Young CPAs will have access to leading experts in the industry, participate in primo networking, and gain up to 21 CPE credits when they attend the third annual E.D.G.E. Conference in Austin, Texas, August 7-9, 2013.
This year’s conference is co-sponsored by the AICPA and the Texas Society of CPAs. The tagline for the conference is “Sharpening the Next Generation of CPAs,” and although there will be some accounting technical content offered at the conference, the primary focus is on helping build leadership and management skills. E.D.G.E. is an acronym for “Evolve-Distinguish-Grow-Engage.”
“The E.D.G.E. Conference is like no other AICPA Conference,” said Conference Chair Allison Harrell, CPA, an audit director at Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. in Tallahassee, Florida. “Because the E.D.G.E. is a smaller conference, there are a lot of opportunities to build your network, and unlike larger conferences, attendees get one-on-one time with speakers and veteran AICPA leaders.
“You also get the chance to build your peer network, something the AICPA Leadership Academy also provides,” she added. “You can meet someone at the conference who may live two to three states away who is in a similar place in their career and you can bounce questions and ideas off of this person; this is invaluable.”
The conference was the brainchild of the AICPA Leadership Academy, of which Harrell was a member of the inaugural 2009 class. Academy participants found leadership and soft skills training were not readily available through AICPA, or their firms and companies, so they recommended creating the conference to provide these opportunities for CPAs. Anyone with 5 to 15 years’ experience who are looking to get promoted to the next level and enhance their value to their organization should attend.
“Frequently, CPAs are promoted from a senior to a manager without a lot of training on how to manage, communicate, and give feedback,” said Harrell. “We are providing training for them to effectively do their job. Some of those skills are hard to come by with CPE credits attached.”
Conference topics are varied, with sessions pertaining to management and human resources, personal development and career building, professional issues, and women’s initiatives, among others. General session topics include “The Top Seven Issues Facing Young Professionals” with Tom Hood, CPA.CITP, CGMA, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, and “Five Winning Strategies Every CPA Professional Should Know” with Tamera Loerzel, a partner with Convergence Coaching.
Important management issues are addressed at the conference, as well; topics include “HR Boot Camp” and “Strengths in Teams: How to Manage Team Performance by Leveraging the Unique Strengths of Each Member.” Personal development topics focus on career and self-improvement, including “Four Strategies for Developing a Powerful Sphere of Influence” and “Managing Yourself—Be your own CEO.” Technical sessions include a professional issues update with AICPA Chair Richard Caturano, CPA, CGMA; “Continuous Audit and the Future of Audit” and “Introduction to Forensic Accounting.” Harrell is also conducting a session, “Your Responsibilities and Fiduciary Duties as a NFP Board Member.”
“I’ve managed and attended a lot of conferences over the years and truly think the E.D.G.E. Conference is, by far, one of the more dynamic forums the AICPA has available for its younger members,” said Donna W. Salter, senior manager of Young Member Initiatives for the AICPA. “There is a certain ‘vibe’ at this conference that makes it stand apart from other training programs. Since attendees come from all over the U.S. and share best practices willingly, they create a level of connectivity that is vital to continued success.”
In addition to education and networking, Austin is known worldwide for its laid-back environment and nightlife. Even the city’s tagline, “Keep Austin Weird” speaks to the unique aspects Austin offers its visitors.
With more than 40 sessions and 21 CPE credits, the E.D.G.E. Conference has something to offer all young professionals. For more information and to register, visit the E.D.G.E. conference website. PCPS members receive a extra $50 discount on the registration fee.
At a Glance
What: E.D.G.E. Conference
When: August 7-9, 2013
Where: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capital
Registration:E.D.G.E. Conference Website