Goodbye from Jane Egan

Egan Jane color

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

Quoting Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

I am excited to be retired and have the time to explore new opportunities but also am sad to be leaving this organization that has been so good to me.

My career with the Society started when Jane Campbell recruited me to be the Society’s first communications person. I remember my first day. . .I didn’t know much about associations or CPAs. As I met you and worked with you, I quickly learned what remarkable people you are. You are smart, generous, giving and dedicated. You taught me how to be a better person and I thank you for letting me work with you all these years. I appreciate the special partnership we have with you, our members and I am forever grateful to you for all you do and have done for me, the Society and the profession. I’ll always remember the fun we have had and the things we achieved together. Please continue to share your time and expertise to advance the profession – you do make a difference!

The Legacy Foundation is near and dear to my heart and I am honored and awestruck by your contributions in my name.

I want to pay tribute to my team for their support and hard work and always putting you, our members, first in everything they do. They have a total of 51 years of service on your behalf:

  • Margaret Herriges – 17 years
  • Carol Lopuch – 13 years
  • Jean Reiden – 10 years this go around with a total of 18 years
  • And Heidi Weis – our newbee at almost three years

IMG_0262Please make an opportunity to get to know your new executive director, Allen Lloyd. The future for the Society looks bright with Allen at the helm.

Thank you!

Allen’s Story

LloydAllen2017.jpg

Allen Lloyd, Incoming MSCPA Executive Director

Hello MSCPA Members!

My name is Allen, and I am excited to become the next Executive Director of this outstanding organization.  My first order of business will be getting to know you and learning what keeps you up at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning.  To break the ice, I wanted to tell you a little about who I am… You can read about my career in the announcement, but that is only a small part of who I am.

Currently, I live in Columbus, Ohio, and people here ask, “Why move to Montana?”  Professionally, this is a dream opportunity, and I look forward to growing and building on the work of Jane, the staff, and our members.  Personally, my family and I love being surrounded by nature, so we are very excited to explore the beauty of the state and take in the landscape you call home.

One of my favorite hobbies is mountain biking.  I didn’t learn to ride until I was six or seven, but once I learned, it was hard to get me off of a bike.  My wife and I met on a mountain biking trip, and I already have a list of friends who want to come riding in Montana.

No handsDuring the interview process, I was asked about relocating to a smaller city.  I turned 40 a couple of years ago, and while my last 20 years were spent in Columbus, most of my first 20 years were spent in a speck on the map called Clarington, Ohio.  Growing up, my world view was two hills and the Ohio River. We drove 10 miles each way to get groceries once a week.  There will definitely be adjustments, but Helena has everything a person needs (nice people, craft beer, good coffee, and a Target).

Bad selfieMy wife, Jill, is an accountant currently working in industry.  When we met, her plan was to be in Columbus for a few months then move west. I only delayed her plans by 16 years.  We have two boys: Byron, who turns 9 later this year and Winston, who turned 7 in December.  As you can imagine, there is rarely a dull moment around our house.  Our family photos do a pretty good job of capturing a typical night at our house.

I would like to thank Jane, the staff, and the volunteers and members for all their work making MSCPA the great organization it is today.  In particular, I want to thank the Search Strike Force for making me feel welcome during the interview process, and for their belief in my ability to lead this organization.

HomeLogowDatesPlease join me at the Annual Conference in Billings, June 22-23. There, we will celebrate Jane’s accomplishments and reignite your passion for the accounting profession with some great speakers and opportunities to connect with friends old and new.  We’ll roll out the welcome mat so you can relax and learn at your professional home!

Are you ready to make an impact?

by Jane Egan

Egan Jane color

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

The 2017 Legislative Session begins January 2nd and promises to be just as busy and exciting as past ones.

Our current Governor, Steve Bullock (Democrat), was re-elected and Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and House.

