A Short Conversation with J. Michael Kirkland, CPA, CGMA, Accountants Club of America President for 2018 – 2019

201901.14
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A Short Conversation with J. Michael Kirkland, CPA, CGMA, Accountants Club of America President for 2018 – 2019

What is your vision for ACA in the coming year?

I hope to grow this organization.  As someone in the press said a few years ago, ACA is one of New York’s best kept secrets.  I want to keep the “best” part and eliminate the “secret.”

How is ACA different from other professional organizations?

We are certainly not trying to emulate NYSSCPA or AICPA.   Our role is different.  We are here to create personal contact, which breeds mutual and trust among individuals who can then be resources to each other. ACA provides a great opportunity for businesspeople to build fellowship and to form business connections and friends.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions about ACA?

That we are all CPAs!  Our members  include  lawyers, bankers, businesspeople, insurance brokers.  That provides a pool of highly experienced professionals in the business community with a wealth of knowledge.

Why are organizations like ACA still relevant?

In order to survive, there’s an economic imperative to increase your business opportunities.  There are still many of us who find direct personal contact extremely important, even in the digital age.  When I see a social media request and don’t know the person well, I’m a little skeptical.  Being able to meet someone face to face and encounter them at events where the objective is to build relationships inspires confidence.

How will you bring your message as a diversity advocate to ACA?

Clearly, we have to increase our footprint and brand recognition among underserved and underrepresented groups—and I will certainly keep working for that.  On the other hand, a lot of what happens is that people exclude themselves and don’t get in the ball game.  Whenever I speak to groups—especially groups of younger people and diverse audiences—I tell them how important it is for them to attend events, make their presence known and put forth their viewpoints.  It’s up to all of us to inform and inspire each other.  I’ve had a really fortunate career and a lot of it is because I didn’t wait for opportunity to knock; I went knocking on my own.

Michael Kirkland, CPA, CGMA is a veteran finance executive with over 30 years of experience in accounting, banking, industry, consulting and business development. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in professional and community organizations, often serving on governing bodies, advisory boards and task forces. He has been an active member of such groups as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), American Arbitration Association (AAA), National Association of Black Accountants, New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA), Sustainability Investment Leadership Council and United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.   In 2013-14 he became just the second African American to serve as president of the NYSSCPA. He is also a frequent speaker and contributor to accounting profession publications.

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