Goodbye from Jane Egan

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Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

Quoting Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

I am excited to be retired and have the time to explore new opportunities but also am sad to be leaving this organization that has been so good to me.

My career with the Society started when Jane Campbell recruited me to be the Society’s first communications person. I remember my first day. . .I didn’t know much about associations or CPAs. As I met you and worked with you, I quickly learned what remarkable people you are. You are smart, generous, giving and dedicated. You taught me how to be a better person and I thank you for letting me work with you all these years. I appreciate the special partnership we have with you, our members and I am forever grateful to you for all you do and have done for me, the Society and the profession. I’ll always remember the fun we have had and the things we achieved together. Please continue to share your time and expertise to advance the profession – you do make a difference!

The Legacy Foundation is near and dear to my heart and I am honored and awestruck by your contributions in my name.

I want to pay tribute to my team for their support and hard work and always putting you, our members, first in everything they do. They have a total of 51 years of service on your behalf:

  • Margaret Herriges – 17 years
  • Carol Lopuch – 13 years
  • Jean Reiden – 10 years this go around with a total of 18 years
  • And Heidi Weis – our newbee at almost three years

IMG_0262Please make an opportunity to get to know your new executive director, Allen Lloyd. The future for the Society looks bright with Allen at the helm.

Thank you!

Accounting in Extraordinary Times

hill-annette-2016by President Annette Hill

We had record representation at the AICPA Council meeting held in Washington D.C. May 21 – 23. Representing Montana with me were Gordy Thompson (elected Council representative),  George Olsen (Legislation and Governmental Affairs Committee), Josh Herbold (incoming President of the MSCPA), Ryan Screnar (AICPA Awards Committee Chair), Ron Yates (AICPA Board member), Allen Lloyd as our incoming Executive Director and Jane Egan, our Executive Director.

The theme was “Accounting in Extraordinary Times.” It truly was an agenda of new concepts and complexities. Topics like cyber security, data analytics, rapid business model transformation and an introduction to Gen Z challenged all of us to brainstorm ideas for the AICPA’s next strategic plan and to chart the future of our profession. I’ll leave the details to Gordy and Ron to roll out in future blogs and at our upcoming 104th Annual Conference in Billings.

HomeLogowDatesIt is exciting to meet with our peers across the nation and hear about the leading edge issues in our profession. It is always comforting to come home to our own beautiful Montana and welcoming State Society, our professional home.  Are you joining us at our 104th Annual Conference in Billings next week? We have many things in store for you – honoring members who have served our profession and communities, welcoming a new President and a couple of new board members, saying goodbye to some board members and to me, introducing you to our new Executive Director, and celebrating the amazing career of our unforgettable Jane Egan. Will you be there? Here’s your last call. Registration closes on Friday, June 16thGet on line and sign up. We can’t wait to see you there.

What to do on Memorial Day!

By Walt Kero, CPA, ABV, CFF | Kero & Byington & Associates | Missoula

The follow blog was an article written by Walt for JCCS back in 2011. He was kind enough to let us reprint this inspiring piece. We hope you enjoy!

I had an unforgettable experience this past Memorial Day. The process started a few years ago when I started to put together a bucket list. The call to action became a reality last fall when I was talking motorcycles with our tax instructor Lynn Nichols.

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The conversation went like this. I asked Lynn if he had been to Rolling Thunder. He said yes and that he went in May. I immediately told him last October that if things worked out I would do my best to go. He said to come on out to Pennsylvania and we would go together to Washington DC.

Sure enough, we rode together from the Pittsburgh area through Pennsylvania and met up with Chris, Alecia and Damen from the Ohio Society of CPAs. Chris and Damen are the computer geeks for the Society and avid bikers. We had a nice ride through Maryland with one bike taking a dive at a rest area. Thankfully, it wasn’t mine!

We made it to Washington DC on Saturday afternoon and stayed in a Maryland suburb. Sunday morning we were at the North Parking lot at the Pentagon- four motorcycles and five riders ready for action at 8:00 am. Some action- we sat around until noon before a bike moved. However, you end up in a sea of thousands of motorcycles and bikers most are veterans. The four hour wait was turned into a positive by walking to the Pentagon Memorial and seeing the reflecting pools on each of 184 benches. There is one bench for each person who died in the 911 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

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The motorcycles with their riders started leaving the lot at high noon. We were about 60% of the way through the lot and we started moving about an hour and half later. We went across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue past the White House and the Capitol Building to Independence Avenue and past the Washington Monument. We went past thousands of supporters who were yelling, cheering, thanking and giving high fives. You want to talk about a rush! It was so cool to be riding down the left side of the streets and high-fiving bystanders with my left hand and running the throttle with my right hand. I must have made contact with about 25 people in a row right before the turn onto Arlington Memorial Bridge.

