It’s been a blast!


George Olsen, 2019 George D Anderson Distinguished Service Award Recipient 

George Olsen was born into a ranching family in White Sulphur Springs, MT. His family owned a dairy farm there.  Not long after George was born, his family moved to Deer Lodge where his father opened a hardware store. To say George is tough as nails is an understatement, his family moved to Joplin to farm for eight years when he, his brother and sisters were children. They had to move back to Deer Lodge during the winter months because the home wasn’t suitable for the freezing winter weather, with no indoor plumbing.  Growing up in a farming family served George well throughout his life and career. He has an amazing work ethic, can fix darn near anything and was able to build trust with his ag clients because he knows firsthand what the highs and lows farming and ranching can bring.

George finished high school in Deer Lodge and went on to the University of Montana in Missoula. He had a cousin that went into accounting and George decided “if he can do it, so can I”.  During his high school years, he signed up for bookkeeping and typing classes instead of physics and calculus, which gave him an insight into the profession and made his college courses easier for him to dive into. Following graduation, he interviewed with Galusha, Higgins and Galusha (GHG) in Helena in 1971.  At the time, he didn’t think he’d stay long.  After 41 years with the firm, in 2012, he retired from the same office.

During his tenure at GHG, George’s niches included financial institutions and ag clients as well as small businesses and individuals. George fondly recalls that getting to know people through these client engagements and learning about their businesses and families were his favorite parts of being a trusted adviser. To this day, George treasures these friendships the most when he looks back on his career. In addition, George had some amazing times with his colleagues and peers from other firms around Helena and carries with him fond memories participating on the GAHGZ softball team and even having his elbow broken during an inter-firm basketball game.  George thoroughly enjoyed the comradery amongst competing firms he interfaced with and the friendships he made along the way.

Although he retired in 2012, George is still as busy as ever. In fact, George is still deeply involved with the MSCPAs Legislative Committee and the State and Federal Tax Committee and has been the MSCPA’s voice at the Legislature for years.  In addition, he serves as the board president for the Montana Land Reliance (and has been involved with the Board since 1979), sits on the board of the Ruby Habitat Foundation, and has been serving for the past six years on the Land Trust Alliance Board.  Additionally, George has sat on the MHESAC board since 2011.

When George isn’t at the Legislature for the Society or one of the boards he sits on, he is likely with his wife, Ellen, and his grandchildren.  George is very proud of his children, Kara, who lives in Bozeman, and Brian, who lives in Helena and works at the Department of Revenue.  When talking about the future and where he sees himself in full retirement, George states, “we’ll stay close to Helena to be near our grandchildren”.

The best advice George offers to younger CPAs or those just starting the profession, is to encourage them to look beyond just making money and to focus on the relationships they’ll build and the knowledge they’ll gain from the profession. In addition, George encourages younger members of the profession to become active members on committees and boards with the MSCPA and to not assume some else is going to take on such leadership roles.  You can make a difference by working with the Society through its strength and credibility.  “It’s been a blast”, as he recalled listening and learning from other CPAs, that George now calls friends.  The DC trips for council, “those were an adventure”, as he shook his head with a smile.  Knowing who attends those trips (Gordy Thompson, Ryan Screnar, Jim Galipeau, you know the crew!), we can only imagine the fun times they’ve had!

The Society couldn’t be prouder and more pleased to honor George Olsen with the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award.  We cannot thank you enough for your time, service and dedication to the profession, George.

The Impact of Change

Written by Allen Lloyd, MSCPA Executive Director

I am going to ask you to stick with me on this one, I promise this relates to you and accounting but it takes a little side trip to get there.

Tiger Woods won The Masters this weekend.  For those who do not follow golf, this matched the longest time between major tournament wins ever at 11 years.  Many people know Tiger more for his mistakes over those 11 years than for his dominance of golf.  Between 1997 and 2008 he won 14 major tournaments.  He did this in large part by being more physically and mentally fit than his competitors.  If you look at most of today’s top professionals, they follow his formula.  In his prime Tiger was feared by his competitors in large part because once he was in the lead he didn’t look back. leaderboard

This weekend was different, it was the first major he ever won when he was not leading going into the final round.  It was also the first time he went into the final round with a plan to let the others make mistakes and then to capitalize on them.  Watching him navigate the course it was striking that he no longer hit the longest drives and rarely showed any emotion.  In short Tiger changed and found a new way to win.  He used his knowledge of this tournament and his personal history to manufacture a win.  The other contenders grew up watching Tiger when he was dominant, and I guarantee when they looked at the leaderboard and saw him lurking it got in their heads.  Golf tournaments tend to be pretty reserved events, butTiger.png when Tiger plays well the crowds are so loud that everybody knows what is happening.  It is another mental tool that Tiger used to his advantage this weekend.  His win was not easy, he played a great round and fought through some bad holes to win by a single shot.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the win was watching Tiger walk to the clubhouse and hug his kids.  In 1997 when Tiger won his first major, also at The Masters, he walked up the same hill and hugged his dad.  These were two people who dedicated their lives to the game of golf experiencing the highest of possible highs.  Seeing Tiger finally be able to share that same moment with his kids was touching.


