Protecting and promoting the profession: FICPA's 2023-24 year in review

Key O'Keefe

In a time of great change, the FICPA is an unwavering advocate, protecting our licenses and promoting the CPA profession. 

I’m Key O’Keefe, your 2023-2024 Chair. For the last 40 years as a member, and over the last 12 months as your Chair, I’ve witnessed first hand the continued impact of the FICPA’s member service and advocacy. 

As I stand here today, I’ve never been more proud to represent my fellow CPAs, and I’ve never been more appreciative of the role this organization plays in leading our profession forward. Just as we fight for our clients, the FICPA fights for us, both in Tallahassee and at the national level. 

It's been my honor  to work alongside President & CEO Shelly Weir and the entire FICPA staff who make our profession their priority. 

Shelly Weir

Thank you, Key, for your leadership this year and hello to you, our FICPA members. 

This year’s Legislative Session in Tallahassee was one of the most active and important in FICPA history. Led by our all-new Governmental Affairs team of Jason Harrell and Lauren Henderson, the FICPA spent 60 days advancing our interests and playing tenacious defense on behalf of the CPA profession. 

Thanks to your support and the relationships we’ve built with key legislators at the Capitol, we were able to turn our legislative priorities into Florida law. 

First, effective July 1, CPAs 65 and older will have the option to place their license into retired status. This special designation – the result of years of advocacy work – honors your decades of accomplishment, preserves your professional identity and enhances your volunteer service. 
Second, with Hurricane Season an annual concern, the FICPA has secured automatic extensions when a state of emergency has been declared within five days of a state filing deadline. Our approved language was adopted in the state’s annual tax package and will provide piece of mind to practitioners and their clients in the face of natural disasters. 

As we celebrate these wins, we take even more pride in protecting the profession from the growing threat of deregulation. Once again, we were able to shield CPAs in Florida from several bills that would have harmed your ability to serve clients across state lines and devalued your license. 

Despite our success, we know that the kind of legislation we fought in Florida will pass in other states. We know additional changes are coming to licensure. And we know practice mobility will be disrupted, impacting CPAs across the country.  

As we balance our pipeline challenge with the need to protect the integrity of licensure, the FICPA is an active force in the search for solutions. This past year, I have Chaired the AICPA’s Substantial Equivalency Working Group and served on its National Pipeline Advisory Group, and Experience, Learn and Earn Task Force. 
While we continue work with our national partners, we’re already taking action on our own. 

Recently, we unveiled a groundbreaking, first-of-its kind initiative with NOVA Southeastern University’s AACSB-accredited business school, that will assist future CPAs on their path to licensure. Our all-new Bridge to CPA program will give employees at participating firms an avenue to complete their fifth-year requirement 
with no tuitions costs. 
Bridge to CPA is just one part of the FICPA’s new 5-Point Pipeline Promise, our commitment to spreading awareness, funding scholarships, recruiting new talent, expanding access to licensure, and cultivating our future leaders. To learn more about all our efforts, visit 
Bottom line: When it comes to issues surrounding talent, recruitment, licensure and mobility, the FICPA is transforming how professional associations deliver on their mission. 

At the same time, we never lose sight of the individual relationships that have long been the backbone of our work. 
This fall, we unveiled the results of our 2023 Member Insights Survey where we solicited your feedback. I am overjoyed to report that overall member satisfaction is up 15% over the last two years. 
Even better,  over the last 12 months, we’ve welcomed the highest number of new FICPA members in the last 40 years. Committed to our new colleagues and our longtime FICPA supporters alike, we will continue to introduce 
new programs, new events and new ways to get the most from your membership.  
With a remarkably successful year behind us, and another on the horizon, it is now my honor to present the 97th Chair of the FICPA: Ed Duarte. 

Ed Duarte

Thank you, Shelly, for all you do on behalf of Florida CPAs, and thank you to our members for your continued support of this historic institution. 

I’m Ed Duarte, your incoming Chair of the FICPA. 

As Key and Shelly both addressed, our profession is at a turning point. That’s why your membership 
means more than ever before. Together, we can ensure that Florida CPAs are protected in Tallahassee, respected in other states, and represented at the national level. 

We know obstacles lie ahead. But in every challenge, there is opportunity – to improve, to innovate and to thrive. 

Thanks to the work of the FICPA, Florida CPAs will be at the forefront of the positive change that pushes our profession forward. 

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