Why Advocacy Matters for CPAs

March 14, 2024

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By Kara Fitzgerald, CPA, CGMA, CAE

Legislation often directly impacts CPAs more than other professionals and plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of our profession. Affecting everything from ethics to general business practices of clients to licensing requirements, legislative policies make a difference in how CPAs do business. 

That's where advocacy steps in. 

Why Is Advocacy Important to the CPA Profession?

Advocacy efforts not only ensure that your voice is heard on critical issues affecting the CPA profession but also contribute to shaping the profession's reputation. Advocates play a crucial role in upholding the integrity and standards of the profession, positioning CPAs as leading business professionals.

In addition, active participation supports future generations of CPAs by endorsing key changes that impact the pipeline. 

TSCPA: Your Advocacy Ally

The Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is your ally when it comes to engaging with Tennessee’s legislative process. Serving as a liaison with various legislative and regulatory bodies in the state, TSCPA monitors legislation in the General Assembly and collaborates with agencies like the Department of Revenue, the state Comptroller's Office and the IRS.

TSCPA Resources

To keep our members informed and up to date on legislative and advocacy initiatives, we have a dedicated Legislative News page on our website. This serves as a valuable resource for staying informed about the latest developments in legislative policy. 

Getting to know your elected representatives is crucial for effective advocacy. Use the Contact Your Legislators tool to connect with federal and state decision-makers. By establishing relationships with them, you can actively voice your concerns and support legislation that promotes the interests of the CPA profession.

Curious about bills? The Bill Search feature lets you monitor the status of bills in the Tennessee General Assembly. Staying informed about ongoing legislative activities empowers you to engage in meaningful discussions and take proactive steps.

At TSCPA, we understand the importance of addressing issues reported by our members to federal and state regulatory bodies. Utilizing the Regulatory Feedback Form to report any concerns or challenges allows members to contribute to improving the regulatory environment.

Ways To Get Involved With TSCPA Advocacy

We firmly believe that every TSCPA member's participation is critical to our advocacy efforts. Here are some ways you can get involved:

TSCPA's Legislation Committee is dedicated to monitoring, reviewing and providing input on legislation in Tennessee. This committee focuses on identifying bills and resolutions that could have an impact on the accounting profession and helps facilitate opportunities for TSCPA members to engage with state legislators. By actively participating in this committee, you can contribute to the shaping of legislative policy that directly affects our profession.

The Federal and State Tax Committees serve as vital liaisons between CPAs and respective regulatory bodies. These committees disseminate information to ensure our members stay well-informed about taxation matters. By maintaining relationships with the IRS, state legislators and various state agencies, these committees represent the views of TSCPA members on tax-related issues. If you are passionate about tax matters, consider joining these committees and becoming a valuable resource for legislators.

Maintaining a strong relationship with the Tennessee legislature is a cornerstone for effective advocacy. To achieve this, TSCPA has developed the Key Contact Program. This program identifies CPAs who have established relationships with state legislators and are willing to communicate positions on behalf of TSCPA when necessary. 

Supporting the Cause

The Tennessee CPA Political Action Committee (PAC) plays a critical role in establishing the accounting profession as a concerned and involved political constituency. The PAC supports legislators who work towards making Tennessee an attractive place to do business and who understand the concerns of the profession. By rallying behind these legislators, we can create a favorable environment for accountants and support policies that benefit both our members and the state's business community.

Advocacy isn't just a box to tick – it's part and parcel of being a CPA. TSCPA makes sure you're not alone in this journey, providing resources, opportunities and a platform to make your voice heard. 

By actively engaging in advocacy and legislative activities, we can collectively promote the value and integrity of the accounting profession. Stay informed, get involved and let's shape the future of the accounting profession in Tennessee.

About the Author

Kara Fitzgerald, CPA, CGMA, CAE, is president and CEO of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), the premier professional association for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in Tennessee. She is responsible for carrying out the mission of TSCPA and the Educational and Memorial Foundation of TSCPA. Kara works in partnership with the TSCPA Board of Directors and Council to develop and execute the society's strategic vision, always working to promote, protect and support the CPA profession in Tennessee. Additionally, she works with various committees and represents the membership with various governmental entities, including the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy, the Tennessee Department of Revenue and the Tennessee General Assembly. She can be reached at kfitzgerald@tscpa.com