Presidentially Speaking–A year in review from Brenda Byrnes

Byrnes Brenda 2016It’s a great time to be a CPA!  The past year as your President was incredible and it went fast.

Following the lead of Ann Deegan we (myself and your Board of Directors) continued to implement the strategic plan.  Our concentration was the introduction of an updated volunteer model.  A model that focuses on the time you as a volunteer can commit, what tasks inspire you to assist and when it fits your schedule.  The unveiling of the new Volunteer Center on the MSCPA website this month is the culmination of that process.  Now your new President Annette Hill and Board of Directors challenge you to find your spot to fill on the Volunteer Center or simply sign up for the “pool.”  The pool is for those of us who don’t see a spot that fits yet but definitely are up to a task, just waiting for it.

What else did the year entail?

  • Social media presence enhanced
  • University student outreach efforts increased
  • First virtual board meeting conducted online
  • Jane announced her retirement date of June 2017
    • ED Succession Strike Force created
  • CGMA designation opened for nonCPAs
  • Continued tax advocacy at the Federal & State levels
  • AICPA/CIMA joint venture vote
  • Jane is diagnosed with cancer, has treatment and is in remission all in one board year—She ROCKS!

What’s my biggest “take away” this year?

Our profession is a great one!  I mean it wholeheartedly.  We have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact each day in our respective careers: public, business, industry, not-for-profit, governmental, education and so many other areas.  The heart of what we learn as CPAs is valued and trusted throughout the world.  We are sought after for the value we have to offer but we do have to work hard to maintain this position.

That “take away” was driven home for me by the terrific members of your Board of Directors who served this past year.   Their commitment to our profession and the CPAs of Montana is outstanding.  Thanks to each of them for their nimbleness as we changed up meetings, activities and our volunteer structure.  The Directors provided thought provoking input and purposeful active participation which made this year successful.  It was truly a pleasure to serve with them.

However, none of these outcomes would have occurred without the team at MSCPA.  Jane, Margaret, Jean, Carol and Heidi provide tremendous support every step of the way.  We are so lucky to have them!

I was inspired at the beginning of my career by several Past-Presidents of the MSCPA to set a goal of becoming President.  The passion they showed for being a CPA and how they translated that passion into efforts aimed at keeping the MSCPA a relevant, supportive professional home for us throughout our careers was what motivated me.  This was an awesome opportunity to be a part of that legacy and I am grateful for it.  Thank you.

Brenda

Brenda L. Byrnes, CPA
Past President 2015-2016

PS  GO Annette!  You’re “it” to make an IMPACT .

 

 

 

 

 

AICPA’s Proposed Joint Venture with CIMA–A Member’s Perspective CON

by Joshua Herbold, PhD. CPA, MSCPA Secretary/Treasurer

In this blog post, Josh will address the CON side of the proposed venture between the AICPA and CIMA. Scroll down to see previous posts on this issue from President Brenda Byrnes and MSCPA Director Clint Morrison.

Herbold Josh sitting 2014

Josh Herbold, MSCPA Secretary / Treasurer

The American Institute of CPAs has proposed a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (based in the UK). While there are some benefits to such an endeavor, I believe this proposal is, overall, not in the best interests of CPAs for the following reasons:

  1. It dilutes the “CPA” brand in pursuit of membership growth
  2. The AICPA is trying to be too many things to too many people
  3. The value of the CGMA designation has not yet been established in the marketplace
  4. Closer to home: For non-CPA members, the Montana Society of CPAs will be providing benefits (i.e., incurring expenses) with no control over the revenues from those members

The following paragraphs explain these points in more detail.

Those members who have been around for a while probably remember when the AICPA proposed to open AICPA membership to non-CPAs. These non-CPA members were to be called “Cognitors,” and the proposal went on to state that the term would also refer to CPAs. This proposal was soundly (and wisely) rejected by the AICPA membership. After all, what would be the point of becoming a CPA/Cognitor if others could qualify for the same designation without completing the “four Es” (education, experience, ethics, and the CPA exam)? How would a CPA signal to clients and employers the extra effort and dedication that they put forth to become more qualified? Obviously, it would be difficult for anyone outside of the profession (and even for some of those within the profession) to determine how a Cognitor had earned that credential, and AICPA members were rightly concerned about this brand dilution. The current proposal makes things even more confusing by using the same acronym for the new organization as the American Institute of CPAs: the Association of International CPAs. This proposal allows for both CPAs and non-CPAs to earn the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) credential and become members of this new organization, and thus has the same potential as the failed “Cognitor” designation to dilute the CPA brand.

