I applaud the article “ Facilitate Your Way to New Business ” ( JofA , Jan.04, page 53) for its suggestion that CPAs can work as value-added meeting facilitators. As individuals, and as a profession, CPAs need to always rise to their responsibilities as trusted advisers. The article appropriately pointed out that it is incumbent upon each of us to train sufficiently for each of the roles we undertake, including that of meeting facilitator.
Since extending our professional responsibilities can be risky to the clients we serve, the recommended resources for training in meeting facilitation should prove to be valuable tools not only for practitioners who market themselves as meeting facilitators, but for all CPAs who regularly attend and lead meetings.
In the 12 years since I founded a consulting firm focusing on families who own and manage assets together, it has become clear to me there are specific skills and knowledge relevant to working with client families, particularly when facilitating their business meetings. The best resource for awareness and training has been the Family Firm Institute (FFI) ( www.ffi.org ). FFI is a nonprofit professional membership organization that provides interdisciplinary education and networking opportunities for family-business advisers, consultants, educators and researchers. The relationships I have developed through this organization have been valuable, both professionally and personally, and I would encourage other CPAs to investigate its relevance as well.
Mark B. Rubin, CPA
Founder and Senior Consultant
Metropolitan Group LLC
Cresskill, New Jersey