Presidentially Speaking with John Steinhoff

Steinhoff 2015 cropped

John Steinhoff, MSCPA President 2018-2019

I’m truly honored to be your next president of the MSCPA.  My journey started in 2007 when Jane Egan came to Great Falls for a legislative kick off session.  Before the session started, Jane toured MT to talk about the legislature and how we could get more involved in the process.  I volunteered to be on the State Taxation Committee, which eventually led to being on the MSCPA Board of Directors.  The rest, they say, is history.


Being involved and giving back to our profession is one of the best experiences.  You not only get to provide feedback on issues directly facing every CPA, but you also get to work with some amazing people along the way.

A few years ago, the Board changed our volunteer structure and created Task Forces and Strike Forces.  This new model allows busy professionals and young professionals the opportunity to pick and choose various projects/assignments that fit their interest and time constraints.  We’re all busy, but we all have a few hours to give back.  I remember my first few committee meetings and thought “most of the people here have WAY more experience than I do, so what can I contribute?”  I admit I was intimidated, but eventually realized everyone has valuable input.  I encourage our younger members to get involved and experiment with different projects.  You are the future of the Society and our Profession, and we value your service.

Barry Melancon said at our last Council Meeting “Change will never be as slow as it is today.”  Our profession will change rapidly in the next 2 – 5 years, and we need to be on the forefront of these changes.  Your MSCPA Board will address these issues head on and provide our members with the information, tools and education they need to ensure Montana CPAs are prepared for these changes.

I look forward to traveling MT in the next year and interacting with fellow CPAs.  If you have any concerns or issues that are important to you, please let us know as your input is valuable to us.  We will be in Kalispell August 14th, Billings November 6th, and Helena January 16th.  We will send out more information on these meetings and will host a lunch or social, please use this as an opportunity to meet and interact with the Board.

Click here to see the MSCPAs current volunteer opportunities.

Why are so many people being audited?

Written by Allen Lloyd, Montana Society of CPAs Executive Director

Does this sound familiar:

On behalf of the Montana Board of Public Accountants, the National Association for State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is conducting an audit of continuing professional education (CPE) for the 2017 CPE Renewal Period and has randomly selected you as an audit candidate. To meet your CPE requirement you must have completed 120 hours of CPE with a subset of 2 hours in Ethics between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017.

The Montana Board of Public Accountants sent out audit notices on July 13th and for the second year in a row half the licensed CPAs will be audited.  This audit is for 2015, 2016, and 2017.  As a reminder starting January 1, 2018 the Board implemented new rules on the hours needed, more information on the changes is available here:

Why are so many people being audited?  The short answer is because prior year audits results have not been very good.

audit stats

It isn’t all bad news as the vast majority of the 161 failures were able to correct their issue and those who did not correct their issue had their license administratively suspended.  The past two audits have seen fail rates around 20%, which is not acceptable.  The Montana Board of Public Accountants have been discussing ways to solve the issue, including legislation allowing them to audit everybody if fail rates are above a threshold.

If you were audited this year it is critical that you report your hours by August 13th.  To report your hours go to the CPE reporting tool located at  You will need your Montana CPA license number and your password to log into your account.  You can find your license number on your license or here: select Public Accounting from the Licensing Board list and enter your name and click Search.  Your license number is the entire string of characters (PAC-CPAP-LIC-11223 not just the 11223)

If you need help with your password you will need your license number and your email address, if you can’t remember the email address you used give Grace Berger a call at the State Board (406) 841-2244.

Once you log into the tracker you should see any classes taken through MSCPA, we have a relationship with NASBA that allows us to upload those credits so you don’t have to go through the hassle.  For classes from other sources you will need to enter the event information and upload a Certificate of Completion.  Remember 40% of those who failed last year were due to documentation issues.  Make sure your documentation has all the required information:


  1. Licensees are responsible for accurately reporting the appropriate number of CPE hours and must retain appropriate documentation of their participation in learning activities.
  2. Participants in group, self-study, nano-learning, or blended learning programs must obtain a certificate of completion or transcript issued by the program sponsor. All acceptable documentation must include the following information:
    • participant’s name;
    • sponsor;
    • course title and/or description of content;
    • date(s);
    • location;
    • number of continuing education credit hours granted; and
    • NASBA National Registry of CPE Sponsors ID (if applicable, applies to self-study).
  3. Documentation must be retained for not less than five years.
  4. The sponsor of group, self-study, nano-learning, or blended learning programs shall retain evidence of an individual’s participation in a program for not less than five years. Pertinent information includes:
    • participant’s name;
    • record of participation;
    • outline of the course (or equivalent);
    • date(s);
    • location;
    • instructor(s); and
    • number of contact hours/continuing education credit hours granted.
  5. Documentation for technical committee sessions must include a written certificate including the following:
    • the nature of the activity (e.g., topic or specific new competency acquired), the items discussed, and the source/material considered;
    • the dates of the learning activity; and
    • the number of CPE credits attributed to the learning activity.
  6. Acceptable evidence for credit of publications is a copy of the publication that names the licensee as author or contributor, a statement from the licensee supporting the number of CPE credits claimed, and the name and contact information of the independent reviewer(s) or publisher.

