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!

students 2018 am .JPG

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!


Peer Review

Kostelecky Julie 2015.jpgWritten by Julie Kostelecky, CPA, CVA

Do you know what I love about our profession?  We are constantly learning.  No matter which part of the accounting profession you are in, we are constantly being hit by new regulations, new challenges and new areas that we can grow into. How can people possibly think being an accountant is boring?

I recently was nudged toward a whole new area of our profession for me: peer review.  Perhaps nudged isn’t a strong enough word.  You see, one of our audit partners is retiring in the next few years and he is the only one in our firm that still does peer review. He needed to find a successor or our firm was going to get out of peer review work entirely.  After we decided we didn’t want to lose that area, I agreed to step up and take it on. Only then, did he tell me the real reason he wants out is because peer review is changing and there is new enhanced oversight, new technology, new training, etc.  This was after he had talked up how great it would be if I was interested in taking things over. Lucky for him, I had already heard all about the changes by way of being on the MSCPA board and I had taken those things into account before I said yes.

Dealing with new government regulations or AICPA changes isn’t anything new for all of us. It’s just always more painful for those of us that haven’t had to deal with a change in awhile.  Or if you are on your way out to retirement and can’t see any value in learning something new this close to the end!  The bottom line is that change always happens for a reason.  More often than not, if you look really hard, you can find the silver lining too.

Peer review is changing because when the AICPA put together a task force to look at audit quality, they found a lot of problems.  Worse, they looked to peer reviews to see if most of those problems were caught, and quite a few of them weren’t.  The new regulations are meant to bring the quality of audits and of peer reviews back up to what the AICPA knows they can/should be. It certainly doesn’t mean that all auditors and peer reviewers are a problem.  It also doesn’t mean we have to like the additional oversight, but it does mean that if we as a profession can police ourselves, then we don’t have to worry about the government stepping in to do it for us.  We all know we don’t want that!

Remember that silver lining that I mentioned?  I promise there is one.  Maybe it doesn’t relate exactly to the additional regulation, but all of this is causing more CPAs to come together to find solutions.  That’s actually what peer review is all about, reviewing your peers and helping everyone to become better and improve audit quality.  The best thing about getting into peer review for me is that I get to work with other CPAs.  I’ve never been the type to shy away from CPAs outside my firm just because they can be our competition on certain things, I want to collaborate with everyone.  I find that I learn a LOT by getting outside my bubble and talking to people in other industries and at other firms. That’s exactly why I’m on the MSCPA Board too.

As part of getting into peer review, I had the great fortune of being invited to join our peer review committee at the Society as the Board liaison which means I get to participate in meetings with other CPAs that have way more experience than me and learn from them.  I’ve known a lot of them since I got into accounting in the first place and now I get to build on those relationships and invite them to participate in peer reviews with me if I don’t have all the expertise needed for a particular review.  It’s amazing how helpful everyone is and how encouraging it is to be a CPA in Montana.

If there is anyone out there considering getting into peer review, we need you.  The Baby Boomers are getting ready to retire in droves and we will be losing a lot of reviewers across the country.  I attended the AICPA Governmental and Not for Profit conference in Las Vegas recently and the biggest complaint I heard from firms is that their peer reviewer is retiring and they don’t know anyone else getting into it.  Well, other than the complaints about how much money people lost at the tables. (Who says accountants are risk adverse?) I know it can seem a bit daunting, but I promise there is help out there. I’m sure those that have been doing this awhile will groan a bit at the optimistic picture I’ve painted, but working with each other is the best part of what we do.  If you want to work to make our profession a better place, then peer review is a great place for you.

“Nudging” Accounting Students Forward


Marc Giullian, PhD, MSU Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

One of the challenges we face as accounting educators in Montana is “nudging” accounting students forward in their professional development. Their professional development is important because accounting students of today will be tomorrow’s leaders. This “nudging” is best accomplished by a choir of many voices rather than a single voice. As educators, we strive to develop knowledge of critical concepts and principles new CPAs need when they leave their college campus and set foot in the professional world. This knowledge is important to their progress, but it is only one of many skills needed for success. Helping students develop an understanding of the professional environment is harder to accomplish in the classroom than helping them learn that debits go on the left! I have thought many times, while talking to students about the importance of developing professionalism, that they see me as their parent rather than their professor—and we all know the tendency of older teens/young adults when it comes to listening to parents!  When it comes to motivating professional development, CPAs have “street cred” that students typically don’t give to accounting educators. What are some ways CPAs can get involved in the development of up-and-coming professionals? Here are a few brief suggestions:

  1. Consider offering internships or expanding existing internship programs. Most (if not all) schools in Montana offer credit to students for internship. Students gain the benefit of learning about the day-to-day operations of the accounting profession that will enhance their recognition of the relevance of what they are studying in their classes. Employers benefit by having the opportunity to evaluate the potential of interns as future employees—and that can reduce the risk of the hiring decision.
  2. Be a speaker at an accounting club meeting. Accounting clubs around the state are always looking for professionals to come and speak to their clubs. These meetings are usually in the evening and typically don’t conflict with the work day.
  3. Be a guest speaker in a class. From time to time, accounting faculty seek guest speakers who can share their expertise with students.
  4. Attend student-related events sponsored by the MSCPA that provide an opportunity for soon-to-be-graduates to rub shoulders with professionals from their communities. Annual events currently take place in Billings, Missoula and Bozeman.

Perhaps you would like to get involved, but you don’t know exactly what to prepare in terms of a presentation. The AICPA has prepared resources available on the website to assist those seeking ideas to use for presentations about the accounting profession and becoming a CPA.

Having a strong group of up-and-coming professionals to step into the roles and positions opening from the departure of those who have reached the end of their careers is vital for the stability for the accounting profession in Montana. It is also vital for the strength of the economy in Montana. Reconnect with a favorite professor or take the time to get to know new accounting educators at the nearest college. When accounting educators and practicing CPAs work together, everyone wins.