At this point you are probably thinking how does this relate to me or accounting and holy cow Allen is a huge Tiger Woods fan.  I will get to the connection shortly but want to admit that I really don’t like Tiger.  For me he never seemed to enjoy what he was doing, when he won it still didn’t look like he was having any fun.

So how does this relate to accounting?  Much like golf, accounting is evolving.  Golfers have become more physically fit and are able to hit the ball much farther than ever before.  Similarly, accountants are doing much more today than they did in the past.  Software leverages what accountants do to help you create more value, much like today’s golf clubs help golfers hit the ball further.  In both cases technology is advancing, but you still need people with the core skills to take advantage of the opportunities.

The Annual Meeting this year is focused on Agents of Change.  As we talk about all the things that are changing and the impact they will have, we also need to remember the core service we provide continues to be trust.  We can use new technology to provide better information, but we must make sure that information is correct.  Golf and accounting have been around for a long time and while they both evolve over time the core remains the same.  In golf you try to put the ball in the hole using the fewest shots, in accounting you provide information and advice that people can trust.

Click here to learn more about the 106th Annual Meeting.

Logo fo Social Media



Uber for CPAs

A common story I have heard from members is they have more work than they have time.  This year at the small firm roundtable everybody was talking about getting rid of some of their clients because they simply didn’t have the time to prepare all the returns.  I hear similar things from firms of every size and from members working in BING (business, industry, non-profit, and government).  MSCPA and the Legacy Foundation are working hard to promote the profession and fill the pipeline, but that takes time.

Another thing I hear from people is they want more flexibility from their employers.  Companies have made strong headway on this over the past decade, but there is always room for improvement.

A couple months ago I heard a story that struck a nerve.  There is a CPA in South Carolina trying to solve both these issues.  His name is Sean Kenny and instead of me telling his story I thought I would let him share his story with you:

“Why can’t we just bring on more people during tax season?” That was a thought I had one late night as our firm struggled to get through the toughest time of year. I thought to myself how cool it would be for a firm to bring on experienced folks when needed – almost like an Uber driver. It seemed so obvious I couldn’t believe it wasn’t out there already. It was this idea — on-demand, flexible help for accounting firms — that changed my life, and hopefully it can change public accounting for the better.

As a CPA working in public, I dread tax season. We all know it: the long hours, the time away from the family, the stress. However, I really love the work. Something I hear over and over from other CPAs is “I love the work, I just hate the lifestyle.”  We need to fix the model.

In the spring of 2017, after the April deadline, I began taking every CPA firm owner who would answer my emails out for coffee or lunch to get their feedback. I learned that these small firms needed more than just help during tax season. They needed help with the complicated stuff too.  They didn’t have a partner’s door to knock on or an extensive network to utilize. They liked the idea of running their problem by an expert. But where are these people?

What I’ve learned over the past year is that there is an overwhelming, I repeat OVERWHELMING, demand for remote, flexible work – even in accounting. It’s an inverse of what’s happening in the traditional economy where firms are struggling to find experienced, full-time talent. Who are they? They’re stay-at-home mothers looking for at-home work, semi-retired folks with no interest in working crazy hours, and people just looking for alternatives (yes, many are Millennials). All of them would love to work with firms, they just don’t want (or aren’t able) to work in the office full-time.

As I was gaining feedback from accountants, I put together the team to build out the solution that would bring together CPA firms and freelance CPAs. One is my wife, Emily, an accomplished designer, and the other, Aaron, a software engineer who worked as the technical lead for a few well-funded startups (note: we are not a well-funded startup). The three of us set out to design, build, and bring this idea of on-demand help to public accounting firms (ideally before the next tax season). Thus, PrepLink was born and we got to work.

Shortly thereafter, the reality of launching a technical product hit. Delays. More delays. 2018 tax season came and went. In fact, it took us another 9 months of development to launch the product (wow, it actually just pained me to write that). But, as of September 2018, we are live and churning — and folks are coming.

