by Tracy Allen, Partner, Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP, 2023-24 OSCPA Board Chair
Volunteering for the OSCPA for me began in my early twenties, less than a year out of school. I wouldn’t say so much it was volunteering as I was voluntold. A manager called me into his office and said OSCPA was looking for someone younger to bring a fresh perspective to a committee. He then informed me that I would be that fresh perspective and that the meeting was tomorrow. Over two decades later, I’m still here and I can’t thank him enough. I have volunteered on committees, on the board, helping to create the LEAP™ program and now I am going through the chairs. It is my way of giving back to the profession that has given so much to me.
I’ve been asked over the years, when did I decide an accounting career was for me? So many others in the profession knew in high school that they wanted to be an accountant. Not me. Entering college, I planned to study political science and eventually go to law school. I had my entire life mapped out like most 18-year-olds. I was going to be a lawyer, I was going to be successful, I was going to have a big house, I was going to get married some day in a white dress and so on. And, like most 18-year-old dreams, the lawyer part shattered quickly during the first semester of my freshman year when I realized that my governmental class simply wasn’t interesting. I found my way to accounting the following year and never looked back.
I love accounting; I love the profession of accounting. There aren’t too many people I can say that to without them falling asleep mid conversation, but not this group, this group I can shout it from the rooftops. I LOVE ACCOUNTING! To me it’s about the numbers. It’s about solving the puzzle. It’s about innate curiosity and craving continuous learning and knowledge. It’s getting lost in a journal entry trying to find the solution. About surrounding myself with people much smarter than myself. It’s about making something balance. It’s about teaching and continuous learning. Accounting is about working in dynamic teams to solve problems. It’s about leadership, education, and most of all, accounting is about people. It’s all about helping people. At the office I strive to help clients achieve their goals. And as the incoming chair of the OSCPA, I strive to help grow the CPAs of today into the leaders and trusted advisors of tomorrow.
I was recently talking to a staff in our office who mentioned his friends laughed at him in college for going into accounting. They asked why he would choose a profession that would soon be obsolete? I have never thought of accounting as obsolete. It’s a historic profession. There is evidence of accounting in multiple ancient civilizations around the world. The statement that accounting is obsolete, or about to become obsolete, did make me pause and ponder. Are we as accountants a ticking clock about to expire? Could our profession become extinct? I don’t believe either of those questions for one moment.
I do believe our profession is changing and will continue to change. It’s already different than just a few decades ago. Automation, COVID, and the pace of technology have altered how we work. However, I’m a firm believer that our profession, and we as individual accountants, have adapted to each of these challenges and will continue to adapt.
As the incoming chair I am passionate about looking towards the future and equipping members with the tools and talents needed to continue to be successful in an ever-changing profession and an ever-changing world. As our profession continues to change, accountants we will be called on more than ever to be trusted advisors and leaders to those around us. We will need to grow our skillsets beyond debits and credits to leadership and advisory. We will need to be able to rise our heads above the trees and see the entire canopy of the forest, to think strategically as well as be able to execute that vision. We will need to be the chameleons of business changing quickly and blending seamlessly between accounting, finance, emotional intelligence, strategy, execution, influencing, and relationships. We will need to be resilient and continue to grow and change as business changes. I am passionate about helping members do just that, and I believe the OSCPA is the organization to lead us. Through working together, connecting through CPE, advocacy, and leadership development, we are the future of the profession. We are the CPAs of today that will be the leaders and the trusted advisors of tomorrow. I look forward to taking this journey with all of you.
Tracy Allen is partner at Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP, Lake Oswego. She is the 2023-24 Chair of the OSCPA Board of Directors.