Related to that point, one of the stated goals of the joint venture is to “further advance advocacy, achieve economies of scale and better support accounting professionals.” While I agree that all of these are worthwhile pursuits, I have to wonder which accounting professionals the AICPA has in mind. Not all accounting professionals are CPAs (even though I believe that the designation and the work required to achieve it would benefit most accounting professionals). Is it the job of the American Institute of CPAs to advocate for all accounting professionals? Or would our profession be better served by having the various professional groups (the AICPA, the IMA, the ACFE, and others) participate in a consortium of some sort? Furthermore, “advocacy” is a tricky issue even within a given jurisdiction; it gets trickier when an organization tries to represent multiple jurisdictions, which is exactly what the AICPA intends to do. The AICPA is trying to be everything to everybody—a strategy which usually ends up satisfying nobody.

And the fact is that the overwhelming majority of CPAs have opted against obtaining the CGMA designation. Prior to this year, current CPAs were grandfathered in and could obtain the CGMA designation simply by checking a box on their membership renewal and paying an extra fee. Even with no other effort required to obtain the designation, “90% of the AICPA’s members declined multiple invitations to become CGMAs.”[1] Also, when faced with the choice of which designation or designations to pursue, students have yet to see the value of the CGMA. (See http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cgma-designation/ for one blogger’s take on the decision between the CGMA and CMA designations.)

Finally, we get to some details of the joint venture that could have an impact on our state society. If the joint venture proceeds, CGMAs who are not also CPAs will become members of their respective state societies through their membership in the joint venture. On the surface, that’s great! But for those non-CPA members, dues will be set by and collected by the joint venture, then shared with the MSCPA. This means that we (the MSCPA) will be providing non-CPA CGMAs with all of the same benefits of membership that every member of the MSCPA receives, yet we will have no control over the dues that these members pay. While we expect the number of these non-CPA CGMAs in Montana to be small, incurring expenses when you have no control over your revenues seems like a risky strategy at best, and a losing proposition at worst.

 

[1] While the AICPA has noted that there are more than 150,000 CGMAs worldwide, only 40,000 of those are in the US. For more details, see: Miller, Paul B.W., and Paul R. Bahnson. “Transparency, integrity, prophecy and the AICPA merger.” Accounting Today 1 Jan. 2016: 22. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

AICPA’s Proposed Joint Venture with CIMA–A Member’s Perspective PRO

by Clinton J. Morrison, MSCPA Director

In this blog post, Clint will discuss the PRO side, the advantages to the AICPA’s proposed joint venture with CIMA. Scroll down to read the recent blog post by President Brenda Byrnes that introduced this subject. 

Morrison, Clint 2013

Clint Morrison, MSCPA Director

Despite your busy schedule, you may have heard that the AICPA wants to join forces with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to create a new accounting association, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, while continuing to operate the membership bodies of both existing associations.  Your MSCPA board of directors reviewed this issue at its recent board meeting, and I was impressed with the vigorous discussion that took place among the board members regarding this topic.

First, it is important to point out that the AICPA dues should not be affected by this proposal, and your existing membership in the AICPA should not change.  AICPA members would automatically become members of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.  As a small business owner, I watch costs like a hawk, so this was the first hurdle that I was able to get over with this proposal.  Though I am a tad skeptical in this regard, the proposal does include the integration of management and operations, which should provide economies of scale and cut costs.

By joining forces with CIMA’s 227,000 members, our voice in advocacy efforts will be that much stronger.  To me, that is one of the most compelling arguments for this integration.  In an era of increasing rules and regulations for our clients and our own businesses, advocacy is important.  For me, oftentimes when I learn of a new rule or regulation, I can see the merits of its objective.  However, nearly as often, the implementation of policies and procedures in an attempt to comply with the new rule or regulation are costly at best, and often impractical particularly for small businesses.  In today’s environment, strength clearly comes in numbers, and sometimes, those numbers may be called upon to help create rules with common sense derived from professionals who understand and are affected by the consequences of such rules.

