Friends and Colleagues, I am honored and privileged to be your President for the upcoming year.
I would like to acknowledge the past presidents Jim Gaa and Alan Richardson who contacted me about consideration for this presidency. I thank the recent past presidents Cheryl McWatters and Merridee Bujaki, who were good mentors this past year as I entered the Presidential ladder. Cheryl wisely noted at last year’s AGM that past presidents do not have term limits. That was reassuring to hear and I feel comforted by the fact that they are all just a call or click away as a sounding board or for wise counsel.
The work of the CAAA Secretariat comprising of Mary, Louise, Carina, Amber, and Erik is clearly outstanding. This past year has been a window to that efficiency served with a smile. Thank you.
I would also like to thank the members of the Board, both continuing and departing, for their valuable service to the association. This is essentially a volunteer-based organization and their service and that of others who serve on various committees furthers the mission of the association and our professional interests. I look forward to working together with the board, especially President-Elect Duane Kennedy of the University of Waterloo, to further the Strategic Plan that was recently adopted.
Two things are worth pointing out about the Strat Plan that I would like to focus on this upcoming year. First, I would strive to make the CAAA a platform for the accounting academics to step to the commons and become public intellectuals. In particular, it is my firm view that many public policy issues of the day need an informed accounting articulation – for example, pensions and bank stability. Second, would be to help our members attain balance in their teaching and research activities, recognizing that there are positive and negative feedback loops for one’s career depending on how one organises one’s time and activities.
Our just-concluded conference in Montreal was a productive and memorable one. I know we will be able to say the same about the 2017-2018 year at the CAAA!
Message from the Outgoing President
Walking on campus in May, signs of spring are everywhere. In my case, final grades submitted, committees having those end-of-term meetings, and plans developing for a busy and productive summer. In Ottawa, we are awaiting tulips and tourists as we celebrate in full force Canada’s sesquicentennial. We are also dealing with the impact of climate change; its effects felt by many colleagues and friends due to flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau, Greater Montreal, la Mauricie, as well as extreme weather in many other parts of the country. As always, we have come together to help – on our campus, for example, our being quickly mobilised to provide assistance, share accommodation, and simply working from home to free up roadways for emergency workers and our armed forces. We have all been touched when learning of those who have lost everything in the last short while. In the midst of this gloom, we also have had stories that remind us of our sense of community and the small miracles that alleviate the sense of helplessness.
Last week, we met at our annual general meeting and conference in Montreal. My term as CAAA president has come to an end and the baton has been passed to the capable hands of Khalid Nainar. As president, I have had the great privilege to represent you and to learn and appreciate the sheer diversity of the activities and interests that link us as a community of scholars. I know that Khalid can count on all of our support in his leadership role as together we continue to build our teaching and research community. Our conference convenor, Richard Fontaine, our CAAA staff and many of our members, volunteers and stakeholders worked tirelessly to challenge us to embrace ‘Fearless Disruption’! I very much enjoyed greeting you all there.
While I finish my presidential term with some disappointment of projects and plans left as work-in-process -- it seems that one never accomplishes all that one believes possible or do-able --, I wish to thank the CAAA Board, our staff and all of you for your support over the past year. We have worked to develop and refine an actionable strategic plan to make the CAAA an essential part of your academic landscape. Do be in touch with me or with our new president Khalid Nainar to offer your ideas and insights into how the CAAA can best serve and support you. You can always keep up to date and contact the CAAA here on our website and follow us on Twitter.
Already it is September – where did the summer go? The Fall brings many of us back to campus where new students and colleagues await us. There is also the sense of the familiar as we return to routines that we had somewhat abandoned over the last few months. For me, it is often a sense of excitement yet disappointment as I never accomplish all that I would have liked over those long days of summer.
Like everyone, we are gearing up for a busy schedule at the CAAA. Our first Board of Directors meeting will be held on September 25th in Toronto. In mid-October, it is our annual CAR conference. This year’s conference will be in collaboration with the IASB and will also be a change in that the event will be on a university campus. Many thanks to the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance for working with us on this conference, one of our highlights of the year. This year’s iteration promises to be another huge success. As well, we are busy with our plans for the 2017 Annual Conference in Montreal, which will celebrate our 40th Anniversary.