The purpose of Rolling Thunder is to draw attention to POW’s and MIA’s from all wars and to say thank you and welcome home to veterans. The event offers the opportunity for all of us to proudly and loudly proclaim our gratitude for all of our freedoms and our love and honor for our veterans who have fought for us. Most of us from my vintage knew classmates who died in Vietnam. This event is the result of that war and is such a good thing for our country. I am very humbled and gratified to have been a part of it.

I have a call to action and that is to develop a bucket list and start checking those items off. Your life will be much better for doing so. Also, if you get a chance to be in Washington DC on Memorial Day participate in the Rolling Thunder events as they are remarkable.

 

 

A Day at the House of Lords

Today (04/04/17) I LIVED the term gobsmacked. It’s a strange word that so adequately describes the experiences I had today at the House of Lords. To enter through Westminster Hall which was built in 1097, a place that saw the conviction of William Wallace and speeches made by Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth, it was overwhelming in the best way. 

I want to share my speech that I made today, representing the Montana CPAs. Photos of the actual event and the people in attendance will have to wait for a later date as only the official photographer is permitted to take pictures in Parliament. What you will see are photos I took from the outside and, if you go to our Facebook page, you will see a short video I made outside Parliament right before we were admitted this morning. What an honor it truly was!

I was introduced by the Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensberry.


My Noble Lords, Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have served as the Communications Director of the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants for 17 of the organization’s 104 years. It is a pleasure to be at the House of Lords with you today. It is a tremendous honor, one a farmer’s daughter from rural Montana never would have had the courage to dream! A heartfelt thanks to Baroness Cox!

Montana is a beautiful state with dramatic mountain vistas and sweeping plains and of course the skies. Montana is called Big Sky Country for a reason.

Montanans are known for our strong work ethic. Our agricultural roots come through no matter what our chosen profession. Similarly, certified public accountants are known for their strong work ethic, high standards and strong morals. They are the foundation of the business world. We have a member in Montana who is known to say, “some people speak Spanish, Arabic or English. I speak accounting; the language of business.”*

For over 30 years, the Montana Society of CPAs and the Association of Certified Public Accountants International, have worked together to help our members succeed in the “language of business”. We are proud of this partnership that allows us to have an international presence, one that allows accounting professionals with the right credentials, to be members in the Montana Society of CPAs no matter what part of the Globe they live.

Throughout our 30-year history, world events have shaped our international membership numbers.  We’ve has as few as 17 international members as we began our partnership and we have boasted as many as 94 international members in 2008.  Today we hold steady in the mid-50’s, including 18 who reside in the UAE.

Regardless of the numbers, one thing has remained true and strong through the years; the leadership of Dr. Anthony Edwards. For many years, through different staff and leadership at MSCPA, Dr. Edwards has remained dedicated to the Association of CPAs International’s objective to advance the science of accountancy and financial management.

Many members in the Montana Society of CPAs work as auditors. Their work is invaluable in the business world and they must strive to keep up with the constantly changing standards. This is not work for the faint of heart, but it is important work for the economies of the world. So with this in mind, we congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the passage of the Auditing Law we are celebrating today. A strict code of ethics is what makes true accounting professionals stand out and we applaud your regulatory efforts.

Being here with you today at the House of Lords is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and my husband. I am proud to represent the Montana Society of CPAs as we celebrate the UAE’s enhanced standards for this most honorable profession. And meeting representatives from around the globe makes the international business world seem a lot closer to Montana. On behalf of the Montana Society of CPAs, I wish the very best to all of you and to our members serving the accounting profession in the United Arab Emirates. Thank you, and thank you Baroness Cox for this honor.


After the speeches from all the guests, we dined together in the Attlee Room in the House of Lords. Afterwards, the Baroness, who is charming and so funny, gave us a private tour of the House of Lords, explaining how they vote by going out and standing in either the “Content” or “Not Content” hallways. Finally, we ended our day by helping the English economy with a healthy visit to the gift shop.

What an experience! What an adventure! The things I saw and learned, the people I met, including the Ambassador from the UAE. I truly am gobsmacked and thankful for a word the describes the enormity of this day.

*The member I am quoting is Walt Kero of Missoula. Thank you Walt for giving me such a good line that I find myself using it in nearly every speech I give on behalf of MSCPA.

