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INCPAS Advocacy 101: How to Become a CPA Advocate

Feb 2, 2023
Photo of Indiana State Capitol building.

Since the 1920s, the Indiana CPA Society (then known as the Indiana Association of Certified Public Accountants) has been working as an advocate of the CPA profession, leveraging relationships to protect CPAs, their interests, and the overall integrity of the profession. Doing this important work requires joining forces with our members.

Why should I consider becoming an INCPAS CPA Advocate?

There’s strength in numbers. While the INCPAS team has full-time staff, a lobbyist and leadership dedicated to lobbying and advocacy, individual members are needed to further elevate the INCPAS legislative agenda and other key policy topics that arise.

Here are just a few reasons to become an advocate:

  • You make sure your voice is heard on critical issues to the overall profession and those that might impact your industry and/or your clients’ industries.
  • You help shape the reputation of the profession. Many of INCPAS’s efforts stem from one goal: to uphold the integrity and standards of the profession, and make sure the license is a credential that holds meaning. This continues to position the profession as one of leading business professionals.
  • You help support future generations of CPAs by supporting key changes that can impact the pipeline. One of our most recent successes was the enactment of the 120-to-Sit rule. This rule change is helping to remove barriers to successful completion of the CPA Exam with the potential impact of boosting the number of licensed CPAs in Indiana.
  • You’ll get a closer look at the legislative process. No matter what level of time and energy you put into your advocacy efforts, you’ll be playing a role in shaping policy in Indiana. This is an exciting duty and way to engage in our democracy.

What does being a CPA Advocate look like?

The beauty of advocacy is that there are many ways to get involved. At its core, it involves becoming familiar with the Society’s key advocacy initiatives. Then, if you are comfortable doing so, we encourage you to build relationships with your legislators. Some advocates simply send emails, while others engage in in-person events. The goal is to position yourself as a resource for issues related to the profession and as a trusted business advisor to share insights on the business environment in Indiana.

Some of the core activities of advocacy are:

  • Staying up-to-date with what your legislators are doing by following them on social media and signing up for their newsletters.
  • Reviewing the weekly legislative updates we send from the INCPAS lobbyist, including their behind-the-scenes summary of the legislative process during session.
  • Introducing yourself via email to your legislators. Note how you and INCPAS can be resources for complex legislation that could impact the profession and business community.
  • Staying up-to-date with the Society’s advocacy efforts. This includes contacting your legislators as needed when the advocacy team releases a call to action on key issues.
  • Keeping in touch with your legislators. Reach out at the end of the legislative session and offer to continue being a resource. The stronger a relationship you’re able to build, the more likely you and others can impact legislation.

Advocates can also extend their impact by attending legislative events or fundraisers to get face-to-face time with their legislators. INCPAS also offers volunteer opportunities to get involved. You can contribute to the Indiana CPA-PAC and/or serve as a PAC trustee, join the Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC), or the Tax Resource Advisory Council (TRAC).

What topics are on the 2024 INCPAS Legislative Agenda that I can expect to engage with as a CPA Advocate?

The INCPAS advocacy team closely monitors issues that could have short- or long-term ramifications on the CPA profession and how business is conducted in Indiana.

Lead topics are those in which we plan to take a major stance. These are often the issues in which we directly introduce legislation or join forces with an appropriate partner to introduce it, and actively support their efforts.

2024 Lead Topics:

  • Introduce licensure legislation to align Indiana with current Peer Review processes.
  • Enact a law to automatically align with the Internal Revenue Code, unless the General Assembly disagrees within 30 days to separate from any of its provisions.
  • Introduce legislation to allow accountancy to be considered a STEM subject under technology.
  • Introduce legislation to exempt Indiana not-for-profits that were inadvertently affected by legislative changes to sales tax in the 2023 Legislative Session.

Engage topics are of interest to the Society and our members, but they are not our legislative priority at the time. We adhere to our advocacy policies to decide if we will support, oppose or remain neutral on the topic at hand and any introduced legislation. Members (often CPA Advocates) may be asked to further engage with key influencers or share expert testimony.

2024 Engage Topics:

  • Oppose licensure legislation that is not in the public interest and would be detrimental to CPAs’ ability to provide professional services to the organizations and clients whom they represent.
  • Support legislation that promotes broadband access and expansion to rural and underserved populations and areas in Indiana.
  • Assess the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative agenda for common-ground issues to advance diversity, equity and inclusion related to equity and excellence in education, pipeline and workforce.
  • Support legislation to clarify the use and application of Indiana’s Research & Development Credit for Indiana’s businesses.
  • Protect CPAs from licensure-related discipline for providing professional services to clients in the marijuana or other federally controlled substances industry who are legally operating according to state law.

Monitor topics are those we watch and as they arise, we determine what action, if any, we will take. Our advocacy policies help guide our decisions.

2024 Monitor Topics:

  • Monitor cybersecurity bills with negative implications for CPAs and business in Indiana.
  • Monitor Indiana Department of Revenue and Professional Licensing Agency’s legislative initiatives, and support efforts benefiting taxpayers and licensees in Indiana.
    • Legislation regarding tax implications for multistate employees
    • Business personal property tax threshold
    • Regulation of money transmissions

How do I become an INCPAS CPA Advocate?

The INCPAS Advocacy team strives to make becoming a CPA Advocate as approachable and simple as possible.

First, review the INCPAS 2024 Advocacy Volunteer Toolkit. This guide includes key do’s and don’ts for engaging with legislators, a guide for attending events, sample letters to get started, an overview of the Indiana legislative process and more.

Second, use this tool to get the names and contact information for your state and national legislators. You’ll also be able to see what bills your state representatives have authored or sponsored during their time in the legislature.

Third, sign up to be a CPA Advocate through this short form. We’ll ask for your basic contact information, the names of the legislators you’re willing to contact, and if you have any existing relationship with them.

Once you sign up, you’ll officially be on our CPA Advocate email list, where you’ll receive updates on activity at the statehouse, information about events, calls to action and more.

What if I have a question or run into a problem?

Our advocacy team is always here to support you, answer your questions, assist with contacting a legislator, or to help answer a legislator’s questions. Never hesitate to reach out!

Your advocacy contacts are:

Sherrill Rude, CAE
Vice President – Advocacy

Ali Tonini, CAE
Vice President – Pipeline & Outreach

Additional Resources to Explore:

INCPAS Government Relations Hub

INCPAS Advocacy Events Hub

Indiana CPA-Political Action Committee

Why Advocacy is Important & How We Plan to Support You in the Year Ahead

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