Amy Welch, Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), has been named "AccountingWEB's CPA Society Employee of the Year" for 2006. Amy has worked with us proactively and sees the value for OSCPA members in doing so. Recently she suggested that we write about the tax gap and in the midst of the ice storm that paralyzed her state, enlisted Oklahoma CPA experts to speak with us. Their contributions brought unusual depth and perspective to the story.
Amy confesses to loving her job and being a PR geek. “I become giddy when I see our members on TV and I’m ecstatic to see them in the news. Not only do I get to actively participate and coordinate most aspects of public relations and communications – which I love --, but I also work with the smartest and brightest people around. Our staff is very team-oriented and our members are fantastic about volunteering for media-related inquiries.”
Amy views AccountingWEB as a premier publication in the profession and says that many OSCPA members are subscribers. “Our members are experts in their fields and having them pointed out in such a professional publication as AccountingWEB not only reiterates that to our readers and fellow members, but also shows the value of membership in our society, in having a team dedicated to image enhancement and committed to the personal and professional success of each member.”
Members of the OSCPA communications team find AccountingWEB valuable in evaluating “top-of-mind issues,” she says.
The OSCPA uses a standard tool to track media coverage, but since Amy arrived at OSCPA in January 2004, their tracking shows more than a 375 percent increase in coverage. Amy attributes the change to an increase in the number of members who consistently volunteer to do interviews and to OSCPA’s focus on financial literacy and commitment to community.
“Now we have more members volunteering and we’re able to help them better in their local markets,” she says. “Additionally, the AICPA has been here twice to conduct seminars that help our members become more comfortable with public speaking, whether they’re giving presentations of chatting with reporters. That program is called CPA Ambassador.”
Amy is the author of “Battling Tax Shacks” in the January/February issue of the OSCPA publication, CPAFOCUS. She describes the experiences OSCPA members have had with clients who come to them with returns prepared by the tax preparers, many with the kinds of mistakes in them that are hard to clear up.
The CPAFOCUS article also highlights the widespread misconception that the tax boutiques charge less than a CPA for preparing tax returns. “In some situations that is true,” Amy says “but the situation our members hear about most often is that some places around here charge much more than they should be charging. The general feeling is that if you have a complicated return, then it pays to have a CPA’s expertise on your side. They are more concerned with a client’s overall financial picture. They can recommend tax strategies that benefit clients in the long run.”
“I am especially honored to be selected for this honor by AccountingWEB because I know most of the other states’ public relations professionals and how dedicated, committed and successful they are,” Amy says. She has just returned from a meeting of public relations professionals in New York City where new ideas were showcased and discussed. “Each year I learn so much from everyone else,” she says.
Amy promises to wear her AccountingWEB shirt (one of her prizes) to the AICPA Interchange Conference (national conference) in Arizona this summer.