As of this writing, there are over 120 freelancers and 100 firms on board. Firms are posting a wide range of work, both hourly and fixed-fee based. They’re getting people to help with tax season, assist with nexus studies, nonprofit questions, and bookkeeping. It’s been an amazing experience watching people connect and work through our platform. In this time, we’ve been listening to users’ frustrations (startups call this feedback), and making adjustments to improve the experience. We’ve learned so much just in the past few months, and there is so much more to accomplish.

And yes, we do have an uphill battle. Folks are constantly reminding us that accountants are slow to adopt new technologies. And no, this is not for everyone. But there are enough folks out there who are sick of the status quo. We just have to find each other.

At first I didn’t know why something like this wasn’t already out there. After a year of nauseating stress, delays, bug fixes, and rejections, I have a better idea of why no one else attempted something so massive and ambitious. The accounting world was just waiting for a fool like me to roll around. Well I’m here, and I ain’t leaving.

If you are interested in learning more, either to find some help to get the work done or to connect with firms looking for flexible talent, please reach out to Sean.  MSCPA isn’t getting a kickback from PrepLink, we just found a solution that might be able to help and wanted to share with you.

Visit their website and watch the video to learn more about PrepLink.

Mondays at 7 am – it’s time for Legislative Updates

Written by Molly Holahan, MSCPA Communications Director

Monday, January 7th kicked off the start off the MSCPAs first Legislative Update of the season.  Being relatively new to the MSCPA and the Legislative Committee, I kept my line on mute and video off to get a feel for how the meetings are ran and what these 7 am calls were all about.

Anyone can join

If you’re the least bit curious or interested in what’s going on this session, don’t hesitate to join the calls.  You can join from your computer, phone, or mobile device.  We use Zoom meetings, and they are user-friendly and only a few clicks to join or call into.  You have opportunities to share your knowledge on the call or be a fly on the wall and listen.


iverson john 2018

John Iverson, Lobbyist, Iverson Consulting

Meet our lobbyist, John Iverson.  John is our boots on the ground.  He will be at the capitol around the clock, checking committee meetings daily and keeping us on track.  However, he can’t do this without our committee.  He will research bills and help guide us, but we are here to support him too!

Committee Makeup

The Legislative & Government Affairs Committee, along with the support and help from the State and Federal Taxation Committees is a group of MSCPA members from across the Montana that are passionate about the accounting profession and keeping an eye on bills that affect clients and rule changes that impact the profession.  Interested in joining the committee, but don’t live in Helena?  Don’t worry, you can send letters\emails (in place of testifying) to legislators to show your supportKey Person Program or opposition on bills and watch most legislative committee and session meetings online.

Stronger in Numbers

This committee works as a team.  It’s a big undertaking to track all of the bills that impact clients and the profession.  With everyone’s eyes on the prize and ears on the ground, we can cover more territory and make sure legislation doesn’t get overlooked.  The more people we have committed to the group, the better off we are as a whole.

Experience Not Needed

I had no idea what I could bring to the group, but they are there to help and want new members.  The first step, is joining a call and learning from those that have been involved for several years.  They were all new to this at one time too!

Our ask

Join at least one call this session!  You’ll learn a lot and see what goes into a legislative session and how hard our committees works!  It’s an interesting process and we hope you’ll enjoy learning from it!

Click on the link below for login information:

Click here to add to your calendar!

Lastly, don’t forget to join our Key Person Program by completing the following form.

Key Person Program

Blockchain Breakdown

Herbold Josh sitting 2014

Josh Herbold 

Written by, Josh Herbold, MSCPA Past President

The number one question I seem to be getting asked a lot lately is, “What the heck is blockchain, and do I need to go and learn a bunch about it?” It’s a fair question, as the distributed ledger technology seems to be showing up in all kinds of places. If you’ve found yourself asking this question, this blog is for you.

If you’re starting your blockchain journey from scratch, a great first step would be to take six minutes and watch this: This is the best “basic” explanation of blockchain and distributed ledgers that I’ve found, and is well worth the time. I’ll wait right here.

The main ideas with blockchain are (1) everyone within the network has a copy of the ledger, and (2) the block that records each transaction also contains elements of previous transactions. Say, for example, I buy inventory from a supplier. The “block” in my ledger to represent that transaction will be mirrored by a block in the supplier’s ledger, and the blockchain software verifies the match. Now say I sell that inventory to you; again, each of our ledgers will have a “block” that represents the transaction. But the code within that block will also contain references to the transaction where I originally bought the inventory, which means that we should be able to trace ownership of that inventory all the way up the supply chain to its creation.

