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Innovation at the Houston CPA Society

  • Published on Jun 18, 2018
  • by Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA

Aloha everyone! I was honored to join the Chapter this past March as the part-time Director of Innovation. I split my time between Hawaii and Houston, thus the part-time, and I’m excited to be working with the Chapter to bring both new technology and new ways of advancing our profession to Houston.

Jennifer mentioned in her letter that the Chapter has a new website, but this is just the first publicly visible change that we’ve launched for the Chapter. I actually started working for the Chapter as an outsourced Chief Innovation Officer in June 2017 and in the last fiscal year, we’ve done quite a bit to completely revamp the technology infrastructure for the Chapter. Some highlights of the last year include a migration to Office 365, migration from the Chapter’s much outdated association management system (AMS), implementation of an internal project and task management system, and implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Those of you interacting with the Chapter via one of the “generic” emails (e.g. have actually be using the CRM system without even knowing it, as it serves as a central hub for you to contact us and for us to coordinate our responses and tasks to support you.

In the coming fiscal year, we’ve got some additional innovations planned that I know you will all like. The new website is built on top of the TSCPA’s AMS and you will see some familiar looking screens as you register for courses and update your profile. This is a conscious effort by the TSCPA and our chapter to bring you a unified user experience—meaning that you have one place to update and one place to see all of your interactions with both the state and chapter. We will continue to improve this and I’d love your feedback as to what you like or how we can further improve your experience.

Those of you participating in our conference planning committees are also starting to experience some of the innovations that Jennifer and I are introducing to our conference planning processes and formats. Jennifer has been sharing some of the ideas that they found successful in Georgia, and I am sharing some of the approaches that has been used by the AICPA and state societies to both help streamline conference planning and making the conferences a more immersive attendee experience. Rene has also been bringing some new flair and style to the facilities, meals, and program presentation. We will be extending the use of the project management system to the conference committees next, which should help with committee task management and provide a central hub of information for everyone involved in help plan and execute the events.

One of the last in-office technology elements is our Dynamics GP accounting system. Kristie and I will be working on moving this last piece into the cloud in the coming months and then our Chapter will then be operating off a “pure cloud” infrastructure. Yes, you read that right, no servers in the office.

And last, but not least, we are looking into ways to host webinars and offer live streaming to our conferences, as well as experimenting with new “blended learning” program formats where part of the course is online and part of the course is in-person.

I hope reading this that you are getting as excited as I am to be actually working on making all of this happen! If you have any feedback on our innovations or have other ideas that you would like us to consider, please don’t hesitate to send them my way via email at