We heard from many members that the tracking site can be difficult to navigate.  NASBA has a resource available to help here: It is important to remember that once you submit your information to the State Board you will not be able to go back in to add or update information.

Continuing education is one of the cornerstones of being a CPA.  It is critical that you respond if you were selected for audit.  We are here for you if you have trouble with the process, just give us a call or email.  If we can’t help you we will connect you with the right person to help you navigate the process.

Conference Reflection

Written by Allen Lloyd, Executive Director


Jim Galipeau, 2018 DSA Award Winner and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, AICPA Board of Directors Immediate Past Chair

A few weeks ago MSCPA held our Annual Conference.  It was an amazing event with great speakers, awards, vendors, and sponsors.  If you have never attended an MSCPA Annual Conference I encourage you to come next years, 106th Annual Conference June 20-21, 2019 in Billings, MT!

As I watched Jim Galipeau receive the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award I started to wonder what it must have been like years ago when Jim was just starting out as a CPA.  Knowing today what he and his peers accomplished, how cool would it be to see them as new CPAs unaware of what lay before them.  If only I had a time machine!

Then while headed to Seeley Lake to go camping it hit me.  I do have a time machine and I can see what these leaders were like years ago.  All I have to do is look at the young people today.  This year we had 20 student members at the Annual Conference and 50 attendees under 40.  Our younger members were engaged and networking with others.  We even had a student member win a prize from one of the vendors, congrats again Major!

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After the Annual Conference as I worked my way through my inbox I had a message from Dr. Theresa Beed.  She told me “Montana CPAs are a very special group of people, as you now know. The key is to get the younger CPAs to be as committed and involved as the last two generations of CPAs!”  I couldn’t agree more and based on my experiences they are ready.

This year MSCPA will help the Raising the BAR group discuss the issues facing the profession, our goal is to have sessions at the 2019 Annual Conference where you can hear how they would address these issues.  If you are a member under 35 and would like to participate let me or Molly know.  If you have staff under 35 who want to participate I encourage you to find a way for them to spend some time on this effort.

Accounting is a great profession built on the skills and knowledge of people like you.  To ensure it continues to be great we need to take some time to talk about the future.  As the Montana Society of CPAs it is our job to help you develop yourself and the profession.  If you ever have any ideas on how we can do that better please let us know.


Jim Galipeau: 2018 DSA Award Winner


Galipeau Jim 2018 DSA

Jim with Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

A constant reflection offered by someone when talking about Jim Galipeau is his fun-loving and kind personality.  Many flash a smile and laugh as they recall the tales and stories of Jim at board retreats on Salmon Lake Lodge, “the island”, or AICPA Council trips. Jim has a glowing personality the size of this state, and we are honored to present him as the 2018 George D. Anderson Award Recipient.

Jim is the youngest of seven (with 5 brothers and 1 sister).  His parents, Joe and Lorna, who’ve been married for 67 years, instilled the values of working hard, sharing, and giving back during Jim’s early years. As Jim recalls, “We grew up in a big catholic family, and were always running around, camping and doing chores.” His older brothers, as Jim lovingly referred to as “the pack”, kept him on his toes and made sure to give the baby, Jim, a few brotherly, hard times over the years as his right of passage.  Joe, Jim’s father, always worked as a manager, but was a salesman at heart.  This is likely where Jim learned how to relate and talk to people so well.


Jim with his girls, Amy (partner Chris), Lindsey (husband Kevin), and Brylee. 

The Galipeau family moved around the country due to Jim’s father’s work. So, though Jim was born in Oregon, his family moved to Spokane when he was 2. From Spokane the family then moved to Missoula, where they spent 12 years before moving again, when Jim was 16, to Salt Lake where he graduated high school and attended one year at University of Utah.  After Salt Lake, the family moved to Seattle and in June of 1979, Jim went to Missoula to spend a week with his brother who was on leave from the Army. This week-long visit turned into an indefinite stay for Jim, as he found work at a saw mill and enrolled at University of Montana (“UM”) shortly thereafter. Missoula has been Jim’s home ever since.

