Advocacy: It’s the Most Important Thing We Do
Advocating for the accounting profession throughout the state of Nevada is one of the most important missions of the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants. While advocacy is considered an intangible benefit of membership – its importance is often not recognized until legislative or regulatory activities come to light that may significantly affect the profession. The NVCPA monitors both state and federal level legislative proposals, and through our Federal and State Key Person Programs, we develop grass root campaigns to garner support for (or in some cases opposition to) proposed legislative initiatives. The NVCPA also works closely with the Nevada Board of Accountancy, the regulatory agency for the profession, on a variety of common interests.
Members of the NVCPA’s Legislation/PAC Committee keep apprised of legislative issues being considered in both state houses of Nevada, as well as on Capitol Hill. The Committee makes position recommendations to the Board of Directors and/or may simply facilitate a dialogue to help clarify the impact of specific bills and proposed initiatives. Committee members often meet with state and federal legislators, and are called upon at times to testify before state committee hearings. The Legislative Committee also serves as the NVCPA’s Political Action Committee (PAC).
The PAC generally meets during the summer of every year immediately prior to Nevada’s biannual legislative session. They review candidates who are up for election, and make decisions on which campaigns to support.
PAC funds are generated by NVCPA member contributions, primarily at the time of dues renewal, though members may contribute to the PAC at any time throughout the year.
Key Person Programs – both Federal and State
The NVCPA’s key person programs were developed to maintain regular and continuing personal contact with Nevada legislators and Members of Congress. Key persons are CPAs who have personal or business connections with their legislators and are willing to work with the NVCPA to educate and influence them about specific legislative items and their potential impact on both the CPA profession and the constituencies they serve.
The responsibilities of a key person are few, yet important. The NVCPA carefully watches events in the Nevada Legislature and Congress. When a "hot topic" arises that we need grassroots support for (or against), we activate our key persons. We supply detailed materials that provide the necessary background so they can make personal visits to their legislator, or call and/or write them regarding the topic. The success of our key person programs are affected directly by how well key persons understand and carry out their objectives. The NVCPA State Key Person program is updated every other year immediately following the November elections. The Federal Key Person program is updated when there are changes to our elected congressional delegation.
Key Person activities
- Represent the profession to one or more of your federal or state legislators.
- Develop a personal, constituent relationship with the legislator based on mutual trust and respect.
- Know your legislator's political background, issue priorities, and committees he or she serves on.
- • Respond promptly to requests from the NVCPA by contacting your legislator on the specified issues. Many letters regarding legislative advocacy at the federal level are generated by NVCPA staff, with the assistance of the Legislation Division of the AICPA.
- Reinforce the constituent relationship with your legislator by regularly communicating professional and nonprofessional issues that may be of interest to him or her and and their staff members.
- Be aware of pending federal and state legislation that may affect the profession. Be prepared to discuss the impact on your practice, your clients, and the community.
- Build community understanding and support for the profession and its position on the issues.
- Provide feedback to the NVCPA that may be useful in developing legislative strategy and achieving NVCPA objectives.