7 Things You May Have Missed During Tax Season

Even if you aren’t in public practice, the new year gets so busy that sometimes we don’t come up for air until May! So here are a list of things you should be aware of that were announced during tax season, in roughly chronological order:

  1. Inaugural Community Service Award
    CommunityServiceAward150aMSCPA is pleased to announce our inaugural Community Service Award. This award is a celebration of the many contributions CPAs make to their communities. Nomination deadline is May 8th. Award details

  2. Governmental Conference & Roundtable
    2017GovernmentalConf200Our annual Governmental Conference will be in Bozeman on May 19th. As an added bonus, there will be a Governmental Roundtable Discussion in Bozeman on May 18th. This conference has been designed for auditors of local governments, representatives of city, county, town and district governing boards and accountants from city, county, town and school district business offices.
  3. Montana Salary Survey
    Every other year, MSCPA conducts a salary survey of our Montana members. We will launch this later in May–watch your email boxes. This is a salary for individuals and only those who complete the survey will get a copy of the results. It’s a great resource for Montana accounting professionals.  If you’d like input on the survey questions, contact Jean@mscpa.org right away.
  4. Jane’s Retirement Party
    Our beloved Executive Director, Jane Egan is retiring June 30th. Help us celebrate all that she has done for MSCPA at her retirement party, June 21, 4:00 – 7:00pm at the Big Horn Resort in Billings. Watch for e-invites in your mailbox soon. RSVP to Heidi@mscpa.org by June 15th.
  5. 104th Annual Conference, June 22& 23 in Billings
    HomeLogowDatesRegistration is open! This is going to be the most interactive conference we’ve ever had and it’s your opportunity to ask questions and learn about some of the most pressing issues in the profession. Check out our schedule of events and remember to make your hotel reservations early!
  6. Proposed Changes to MSCPA Bylaws
    MSCPA is proposing changes to our bylaws. The one significant change is to student membership. Our current bylaws state students must be “At least junior standing” (Article III, Section 1). We are proposing to change that to “At least sophomore standing”. As students are being recruited earlier in their academic career, we feel it is important to get them involved in the Society. The rest of the proposed changes this year are simply terminology updates. The proposed changes will be voted upon by the membership at the Business Meeting held at the 104th Annual Conference on June 22 at 3:30pm at the Big Horn Resort in Billings. View proposed bylaw changes (proposed changes are in red)
  7.  IRS Meeting One-On-One
    On August 1st, the IRS Tax Advocate Service (TAS) will hold a problem solving day at MSCPA’s new offices. The purpose of the event is to discuss unresolved IRS problems that you or your clients are facing. In order to participate you must have a valid F2848 or F8821. Appointments will be taken beginning in July; walk-ins will be helped as representatives are available. Watch for more information coming in
    June/July.

If you have question about any of these events, please don’t hesitate to contact MSCPA:
     Mailing Address:  PO Box 138, Helena, MT 59624
     Physical Address: 46 N Last Chance Gulch Ste 2D
     Phone: 406.442.7301 or 800.272.0307
     email: staff first name@mscpa.org

 

 

MSCPA is Going to the House of Lords!

Herriges Margaret 2014

Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

by Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM | MSCPA Communications Director

What’s on your bucket list? Travel, adventure, fabulous experiences? Me, too, but I recently received an invitation that is beyond what I would have ever had the audacity to add to my bucket list: I’ve been invited to represent the Montana Society of CPAs at the House of Lords.

Did you go back and reread that last sentence? Yes! I said THE House of Lords! You know, Parliament . . .  in ENGLAND . . . how crazy is that?! Now that I have your attention, let me elaborate.

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You may know that MSCPA has international members. These are accounting professionals who want/need the recognition of what they do in countries that might not use the CPA designation but who do the same kind of work and have a similar designation from their own country. MSCPA has had a 30+- year relationship with the Association of CPAs International to help these accountants. When an international accounting professional applies for MSCPA membership, they apply through the CPAs International and this organization vets them on our behalf.

The head of this organization is Dr. Anthony Edwards. Dr. Edwards is amazing: a consummate professional with a zest for life and a kindness that comes across international phone lines. He’s an Honorary Life member of MSCPA and has long charmed the staff whenever he calls, sharing what life and work is like in the U.K.