Jim always thought he’d be a business owner, but after pursuing an opportunity at a furniture store in Missoula in search of an accounting intern, he decided that accounting would be his focus. It was his sophomore year at UM and the store owner typically only hired juniors so Jim used his powers of persuasion and talked him into giving him the job and the rest, as they say, is history! Jim then graduated from UM in 1984 and started at JCCS shortly thereafter.

Jim has been involved with numerous clubs, nonprofits and associations in Missoula, throughout Montana and Nationally.  He’s very dedicated to his community and served as a past president and is the current Treasurer for Destination Missoula.  Jim served as a board member and treasurer for the Missoula Downtown Association, as well as an accounting advisor for the following nonprofits: United Way, Humane Society of Western Montana, MonTECH, Missoula Economic Partnership and Missoula Parking Commission.  He is also involved with the University of Montana and sits on the Accounting Advisory Board.  Not to mention his dedication the Montana Society of CPAs (board member, Treasurer, Past President and Ex-officio 3 times) and his service as the AICPA Council Representative for Montana.

While Jim is known for his hard work and dedication to the profession, his family is the center of who he is and his biggest joy.  He loves to talk about traveling with his wife, Jackie, to Flathead lake, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Belize, Costa Rica, basically anywhere with water and a beach!  You can see Jim light up when talking about his daughters, Amy and Lindsey, and the great fun he had watching them play traveling softball around the state. And now he’s excited to be back in the swing of more softball with Brylee, his stepdaughter, as he and Jackie are gearing up to watch her play on a traveling team this summer after finishing her high school season last month.


Ron Yates, Dan Vuckovich, Jim Galipeau and the AICPA “Feed the Pig” mask.

Jim met Jackie during a chance encounter during a meet and greet event for Destination Missoula, that JCCS was hosting.  A mutual friend convinced Jackie to stop by the event and Jim was greeting everyone as they came in the door.  They had lots to talk about between kids, softball and their professional work.  Jackie, a mortgage loan officer with Homes for Heroes, invited Jim to lunch the following week to discuss becoming an affiliate sponsor.  Jim fondly recalls that, “Once I got to lunch and started vising with her, I saw her in a whole new way. I sent her an email as soon as I got back to the office to ask her out.” They had a double date at a nonprofit event, that ended up just being the two of them, where they visited for hours. They have been together ever since.

It’s no surprise that Jim’s favorite part of being a CPA is his clients. He loves working with people and “becoming a part of their business and lives”.  As Jim states, “They start as clients and are now friends.”  The same sentiment rings true for Jim’s friendships with fellow co-workers as he has “made a lot of close friends over the years” among his fellow employees.  Jim’s passionate about people and the interest he takes in listening and learning about them and their business is undoubtedly why he’s been so successful and is a trusted adviser to so many.


Jim with his wife, Jackie. 

When asked where Jim sees himself in 5 years, his response with a laugh is, “hopefully a beach!”  His love of traveling with Jackie has Jim’s sights set on the future and he admits that he’s “been preparing for retirement a long time.”  We at the Society couldn’t think of a better plan and can’t thank you enough for the legacy you’ve created at the Society and all the people you’ve impacted. Thanks for being such a strong leader in the profession and congratulations on being this year’s George D. Anderson Award winner!

Click here to see Jim throughout the years!


Peer Review Administration moving to Nevada

The Peer Review Program is a critical part of the accounting profession.  For consumers of financial statements this program ensures attestation work is correct and follows the latest rules and regulations.  For firms the program verifies that you have the skills needed to perform attestation work.

To ensure the profession remains self-regulated, AICPA has evolved the program to meet the needs of today and the future.  Moving forward the rules for Administering Entities require a CPA on staff to oversee the program.  Hiring a CPA to administer the program would be cost prohibitive for MSCPA.

Faced with a difficult decision the MSCPA Peer Review Committee and Board of Directors weighed our options and selected the organization that best meets our needs.  On May 31, 2018 MSCPA will transfer the Peer Review Administering Entity role for Montana to the Nevada Society of CPAs (NVCPA).

MSCPA members serve as technical reviewers for NVCPA and after talking to their staff we feel they will be able to offer the great service you are used to receiving from Carol.

I believe you will find the NVCPA staff both competent and friendly.  Kary and Anna have experience administering the programs for Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska. They have helped countless firms navigate PRIMA and look forward to helping you.