The Governor has released his budget proposal which includes (among many other things):

  • a new tax bracket of 7.9 for people who make over $500,000 a year
  • increase in tax credits for new and expanding businesses
  • 6% tax on medical marijuana
  • Elimination of state capital gains credit for gains topping one million annually
  • A state earned-income tax credit for the working poor

Two of our committees—Legislation & Governmental Affairs and State Taxation—have been working on our legislative agenda for a number of months and are close to finalizing the details. We do know we will be initiating legislation to:

  • establish a corresponding deduction/subtraction on the Montana return for a credit on the Federal return that has an add back to income and
  • allow for CPA firm mobility

We have a Board-approved Legislative Policy and we are delighted to have Helena attorney, Holly Franz, on board as our lobbyist again this session.

Your MSCPA committees and staff work the legislative session for you—we want and need your participation and input. Contact me (800.272.0307) with your ideas and watch for notices by email and in eConnect on the many ways you can make sure the CPA voice is heard in this session.

Breaking News!

Part 1–Jane’s Big Announcement

Greetings Members,

Egan Jane color

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from the Society on June 30, 2017.

On the one hand, I am excited to be retired and have the opportunity to explore new opportunities. On the other hand, I am not excited to be leaving this organization that has been so great to me. Few people start out with a goal to be an association manager. Many of my peers happened into this wonderful career the same way I did: the opportunity presented itself and I said I’ll give it a go. Best decision I ever made career-wise.

I have a lot to accomplish before I leave including assisting our State Taxation and Legislative and Governmental Affairs committee reach our goals in the upcoming legislative session and making sure the Society is in the best possible position for the future.

I have faith our leadership serving on the Search Strike Force will hire a new director who will help guide the Society into an exciting future. And remember, you still have Margaret, Jean, Carol and Heidi who always have your best interests in mind and do the most amazing work on your behalf!

I have learned you are the most remarkable people. You are smart, generous, giving and dedicated. You taught me how to be a better person and I thank you for letting me work with you all these years.

Jane

savethedate

Part 2–So now what . . .

With Jane’s retirement announcement last year, the Board of Directors created a Succession Strike Force. The purpose of the Strike Force was to create a plan and timeline  for naming Jane’s successor. The Succession Strike Force then morphed into the current Search Strike Force. The members are as follows:

• President Annette Hill
• President-Elect Dr. Josh Herbold
• Secretary Treasurer John Steinhoff
• Board Member Merna Lechman
• Past President Brenda Byrnes
• Past President Ann Deegan

Over the years nothing has struck more fear in the hearts of members of the Board of Directors than Jane’s retirement date! True to her word, Jane has given us ample notice and continued support in these early stages of the process. Her love for this organization and its members runs deep. We are sad to see that this time has finally come but we understand that it is an awesome time for her to retire, spending more time with family and her interests.

Many other CPA societies are undertaking this process right now or have just concluded a interestblueblurb
search. From these peers we have learned that the Executive Director position is a sought after one. We are optimistic that our first class organization, active membership and beautiful state will attract a solid pool of candidates.

From the timeline, you can see that our search process is straightforward. Our job posting will appear on various outlets including the MSCPA website on December 1, 2016. We will close the posting on January 15, 2017. From that point we shift gears into the full interview and hiring mode. We look forward to introducing our new Executive Director at the 2017 Annual Conference in Billings!

If you have any questions about the search process, please contact the strike force at searchstrikeforce@mscpa.org or reach out to one of us individually. We are all aware of the importance of this task and take it very seriously. After all this is our FUTURE! The MSCPA has only had two long-time directors in its 104 year history.

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 .

 

 

 

 

 

An Update on Jane

Margaret Herriges, Communications Director

We are so lucky to have Jane. As her staff, as the members, as her friends . . . so many of us feel this way. That’s why we wanted to take a moment and give you an update to Jane’s blog post from October when she announced she had cancer.

She finished chemo and the next step was surgery. She underwent a very successful surgery recently and she will be out of the office recuperating for the next few weeks.

We are handling business as normal here at the office—missing Jane—but taking care of things and making sure your member value stays intact. And if you need to discuss is something you’d normally talk to Jane about, please don’t hesitate to contact Jean or me. We’re here for you.

