CTCPA Members, Staff Working Toward Renewed Strategic Plan, Mission

 
Members of the Strategic Planning Committee at a recent meeting.

 

 

Meet the Strategic Planning Committee and its subcommittees.

   

 

 

The CTCPA has embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning initiative to ensure we remain vibrant and relevant to members and the profession today and in the future.

Members Marie Benedetto of Marie L. Benedetto, CPA, MST; Innovative Business Solutions and Carl Johnson of CRJ Consulting have volunteered to lead the charge as facilitators, engaging a Strategic Planning Committee comprising 15 members who represent a wide diversity of geographic regions, expertise, and demographics.


 

The Timeline

    May 2018 - September 2018

The eight subcommittees dive into their assignments, navigating data and their own expertise on topics ranging from the future of professional education to the disruptive technologies set to take the accounting profession by storm. 

    Fall 2018

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee dive into the short-term and long-term goals and initiatives proposed by the eight subcommittees, formulating an initial strategic plan.

    November 2018

The Strategic Planning Committee presents the broad initial strategic plan to the Board of Directors, soliciting their initial feedback and questions.

    January 2019

Following the Board of Director's approval, the Strategic Planning Committee and CTCPA staff will work together to develop and initiate an implementation plan.



Interview with Our Strategic Planning Initiative Co-Facilitators

Several months into the CTCPA strategic planning process, Connecticut CPA checked in with the project’s co-facilitators, Marie Benedetto of Marie L. Benedetto, CPA, MST, Innovative Business Solutions (currently serving as CTCPA treasurer) and Carl Johnson of CRJ Consulting, to learn a bit more about how (and why!) the initiative is unfolding.

What are your roles in the strategic planning initiative?

Together with Bonnie Stewart, we are planning, leading, and facilitating the strategic plan initiative we’re calling CTCPA Vision 2025! This plan considers the long-term needs of the CTCPA and the accounting profession.

Our first goal was to find other members who were passionate about leading the charge to ensure that our CTCPA remains relevant to all of our present as well as future members. Our plan is to formulate a relevant vision/mission and broad scope strategic goals that will meet the needs of our members through 2025.

We are fortunate to have engaged additional CTCPA members in forming a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) consisting of 15 CTCPA members and two CTCPA staff liaisons to work together on behalf of our society. Two SPC members have stepped forward to co-chair the Strategic Planning Committee, and all members of the Strategic Planning Committee are chairs/vice-chairs of at least one of the eight subcommittees.

 

Why did you decide to get involved?

Carl: Marie told me that I had to do it for the CTCPA and she was right! Seriously, though, the profession has been very good to me. It is my chance to give back to the next generation. There are big changes coming to the profession, mainly driven by technology, and we need to evolve through these changes.

Marie: It seems like a natural journey to give back to my profession what my profession has taught me. I am deeply grateful for my experiences within the accounting profession. I feel privileged to work among my fellow accountants who are bright, hard-working and tenaciously principled people. Exposure to the broad business scope and lifelong learning models during my career has allowed me to evolve as a business person and enhance my drive and passion to provide valuable services to many organizations. I believe it is important for this profession to sustain itself and continue to provide vast opportunities to the young professionals while serving the greater good of the public.

Bearing witness to the rate of changes in our economic environment and business world through the advancement of technology as well as other factors has fueled my fervor in remaining relevant to my clients. Therefore, I would look to the CTCPA to support me and our profession in remaining relevant in the marketplace.

As a member of the CTCPA Board of Directors, I felt compelled to apply the culmination of experience in business, years in working with accountants, and my facilitation skills to assist the CTCPA and our profession in exploring ways to remain relevant in these extraordinary times.

 

Have you worked on this sort of project before?

Carl: In my prior career, I led the strategic vision of the firm and, as a consultant to CPA firms these past two years, I have worked with a number of them on their strategic plan.

Marie: Throughout my career, I have always been strategic-minded. Understanding the general mission and plan for any organization is key to serving them well, and the desire to assist my clients in reaching their strategic goals has influenced the methodology of my work. Creating structure and initiating processes has been my strong suit while advising business owners and leaders.