This proposal is also an extension of the joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA that launched the CGMA designation in 2012.  As such, AICPA members, typically in industry, were able to receive the designation based on meeting certain criteria.  But more importantly, these members, often accounting managers, controllers, and CFOs from small businesses, were afforded access to resources that were not readily available to them before this joint venture was launched.

Another aspect to consider is this proposal’s potential to broaden the appeal of the accounting profession to the next generation.  As an adjunct instructor at Carroll College, I regularly interact with students.   When I ask my Introduction to Business class, “What do CPAs do?” most students answer, “Prepare taxes”.  I enthusiastically respond, “Yes, many CPAs prepare taxes, along with other professionals who do not obtain the CPA designation.  But only CPAs can perform financial statement audits!” I don’t get a lot of enthusiasm in return.  It is not until I speak of the broad array of consulting services and other aspects of the accounting profession that I seem to peak their interest.  Thus, I believe that this new association will help broaden the appeal of our profession to students today, which may help encourage them to seek employment in accounting-related jobs, and once there, they will be able to realize their career goals and dreams.

Presidentially Speaking

 

Brenda Byrnes, President

Brenda Byrnes MSCPA President 2015 – 2016

It’s a GREAT day to be a CPA!  Now that is a catchy phrase but what does it mean to you?  To me it is the perfect phrase to capture my feelings about our profession.  As CPAs the opportunities available to us are really quite endless.  Our education, training and background enable us to provide our clients and employers with a unique problem solving perspective and strategic way of thinking.  It’s expected when they see CPA.

At the AICPA fall council meeting in October, I began to give serious thought to the meaning behind that designation as we tackled the topic of the future of our profession.  During the meeting the representatives of the AICPA membership voted to expand the potential holders of the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) credential to others outside of CPA designation holders.  These “others” are first required to pass the CGMA exam and then adhere to the experience, ethical and education requirements to maintain that credential outlined by the AICPA.  As nonCPA CGMAs, they would be non-voting associate members of the AICPA.  The current CPA, CGMAs would maintain their status with no changes.  Please note that the CGMA is only offered by the AICPA.  Other similar credentials exist with other organizations.

So how did this vote, affect you?  Honestly here in Montana I did not see a big impact.  From my discussions with many of you about it, I do not hear much concern.  Our members in BING often struggle with garnering support from employers for their CPA so the CGMA will likely be just as troublesome as a standalone certification.  We currently have 127 members of MSCPA who have chosen to adopt the CGMA.  Now others who are not CPAs will have the same opportunity.

This vote was not an end result of planning though.  It was a strategic step in a much bigger plan.  Why belabor a topic that seems pretty innocuous to Montana?  Well the next step is that the AICPA would like your vote for their proposal to create a new global accounting membership association called the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants in conjunction with CIMA.  CIMA is the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, a global management accounting membership organization. (follow this link for more information http://www.cimaglobal.com/)  This new association, cleverly acronymed AICPA, would represent public and management accounting professionals worldwide.  Your membership in the American Institute of CPAs would automatically afford you membership in the new association AICPA with no additional dues.

Sort of makes one’s head spin, especially this time of year?

Again, this step causes me to pause and to ponder what does my CPA mean to me and others.  Your MSCPA board of directors discussed this issue at length.  We did pass a resolution in January supporting the AICPA in its efforts to put this new association venture to a vote of the members of the American Institute of CPAs.  We viewed this as an opportunity for the membership to voice their thoughts on the future of our profession.  Will we be known as CPAs or as either CPAs or CGMAs?

Coming up in the next blogs, board members Clint Morrison and Dr. Josh Herbold tackle the pros and cons of forming the new AICPA.  I certainly have conflicted thoughts about it and I am sure you will too.  Hopefully the two perspectives will assist you in your voting.  We welcome your comments either way.  In fact we would like to feature those in a follow up to the pro/con debate. You have the option to comment below or email your comments to jane@mscpa.org.