If you’d like to share get well wishes with Jane, email or mail them to the office (1534 Ninth Ave, Helena 59601). We are happy to get them to her. For the next few weeks she will be healing and regaining her strength. Before we know it she’ll be back at it, answering emails and then we’ll look forward to having her in the office once again.

Thanks so much for your concern for our fearless leader. We count our blessings we have Jane as our Executive Director and we wish her all the best as she heals.

An Update from Jane

Dear Members,

Summer in Montana – you just can’t beat it. Well, maybe you can beat it with our fabulous fall. I love them both.

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

Jane Egan
MSCPA Executive Director

I want to give you an update on what’s been going on this summer. As many of you know I was diagnosed with cancer in early June and missed our Annual Conference in Kalispell to have surgery. I started chemo on June 2nd and am currently on my fourth and last round scheduled to be done on October 13th. My summer and fall been consumed with fighting cancer. Another surgery will follow after chemo and then I look forward to getting back to normal – or even better!

Jean and Margaret have been keeping everything going at the office. Their help and support have made it possible for me to concentrate on treatment. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done these past four months. Carol and Heidi have also lent a helping hand as they can.

I am working as I can (at the office and from home) and am keeping up with email so don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jane

via MSCPA – Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Legislative Session Preview

by Jane Egan, MSCPA Executive Director

Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

Jane Egan
MSCPA Executive Director

Did you know that the Montana Society of CPAs is the ONLY organization advocating on behalf of CPAs in Montana? We are constantly monitoring the issues that will affect you, your clients, your organizations and businesses. And the 2015 Legislative Session is going to bring us many opportunities to be that advocate for you.

MSCPA’s 2015 Legislative Policy reads:

MSCPA will:

  1.  Analyze and support, oppose or improve legislation directly impacting our profession,
  2.  Provide resources and commentary in the areas of tax policy and administration, economic development and business issues,
  3.  Provide technical information and/or analysis to legislators, agencies such as the Department of Revenue and other groups on proposed legislation, 
  4. Review proposed bills that fall under this legislative policy and agree to support, oppose or remain neutral. 
  5. May initiate and promote legislation affecting our profession and tax policy.

We will continue to develop our role to meet these objectives.

With this in mind, here is a preview of the issues we will be monitoring when the Session starts January 5th:

Tax Simplification
As you are well aware, Montana’s tax system is one of the most complicated in the nation. Many legislators are very interested in working to simply our tax system. CPAs, as the tax experts, are an integral part of this process. MSCPA’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs and State Taxation Committee members have been working with Sen. Tutvedt throughout the interim on a tax simplification bill he is proposing.  We will also be working with other legislators as they bring forward tax simplification bills.

Penalty and Interest Reform
The Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee has agreed to introduce a committee bill to reform Montana’s penalty and interest statutes to be fairer to taxpayers who comply with the law and to give DOR the ability to penalize the bad actors. The proposal will mirror Federal for the most part and would amend existing provisions and add new penalties for substantial underpayment of tax and for filing a fraudulent or frivolous return.

Exempt CPAs from Private Investigator License
CPAs who perform forensic accounting work in Montana are currently required to have a private investigator license. Current law allows many exemptions including attorneys, legal intern, paralegals, law students, collection agencies and more. This bill, instigated by MSCPA, would include CPAs in the long list of exemptions from the licensing requirement.

Two-Tier to One-Tier Licensing for CPAs
Currently, Montana is one of approximately six states that have a two-tier licensing system for CPAs. The first tier you obtain the necessary education, pass the exam, take the ethics test and receive your certificate. (You cannot practice as a CPA with your certificate only). The second tier you complete the necessary experience requirement and apply for and obtain a license or permit to practice.

The two-tier system if very confusing for the public and for some CPAs. The Montana Board of Public Accountants will be introducing legislation to change to a one-tier system. CPAs will meet all the requirements (education, exam and experience) and apply for and obtain a license or permit to practice.