A lot of folks point to the “distributed” part of the “distributed ledger system” as the source of increased information security (because in order to create a fraudulent transaction or change a transaction, you’d have to do so within everyone’s version of the ledger), but the “chain” part of blockchain (the fact that each block contains elements of previous blocks) adds a high degree of security too. Not only would you have to change everyone’s ledger, but you would also have to go back in time and change all of the previous blocks!

I think the best analogy that I’ve heard to explain blockchain is to think about our system for tracking real estate ownership. If you own your house, that ownership is recorded in county records and evidenced by a deed. Those county records trace the deed of ownership all the way back to whenever the first deed was granted. It would be very difficult for someone to “steal” your house and claim ownership, because the official records track such ownership. One of the biggest benefits of Bitcoin (which of course uses blockchain in the background) is that you can trace the ownership of each individual bitcoin all the way back to when it was created.

There’s a great discussion about blockchain’s impact on accounting in the middle of the page here:, under the question, “What is your view of blockchain technology and its potential impact, especially on the accounting profession?” (The rest of the discussion is interesting, but not about blockchain specifically.) As those commenters point out, XML and XBRL had the potential to revolutionize recording and reporting of financial information, but those technologies never went as far as they could have. The same thing could happen to blockchain.

The power of blockchain right now seems to be in limited, private groups called “blockchain consortiums” or “blockchain alliances”. These are small groups of companies that share blockchain ledgers. The ledgers are “public” in the sense that everyone within the group shares ledgers, but not “public” in the sense that anyone in the world has access. A large corporation could set up a blockchain consortium with its suppliers, for example. This is where “smart contracting” is happening. A supply contract could be written that states that payment for goods will be made as soon as the goods physically arrive at the buyer’s location (or as soon as the goods cross state lines, or fifteen days after arrival, or whatever you want to put in the contract…). Goods are scanned upon arrival (or tracking chips in the containers track the location of the goods), and that scan triggers the payment, without having to wait for a human to input anything or hit any buttons. All of these transactions are automatically recorded in the blockchain ledger, and all parties have copies of the parts of the ledger that record their transactions.

My opinion is that blockchain will come to small and medium businesses more as a packaged solution than as something that you will have to program. Some company is going to figure out how to ease transactional frictions (like time to pay/collect, credit risk/trust in the other company, supply chain tracking, etc.) using blockchain, and then sell that to you as a solution. But blockchain is also starting to have an impact on things like the year-end closing process (e.g., I would say that it’s something you should probably start to educate yourself on, but not something that you need to immediately devote a week-long crash course to becoming an expert in (though that’s just my two cents, and it might only be worth that much…). I agree with the panel discussion in the article above that this is likely to be an illustration of Bill Gates’s point that we overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten years. Blockchain probably won’t change much of your day-to-day work in the next two years, but it could have a significant impact in the next ten.

Some good articles about blockchain within accounting are:

For information about blockchain in general (and the potential uses of blockchain beyond what we’re seeing today), I’d recommend:

  • Fun concept—a blockchain expert discusses blockchain with five different people who have different levels of understanding of blockchain, starting with a child and ending with a history professor who studies blockchain)
  • WIRED magazine’s new guide to blockchain. The intro article itself is great, and then you can spend as much time as you want going down the blockchain rabbit-hole.

Presidentially Speaking with John Steinhoff

Steinhoff 2015 cropped

John Steinhoff, MSCPA President 2018-2019

I’m truly honored to be your next president of the MSCPA.  My journey started in 2007 when Jane Egan came to Great Falls for a legislative kick off session.  Before the session started, Jane toured MT to talk about the legislature and how we could get more involved in the process.  I volunteered to be on the State Taxation Committee, which eventually led to being on the MSCPA Board of Directors.  The rest, they say, is history.


Being involved and giving back to our profession is one of the best experiences.  You not only get to provide feedback on issues directly facing every CPA, but you also get to work with some amazing people along the way.

A few years ago, the Board changed our volunteer structure and created Task Forces and Strike Forces.  This new model allows busy professionals and young professionals the opportunity to pick and choose various projects/assignments that fit their interest and time constraints.  We’re all busy, but we all have a few hours to give back.  I remember my first few committee meetings and thought “most of the people here have WAY more experience than I do, so what can I contribute?”  I admit I was intimidated, but eventually realized everyone has valuable input.  I encourage our younger members to get involved and experiment with different projects.  You are the future of the Society and our Profession, and we value your service.