In 1998, I began an advisory service practice, primarily filling a niche between public accounting firms and their clients. Today, my practice has evolved to creating growth opportunities for the businesses I work with and plan for the individuals who own them. Designing and facilitating strategic plans and project goals for clients is truly a love of mine. Of course, I would want to do this for the CTCPA!

I met Carl after his retirement from BlumShapiro and we began working on some projects together, including facilitating strategic planning sessions and workshops. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Carl these past two years, and our skills and experience complement each other well. And, I might add, we have fun in the process! I knew with Carl’s rich experience in serving and growing one of the largest regional accounting firms, coupled with his good nature, he would enthusiastically respond to assisting the CTCPA in this endeavor.

 

How are you structuring the volunteer groups and the work?

We initiated interest and engagement in the strategic planning process at the November 2017 CTCPA Advisory Council Meeting with an exercise to review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) facing the CTCPA today and tomorrow. We were so pleased with the enthusiasm of our Advisory Council members and encouraged by their interest in the next steps of reviewing the vision/mission and strategic plan for the CTCPA.

We discussed the importance of reaching and hearing our members’ (and potential members’) diverse voices. Bonnie and the CTCPA staff solicited volunteers from various industries and disciplines, public accounting, and academic environments, while considering geographic regions, gender, and age diversity. The current CTCPA Strategic Planning Committee proudly represents members from four Connecticut regions, with expertise in manufacturing, healthcare advisory, talent recruiting, legal, public accounting, academic environment, technology, and business advisory services, boasting seven females and eight males representing ages from young professionals to nearly retired professionals.

From there, we developed eight subcommittees (each chaired by SPC members) for the following areas:

  • Membership Benefits
  • External Community
  • Technology
  • Governing Bodies
  • Future Professional Accountant
  • Education Exploration
  • Fiscal Viability
  • Communication/Branding

 

What steps have you taken so far?

A great deal of data-gathering has had to take place in understanding the nuances of our rapidly changing environment in business and in demographics. This is an ongoing initiative, and we regularly share among our group in advance of our scheduled discussions.

In addition to engaging the Advisory Council in a SWOT exercise, we challenged the CTCPA staff to do the same. This exercise proved very valuable to the final SWOT reference tool that will be used by our subcommittees and SPC alike in our journey forward.

Our SPC meetings are primarily structured as “brainstorming sessions” to ignite conversations about what the future of the profession might be and how the CTCPA can best serve our members. In our May meeting, we spent time brainstorming meaningful words that define who we are, where we are going, and how we will get there. These short words/statements will be combined to formulate relevant vision/mission and value statements for the CTCPA that we will continue to utilize and tweak throughout this process.

Subcommittee volunteers were solicited for each focus area and many have begun their independent charge.

In our June meeting, we revisited the vision/mission/value statements while clarifying roles and reporting progress of the individual subcommittees.

 

Has anything surprised you?

Carl: The commitment of the volunteers to help the accounting profession. I find it very interesting what people will think of when you ask the group to think about the long-term issues! They will always surprise you with some outstanding, out-of-the-box thinking.

Marie: I am always amazed at how our executive director and the CTCPA staff enthusiastically direct their dedication and energy toward facilitating change for the betterment of the CTCPA and the support of our members. We are fortunate to have such a committed CTCPA team!

 

What’s next?

The eight subcommittees will round out the additional diversity of geographic regions, expertise, and demographics of our member voices. Their charge is to dive more deeply into the various present and future influences and needs of our profession, the businesses they serve, and, ultimately, our members. During the next six months, the subcommittees will work independently and report their findings/recommendations to the Strategic Planning Committee, which will then listen, discern, and move to create a broad-scope strategic plan that meets the needs of our members through 2025.

 

What would you like the members of the CTCPA to know about the initiative?

Carl: The effort that their fellow CPAs are putting in to help drive the accounting profession and the CTCPA.

Marie: Consider yourselves valuable resources to each other, to the community around you, and to the future of our profession. With many members of diverse backgrounds and experiences, we are stronger together and energized in fostering a thriving profession to sustain through the years.