A short time ago I received a call from Dr. Edwards (always a treat). He explained that an auditor regulation bill was recently signed into law in the United Arab Emirates. THIS is a very big deal. In a relatively young country—just 45 years old—this is a sophisticated and progressive step to being a country that recognizes the value of an audit. As he explained, I was thinking he must want me to publish this information in our newsletter, eConnect, about this momentous event—a great idea! But he went on to tell me that CPAs International was planning on celebrating this accomplishment with the help of their sponsor, the Baroness Caroline Cox, from the House of Lords and they would like ME to attend! Seriously! A farmer’s daughter from rural Montana, invited to be the guest of the Baroness and the Association at the House of Lords on May 4th!

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To say I was stunned doesn’t start to explain it! Thrilled, amazed, excited and so incredibly honored is a start. I’ll practice sounding British and say I am gob smacked by this opportunity! In addition to the invitation itself, I have also been asked to make a short speech at the event, explaining the relationship with the International Association and our 56 out-of-country members that make MSCPA a player in the global accounting market.

When I received this invitation my first thought was: I need a passport! I’ve never traveled outside the United States. My second thought: will the MSCPA Executive Committee give me permission to do this?  Luckily the passport process went quickly because the Executive Committee graciously said YES!

This will all happen on May 4th.  My husband, Chris, and I will leave Helena on May 1st for an adventure I would never have had the courage to even dream about. I will be sharing pictures and blogging about this experience on MontanaCPAs.org and I invite you to share the experience with me by subscribing to our blog, MontanaCPAs.org.

Members of the Montana Society of CPAs are an amazing group of people. I get to tell your story on a world stage and I am so incredibly honored for this privilege.

TEMP Queen ElizabethI’m now amending my bucket list. I think I need to be a little more courageous with my dreams moving forward. I mean, how am I going to top being a guest at the House of Lords? Perhaps my bucket list should include an audience with the Queen?

Cheerio!

Allen’s Story

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Allen Lloyd, Incoming MSCPA Executive Director

Hello MSCPA Members!

My name is Allen, and I am excited to become the next Executive Director of this outstanding organization.  My first order of business will be getting to know you and learning what keeps you up at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning.  To break the ice, I wanted to tell you a little about who I am… You can read about my career in the announcement, but that is only a small part of who I am.

Currently, I live in Columbus, Ohio, and people here ask, “Why move to Montana?”  Professionally, this is a dream opportunity, and I look forward to growing and building on the work of Jane, the staff, and our members.  Personally, my family and I love being surrounded by nature, so we are very excited to explore the beauty of the state and take in the landscape you call home.

One of my favorite hobbies is mountain biking.  I didn’t learn to ride until I was six or seven, but once I learned, it was hard to get me off of a bike.  My wife and I met on a mountain biking trip, and I already have a list of friends who want to come riding in Montana.

No handsDuring the interview process, I was asked about relocating to a smaller city.  I turned 40 a couple of years ago, and while my last 20 years were spent in Columbus, most of my first 20 years were spent in a speck on the map called Clarington, Ohio.  Growing up, my world view was two hills and the Ohio River. We drove 10 miles each way to get groceries once a week.  There will definitely be adjustments, but Helena has everything a person needs (nice people, craft beer, good coffee, and a Target).

Bad selfieMy wife, Jill, is an accountant currently working in industry.  When we met, her plan was to be in Columbus for a few months then move west. I only delayed her plans by 16 years.  We have two boys: Byron, who turns 9 later this year and Winston, who turned 7 in December.  As you can imagine, there is rarely a dull moment around our house.  Our family photos do a pretty good job of capturing a typical night at our house.

I would like to thank Jane, the staff, and the volunteers and members for all their work making MSCPA the great organization it is today.  In particular, I want to thank the Search Strike Force for making me feel welcome during the interview process, and for their belief in my ability to lead this organization.

HomeLogowDatesPlease join me at the Annual Conference in Billings, June 22-23. There, we will celebrate Jane’s accomplishments and reignite your passion for the accounting profession with some great speakers and opportunities to connect with friends old and new.  We’ll roll out the welcome mat so you can relax and learn at your professional home!

Changes to HB 550 that Will Affect You & Your Clients

Olsen George 2008

George Olsen, MSCPA Legislative Committee Chair

By George Olsen, Chair, MSCPA Legislative & Governmental Affairs Committee

At our Legislative meeting Monday morning we talked about the progress of the bills we are following in the Legislature.  Holly Franz, our lobbyist, reported on the hearing on House Bill 550—Revise laws related to corporate loss carryback and carryforward, last week in the Senate Tax Committee.

