Why service, involvement in your professional organization matters

Advocacy

Michael A. Gregory, founder, Michael Gregory Consulting, LLC | September 2017 Footnote

It's pretty easy to share why being involved in the MNCPA matters to me: because it matters to the profession.

Getting involved in a professional organization has many benefits -- everything from personal fulfillment and satisfaction, to building long-lasting personal and professional relationships, to gaining experience and new skills. But, it's advocating on our members' behalf and building something to help those we come in touch with that drives my passion to serve.

As CPAs, our schedules already seem packed with friends, family and busy careers. That being said, taking a little time to get involved in a professional organization is extremely rewarding.

Experiences not otherwise found

My involvement started as a captain with the Young Professionals Group (YPG). Professional development was a key reason for me to initially get involved, and the YPG was a great way to get started volunteering at the MNCPA. Once I got my feet wet, I jumped into other volunteer opportunities, including the Construction Conference Task Force and the YPG Leadership Committee. It has been a great experience planning events and regularly meeting with other members to discuss current issues facing young professionals and the profession.

This past year, I stretched myself and joined the Legislative Issues Committee. I have never been one for politics, but I'm so glad I didn't let that stop me. I had the privilege of traveling to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to attend the AICPA Spring Council with a small group from the MNCPA. During our time in D.C., we had the opportunity to meet with legislators and discuss key issues facing the profession.

This was an eye-opening experience for me. The legislators genuinely respect CPAs and our profession, and they honestly wanted to hear about and understand the issues we brought to them so they can better serve their constituents. Since our trip, one of the issues, the mobile workforce bill, has passed the House. It is very rewarding to know that legislators truly value our opinion.

Selflessness first

Through my involvement with the MNCPA, I learned and gained new skills, built long-lasting relationships and expanded my network. Volunteering has also proven to be a great way to contribute my knowledge and learn more about particular industries. Most notably, it has also helped stretch my social skills. Some people are naturally outgoing, but for those of us who are not (including me), volunteering provided an easy way to meet new friends and contacts.

If you're on the fence about getting involved, consider this benefit: The relationships you build can lead to countless opportunities in the future, such as meeting a future co-worker, employee, client, referral source or friend. Growing professional contacts is a great way to build business.  

Although volunteering could lead to a referral or new business, do not volunteer specifically for these reasons. Focus on giving to the profession first. In return, the opportunities and benefits will come. Getting involved in something you feel passionate about is important. The more passionate you are about the organization you volunteer for, the more enthused you will be about serving.

People value that to which they contribute. To get the most out of any professional organization, take the time to find a volunteer opportunity. The small amount of time that it takes will be well worth it. No doubt, you will learn something new, gain meaningful and long-lasting relationships, and even have some fun along the way.