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.

Work Life: Finding your Balance in Montana

by: Molly Holahan, Communications Director at the Montana Society of CPAs

We hear from members all the time that you have trouble finding the talent you need to move your business forward.  One way the MSCPA is addressing this issue is the MontanaConnection campaign.

The goals of this campaign are:

  • Keep Montana Accounting/Finance graduates in Montana
  • Connect job seekers with the perfect Montana Company
  • Promote work life balance and all of Montana’s amazing outdoor recreation


How do we accomplish these goals? Since May 1st, the MSCPA has been driving web traffic to the MontanaConnection website.  Professionals that are typing in the phrase jobs in accounting, or any variant of CPA jobs, accounting firms, etc. into Google’s search field and are also located in one of our geographic targets, brings the MontanaConnection website into the search results.  Once they click on our website, job seekers can review, apply for jobs and upload their resume.

How can you help?  By posting jobs on the MontanaConnection website, those visiting the site will see all the opportunities we have in Montana.  You will also have more candidates viewing your job posting helping you find qualified applicants that may not have heard about your job openings.

Brain drain is a huge problem in Montana, many students leave shortly after graduating to work in big cities.  For some, after spending time away, they want to come home and get back to the slower pace and enjoy their roots.  This campaign targets those exact individuals by using specific demographics and geofences for certain firms across the northwest.

Deer Lake Gallatin Canyon


What is geofencing? It’s an incredible way to target the exact people you’re wanting to reach.  The technical description is: the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.   For this campaign, we are using geofencing when a person enters or leaves a campus or one of our targeted firms in Seattle, Portland or Colorado, the MontanaConnection ads show on social media and are displayed while the person is browsing online.  You’ve likely seen these types of ads on your own phone device.  For example, after leaving Lowes or Home Depot, you will see ads appear on your phone while browsing the web reminding you of items you may have looked at in store.

As we all know, Montana is full of great opportunities as well as recreational activities that many states can’t compete with!  We want to match the right people with the right Montana company to help them find the life they’re looking for and help you find the talent you need.

For more information on MontanaConnection, click here.


What a great time to be a Montana CPA

While I’m excited about our profession today, I think we all recognize that this is a time of, as David Bowie puts it, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!” This summer, we welcomed Allen Lloyd and Molly Holahan to the MSCPA. We also thanked (though we can never really thank them enough) Jane Egan and Margaret Herriges for all that they’ve done for the MSCPA over the years. In my day job at the University of Montana, we’ve very reluctantly bid a “Happy Retirement!” to Dr. Teresa Beed, who decided that 41 years at the university was finally enough. (Doing the math in my head now . . . I’ll have to teach until I’m 72 if I want to be at the university as long as Teresa!)

In case you haven’t heard, the MSCPA offices have changed location, too. The new location is right by Big Dipper ice cream in Helena, so I’m now looking for more excuses to drop by. At the annual conference in June, we also welcomed a new set of officers and board members. Thank you to all that have been willing to serve! Those of you who have been on the board know what I mean when I say that I’ve never had so much fun working so hard.

Herbold Josh sitting 2014

Josh Herbold, MSCPA President

Everywhere I turn, it seems there are more changes, and they’re happening faster and faster. That accelerating pace of change is rapidly becoming the new normal. As CPAs, we’re probably all acutely aware of the power of compound interest. Interest grows exponentially; slowly at first, then rapidly in later years. Over the course of history, the Law of Accelerating Returns has applied to technology, too. And it appears that we’re about to enter the steep part of the exponential curve. For some really interesting background on where we’re at with technology today, I encourage everyone to take a look at Things that were considered “science fiction” only a few years ago could actually happen within some of our lifetimes (which might interfere with my plan to teach until I’m 72!).

Our profession is not immune to these changes. In fact, the accounting profession is on the forefront of technological change. Recent articles about the coming changes range from pessimistic, doomsday pieces ( to more optimistic discussions about the opportunities that change brings ( and

What isn’t likely to change is the need for people to make decisions about the future. I’ve always tried to teach my students that accounting isn’t simply a matter of journal entries or debits and credits (though it’s good to know how to do those). It’s about measuring and recording what has happened in an organization so that decision-makers can figure out what to do next. Even though the benefits of artificial intelligence and other new technologies are impressive, I’ve yet to see anyone who can perfectly predict the future. There will always be uncertainty about “what to do next,” and CPAs can help decision-makers deal with that uncertainty.

In order to do that, though, we need to be ready for the changes that are coming. We need to be willing to learn new technologies and adapt to new business models and ideas. The stereotype of the CPA as an eye-shade wearing “bean counter” stuck in a basement office needs to die a long-overdue death. That may have been a good business model in the past; it won’t work in the future.

For better or worse, change is coming. Let’s make sure that it’s for the better!

Meet Molly!

I’m Molly Holahan, the new Communications Director!

I was born and raised in East Helena, MT.  I left Montana for 2 years to attend UNLV and transferred back to Montana and graduated from the University of Montana (GO GRIZ) with a BS in Communication Studies!  I found this degree to have the best mixture of technology, business, marketing and interaction with people!

For the past seven years, I worked at Anderson ZurMuehlen/Employee Benefit Resources.  I worked in our corporate office and helped with trainings and technology.  More recently, I transitioned to our sister company and worked in EBR as a plan administrator in training.

Blog Photo

Molly, Bill, Teva & Chewie

A little background on my life outside of work.  I met my husband, Bill, on a blind date! He had recently moved here from New Jersey to be closer to family.  He works as a tax attorney for the State at the Retirement Administration.  This year is full of excitement as Bill and I are welcoming our first child in October!

My first introduction to the MSCPA was working on a video project with Margaret. She was so passionate and creative- it was such a great experience.  I met Jean while working on a webinar and often bugged her with CPE questions and she was always unbelievably helpful and resourceful.  I enjoyed working with the Society any chance I got!

I am so thankful for this opportunity and am thrilled to work with Allen, Jean, Carol, Heidi, our board of directors, AND our amazing members (including so many of my previous coworkers from Anderson ZurMuehlen)!

I am so excited to be part of the MSCPA and look forward to meeting you at upcoming events and trainings!

Please contact me if you have any questions or just to say hi!