The bill would change the net operating loss carryforward and carryback periods from the current back three years and forward seven years to back two and forward 20.  It was interesting to see the different perspective people have on allowing corporations to use their losses against future or past income.  Many in the hearing room wanted to allow greater availability to use the losses while some wanted to limit the use of the losses because of the effect on the State’s budgeting.  They feel that limiting the deductions for the losses lets the state smooth out the ups and downs in budget revenue and avoids large expenditures for tax refunds in years when the state is experiencing revenue losses because of a downturn in the overall economy.  The same argument could be made for not allowing the state to collect excess tax revenue in years when the economy is booming and creating surpluses.

In our minds, CPAs feel that deductions for losses should not be limited since they are real, hard dollar losses and the state only bears the burden to the extent of refunds of 6.75 cents on the dollar.  So we offered an amendment that we feel makes this bill more palatable. The amendment our lobbyist, Holly Franz, offered on our behalf:

  • Amends current procedure to provide that taxpayers electing a carryback or carryforward on their federal return automatically make the same election on their state tax return
  • Allows a taxpayer to elect a different carryback or carryforward on their state taxes if they affirmatively choose to do so

The benefits of this are it:

  • Simplifies the net operating loss election process for taxpayers
  • Reduces errors on tax returns
  • Is easy for the state to administer since federal return has to be attached to the state return
  • There’s no fiscal impact

The bill was amended in committee to increase the carryback period to three years and limit the carryforward period to 10 years, three more than the current seven years but much less than the 20 years in the original bill.  The carryback is limited to $500,000 per year. CPAs are inclined to think in terms of fairness to their clients while the folks in charge of the state budget think in terms of the short-term budget effect.  It’s interesting to see what happens when the interests of the two camps clash.

The bill is scheduled for third reading in the Senate tomorrow (04/12). Stay tuned for more information on this, and other bills we are monitoring on your behalf, as the Legislature wraps up.

We’ve made it easier for you

by Jean Rieden, Professional Development & Membership Director

We offer a lot of classes each year. And you can find them all on our website. But how do you find a specific class topic you are looking for or maybe an instructor? We’ve made it easier for you!

We’ve added filters to our Professional Development page on the website, so instead of scrolling through 50+ live classes  and literally thousands of webcasts, you can do a search by live or online classes, keyword, field of interest, city where the class will be held, credits, course level and month.

Say for example you love Pat Garverick’s classes and you want to know what we’ve hired him to teach in 2017. Simply type Garverick in the Keyword box and click search. Voila! You can see three classes that Pat is scheduled to teach in Montana.

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Or perhaps you are looking for advanced level taxation classes, either live or online, you’ll click both the live and online course boxes, add Taxation to the Field of Interest box, scroll to Advanced under the course level box and then search. You’ll discover you have a LOT of options!

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And remember, if you log in before you look for classes your registation will be pre-populated for you AND you can easily register others from your office.

I’m always available to answer your questions if you need any help.

P.S. Be sure to buy your FLEX Credits by June 30th. It will save you money on live classes.

 

MSCPA Makes the Move

Dear Members

There are a lot of changes going on at MSCPA and we want them all to be good for you and for the organization. That includes our office space.

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Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

As many of you might remember, we moved to our current location five years ago. We were excited about the space we designed and the opportunities it held for more member contact. However, things beyond our control have changed the quality of this work space.

When we moved into our Ninth Avenue location, there was plenty of parking. Full occupancy in the rest of the building and the newly constructed building next door took all our extra parking options. This made it very hard to use the beautiful conference room we built.

Our conference room really is a thing of beauty. We can host meetings for up to 30 people. It’s extremely functional with a large screen tv wired to our computer connections. Sadly, it has become nearly 900 square feet of unusable space at $12.85 a square foot. So . . .

WE ARE MOVING! Our new physical address will be in the New York Building, 46 North Last Chance Gulch; our mailing address will once again be PO Box 138, Helena, MT 59624-0138. Our anticipated move date is April 30th. It’s downtown on the walking mall with a sky bridge to the parking garage. The board room in the new space will accommodate 16 people, have beautiful natural lighting, offices for all the staff plus a good work space and it’s less expensive!

While we aren’t looking forward to the move itself, we are looking forward to the new accessible space and we feel it’s the responsible thing to do as stewards of your dues dollars.

This is another big change for the Society and I thank you in advance for your understanding. If you have questions about this move, I am always happy to talk to you.  One of the things that will stay the same is our members are welcome to use our board room at no cost and we are delighted when members drop by.  Stay tuned for more information about our new space and be sure to come visit us.

Sincerely,

Jane Egan | Executive Director
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