Introduction from Alana:
Several years ago, I met Bob Swisher at an event at which I delivered a talk on networking. He was quick to follow up with me and introduce me to other networking organizations he is part of. I’ve not forgotten his kindness and generosity in so doing.
Bob is a well-known, well-regarded CPA in my community. In the piece that follows, Bob gives examples of specific professional organizations that he’s been a member of over the years along with explanations of the value he’s extracted from his participation, leadership opportunities he’s had and information he’s been exposed to – none of which would have been possible without having been an active participant in these associations. He makes a strong case for each of us finding such organizations with which to associate.
Check out this advice from Bob Swisher…
Guest post by Bob Swisher:
During my career in accounting and financial management, I have found that some of my best networking opportunities occur at various meetings of professional organizations that I belong to. As a Certified Public Accountant, two of my primary professional organizations are my state CPA society as well as the local Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) chapter in Kansas City.
Continuing education and other meetings through my state CPA society give me opportunities to meet with other CPAs who work for various corporations or in public accounting firms. These meetings help me learn what other businesses are doing and provide useful tips that I can use to help some of my business clients with various needs and issues that they may have. These meetings also allow me to develop relationships with other CPAs who may have unique specialties or services that I can collaborate with. One of these meetings a few years ago allowed me to develop a business relationship with another CPA that enabled me to do consulting projects for a variety of local businesses.
My association with the IMA has allowed me to experience a great deal of personal and professional growth the last few years. I began attending local chapter meetings on a regular basis several years ago. The speakers and topics were always very interesting, and I enjoyed sharing lunch with several other accounting professionals. As I became more involved in the chapter, I was eventually asked to become a member of our chapter’s board of directors. This gave me an opportunity to become more involved in the planning of the monthly business meetings and other chapter activities. My attendance at other networking events gave me ideas and suggestions for speakers and topics that I shared with my local chapter.
In 2014, I had an opportunity to serve as President of the IMA Kansas City chapter for the 2014-2015 year. During this time, I helped arrange speakers for our events, scheduled meetings at local venues, and helped plan conferences that we used as fundraisers for one of our local student chapters. These activities helped expand my horizons, and allowed me to acquire skills I would not necessarily have obtained through my career in public accounting, such as event planning, writing press releases, and generating publicity.
One of my philosophies when looking for speakers is to help expand our members’ knowledge on a wide variety of topics. These can include local and national economic issues, finance, information technologies, real estate, banking, employee benefits, and tax law changes. I have also found that our speakers greatly enjoy talking about their own business experiences, the companies they work for, and sharing information with others about their areas of expertise.
My work with the IMA Kansas City chapter has also led to other opportunities and experiences that I might not have had otherwise. I am currently teaching an accounting class at a local university, and I will also be doing a joint presentation with one of my fellow IMA members for a group of accounting educators in November on one of my favorite topics.
If you have an opportunity to join a professional organization, I would highly recommend it. It could help your professional career and development.