A HISTORY OF NEGASC
by Jack Brooks, retired Executive Director, CSCPA, first secretary of NESSCORC and NEGASC
Long before there was required continuing education, a CPA educator had an idea. Back in the 1950’s the New England Graduate Study Conference was created by Howard Greene, and a few fellow Rhode Island Society members, as a teaching tool for small practitioners.
It was Howard’s idea that small, particularly sole, practitioners should have an opportunity to mix with their own kind to share ideas, and brag, and smoke, and play cards, and drink, in a spirit of non‑competition. He devised the concept of meeting at an institute of higher education, and calling it a “graduate” accounting conference to lend it some authority. He talked the state societies into sponsoring the event, while he kept complete control of its content and its speakers and its finances.
The state societies cooperated with him to the extent that they helped him find a facility in their state, on a rotating basis, and advertised the program in their newsletters and through their mailing lists.
Howard’s idea was the program should be limited to no more than 100 or so practitioners, and that they should have speakers and break‑out sessions led by their peers after each topic. He knew that the most important information was that which they would get “after hours” in the dorm rooms, or common rooms over a few drinks.
Early in the 1970’s, Winston C. McGann, president of the Connecticut Society of CPAs conceived of the idea of holding regional meetings of the leadership of the six New England Societies. His reasoning was, if the six states pooled their interests they might be better represented in the meetings of Council of the American Institute of CPA’s. And after a meeting of two where he presided, an informal association called the New England State Societies Committee on Regional Cooperation (NESSCORC) was formed. Win McGann was a small practitioner, and he conceived of have meetings of NESSCORC in conjunction with the dates and locations of the NEGASC conference run by Howard Greene.
Howard did not look kindly on NESSCORC. He reasoned that the State Societies were plotting to take over his program. In fact, Win McGann did have in mind that there would come a time when Howard would be unable to run the program, through illness or death.
And Win McGann felt too strongly about the positive aspects of NEGASC to allow it to die with Howard.
Quietly he DID suggest that should Howard go, the state societies should continue this VERY IMPORTANT CONFERENCE FOR SMALL PRACTITIONERS.
Well, it came to pass that Howard did get very ill, and did pass away and NESSCORC was there to assume the role. However, the then leaders of NESSCORC determined that what they ought to do was merge NEGASC and NESSCORC under the older name, NEGASC. The result of this was that the leadership lost its identity as a regional cooperation meeting ground and gradually became the board of the conference. The presidents and other elected officers of the state societies dropped off the board and appointed members who had a direct interest in the conference to serve in their place. Even the regional cooperation meetings dwindled to the point where they were discontinued.
But, the conference thrived.