No matter what though, I still feel IT IS A GREAT DAY TO BE A CPA!

UPDATE March 25, 2016: The AICPA’s governing Council has authorized an electronic member ballot on a proposal by the AICPA and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to create a new association representing the entire accounting profession, while preserving the AICPA and CIMA membership bodies. The organizations will integrate operations to strengthen advocacy and have more agility in responding to evolving member needs.

The proposal will keep the profession strong amid technological, demographic and international trends that are rapidly reshaping the business environment. The AICPA will continue to promote, protect and grow the CPA profession, with AICPA members continuing to receive all current benefits. From this broader platform of more than 600,000 current and next-generation professionals, the AICPA will have a stronger voice against burdensome regulations that are not in the public interest. It will also enhance and expand resources across public and management accounting.

Since the AICPA first brought the proposal forward to members on Nov. 2, it has received support from 51 state CPA societies. The AICPA Board of Directors and governing Council have both recommended approval. In addition, resolutions of support have been passed by the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section Executive Committee, the Business & Industry Executive Committee, the Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee, and the Government Performance and Accountability Committee.

Watch for your personal and confidential electronic ballot credentials the week of April 18 from the third-party vote administrator under the name “AICPA Independent Tabulator.” To make sure you receive this email with your unique credentials, simply add the following email address as an approved sender: noreply@directvote.net. CIMA members will be asked to endorse the proposal on a similar timeline. For more information, visit www.aicpa.org/horizons

A Note of Gratitude-and a Few Year-End Requests

Yates 2007

Ron Yates Eide Bailly

by Ron Yates, former AICPA Council Representative

Greetings MSCPA Members.  I hope that each of you find time to enjoy the wonder and blessings of Christmas without succumbing to the madness of the holiday season or the angst associated with year-end planning and the fast-approaching “busy season” 2016.  In no time at all Christmas and New Year’s Day will be past, tax and audit deadlines will be complicating our recreation and weekend plans, and once-again we’ll be anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring.

First of all, I want to sincerely thank each of you for the opportunity to serve as your elected AICPA Council Representative over the past three years.  Serving as your representative at the national AICPA level has been a great honor, a tremendous learning experience, and truly one of the highlights of my professional career – challenging, exciting, professionally rewarding, and great fun!  I have actively attempted to represent the diverse interests of Montana CPAs at the national level and move our profession forward against the ever-present challenges of staffing, student recruitment, examination & certification, professional education, legal liability, client expectations, specialization, and expanding professional, geographic, and technological boundaries.  Thank you all for this opportunity, as well as your friendship, advice, and support.

ThompsonGordy08 CMYK

Gordy Thompson, Anderson ZurMuehlen

Please enthusiastically congratulate Gordy Thompson of Havre on his election as your AICPA Council Representative for the 2015-2018 term. Gordy is a strong leader that will represent Montana CPAs extraordinarily-well at the national level.  Gordy is a friend to all and a stranger to no one!  He has already established tremendous professional contacts within the AICPA that will serve to benefit all MSCPA members going forward.

Please offer your outstanding support to President Brenda Byrnes, President-Elect Annette Hill, and all MSCPA board members and office personnel.  The MSCPA’s mission is to inspire, empower and impact members to achieve professional excellence and this is exactly what our MSCPA board and staff do each day!

Egan Jane color

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

Please keep Jane Egan, MSPCA’s fearless leader and our great friend, in your thoughts and prayers as she continues to successfully battle cancer.  As politicians, regulators, and certain other disagreeable individuals know, Jane is not to be messed with!  Cancer doesn’t have a chance to prevail in this fight!

Please continue to be actively involved in our profession at the local chapter, MSCPA, and AICPA levels.  I am fortunate to have gotten involved at each of these levels during my public accounting career and plan to continue doing so.  I have truly personally received much more back than the effort and time I have invested.  We have a wonderful, dynamic, evolving profession that actively seeks your input, involvement, and leadership.  Please take advantage of these fantastic personal and professional growth opportunities by personally getting involved.  E-mail me at ryates@eidebailly.com or call me at 406-896-2423 if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance regarding your professional involvement.

