Nikki Vann, CPA, is the Director of Finance & Administration at the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA).  She, along with Jennifer Rowell, Director of Member Engagement (also from the NCACPA) and I were honored to deliver a presentation entitled, “Moving the Needle on Member Data” at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Annual Conference in Key Biscayne, Florida during July 2017.

“Our journey with business intelligence started as our Board discussed our strategic priorities,” Nikki explained. “They realized we couldn’t move forward with any of them without data. To better serve our members and their needs, we needed to understand the story of their actions through data.  Most recently, our team created 12 operational goals, and decided how to measure them.  Now we go through them at the staff meeting and we tie our efforts to those goals. We have made so many improvements to the way we use data as an asset.  For example, we used to go through the entire budget process with our executive committee and talk about each line item.  We realized we were dealing with highly intelligent leaders, so instead we decided to talk about the reason why we built the budget the way that we built it. Let’s talk about the changes we are making to how we do things because the data is telling us to.  Now at every board meeting, this is what they want. “

I see this trend continuing in high performing associations – the time that used to be spent pulling all the data together, can now instead be spend on deciding what to do about it and taking action.  Plus we all know the saying, what gets measured, gets done.   The idea is to use data to set a goal, then make a plan, and use data to measure results.  As Nikki says, “There is no success if you cannot measure it, and if it’s not quantifiable.”

One of the other significant accomplishments demonstrated by NCACPA during the presentation is the ability to visualize and analyze member engagement.  Jennifer added, “We are proud that during our work with Association Analytics we have connected our Abila AMS data with Higher Logic to get a wider view of what is important to our members, and what they are talking about.  We now have more confidence when we make decisions, and we’re also making better decisions because of it!”