By Lear, Jeffrey A.
The National Public Accountant , Vol. 41, No. 1
Recently, NSPA's Federal Taxation Committee met to discuss tax issues critical to the Society and to plan its annual liaison meeting with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. One of the most important discussions at the meeting, however, did not address a specific tax issue or a specific clement of the committee's agenda.
During the course of the meeting, the committee devoted considerable time to analyzing where NSPA's government relations are right now and where they need to be. The committee members decided that although NSPA is currently well positioned to gain information and influence legislation through coalitions, the Society needs to focus on becoming more of an independent force in Washington, DC. To accomplish this goal, NSPA will be calling on all of its members to get more active in the legislative process in the year ahead.
WHERE NSPA IS TODAY
As we begin 1996, NSPA is positioned to become one of the major voices on behalf of small business in the nation's capitol. As the Society states on all of its testimony, it is made up of 20,000 members serving over 5 million small business and individual clients. No one organization can boast of a greater collective expertise on all aspects of small business operation in any industry than NSPA. The challenge lies in developing NSPA's ability to gather that expertise and present it to the decisionmakers that need to hear it.
At the staff level, NSPA has one full-time person at the federal level charged with finding the issues relevant to the members, developing those issues, presenting them to relevant committees for consideration, informing the membership at large on the issues, coordinating committee and member response and presenting NSPA's response in the relevant forum. The work entails gathering and imparting information to the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and both chambers of Congress. Today, that work is often done through coalitions and close ties with other organizations, both in the practitioner community and among other small business groups.
At the member level, the Society has hundreds of active volunteer leaders on committees and thousands more members who could make valuable contributions to the process. Every NSPA member spends his or her day finding out information that Congress wishes it had before it passed the last tax law. NSPA members experience first-hand the continuing effects of tax laws all the way back to 1986, as well as IRS regulations and court rulings.
WHERE NSPA NEEDS TO BE
The Society must focus on getting the information gained through its members' practices into the hands of the decisionmakers who can utilize it to better serve NSPA members and their clients. …