The FICPA Young CPA Committee hosted the 2017 Accel Leadership Forum & Capitol Day on January 12th and 13th. This year, 20 young CPAs from all over the State of Florida arrived in Tallahassee to learn the legislative process and attend the Leadership Forum.
The first day began with breakfast in a Senate building conference room. Justin Thames, Director of Governmental Affairs for the FICPA, presented the process that he and his team must go through each year to advocate on our behalf at the state level. Over 1,800 bills are filed each year and each bill has the potential to have language that could be harmful or helpful to our profession. The team monitors these bills and uses the key relationships that they have developed to support or prevent the bills from becoming law. There are multiple ways in which a bill can be stopped along the way and only around 15% of these bills become law.
Throughout the day, Justin introduced us to dozens of legislators who could not wait to come meet the Young CPAs. We were first greeted by Senator Bill Montford, who talked about the importance of representation and the need for young leaders like us. Justin then introduced Jeff Atwater, Florida’s CFO, who provided great insight on the budget of our state and told great stories about his experiences serving the State. During lunch, we met with four CPA representatives: Dan Raulerson, David Richardson, Cyndi Stevenson, and Joe Gruters.
We continued with a tour of the House Chambers, getting insight as to the process in which the bills are presented and voted on. The night ended with a reception at a local restaurant, where additional legislators came out to visit with us.
The second day began the Accel Leadership Forum at the Governors Club. The Forum was presented by Dan Griffiths, CPA, CGMA, who lead the group in self-awareness and strength-based leadership by determining what our strengths were and how they could also be a weakness if taken to the extreme. He provided great insight in finding coaches and mentors and determining the differences between them. The second half of the Forum led to discussions about where the CPA profession was trending in the future. We went through business models of firms today and what those may look like years down the road. Through the implementation of artificial audit intelligence and computerized tax compliance those models may be forced to adapt.
Overall, the Accel Leadership Forum & Capitol Day was quite a success, yielding a great deal of information and forming tight networking connections.
John Kirk, CPA
2016-17 Chair, Young CPA Committee