Definition of Roles

There are currently 27 volunteer roles available within the Volunteer System as shown below. In some cases a particular role, such as Treasurer, should be self explanatory and therefore no definition is provided. Where appropriate, details on the functions of roles are provided.


Current Roles

Board Chair.  The Chairman of the Board of Directors presides at key meetings of members of the Institute, the Council, and the Board of Directors. The chairman is responsible to appoint committees and boards as provided for in the Bylaws.  The Chairman also acts as a spokesperson for the Institute and appears on its behalf before other organizations.  The Vice Chair of the Board is normally appointed to be Chair of the Board during the annual meeting of the Nominations Committee (usually held in February).


Board Liaison.  Acts as the ears of the Board of Directors to certain volunteer groups.

Note: Except as otherwise provided by Council, and except for committees of the Board of Directors, such as the Committee on Audit, no public member on a senior or permanent committee or board may serve as its chair.  An effective volunteer group needs a chair that will accept responsibility, foster creativity, and keep the group focused. The smooth management and creative achievements of any volunteer group often reflect the chair's ability and efforts.

Chair of a Volunteer Group
. The Chair of a Volunteer Group is responsible for presiding over the meetings of the group and to provide direction over the activities of the group. With the exception of task forces, the Chair is also responsible during the Volunteer Group Year to recommend individuals for succeeding years, evaluate members of the group, and communicate any changes in the objectives or membership of the Group to the Volunteer Services Team at


Designated Representative.  Each state society designates a single member to represent it on the Council for a term of one year.  A Designate Representative can be reappointed each year for a combined term of service not to exceed six consecutive years.

Elected Members
.  Elected Members are members of Council who are directly elected by the membership in their respective states. The number of Elected Members is allocated in two ways, somewhat analogous to the allocation of senators and congressmen for each state, whereby the first is a fixed amount and the second is based on population.  First, each state by default is allowed to recommend one Elected Member of Council.  Second, each state is allowed to recommend additional Elected Members, the number being based on the proportion of Institute members enrolled from each state.  This second category of  Elected Members based on proportion of AICPA members is set at 85 members; however, the allocation of the seats is re-evaluated and adjusted, if necessary, every five years.

. Past Chairs of the Board of Directors and Past Presidents of the AICPA.  

.  Seven Institute members, without regard to the states in which they reside, are elected annually by the Council as Members-At-Large to serve on Council.  

Member–of a volunteer group
.  The term "member" is often used in a general sense to reflect any participant of on a volunteer group.

.  The president of the AICPA has the responsibility for the execution of the policies and programs of the Institute, to act as a spokesperson for the Institute, and perform such other services as may be assigned to the President by the Council and the Board of Directors.

Public Members
.  Public Members are non-CPA volunteers who sit on the Board of Directors.  The Bylaws require three public members.

Secretary of Institute
.  The secretary of the Institute has the usual duties of a corporate secretary and performs such other related duties as may be assigned to the secretary by the president

Staff Liaison
.  The staff liaison should assist the volunteer group at each meeting to the fullest extent possible by researching and providing background information. This includes providing appropriate reference materials for each meeting; identifying the elements of a problem; listing the questions that need answering; participating in the discussion; endeavoring tactfully to persuade members to adopt a sound decision; alerting the volunteer group when it is deviating from AICPA policy or exceeding its authority; and accepting whatever final decision is reached, unless the issue is so important that a higher authority should be consulted.  The staff liaison is responsible for preparing the agenda, drafting the minutes or highlights (including attendance), as appropriate, of each  meeting (with review and approval by the volunteer group chair), coordinating volunteer group activities and sharing information with other AICPA volunteer groups and staff, as appropriate. The staff liaison may also be called on to help the volunteer group identify goals, focus on major issues, create new programs, draft reports, and organize and implement activities approved by the volunteer group.  The staff liaison should play an active role and can lead the volunteer group in the form of guidance and assistance toward a desired end. 

Vice Chairman of the Board.  The Vice Chairman of the Board shall be chairman- nominee of the Board of Directors and presides in the absence of the chairman at meetings of the Institute, the Council, and the Board of Directors. The Vice Chairman is currently assigned the responsibility to recommend appointments to all volunteer groups.  These recommended appointments are subject to ratification during the annual Fall Council meeting.  The Vice Chair is selected during the annual meeting of the Nominations Committee, usually held in February each year.  Although there are no specific requirements to become the Vice Chair, normally this individual will have been a member of the Board of Directors. 

Virtual Member.  An individual who is a member of a Virtual Group and supports the AICPA in an entirely virtual internet based capacity.  One type of virtual member participation has entailed online support to one or more specific committees.  A second form of virtual participation involves online participation in various online surveys, which provide targeted feedback in specialized areas.