Finally, please consider financially supporting the MSCPA Legacy Foundation, our very own 501(c)(3) charitable organization, with your year-end gifting.  The Legacy Tree project currently happening in the MSCPA office is a touching visual tribute to the many people—past, present and future—who support the greatness of the accounting profession in Montana.  Let’s each do our part to support the foundation for the betterment of the Montana accounting profession for generations to come!

Full tree with Leaves

The Legacy Tree

 

Presidentially Speaking

It seems like yesterday that we were still all smiles after a terrific annual conference in

Brenda Byrnes, President

Brenda Byrnes
MSCPA President
2015 – 2016

Kalispell and Ann Deegan wrote her last Presidentially Speaking as she left office.  However time marches on and we find ourselves deep into my term as your new president.  I’m honored to serve as President and equally thrilled to pick up where Ann and so many terrific leaders have left off.

In 2013, Past President Paul Nisbet challenged us to consider our role for the next 100 years as an association for Montana CPAs.  The board began focusing on a continuity plan that invited our newer members of the profession to actively engage with the MSCPA and that allowed us to review what we do to provide benefits.  Then Past President Ann Deegan continued that endeavor as we developed the MSCPA strategic plan and implemented the first phase of strengthening the internal operations.

Now “no pressure” as we developed the course of action for the strategic plan to go forth this year… right?  Thankfully with the aid of our excellent staff, we saw where the path leads us.  This year is about involvement!  Involving you, our members, in making this strategic plan yours.

Before you mentally run away from the word involvement, hear me out.

Involvement in MSCPA has traditionally been through volunteering within our committee structure.  We read about other strategies and took a step back from this thinking.  You see, we completely understand how busy your schedule has been, is, and will be.   We respect that you have so many things vying for your attention and we know that the barriers that impact your involvement cannot typically be removed.  So we are proposing that we move away from meetings and conference calls that happen just because “it’s the second Tuesday of the month and we ALWAYS have a committee meeting on that day.” Instead let’s become more task oriented to accomplish the goals set forth in the strategic plan.  We are working to offer you additional, flexible alternatives to volunteering on a committee for a year or more.  We are asking you to contribute your time to a task or project with a known timeline, defined skills and targeted interests.

See here for a REAL example!  It is time to plan the 2016 CPE year.  The class selection and planning is a two-day commitment in Helena on Oct 1 and 2.  We are looking for additional volunteers to represent groups such as CPAs under age 35 who are willing to speak up about the types of training young professionals need, we are looking for input from auditors and government CPAs. Your involvement is for two days only.  No other commitment is required.  However, the impact of your involvement will be felt throughout the CPE year.

Over the course of this year we will be working with each of your current committees to inventory their ongoing projects and to see how many of their objectives could be accomplished in a new format.  This is by no means the death of committees.  In fact, I see this as a rebirth for some committees that will be free to chart their course for your benefit aided by the strategic plan.

While our Strategic Plan encompasses many projects and goals, the basic structure of it contains five main points under which our committees align:

  • Membership
    • Membership
    • Industry Group
    • Financial Reporting and Technical Standards (FRATS)
  • Sustainability
    • Future of Learning
    • Legacy Foundation
    • Audit Committee
    • Future of MSCPA
  • Connection
    • Local Chapters
    • Raising the BAR
  • Professional Excellence
    • Professional Development
    • Governmental Audit, Accounting and Financial Reporting
    • Annual Conference
    • Peer Review
    • Ethics
  • Advocacy
    • Federal Taxation
    • State Taxation
    • Legislative and Governmental Affairs

Each of our current committees fits under at least one of these strategic categories (as shown above).  Depending on the project, they may cross over into another area.

The Board, staff and I will be working with you over the course of the next year as we discuss this concept, listen to your ideas and concerns, and take inventory of what we all do.  Then our next step is to fine tune how we implement this new concept.  We’ll also be beefing up our website to accommodate a roster of volunteer opportunities and what time commitment is involved with each.   What the outcome of this phase looks like is yet to be determined but I am looking forward to working with you to create a new system that respects your capacity to volunteer, provides valuable volunteer opportunities and effectively enhances the value of your membership in MSCPA.

