Today (an NJCPA partner) about another message that needs to be shared: include non-CPA recruitment and career development in your strategic initiatives for the coming years and of course, continue to encourage CPA licensure for interested employees. I added, “…multiple career path discussions should happen during recruitment as well as during onboarding and regular check-ins. This can help dispel myths that public accounting only offers limited career prospects and challenging working conditions.” 

The NJCPA is adapting to this new recruitment and career development environment with the creation of the new Affiliate membership category. This opportunity to bring new candidates into the pipeline will help us focus on supporting graduates who are still unsure about becoming CPAs. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the average age of successful CPA Exam candidates is 29, with the median age being 25 years. The Affiliate class enables these professionals to take advantage of the benefits of membership (e.g., discounts, training) while we present the relevance and benefits of the CPA credential.

These individuals are valuable members of the accounting and finance profession, and, thus, can be valuable members of the NJCPA community. 

If someone isn’t yet a member of the NJCPA, tell them why you joined. Explain how membership has impacted you. Share your story. Thank you for your membership, your kind greetings and continued support of the NJCPA. As always, we welcome your feedback.

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