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Partner, Diane E. Edelstein, CPA, recently concluded her service on the AICPA’s (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) National Not-For-Profit Conference Steering Committee after serving on the Committee from 2012-2017. The annual conference is held in June and is designed to bring together accountants and other finance professionals in the non-profit sector for training, strategies for best practice implementation of the latest regulatory and compliance updates, along with other important topics in the industry.

I asked Ms. Edelstein to reflect on her experiences serving on the committee:

How and why did you get involved in the Committee?

The impetus for my getting involved in the Committee was to strengthen the Single Audit training opportunities for attendees at the conference due to my experience serving on the AICPA’s Governmental Audit Quality Center and expertise with Single Audits. I have taught several courses on Single Audit on a national level through the AICPA, and compliance matters in this area have been a long-standing specialty area for me. I was flattered to be asked and happy to lend a hand.

What was your specific role on the Committee?

My role was to ensure that every time slot covering the 2.5 day conference period had a Yellow Book eligible course offered and to ensure Single Audit and Yellow Book topics were available to meet the needs of the auditors and clients that work in the Yellow Book arena. I was heavily involved in selecting topic areas. As Single Audit encompasses a broad range of subjects, I wanted to ensure that a diverse set of topic areas was included including overall Single Audit compliance, testing compliance, selecting major programs, and sampling, etc.

What was your most memorable program you helped plan while on the Committee?

Creating and teaching the Frequently Asked Questions Session for Single Audit definitely stands out the most. But more memorable than any one program, the most significant takeaway I have from serving on the committee was the opportunity to get to know and work with the other committee members. They came from such a broad range of backgrounds – ranging from CPA’s at national big 4 accounting firms to individuals from sole proprietorship
s. I think that because the committee was composed of people from ‘all walks of accounting life’ so to speak – this helped to strengthen the programs we were able to offer attendees as we were able offer our own unique perspectives in the planning process.

What vision of programming do you see in the future for the conference?

I don’t see much change in the conference itself. I think the motto ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is very applicable here. Additionally, I think the conference will become more important as more CPA’s get their Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits on-line. I strongly feel that live interaction with instructors and other participants is important to make us all better accountants and auditors, which in turn better helps us to serve our clients. However, while on-line options for CPE training certainly have their value, the experience of in person learning and face to face networking with other practitioners in the field can’t be replicated in the exact same way in a web-based setting. I believe the Conference will continue to offer training and educational opportunities attendees will not be able to get elsewhere. I will be speaking at the 2018 conference so I will continue to be involved in that capacity, and I look forward to it!