During the Fall, I am continuing to travel, along with our president-elect, Khalid Nainar, to many of your campuses. If there is a possibility for us to visit you, to chat about the CAAA and most importantly, to hear your views and ideas on how best to serve you our members, please be in touch. It is only from hearing from you that we can ensure that our strategic planning is a vibrant and effective exercise.
Finally, I encourage everyone to become familiar with our new web site as a go-to source for academic accounting in Canada. Amber Goldie at our Toronto office has been focused on this project tirelessly to get our site up and running effectively and efficiently. But we are more than the web! Do take the opportunity to discover our Twitter feed – see the information below on how (and why) to visit us there. I am making my own commitment to ‘get on board’ with our social media presence. I would love to have many of you join me as we use these additional ways to keep abreast of what is happening in our accounting community.
Wishing you a successful Fall term, whether on campus or off on a well-deserved sabbatical.
While the summer is a time for renewal and relaxation, it is also a busy time for us at the CAAA as we transition to a new executive and focus on the upcoming year. Our annual conference in St. John’s proved to be a great success and provided me with a wonderful opportunity to meet many of you who made the trek to the Atlantic Coast. For those of you who were not able to be with us, this note offers a brief update of decisions taken at our recent Annual General Meeting and Board Meeting, along with outlining some plans for the upcoming year.
Strategic Plan and Governance Review:
The development of our strategic plan will remain my key priority for the upcoming months, building on the work which Merridee Bujaki (Past President, Carleton University) led during her presidency. After a very engaging strategic retreat held at the end of April, which included both incoming and the then current members of the Board, we are now working on the detailed plan to guide our programming and activities for the next five years. A strong strategic document will enable us to move forward with a number of key initiatives to make the CAAA vibrant and of value to our members and stakeholders.
I am also happy to announce that Merridee has agreed to chair an ad hoc committee to undertake a complete governance review of the CAAA. This initiative is critical as we refine our strategic plan, CAAA vision and mission. We want all of these pieces to mesh and work together, thus it is important to have this review dovetail with our strategic planning process.
We are also very pleased to have our new editor-in-chief of CAR, Professor Mike Welker of Queen’s University in place for 2017 to take over the reins from Professor Pat O’Brien of the University of Waterloo. CAR remains our flagship and its reputation and success are key to our ability to be the viable organization that we are and wish to remain.
Accounting Perspectives Editor-in-Chief:
We also are very happy to announce that we will be formally approving at our next CAAA Board Meeting the appointment of our new editor-in-chief of Accounting Perspectives, Professor Pascale Lapointe-Antunes of Brock University who will succeed Professor Claude Laurin of HEC. Claude has worked tremendously to move Accounting Perspectives forward as a vehicle for our varied stakeholders, particularly to bridge the research-teaching gap.
The professionalism of our staff enables us to deliver on our engagement to you to provide programmes and services effectively, responsively, and efficiently. For many of us, our staff is the true face of the CAAA and our on-going link to the Association over the years. I have received much support and assistance from our Executive Director, Mary Henricksen, Louise Laroche, Carina Hackett and Vittoria Fortunato and Amber Goldie who has recently joined us to build and maintain our web and social media presence. Do take time to visit our website to match faces and names with roles and responsibilities.
Web Presence and Social Media:
The CAAA has dedicated major resources to the development of our new website, www.caaa.ca, which we hope will become a go-to destination for our members in search of information about the CAAA, research programmes, and teaching opportunities. We are working diligently on this project which has consumed more time and energy than we had anticipated, particularly dealing with legacy systems and data retention. An immediate priority is the completion of the French-language website to provide these resources in both official languages and to demonstrate our commitment to bilingualism in our service offerings.
The CAAA relies on its engaged membership. Do be in touch if you are interested in a greater level of involvement with the CAAA and opportunities to contribute to shaping the future of the Association. I plan to continue the ‘road trip’ begun last year to meet as many of our current and potential CAAA members and to learn from you on your campus what you expect from the CAAA and how we can best serve your interests and preferences. Let me know if you have time for a chat or if a visit to your campus might be welcome. While I cannot visit every campus, there often are ways to combine such visits with other meetings and conferences.
