By Neil H. Fishman, CPA, CFE, FCPA, CAMS, National President, NCCPAP
October 20, 2020—It is hard to believe that I became President of NCCPAP only two years ago. In my first message as President, I made the comment that some people were thinking, “What took so long?” Long before I passed the CPA exam and got my license from New York (my Florida license came a few years later), I was attending NCCPAP meetings with my ears open and my mouth shut, learning the practical aspects of this profession while going to school for the technical knowledge. In this profession, you have to be adaptable, as there are changes in the tax laws on a yearly basis. In times such as these, where you have legislation like the CARES Act, changes come every few months or even weeks, as we saw with IRS Notice 2020-32, which changed the intent of certain aspects of the CARES Act. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017, we had to learn what the changes were, what was now allowed which was previously disallowed, and inform our clients of these changes so that they could also be prepared.
A lot has happened, especially this past year. With the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, many are out of work. While some jobs have returned, there are a lot of people who have no idea when they will be able to return to work, or even find a job. Many jobs may no longer exist; other jobs have an uncertain timetable. The Metropolitan Opera recently announced that they are waiting another year before they reopen. Who knows when the neon lights of Broadway will shine once again? As I write this, the airline industry is bracing for a massive number of layoffs and furloughs. Many other industries and professions are pleading for Congress to help. The states, that have borne the brunt of dealing with shutdowns and taking care of first responders, are also facing massive deficits. Everyone is demanding that the Federal government provide assistance, despite the fact that the deficit is exploding. Instead of embracing bi-partisanship and working together, Republicans and Democrats are at polar opposites. Sadly, it seems that some Senators and Representatives are more concerned with keeping their jobs than doing their jobs.
In the middle of all of this and perhaps because of this, NCCPAP has increased its exposure in Washington, D.C.—more Congressional offices know about us and our work. We have started a relationship with Phi Sigma Pi, which will also help with national exposure. We are talking with other national organizations to see how we can collaborate. The prospects for NCCPAP look promising and I am glad to see the beginnings of a solid future.
There are several individuals that I would like to thank, both in and outside of NCCPAP. First is my wife, Cheryl. Without her love and support I would not have been able to achieve anything that I have all these years. Next is my brother, Ed, who has been a sounding board for me, especially these last two years. Then my father, Manuel, a CPA himself, who some 30 years ago asked me to come and work for him. At the time, I was pursuing a different career path, but he saw something in me that gave him the belief that I would be successful in this profession. He also encouraged me to get involved with NCCPAP when I was asked to participate in the organization.
In addition, there are two members of NCCPAP I want to recognize— Steve Mankowski and Mark Stewart. Steve was my predecessor as NCCPAP President, and Mark is my Executive Vice President and will be succeeding me in this office. Both of them have been strong supporters and my counsel at NCCPAP, making sure that I took care of everything that needed to be done. I also want to thank everyone who has been on the National Board, as well as others who, while not on the Board, also provided input.
I also want to give my thanks to the media for taking the time to read NCCPAP’s releases, letters, and announcements, as well as interviewing me on occasion. It is gratifying to see that the issues that NCCPAP places in high regard are being reported to the accounting community and the public, at large.
When you finish a term of office, you wonder if there was something more that you could have done. As President Harry S. Truman said, “The buck stops here.” The successes of NCCPAP came from the combined efforts of many people. Where there were problems that could not be resolved, I take those shortcomings as my responsibility. I’m sure that there are people who were disappointed with decisions I made or actions I took, but you can’t please everyone, every time. It has been my honor and privilege to serve and I look forward to continuing my involvement on many levels in the coming years.
Neil H. Fishman, CPA, CFE, FCPA, CAMS
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The National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) is a professional organization comprised of Certified Public Accountants practicing in the United States. In addition to serving as a forum for education, networking, and community impact, NCCPAP also advocates for its clients. NCCPAP influences tax administration and tax policy by regularly meeting with Internal Revenue Service representatives, state taxing authorities, and elected officials. NCCPAP members represent over one million businesses and individual clients. The organization is headquartered in Woodbury, NY. For more information visit, www.NCCPAP.org.
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