It’s an exciting time to be a CPA especially a MONTANA CPA. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President this year.

The Pinnacle of a Career

The following blog post is the speech given by Rick Reisig at the 2014 Annual Meeting when he accepted the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. As one of the best speeches we’ve ever heard we are printing it at the request of many of the members who heard it and were moved by Rick’s profound words.

2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient Rick Reisig

2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient Rick Reisig

Thank you so much for recognizing me with this award. I’m so grateful, appreciative, honored, proud, a whole host of emotions…but probably mostly humbled, and maybe even a little embarrassed…to be presented this award.

I’m embarrassed because there are so many of you that are worthy to receive this, and here I’m the lucky one…I can’t even believe it. And, I still have a good 10-15 years to go, God willing. There are more things I hope to do in and for our profession. I don’t plan on stopping now.

Margaret asked me what this award means to me and I responded like I always have when congratulating previous recipients…it’s the pinnacle of a career. It’s the highest honor I think a Montana CPA can ever hope to receive because of what the Montana Society stands for, and what it has meant to our profession, and because of all the previous CPAs that have been so honored.

My favorite memories of this award, at least up until now, have been presiding over the meeting in which Joe Shevlin received the award, providing testimonial comments for both Tony DiLello’s and Bob Bronson’s awards, and of course being able to notify Tom Shea that he was the winner of the award.

I found out about the award in this way….Carlen (Keaster) sent out an email announcing a brief, but important, partner meeting from 1:00 to 1:15. We all gathered in our conference room but Brenda Byrnes. That’s not too big of a deal, as she’s normally late. Well, Brenda comes in, and Carlen says “okay Brenda, it’s your meeting”. I thought, “oh my gosh, she’s pregnant again!” Well, she proceeded to tell me and everyone else about the award, although most already knew. I was pretty shocked, to say the least. Then, the entire staff came into the conference room to congratulate me. That was a special moment that I’ll always remember. Thank you for making that moment so memorable for me.

The Anderson ZurMuehlen family.

The Anderson ZurMuehlen family.

I do want to say a few remarks, if for no other reason than when does someone get a chance to have the people he cares most about, both personally and professionally, gather in one place to celebrate that person, and not have it be his funeral? In this occasion, I get to thank you people who mean so much to me.

I first would like to thank Dan Vuckovich and Bob Bronson, two of my partners and dear friends, who nominated me for this award – independently of one another, I might add. It means so much to me to have your respect in this way. Believe me, it’s what I work for every day, to earn and keep your respect. Dan Vuckovich is so supportive – at our recent NASBA Regional Meeting, Dan continued to tell people about the award. Between Bob Bronson and Tony DiLello…all that I have is due in large part to you, your guidance, your support, your friendship…thank you!

Thank you to the Board of Directors of the Montana Society. I know you always have many worthy CPAs to choose from for this award. Thank you so much for picking me. My partners know this about me…recognition from my peers has always meant the most to me, because you understand what goes into this profession…the challenges, the complexities.

Thank you to Jane Egan for all the support she’s given me in whatever I’ve asked her to help me with, as she routinely does for all of the MSCPA members.

A big thank you to my firm, Anderson ZurMuehlen, for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the various aspects of the profession that I have. It’s not lost on me that the award is named the George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. Obviously, a legacy of service for the firm to follow.

But, more importantly, thank you to those in the Great Falls office, those folks from Hamilton Misfeldt, who instilled in me the importance of being active in the profession and the community, and then supported me as I followed in their footsteps.

The Reisig Family

The Reisig Family

And, now, the biggest thank you to my personal family – my wife, Carrie, my son, Dawson, and my daughter, Skyler. Tom Shea so eloquently said a couple of year ago that when accepting this award, he shared it with his wife Patti. He was so right! I certainly share this with my wife, Carrie. I always have said you have your work life, your community life, and your personal life. Most of us know you’re not going to shortchange your work life. A lot of the time in our profession, your community life and work life kind of blend together, so unfortunately your personal life may sometimes take the hit. I tried for that not to happen too much, but of course I know that it sometimes did. Carrie is always there supporting me in all my endeavors, be they part of my work life, community life, or personal life. My kids have too, but I think they’ve regarded the times I’m away as a vacation rather than a sacrifice.