Enterprise Funding for the Board of Public Accountants
Our Montana Board of Public Accountants, housed in the Department of Labor, is currently funded by appropriation via the Legislature. MSCPA will instigate legislation to change the funding for the Board to enterprise funding. Enterprise funding would give the Board more oversight and greater participation in the funding of the Board activities using the funds they collect from licensing and renewal fees.

Pass Through Entity Reporting
MSCPA members have been meeting with the Department of Revenue for several years to work on pass through entity reporting for non-residents. DOR will propose legislation that will eliminate the consent agreement option which would eliminate the PT-AGR and PT-STM forms. This would leave the pass through with two options: withholding or filing a composite return.

Audit Threshold
Currently the Montana law regarding the audit threshold is tied to Federal. The Federal threshold will increase from $500,000 to $750,000 for fiscal years beginning on or after 1/1/2015. The Department of Administration and the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) are interested in decoupling the Montana law from the federal requirement and inserting $500,000 as the fixed amount in the Montana code. MSCPA’s Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee support the change.

Tax Credits
Rep. Roy Hollandsworth mentioned during the September Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee that he would be bringing a tax credit bill during the 2015 session. No specifics yet but it might be a bill that puts a sunset on all credits.

In addition to these specific bills, there are 155 introudced bills and 1,966 bill draft requests listed on the LAWS website. Of those, we have 132 on our watch list so far.

Holly Franz, MSCPA Lobbyist

Holly Franz, MSCPA Lobbyist

We have contracted with lobbyist Holly Franz again for the 2015 Session to help your voice be heard. Holly has lobbied on MSCPA’s behalf for many years now and she is an invaluable resource in our advocacy efforts at the Legislature.

MSCPA is the accounting profession’s voice in the legislature.  We will track the bills we know will affect you, your clients and your companies.  We will be monitoring legislation, going to hearings and standing up for the accounting profession and Montana businesses.  But nothing is more important than your voice to your local legislators.  If legislators don’t hear from business professionals on tax and business issues where will they get their information?  Your voice, your expertise and your involvement are crucial.

We’ll be publishing updates throughout the session. Technology makes participation easier than ever. You can watch or listen to floor session and committee hearings live over the internet, or watch and listen to archived broadcasts of previous floor sessions and committees.

Advocacy Mondays
We also urge you to participate in Advocacy Monday conference calls, every Monday beginning January 5th at 7:00 a.m. throughout the session. All MSCPA members are welcome on these one-hour conference calls that outline the issues happening each week at the legislature. To join simply dial 888.289.4573 and use access code 8863665.

If you have questions or comments I want to hear from you. Please call 800.272.0307 or email Jane@mscpa.org.

8 Issues That Could Change the Way We Do Business in Montana

Jane Egan, MSCPA Executive Director

Jane Egan, MSCPA Executive Director

by Jane Egan, MSCPA Executive Director

The 2015 Legislative Session is shaping up to be one that will have a major impact on CPAs, your clients and your businesses. We need to start talking about it now, you and I, so we have the greatest chance at success.

The MSCPA State Taxation and Legislative Committees have compiled a list of bills we are already working on/monitoring and I’ll explain why they are important. MSCPA is proud to be your voice in the legislature but we need your help in three ways:

  1. Read and respond to the legislative updates we send.
    We need your input on proposed legislation and how it will affect you, your company or your clients’ businesses.
  2. Volunteer to run real life scenarios.
    If you think a bill will affect your business or that of a client’s, run the numbers and show us. It’s this type of information that has great impact on our elected officials.
  3. Support the MSCPA PAC
    Our PAC opens the door to legislators. By supporting the MSCPA PAC you can help ensure that your voice is heard and your interests represented at the Legislature. Please make your check payable to MSCPA PAC and mail to 1534 Ninth Ave, Helena, 59601 or charge to your credit card by calling Jean at 800.272.0307.

So let’s start with the first item above: please take a moment to review the bill list compiled below then let me know your thoughts.

