Better Than You Found It

I have enjoyed camping since I was a young when my parents started taking me.  My wife grew up as a Girl Scout and she loved camping as well.  We passed that tradition on to our kids, and family camping has been a memorable and important part of our lives.  We have many great family camping stories.

  • Like our dog turning her nose up at her dog food until she gets the left over bacon grease from breakfast poured over the top.
  • Like our daughter being lifted off the ground as the wind gust from the thunderstorm lifted the tarp she was trying to hold down.
  • Like the dog looking at us like we were crazy after we told her to “go get the geese” that were chasing our daughter for food – after the poor dog had been told all weekend NO, she couldn’t do that.
  • Like the hikes being done for the first time with each child being carried on my back and then again years later when they implored Mom and Dad to “keep up.”

But I wanted to take a minute to talk discuss one foundational rule of camping taught to my wife and I that we have passed on to our children, “leave the campsite better than you found it.”  I find this is not just a rule for camping, but a rule for life.  Whatever you do, leave it better than you found it. Therefore, I think CPAs have an obligation to leave the profession better than they found it.  We all took a big step in doing that with the recent vote to create a new association combining the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  While the AICPA and CIMA will continue to have separate governance structures, they will share staff and resources enabling both organizations to provide more and better support to their members.  Having been involved from the beginning of our efforts to work with CIMA including initiatives starting with the Business and Industry Executive Committee then onto the AICPA Board decision to create a joint venture with CIMA and the creation of the CGMA credential; I feel that I have worked hard to leave this profession better than I found it.

While that is a big thing, often, like picking up that last piece of trash, it’s the little of things that build up over time that truly make things better than we found it.  The little things like volunteering for your professional association by working on a committee or task force to help the profession progress forward. While it is immensely important that we all serve our clients and employers well, keep up with ongoing education and following our professional ethical responsibilities, that is simply using the campsite built by others.  I have volunteered for my professional associations for years and I am asking you to get involved and leave the campsite, your profession, better than you found it.

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