I’m so appreciative of my brothers Doug and Jerry and my sister-in-law Terri for being here to share

Rick pictured with his brothers Jerry and Doug

Rick pictured with his brothers Jerry and Doug

in this experience with me – my brother Jerry and I would say that every time our brother Doug steps into a room, he’s close to being the smartest guy in the room. And my brother Doug and I would say that every time our brother Jerry steps into a room, he’s close to being the best athlete and most competitive person in the room. They’ve been great role models for me to follow.

I would like to spend a few minutes talking about our profession, and yet what can I say? What can I say to those of you who have given so much to the profession, who have cleared the path for the rest of us to follow? I’m still working my tail off to be like you when “I grow up” knowing that I won’t likely reach you. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to work with you, or at least get to know you. What can I say to those of you who are currently so involved in the issues of the profession…Mike Johns, Ron Yates, Dan Vuckovich, Jim Galipeau, Ryan Screnar? You all certainly belong up here in your own right. And, what can I say to those of you at the beginning of your career, those that don’t have the foggiest idea who I am or what the DSA is all about?

Well, I hope when I’m done, the “old” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I do.” The “not so old” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I do.” And, the “young” CPAs will say, “wow, he loves the profession like I hope I will.”

In a sincere nod to my brothers and sister-in-law who have devoted their careers teaching our young people, as well as our colleagues among us that work so hard educating our accounting students at MSU, UM, Carroll College, UGF, Montana Tech, MSU-Billings, MSU-Northern, theirs is on the list of noble professions as society benefits so much from the work they do.

Our profession is truly a noble profession. Name another profession where such a variety of 3rd parties…taxpayers, donors, beneficiaries, investors, bankers, legislators, SEC, the IRS….the public…rely so much on the services we provide to our clients, or our employers. In our profession, the financial statements and income tax returns we prepare, the audits we perform, the retirement and estate planning consultations we provide, all are heavily relied on by outside parties. They trust us, they depend on us, they need our expertise. Our integrity, honesty, objectivity, ability to critically analyze and assess, the broad business knowledge we possess…the cornerstones of our profession…are unmatched. No other profession can do what we do. It’s vitally important for us to protect that!

If we aren’t aware our profession is under attack, we haven’t been paying attention. The PCAOB, which many outside of our profession have proclaimed such a success, was created due to perceived weaknesses in our profession. Our profession’s peer review program has evolved from being a purely educational program to including an ever-growing regulatory aspect to answer calls by outside parties to have us oversighted by non-CPAs. In fact, there are state boards of accountancy that have the requirement that a majority of their membership be non-CPAs, or that their peer review oversight bodies be made up of non-CPAs – those states have lost faith in our ability to govern and monitor ourselves. The SEC, PCAOB, Congress, the IRS…all represent very visible, high profile entities that have gained a foothold in how we provide service.

We can’t sit back and just let things happen as that void will be filled by someone, and that someone will likely not be a CPA and likely won’t have our best interests at heart.
Get involved, stay current on the issues, voice your opinion, participate.

All of us have a vested interest in the continued strength of the profession. The Society, the State Board, the AICPA, NASBA, all are working for the same thing – to maintain that place on the pedestal that the CPA profession enjoys. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves as well as those that will follow us to encourage our colleagues to do the right thing, continue to provide service with integrity, honesty, objectivity and be vigilant in removing those that choose not to. We have to continue to be active in the evolution of our profession. We can’t sit back and just let things happen as that void will be filled by someone, and that someone will likely not be a CPA and likely won’t have our best interests at heart. Get involved, stay current on the issues, voice your opinion, participate. This is OUR profession. We can’t let anyone take it away. Looking out over the group of young CPAs we have here today, I think we’re in good hands…keep it up!

Thank you so much, again, for this award. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I’m so proud to be part of this group. Thank you!

The Montana Society of CPAs is now accepting nominations for the 2015 George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award. Find complete information about the award process.