Anna Durst, CPA (, CEO (pictured left)

Kary Arnold (, Peer Review Program Manager (pictured right)

Another change being made to the program is an increased focus on familiarity risk.  Adding Montana to NVCPA helps bring more diversity to their pool of technical reviewers, to mitigate this risk.  Montana firms will continue to perform peer reviews and our technical reviewers will have an opportunity to work with NVCPA, but your review will be reviewed by CPAs from other states.

For firms, you will receive communications from NVCPA related to your reviews. All peer reviews will be administered by the NVCPA after May 31, 2018.  All firms and reviewers will continue to use the AICPA program, PRIMA, during the peer review process.

I would like to thank the MSCPA Peer Review Committee for their work on this and their help in making the transition as smooth as possible.  I would also like to thank Carol for her work in making sure the MSCPA Peer Review Program runs smoothly and for taking excellent care of our members.  Carol is going to help with the transition before retiring after 14 years with MSCPA.

If you have any issues, with the Peer Review Program or anything else please do not hesitate to contact me at  406.442.7301 or Carol Lopuch at  406.449.7714.


Carroll College News

Carroll College

Written by Dr. Belle Marie, Professor Carroll College

Carroll College is excited to announce its new Master of Accountancy! With the Master of Accountancy (MACC), Carroll students will meet the 150-hour requirement and gain the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary for a successful accounting career.

The program is designed to be flexible for both working professionals and traditional college students. The hybrid program begins in May 2018 and courses will be delivered online with one on-campus weekend residency in May. Students may enroll either full-time or part-time. Full-time students  complete the program in one year. Courses will be offered in a block format, allowing students to focus on only one or two courses at a time. Each summer class length is three weeks and half-semester courses are approximately eight weeks.

carroll college

The MACC at Carroll College not only prepares students to take the CPA exam, but also provides a curriculum designed to assist accountants become trusted business advisors in the increasingly complex and dynamic business and not-for-profit world. The specialized curriculum includes courses in not-for-profit accounting, ethics, forensic accounting, and integrated or sustainability reporting.

Wipfli LLP and Anderson ZurMuehlen were instrumental in providing support to help launch the program.

To learn more about the Master of Accountancy program at Carroll College or for information on how to apply, visit



98% Excited, 2% Scared. Or…

Gibson Marca 2013

Marca Gibson, CPA, CGMA, MSCPA Board of Directors

By Marca Gibson

Have you ever had this feeling?

Me too! Ah, bliss. Ah, adventure. But then. Something new comes along. The unknown, change. And change, no matter how good, can be hard. Kicking-and-screaming scary, even!  We might realize change has to happen and think of ourselves as enlightened at the prospect of change, but when push comes to shove, we have to fight the urge to resist it.

Like many of you, I enjoy being an early adopter of technology; learning and using shortcuts and work-arounds to make work easier and more productive; and exploring new applications and platforms for communication, creativity, and calculation.  Yeah. Well, that’s all O-rings to the rocket ship in the room! Have you really listened to the national leaders of our profession over the last year or so? Read the last several issues of the Journal of Accountancy? Seen ads on the television? Change is coming to accounting, folks, and not just change … but CHANGE. Paradigm-shifting, rock-your-world CHANGE.

Our profession’s leadership is doing all but sounding sirens and setting flares to let us know that our profession may be all but unrecognizable to us within a decade. There are buzzwords abounding – think blockchain, A.I., data analytics, the cloud – and new models for business are leaching from Amazon and Uber into our accounting offices.  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has positioned itself to function in a new world of accounting by partnering with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA); by morphing the AICPA into the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants; and by developing the new certification program for Certified Global Management Accountants (CGMA).  These changes are exciting! I am excited and eager to see this new world. Even so, the projected changes are dizzying and a little terrifying. Vertigo, anyone?

What will become of the CPA? How will this new paradigm morph our roles as CPAs, or CGMAs? What about Montana? Certainly, we are buffered from all this so-called change hype! While Montana is at the headwaters of many rivers flowing to the seas, Change seems to swim upstream. Change hatches where global commerce is heaviest – on the coasts – and it wriggles along against the current of resistance until it eventually overtakes the last vestiges of What Was.  That’s us, Montana. For a while, we might be able to observe what’s going on in the outside world; but exponential growth of internet communication and commerce will compress the timeline. Some Montana businesses with national and global reach are already embracing and effecting changes to usher in the new paradigm. Eventually, Change will arrive, sweep us all off our feet, and fly us to the moon.

Rest assured, the Montana Society of CPAs is on it and has your back! As our professional home, MSCPA will be with us as we step boldly into the future. Then as now, “Your Success. Our Business.”

