Choosing the Right Professional Association

‘People have not come to this world to be on their own’

Accountants may feel confident that they are connected with the professional world because of platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but how often do they reach out and form meaningful business relationships online?  Social Media options both entice and repel at the same time.  There is so much potential out there, and yet accountants are typically wary of the time suck that online browsing can become.  If someone has a great online profile, will they necessarily manifest into a person who a busy professional could have a genuine connection with?  In the end, the tendency is to remain in the comfort of having lunch at one’s desk, rather than risk reaching out and meeting people in real life (IRL).

How are connections made that will further  professional success in a noisy digital world?  Even as the business climate becomes more rushed and frenetic, organizations which foster face to face introductions will never lose their value. Like a good mentor, a Professional Association can offer the opportunity and encouragement to reach outside of one’s realm of experience, to learn, grow, and try something new.  These career building steps occur because of the great people who offer their precious spare time and energy to contribute to the professions for which they have dedicated so much.

As an Association Executive and communications professional, I definitely recommend  seeking out and finding a collegial group that is right for the firm, or the Partner who is looking for something more.  When carefully considering the choices, here are some criteria to look for:

·     Do members talk about meaningful relationships they have gained through the Association?

·     Can members gain unique experiences not offered in their own firms?

·     Is the Association open to changes and innovation in the Industry?

·     Does the Association encourage the use of technology to leverage communication, education, and promotions? 

At Integra International, which is an Association of Tax, Audit and Accounting firms,  a lot of time is spent organizing the Global Conferences.  These events help bind the membership and pay real dividends for everyone attending. While members connect in the digital realm regularly, the kind of interactions experienced on location together offer benefits that last long after the meetings are over.

Associations and Networks are flourishing and growing in number every day. For the accountant and firm looking for meaningful experiences and a boost of energy for the practice, try one of the many local, national and international industry Associations.

Laurie Daschuk, BA

Integra International Global Administrator

February 9, 2019

(We have so many professional women in our Association as well! This is a photo that I took at the event, where everyone had such a good time. I will be sharing more pictures soon…)

Organic Connections Bloom in an International Association

Last week at our Global Board Annual Planning Meeting, Integra had Association Directors coming from around the world to meet in Miami.  As luck would have it, there was also an International Tax Conference going on, organized by the Florida Institute of CPAs, just before our planning meeting started. We had informed everyone that there was another opportunity to come to Miami.

International Professional Associations give members a competitive edge;  the ability to meet up with and connect with colleagues anywhere, not just at their own Association events.  Integra International hosts several conferences a year, where our members from over 60 countries gather to network, learn and grow their practice.  Our members also have a regular habit of meeting up with each other when they travel around the world, for business and pleasure.  These beneficial connections are easy to arrange and give our members a global advantage and unique international experiences. Often, members really go out of their way to host each other and act as tour guides.

Getting back to the Tax Conference, and you can see from the picture here, our members are really happy to see each other and get the most from attending an event together.  In this picture, we have representation from Canada, Germany and the United States.  International Professional Associations offer a sense of community for members , an incentive to get out of the office and the ability create a truly Global Practice.   I always enjoy hearing about member stories, what they did, and who they met.  It is activities like these, that help our Association to grow.

January 18, 2019

Laurie Daschuk, BA

Integra International Global Administrator

Planning for the Future of an International Professional Association

When it comes to setting the agenda for the year ahead, Associations have few opportunities better than the annual planning meeting. Whether looking to rally members and volunteers, introduce organizational change, reset culture or implement new technology, an annual meeting must serve as a safe place to discuss and plan.

During the last 2 years I have been at Integra International, where we have over 120 member CPA firms with 4,000 staff members from more than 60 countries, I am constantly learning about all the great talent and resources we have available to us.  Our members are doing wonderful things and we want to keep up and support them.  I really encourage input from everyone who wants to be actively involved in our Association.  We want to facilitate a broad and open approach to annual meetings, where everyone can be heard, and real change can happen.

This year we have made a big effort to expand our Global Board and include the next generation of leaders.  It is important not to alienate the very people who you need to get onboard.  When Directors are asked to give input about their Industry and how we can better serve Members, I am all for it, and the annual meeting gets better results.

Many Associations are finding this to be true – and they are giving the traditional approach to an annual meeting a refresh, from adopting more flexible content, using technology to connect, or by choosing more inspiring venues. In the process, they are creating annual meetings with results that can be felt throughout the rest of the year.


Laurie Daschuk

Integra International Global Administrator

January 2019

Your Meeting – Only Better

When you wonder at the end of the week, “Where did the time go?”, you may not be alone. According to a Microsoft survey, people spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings and 69% feel meetings aren’t productive.

Some key issues identified:

  • Poor meeting mechanics – lack of meeting agenda or objectives, poor chairmanship
  • Key players missing, late-comers, uninterested attendees
  • Data Overload or Drought – Too many ideas bouncing around, no materials provided prior, lack of preparation
  • Unclear Roles and Responsibilities – Who’s supposed to be doing what?
  •  Problem Avoidance – Not addressing goals, reports or behavior issues that limit a team’s effectiveness
  • Meeting Conclusion – “What did we decide to do?”, incomplete minutes, minutes not distributed, or no action items resulting from the meeting
  • Tele-commuting and virtual teams further reduce the likelihood of key participants attending. Then add distractions from laptops, iPhones, emails and SMS.

Meetings need to have a sense of urgency not a mood of obligation.  People charged with organizing these meetings can be frustrated, overwhelmed and resigned to poor results.

How can Stop the Presses Help?

Many of these issues need to be dealt with by management, leading by example, an open trusting culture, and policy and processes tuned to make it easier to do it the right way rather than taking meeting short-cuts.

A meeting facilitator can inspire confidence, listen to leaders/managers and help by taking a look from the outside and then setting the stage for lasting change.

Laurie Daschuk, BA is a meeting facilitator with

Pink Lemonade Theory

Pink Lemonade doesn’t make any sense, if you think about it.

First you have lemons.

Then you dress it up with sugar – knowing that lemonade means making the best of a difficult situation.  So if things are still not working out, can you really just hide problems with a bit more flash and dazzle?

Well, in the short run maybe, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.  Those people get really angry when the product or solution you offer really is the old stuff, re-packaged as new again (or pink!).

If you want to make people really upset, tell them you have fixed things, tell them this time it’s different, tell them THIS is the best thing you’ve done so far.  And if it’s not, you’re in trouble.  You will loose all your goodwill earned so far, and their trust will be ten times harder to recover once again.

Mistakes happen when companies are being rushed to get out the latest model. Organizations are sometimes under pressure to save a pending agreement or contract.  It can be an operational challenge to follow-up on all the comments and feedback that you recieve for products or services. But what you say versus what you do, can affect your reputation.

Be careful before you make that next announcement, speech, presentation or press release.  Is it really better, or is it just Pink Lemonade?

Laurie Daschuk, a facilitator with Stop the Presses, organizes meetings for professional organizations and assists professionals with personal branding.

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