The following blog post is the speech given by Rick Reisig at the 2014 Annual Meeting when he accepted the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. As one of the best speeches we’ve ever heard we are printing it at the request of many of the members who heard it and were moved by Rick’s profound words.
Thank you so much for recognizing me with this award. I’m so grateful, appreciative, honored, proud, a whole host of emotions…but probably mostly humbled, and maybe even a little embarrassed…to be presented this award.
I’m embarrassed because there are so many of you that are worthy to receive this, and here I’m the lucky one…I can’t even believe it. And, I still have a good 10-15 years to go, God willing. There are more things I hope to do in and for our profession. I don’t plan on stopping now.
Margaret asked me what this award means to me and I responded like I always have when congratulating previous recipients…it’s the pinnacle of a career. It’s the highest honor I think a Montana CPA can ever hope to receive because of what the Montana Society stands for, and what it has meant to our profession, and because of all the previous CPAs that have been so honored.
My favorite memories of this award, at least up until now, have been presiding over the meeting in which Joe Shevlin received the award, providing testimonial comments for both Tony DiLello’s and Bob Bronson’s awards, and of course being able to notify Tom Shea that he was the winner of the award.
I found out about the award in this way….Carlen (Keaster) sent out an email announcing a brief, but important, partner meeting from 1:00 to 1:15. We all gathered in our conference room but Brenda Byrnes. That’s not too big of a deal, as she’s normally late. Well, Brenda comes in, and Carlen says “okay Brenda, it’s your meeting”. I thought, “oh my gosh, she’s pregnant again!” Well, she proceeded to tell me and everyone else about the award, although most already knew. I was pretty shocked, to say the least. Then, the entire staff came into the conference room to congratulate me. That was a special moment that I’ll always remember. Thank you for making that moment so memorable for me.
I do want to say a few remarks, if for no other reason than when does someone get a chance to have the people he cares most about, both personally and professionally, gather in one place to celebrate that person, and not have it be his funeral? In this occasion, I get to thank you people who mean so much to me.
I first would like to thank Dan Vuckovich and Bob Bronson, two of my partners and dear friends, who nominated me for this award – independently of one another, I might add. It means so much to me to have your respect in this way. Believe me, it’s what I work for every day, to earn and keep your respect. Dan Vuckovich is so supportive – at our recent NASBA Regional Meeting, Dan continued to tell people about the award. Between Bob Bronson and Tony DiLello…all that I have is due in large part to you, your guidance, your support, your friendship…thank you!
Thank you to the Board of Directors of the Montana Society. I know you always have many worthy CPAs to choose from for this award. Thank you so much for picking me. My partners know this about me…recognition from my peers has always meant the most to me, because you understand what goes into this profession…the challenges, the complexities.
Thank you to Jane Egan for all the support she’s given me in whatever I’ve asked her to help me with, as she routinely does for all of the MSCPA members.
A big thank you to my firm, Anderson ZurMuehlen, for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the various aspects of the profession that I have. It’s not lost on me that the award is named the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. Obviously, a legacy of service for the firm to follow.
But, more importantly, thank you to those in the Great Falls office, those folks from Hamilton Misfeldt, who instilled in me the importance of being active in the profession and the community, and then supported me as I followed in their footsteps.
And, now, the biggest thank you to my personal family – my wife, Carrie, my son, Dawson, and my daughter, Skyler. Tom Shea so eloquently said a couple of year ago that when accepting this award, he shared it with his wife Patti. He was so right! I certainly share this with my wife, Carrie. I always have said you have your work life, your community life, and your personal life. Most of us know you’re not going to shortchange your work life. A lot of the time in our profession, your community life and work life kind of blend together, so unfortunately your personal life may sometimes take the hit. I tried for that not to happen too much, but of course I know that it sometimes did. Carrie is always there supporting me in all my endeavors, be they part of my work life, community life, or personal life. My kids have too, but I think they’ve regarded the times I’m away as a vacation rather than a sacrifice.
I’m so appreciative of my brothers Doug and Jerry and my sister-in-law Terri for being here to share
in this experience with me – my brother Jerry and I would say that every time our brother Doug steps into a room, he’s close to being the smartest guy in the room. And my brother Doug and I would say that every time our brother Jerry steps into a room, he’s close to being the best athlete and most competitive person in the room. They’ve been great role models for me to follow.
I would like to spend a few minutes talking about our profession, and yet what can I say? What can I say to those of you who have given so much to the profession, who have cleared the path for the rest of us to follow? I’m still working my tail off to be like you when “I grow up” knowing that I won’t likely reach you. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to work with you, or at least get to know you. What can I say to those of you who are currently so involved in the issues of the profession…Mike Johns, Ron Yates, Dan Vuckovich, Jim Galipeau, Ryan Screnar? You all certainly belong up here in your own right. And, what can I say to those of you at the beginning of your career, those that don’t have the foggiest idea who I am or what the DSA is all about?
Well, I hope when I’m done, the “old” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I do.” The “not so old” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I do.” And, the “young” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I hope I will.”
In a sincere nod to my brothers and sister-in-law who have devoted their careers teaching our young people, as well as our colleagues among us that work so hard educating our accounting students at MSU, UM, Carroll College, UGF, Montana Tech, MSU-Billings, MSU-Northern, theirs is on the list of noble professions as society benefits so much from the work they do.
Our profession is truly a noble profession. Name another profession where such a variety of 3rd parties…taxpayers, donors, beneficiaries, investors, bankers, legislators, SEC, the IRS….the public…rely so much on the services we provide to our clients, or our employers. In our profession, the financial statements and income tax returns we prepare, the audits we perform, the retirement and estate planning consultations we provide, all are heavily relied on by outside parties. They trust us, they depend on us, they need our expertise. Our integrity, honesty, objectivity, ability to critically analyze and assess, the broad business knowledge we possess…the cornerstones of our profession…are unmatched. No other profession can do what we do. It’s vitally important for us to protect that!
If we aren’t aware our profession is under attack, we haven’t been paying attention. The PCAOB, which many outside of our profession have proclaimed such a success, was created due to perceived weaknesses in our profession. Our profession’s peer review program has evolved from being a purely educational program to including an ever-growing regulatory aspect to answer calls by outside parties to have us oversighted by non-CPAs. In fact, there are state boards of accountancy that have the requirement that a majority of their membership be non-CPAs, or that their peer review oversight bodies be made up of non-CPAs – those states have lost faith in our ability to govern and monitor ourselves. The SEC, PCAOB, Congress, the IRS…all represent very visible, high profile entities that have gained a foothold in how we provide service.
We can’t sit back and just let things happen as that void will be filled by someone, and that someone will likely not be a CPA and likely won’t have our best interests at heart.
Get involved, stay current on the issues, voice your opinion, participate.
All of us have a vested interest in the continued strength of the profession. The Society, the State Board, the AICPA, NASBA, all are working for the same thing – to maintain that place on the pedestal that the CPA profession enjoys. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves as well as those that will follow us to encourage our colleagues to do the right thing, continue to provide service with integrity, honesty, objectivity and be vigilant in removing those that choose not to. We have to continue to be active in the evolution of our profession. We can’t sit back and just let things happen as that void will be filled by someone, and that someone will likely not be a CPA and likely won’t have our best interests at heart. Get involved, stay current on the issues, voice your opinion, participate. This is OUR profession. We can’t let anyone take it away. Looking out over the group of young CPAs we have here today, I think we’re in good hands…keep it up!
Thank you so much, again, for this award. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I’m so proud to be part of this group. Thank you!
The Montana Society of CPAs is now accepting nominations for the 2015 George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. Find complete information about the award process.