Barry Melancon said at our last Council Meeting “Change will never be as slow as it is today.”  Our profession will change rapidly in the next 2 – 5 years, and we need to be on the forefront of these changes.  Your MSCPA Board will address these issues head on and provide our members with the information, tools and education they need to ensure Montana CPAs are prepared for these changes.

I look forward to traveling MT in the next year and interacting with fellow CPAs.  If you have any concerns or issues that are important to you, please let us know as your input is valuable to us.  We will be in Kalispell August 14th, Billings November 6th, and Helena January 16th.  We will send out more information on these meetings and will host a lunch or social, please use this as an opportunity to meet and interact with the Board.

Click here to see the MSCPAs current volunteer opportunities.

Why are so many people being audited?

Written by Allen Lloyd, Montana Society of CPAs Executive Director

Does this sound familiar:

On behalf of the Montana Board of Public Accountants, the National Association for State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is conducting an audit of continuing professional education (CPE) for the 2017 CPE Renewal Period and has randomly selected you as an audit candidate. To meet your CPE requirement you must have completed 120 hours of CPE with a subset of 2 hours in Ethics between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017.

The Montana Board of Public Accountants sent out audit notices on July 13th and for the second year in a row half the licensed CPAs will be audited.  This audit is for 2015, 2016, and 2017.  As a reminder starting January 1, 2018 the Board implemented new rules on the hours needed, more information on the changes is available here:

Why are so many people being audited?  The short answer is because prior year audits results have not been very good.

audit stats

It isn’t all bad news as the vast majority of the 161 failures were able to correct their issue and those who did not correct their issue had their license administratively suspended.  The past two audits have seen fail rates around 20%, which is not acceptable.  The Montana Board of Public Accountants have been discussing ways to solve the issue, including legislation allowing them to audit everybody if fail rates are above a threshold.

If you were audited this year it is critical that you report your hours by August 13th.  To report your hours go to the CPE reporting tool located at  You will need your Montana CPA license number and your password to log into your account.  You can find your license number on your license or here: select Public Accounting from the Licensing Board list and enter your name and click Search.  Your license number is the entire string of characters (PAC-CPAP-LIC-11223 not just the 11223)

If you need help with your password you will need your license number and your email address, if you can’t remember the email address you used give Grace Berger a call at the State Board (406) 841-2244.

Once you log into the tracker you should see any classes taken through MSCPA, we have a relationship with NASBA that allows us to upload those credits so you don’t have to go through the hassle.  For classes from other sources you will need to enter the event information and upload a Certificate of Completion.  Remember 40% of those who failed last year were due to documentation issues.  Make sure your documentation has all the required information:


  1. Licensees are responsible for accurately reporting the appropriate number of CPE hours and must retain appropriate documentation of their participation in learning activities.
  2. Participants in group, self-study, nano-learning, or blended learning programs must obtain a certificate of completion or transcript issued by the program sponsor. All acceptable documentation must include the following information:
    • participant’s name;
    • sponsor;
    • course title and/or description of content;
    • date(s);
    • location;
    • number of continuing education credit hours granted; and
    • NASBA National Registry of CPE Sponsors ID (if applicable, applies to self-study).
  3. Documentation must be retained for not less than five years.
  4. The sponsor of group, self-study, nano-learning, or blended learning programs shall retain evidence of an individual’s participation in a program for not less than five years. Pertinent information includes:
    • participant’s name;
    • record of participation;
    • outline of the course (or equivalent);
    • date(s);
    • location;
    • instructor(s); and
    • number of contact hours/continuing education credit hours granted.
  5. Documentation for technical committee sessions must include a written certificate including the following:
    • the nature of the activity (e.g., topic or specific new competency acquired), the items discussed, and the source/material considered;
    • the dates of the learning activity; and
    • the number of CPE credits attributed to the learning activity.
  6. Acceptable evidence for credit of publications is a copy of the publication that names the licensee as author or contributor, a statement from the licensee supporting the number of CPE credits claimed, and the name and contact information of the independent reviewer(s) or publisher.

We heard from many members that the tracking site can be difficult to navigate.  NASBA has a resource available to help here: It is important to remember that once you submit your information to the State Board you will not be able to go back in to add or update information.

Continuing education is one of the cornerstones of being a CPA.  It is critical that you respond if you were selected for audit.  We are here for you if you have trouble with the process, just give us a call or email.  If we can’t help you we will connect you with the right person to help you navigate the process.

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.