As a professional partner for Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), we are always more than delighted to attend the national BAP Annual Meeting—an event that takes place every year where BAP chapters and professional partners from all over the nation come together to participate in one full day of community service, partake in competitions, and learn more about the organization, industry, and profession from keynote speakers and other presentations.
This year, it was held in sunny Anaheim, California, with more than 1,700 attendees. We had a great time attending the event, getting to know students from all over the country and helping them learn more about the CPA Exam and profession.
You can watch a recap of our time at the event here:
Here are our top 10 key takeaways from the BAP Annual Meeting, as depicted by Margaret Fiorentino, Executive Director of Beta Alpha Psi.
1. Community Service Day
We had a very successful community service event that we have been doing for over 5 years now: The BAP International Day of Literacy, as sponsored by KPMG. We went to 7 locations: 4 Boys & Girls’ clubs and 3 elementary schools. We worked with United Way of Orange County to get books into the hands of underprivileged children as students engaged with kids to help spread the importance of literacy.
Students were able to network with each other and other professionals throughout the week. BAP professional partners from different firms, universities, state societies, and other organizations set up booths in the exhibit hall where students were able to practice their networking skills while simultaneously expanding their reach.
3. Keynote speakers
We had three keynote speakers provide a good and diverse mix of voices for this profession. Our first was Jacob Soll, a History & Accounting Professor at USC. His overall message is that a society must have transparency in order for the economy to be strong.
Second was Kimberly Taylor, who is the chair of the AICPA. She helped convey that no matter what background you come from, you can achieve what you set your mind to.
Third was Brian Floyd, a professor at Lehigh University. His daughter was one of the 32 victims of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2008. He conveyed how he and his family were able to accept this tragedy, move on, and in the name of his daughter, respond to tragedy positively by continuing the mission work she did with underprivileged villages in South American while she was just beginning her college career.
We felt that all of these were great messages for our students to hear.
4. The AICPA Medal Inspiration Winner
We recognize people on many levels during the annual meeting, and one of them was our AICPA Medal Inspiration Winner, William Chapman. His whole dream was to become a part of the Marine Ops and Special Forces.
However, due to an injury he ascertained during his service, as well as suffrage from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, he couldn’t be a part of that due to physical incapacities. He was at a crossroads in his life, and decided to enroll in school. He started taking accounting courses, and although it wasn’t easy for him at first, he kept persevering. Now, in order to help himself through his own trials and tribulations, he helps others by tutoring students and refugees who come to our country.
5. Best Practices Competition
Every year, we look forward to the Best Practices Competition sponsored by Deloitte, which allows BAP chapters to further specific goals identified by the BAP board of directors as well as Deloitte. These activities exemplify the spirit and purpose of BAP and, if applicable, allows other chapters to emulate those activities.
This year, we were happy to have Mitra Wilson, our Senior Business Development Director from Roger CPA Review, partake in being a judge for this event. We congratulate all the chapters that won and commend them for doing great things for their communities, BAP, and one another!
6. Meeting sessions
Students got to choose from an array of sessions to attend on Thursday and Friday of the annual meeting. One of these sessions were presented by Roger Philipp, CPA, who talked about what it takes to Set Goals & Achieve Success.
From open panel discussions to learning about the profession, students gained a lot of insightful and useful information about soft skills, the accounting industry, and more.
7. Disneyland & California Adventure
Giving students the ability to really bond and spend time with one another and other chapters is an important part of the BAP annual meetings. This year, they couldn’t miss out on being minutes away from the happiest place on earth! Students had a spectacular time at both theme parks making memories and experiencing one of the most famous landmarks of all time!
8. Interacting with professional partners
BAP is grateful to all the professional partners who give their time and support to the organization. It means so much the students and faculty advisors. The amount of time and dedication they all provide is invaluable as it gives BAP members the ability to connect to the real world and get a jump start in their accounting careers. This is a huge benefit that many members reap, look forward to, and of course utilize.
9. Exhibitor booths
All the exhibitors did a great job engaging students at their booths. Whether they were giving away prizes or just chatting with students to learn more about what career path they’d like to pursue, the exhibitor booths really gave a chance for everyone to come together and explore what options are out there in accounting. This is so crucial for accounting students who know they are supported and have a ton of resources at their fingertips as they continue to figure out where they’d like to go in their career.
10. Fueling inspiration
Lastly, and perhaps the most important, is hearing how positive and great this event was from different chapters. We want them all to leave feeling motivated, inspired, and optimistic. The 2017 BAP Annual Meeting did just that, and we know they will share the messages and knowledge they gained with their friends and chapter members to continue to move, affect, and inspire future BAP members and generations to come.