As for me, I want to be ready. I think I will be. I’m 98% Excited and 2% Scared. Or maybe … just in case, better watch your shins.

For more details, here are some very interesting articles. Feel free to follow the links:

2018 is going to be great!

by Allen Lloyd, MSCPA Executive Director


Many of you are about to head into your first or 50th tax season. Others are working to close the books on another year for their business. There might even be a few of you looking for something to do. As accountants you have a lot on your plate and it is easy to get caught up in work and forget that there are other things in this world.

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a high school kid decides to skip school and go on an adventure. Over the course of a day he goes to a Cub’s game, eats French food, and joins a parade. We can learn a lot from Ferris.  I don’t want you all to skip work and try to pack your day with adventures, BUT I would like for you to make time for yourself.

This year our busy season social media campaign will be movie quotes adapted to the accounting profession. We hope these make it a little easier to make it through the day. This is one of the things we do to try to make your life a little better, it may seem silly but you are busy and we want to ease your tension. If you have suggestions please share them with Molly at, if we use your suggestion we will send you a gift (think gift card, not Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari).


In 2018, you can expect us to continue inspiring, empowering, and impacting our members to achieve professional excellence. Focused on our five pillars (Membership, Sustainability, Connection, Professional Excellence, and Advocacy) we will be here to help you get ahead. We will be telling your stories and trying some new things. Not everything will work perfectly, but we will learn from our mistakes and build on our successes.

Thank you for your continued membership in MSCPA, we appreciate your support and engagement.

The accounting profession is moving pretty fast and MSCPA is here to help you keep up with all the changes.

MSCPA Membership- Why Wouldn’t YOU Join?

Rector Gabbye 2016Written by Gabbye Rector, CFO, North 40 Outfitters, MSCPA BING Member

I don’t think I appreciated my membership in the MSCPA until I moved into industry.

Ironically, I remember when I moved to industry I considered dropping my membership because I didn’t really think it would be applicable to me anymore. Boy was I wrong. The eye-opening event for me was the first MSCPA Industry Conference I attended. Before moving to industry, someone else usually directed my CPE learning, so if a class was a dud you could usually blame the person planning. In industry, it’s all up to me to find CPE and my first year I really struggled finding good classes. The Industry Conference changed that. Awesome classes, great networking and time away from a face paced office environment where there are constant interruptions and people needing different things. It was like being on vacation.

Fast forward a little and MSCPA brought their CPE experience to the next level. Not only would they provide a wide array of classes, they track the class activity for you if it is an MSCPA event. Double win, especially when you must track everything yourself.

Now days, it seems like everything wants you to become a member, your gym, Amazon, the grocery store. It becomes overwhelming at times. So, when pondering why be a part of MSCPA, I ask as a CPA, why wouldn’t you be? It is truly an organization that wants to know what they can do to make the CPA profession in Montana, better, stronger and a professional leader.

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Industry Conference.

Click here for information on MSCPA memberships.

2018 Industry Conference

Johnston, Reidun 2014.jpgWritten by Reidun Johnston, CPA, MSCPA BING Member

I was asked to write a blog, which I have never done. I am not a creative narrator nor am I what is considered to be an exquisite writer. I am an accountant after all. I prefer numbers to words. I honestly have not read a lot of blogs either, as I just don’t have the time. I have important things to do, and time is precious to us all. One of the important things I do make time for though is the MSCPA Industry Conference. 2018 will be the eighth conference the MSCPA has hosted just for practitioners in private industry. And since we all love numbers, I thought I would share a few. During the past seven conferences, there have been a total of 647 people in attendance, we welcomed 117 speakers, and held 122 sessions specifically designed to address the interests, concerns, and opportunities that we in the private industry face every day. So, whether you are one of the 647 people that have attended in the past and are contemplating participating again, or if you have never attended and are thinking this is the year YOU should make time for this wonderful learning and networking opportunity, I hope you will join us March 21-22, 2018 as we kick off another fantastic event.

Still on the fence? Still debating if you should attend? In keeping with the tradition of excellent topics and speakers, this year’s conference will include favorite Tommy Stephens with technology updates, the ever-popular Book Club, an economics update, Industry_Conference_Graphic_150_new.jpgcyber security risks, implementing lean accounting to the accounting department, a FASB update, and leadership and employee engagement skills. We have experts coming in from all over the U.S. to give us the most current and relevant information available.

Now that I am sure I have convinced you that this is something you cannot miss, I look forward to meeting all of you Helena in 2018.

Register Today!