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In the interim, I hope that you have time for rest and relaxation during the summer days ahead.
Cheryl S. McWatters
The first few flakes of snow remind me that the Fall term and 2016 are quickly drawing to a close – that busy time of year when we mark examinations, finalise grades, try to meet research deadlines, all the while planning for the holidays and a new term in January. As CAAA president, the last six months have been busy with travel across Canada and internationally to meet with you and to represent the CAAA at a number of events and conferences....
With visits from coast to coast, these opportunities have reinforced the sheer dedication and hard work undertaken on our behalf by our Board members, our volunteers and our CAAA staff. International travel to Europe, Australia and the USA has reinforced the value and importance of fostering collaboration with colleagues in other countries who share many of the same challenges and rewards in their respective organizations and jurisdictions.
Our new strategic plan is well underway and I wish to thank many of you have contributed expertise, input and ideas to its development. In particular, I would like to thank Mary Henricksen, our Executive Director, who has spent many hours with me, the Board and our strategic partners to bring this document to life. Nonetheless, a strategic plan remains a dynamic process enabling us to be agile and responsive to your needs. Do be in touch with me or our president-elect Khalid Nainar if you wish to chat or discuss ways in which we can ensure that the CAAA continues to provide value and meet your needs in terms of research, teaching and service. You also can keep up to date and contact the CAAA via our website and engage with us via Twitter (@caaa_acpc).
The end of the year is an opportune time to encourage your active involvement in our volunteer roles to make the CAAA a vital and valuable part of your academic career. Many ways exist to share your time and talents and to contribute your insights and ideas. A number of these activities are outlined below. Please also make a year-end resolution to renew your membership and to promote its value to your colleagues and students. A vibrant organisation depends on an engaged membership and on our ability to provide you with the services and benefits requisite to your academic mission.
As we enter this holiday season, I extend a warm thank-you for your many contributions to the CAAA. It is thanks to our staff, supporters, members and volunteers that these first months of my term as president have proven so rewarding. I wish all of you and yours a happy and healthy holiday and new year.
Cheryl S. McWatters
Diversity and community are essential threads of our national fabric. In the wake of the horrific events in Quebec and their aftermath, these two parts of our shared identity can be shaken and less than secure. Many of us have been motivated more than ever to reach out to family, friends, colleagues and strangers to reinforce our belief in their essential nature and affirm our unity. It is easy to say, ‘what can we do?’ but most of us react otherwise.
As academics, we have a vast array of opportunities to foster diversity and community on our own campuses, in our research networks, and in our community. Many of us are involved in our home towns or cities, whether it be sitting on a neighbourhood committee, working with a charity, or coaching a sports team. We all have opened our doors to assist international students and faculty from around the globe to settle and find their bearings in their new home. We help out in any number of small and seemingly insignificant ways that demonstrate our commitment to creating a welcoming community.
At the CAAA, we are also a community with diversity in terms of membership, research and teaching interests, our time and talents. As your current president, I have had the opportunity to meet many of you over the last several months. These chats have left me frequently humbled when I learn of the activities and contributions of our members on so many fronts – most of them done with little fanfare or expectation of recognition. We all know these colleagues who always seem to be too busy yet willing to take on another task, another committee, another manuscript review – colleagues who make us simply tired just by listening to their agenda.
I will be the first to admit that ‘saying no’ is not my strong suit. While not recommending or urging this attitude, as we look to this year’s CAAA conference in Montreal, I would ask that you take advantage of opportunities within the CAAA to be part of your academic community. Accept to sit on one of our committees, represent us as your campus liaison, act as a chair or discussant at one of the conference sessions. We all don’t have time all of the time, but perhaps we can have time some of the time!
We have made great strides this year in fostering our networks and establishing new collaborations to enrich our programmes and activities. Our upcoming conference and its theme of ‘Fearless Disruption’ will showcase some of them. Do be in touch with me or our president-elect Khalid Nainar to provide your input on how we can make the CAAA a vital part of your academic community. You also can keep up to date and contact the CAAA here on our website, and engage with us via Twitter
Cheryl S. McWatters