This has been an eventful year for the National Society of Accountants, and changes are on the horizon.
Christine Freeland was elected President of NSA for 2018-2019 at NSA’s Annual Convention in Minneapolis, and John Rice was named NSA’s new Executive Vice President as of September 1, 2018. Under the direction of now Past President Brain Thompson, NSA’s Executive Committee formed a search committee to identify our new leader to help the Board of Governors move the association forward and Rice was selected via that search. Main Street Practitioner would like to take this opportunity to learn a little more about these new change-makers, and share their outlook on the future of the organization with you.
John, you got the chance to attend the Annual Convention and interact with many of our members, what do you think? Was the event educational for you?
I found it very educational. I am a big believer in driving member value and to do that you have to meet the members and get to know what they do. I do think that the meeting structure could be updated, but those are all things that we will discover as we identify clearer strategic goals for NSA. And who doesn’t like getting dressed up as a 50’s rocker?
Christine, welcome to the presidency.
It seems as though 2018 is a big year for accountants and tax preparers. What changes have you seen that impact our members as they move into the coming tax season?
(Laughs) The Tax Act, or course. I can’t stress how much that has impacted the profession as a whole, and our members specifically. We already deal with pages and pages tax laws on a regular basis, and the 2017 Tax Act has added an entirely new layer of complexity on top of it. Worse, is that the new requirements arrived in our laps without major guidance on qualified business income deductions.
All by itself, adjusting to the new material is a major hurdle. The fact that tax season is rapidly approaching, and we have to bring ourselves up to speed as quickly as possible…well, this isn’t going to be easy.
Christine what challenges do you feel the tax and accounting professions face as times change?
Data security and cybercrime, those are at the top of my personal list. Hackers and scammers are becoming more creative all the time, and with the amount of personal data we send back and forth with our clients, we need to be prepared. We-our members and the accounting world at large-have to be vigilant and stay on top of tools that can help us keep everyone safe.
A great example is our new partnership with VeriFyle. They provide our members with a secure way to communicate and exchange information with our clients. That’s a huge benefit for everyone involved, especially when we’re giving it to members for free.
John, what do you feel that NSA can do to keep to support our membership as the professional landscape changes?
NSA does a lot really well, but we should always look to expand those offerings. I do strongly believe that we need to communicate better with our members to make sure they are getting the biggest bang for their buck in being a NSA member. It isn’t enough to be a good value … you have to communicate that to our potential universe of members. NSA needs to scream from the mountain top what we do, who we serve, and how tax and accounting professionals of every shape and size can benefit.
Let’s take VeriFyle, as Christine mentioned. That benefit is a $108 value per year that is free to members. CCH Intelliconnect, has been estimated at around a $200 value per subscription, and we provide that for free also. On top of those, members receive $135 in webinar credits, as well as $125 worth of tax research answers from Tax Help Desk.
From those four benefits alone-its simple math-a member receives $568 in benefits for $225. In terms of savings, this is not bad! And we should not forget advocacy work, Tax Talk, our member newsletters, and in-person education events like the Live EA Review Course coming up in St. Louis.
This question is for both of you, what would you like to accomplish in this year of change?
Christine: I want to improve our communication with our members, and discover new ways of reaching out to accountants and tax preparers to help them learn about us and what we can do for them.
John: I’m in complete agreement with Christine. I look forward to contributing to build a robust community of tax professionals, both current members and new, in every stage of their careers.
Speaking for Main Street Practitioner, and our NSA members, thank you both for taking time to share your thoughts. It looks to be an exciting year in the making, and we’re looking forward to learning about new developments as they occur.