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.



Presidentially Speaking

By Annette Hill, MSCPA President 2016-2017

hill-annette-2016Hello fellow CPAs!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’m trusting you’ll take some time today to spend with your loved ones, especially your valentine!  Consider taking a breath to reflect on other areas in your life that cause you to feel grateful; home, health and relationships.

Many of you have asked us how it’s going with the search for a new executive director.  I’m happy to report that we are on schedule with the timeline set by our Strike Force leader, Brenda Byrnes. We are in the interview stage, having received numerous applications from qualified candidates and are on track to introduce you to a new executive director by our Annual Conference in June.

What about Jane?  Even more of you have inquired about Jane’s retirement and we assure you that you will have opportunities to celebrate with Jane, to congratulate and thank her for her many years of service to the Society.  Watch for details!

It is opportunity season for those of us in public accounting and no doubt many in industry, nonprofit, government and education are feeling the opportunity as well, wrapping up calendar year end activities and initiating 2017.  Our staff at the Society office have been closing the January 31, 2017 fiscal year and commencing the next one with issuance of dues statements.  Your statement hit your physical or virtual mail box on February 1st.

As you review the notice, you’ll see that our Society staff has done an outstanding job of detailing the five strategic pillars and the benefits your dues provide our members.

MEMBERSHIP tools and services, volunteer and leadership opportunities

SUSTAINABILITY and focus on being the most valuable resource for members

CONNECTION through Find-A-CPA, MontanaConnection.org, MSCPA.org, local and rural chapters, e-publications, social media and this blog

PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE with 52 live CPE courses, 4 conferences and thousands of webcasts

ADVOCACY with representation at the state Legislature, Department of Revenue, State Board of Accountants, IRS and AICPA.

What an inspiring and fitting list for our pillars! They guide our board of directors, staff, committees, task forces and all of our volunteers, charting the course for our mission.  That’s important and we need to keep it in front of us.  However, as you consider paying your dues this year, you might be asking yourself, “What’s really in it for me?”  I’ve spent a few moments considering the value my membership brings me.

In 20 years as a member, I’ve enjoyed benefits in all of the pillars and for that I’m grateful and have no doubt I have received much more than the cost of my membership dues.  One of my favorite benefits though, is really one captured in the MEMBERSHIP pillar.  “Tools and services” include our Society office and staff.  This is the benefit working for us every day that we may not even know is happening. Our Society office and staff are our best return on investment.

Have you called the Society office and been greeted with Heidi’s cheery and welcoming voice?  Have you experienced an issue with CPE and had Jean fix it for you?  Have you had Carol hold your hand as you worked through the paperwork to get your first peer review completed? Have you paused to giggle a little when you read the latest recipe for tax season mixology drinks on Facebook or learned what music Reidun cranks when she needs some inspiration? Attended a fun-filled, professional MSCPA conference? Reconnected with a CPA that left the state? (Thanks Margaret!) Finally, do you know the influence and the respect our illustrious executive director commands with our state legislators? Have you changed your job and in the stress of changing co-workers, locations and career goals, have you found some comfort in the familiarity of your MSCPA staff and office?  Have you remembered that these same people probably call you by name, recognize your spouse, know where you work and understand your passion for the accounting profession?

THIS is the value of membership.  I encourage you to renew (join if you are not currently a member) pay your dues and enjoy the benefits our greatest resource can bring you.  See you in Billings at the 104th Annual Conference!



Sing Along! It’s Harvest Time!

Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

By Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM |  Communications Director

I’m a farmer’s daughter and since I started working for MSCPA nearly 17 years ago, I’ve equated tax season with harvest: there’s a lot of work to be done and you only have so much time to do it.

Growing up, we’d take my dad a treat around 4:00 pm; something to sustain him and motivate him to keep working. It was that “pause that refreshes”. Similarly, each tax season we try to do something a little offbeat and fun for our members. It’s our way of supporting you and motivating you through this busy season. In the past we’ve done Tax Season Mixology and last year we found some pretty outrageous tax season memes. This year we’re going to help you burn that midnight oil with some groovy tunes. Welcome to our Tax Season Playlist!

We recruited MSCPA Board members to help us with this and each day at 4:00 we’ll be sharing a song, complete with the YouTube link, on our Facebook page.  We’d love to hear from you! Be sure to comment if you like the song, and tell us your favorites and we’ll add those to our play list, too. Occasionally there may even be a dedication from the MSCPA staff to our hard-working members!

You don’t have to be a CPA in tax to enjoy this. We dedicate these sound bytes to ALL our members!

So work hard and may your harvest be plentiful! We’ll be here for you to help in any way we can. And if you find yourself with one of our Tax Season Playlist songs stuck in your head . . . you are welcome!

In honor of the first day of tax season 2017, January 23rd, Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder, dedicated by President-Elect Josh Herbold.