Tax Simplification
As you are well aware, Montana’s tax system is one of the most complicated in the nation. Many legislators are very interested in working to simply our tax system. CPAs, as the tax experts, are an integral part of this process. Legislators rely on you to give them advice and we must be active participants to make sure Montana citizens—your clients and businesses—are represented in the final product.

Senator Bruce Tutvedt (Kalispell) will be re-introducing his bill from the 2013 session, SB 282. SB 282 passed the Senate and House but was vetoed by the Governor.

MSCPA’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs and State Taxation Committee members have been working with Sen. Tutvedt throughout the interim on his proposed bill. Committee members have been – and will continue to – visit chapters to talk about the provisions of the bill and get member feedback that we can share with the Senator.

Two Representatives, Kris Hansen (Havre) and Roy Hollandsworth (Brady) also introduced simplification bills in the 2013 session. We will work with them if they bring bills in the 2015 session.

Penalty and Interest Reform
The Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee has agreed to introduce a committee bill to reform Montana’s penalty and interest statutes to be fairer to taxpayers who comply with the law and to give DOR the ability to penalize the bad actors. The proposal will mirror Federal for the most part and would amend existing provisions and add new penalties for substantial underpayment of tax and for filing a fraudulent or frivolous return.

Exempt CPAs from Private Investigator License
CPAs who perform forensic accounting work in Montana are currently required to have a private investigator license.
Current law allows many exemptions including attorneys, legal intern, paralegals, law students, collection agencies and more. This bill, instigated by MSCPA, would include CPAs in the long list of exemptions from the licensing requirement.

Two-Tier to One-Tier Licensing for CPAs
Currently, Montana is one of approximately six states that have a two-tier licensing system for CPAs. The first tier you obtain the necessary education, pass the exam, take the ethics test and receive your certificate. (You cannot practice as a CPA with your certificate only). The second tier you complete the necessary experience requirement and apply for and obtain a license or permit to practice.

The two-tier system if very confusing for the public and for some CPAs. The Montana Board of Public Accountants will be introducing legislation to change to a one-tier system. CPAs will meet all the requirements (education, exam and experience) and apply for and obtain a license or permit to practice.

Enterprise Funding for the Board of Public Accountants
Our Montana Board of Public Accountants, housed in the Department of Labor, is currently funded by appropriation via the Legislature. MSCPA may instigate legislation to change the funding for the Board to enterprise funding. Enterprise funding would give the Board more oversight and greater participation in the funding of the Board activities using the funds they collect from licensing and renewal fees.

In 2008 a US Department of Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession reported that “greater independence of state boards of accountancy would enhance their regulatory effectiveness. The Committee recommends that …states evaluate and develop means to make their respective state boards of accountancy more operationally and financially independent of outside influences.” We believe enterprise funding will advance the goal of making boards more financially independent.

Pass Through Entity Reporting
MSCPA members have been meeting with the Department of Revenue for several years to work on pass through entity reporting for non-residents. DOR will propose legislation that will eliminate the consent agreement option which would eliminate the PT-AGR and PT-STM forms. This would leave the pass through with two options: withholding or filing a composite return.

Audit Threshold
Currently the Montana law regarding the audit threshold is tied to Federal. The Federal threshold will increase from $500,000 to $750,000 for fiscal years beginning on or after 1/1/2015. The Department of Administration and the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) are interested in decoupling the Montana law from the federal requirement and inserting $500,000 as the fixed amount in the Montana code. MSCPA’s Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee support the change.

Tax Credits
Rep. Roy Hollandsworth mentioned during the September Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee that he would be bringing a tax credit bill during the 2015 session. No specifics yet but it might be a bill that puts a sunset on all credits.

In addition to these specific bills, there are 377 bill draft requests listed on the LAWS website. Of those, 10 are probably of interest to us by reading the titles. Once the election has occurred and legislators know they will be serving, the draft requests will increase dramatically.

MSCPA is the accounting profession’s voice in the legislature.  We will track the bills we know will affect you, your clients and your companies.  We will be monitoring legislation, going to hearings and standing up for the accounting profession and Montana businesses.  But nothing is more important than your voice to your local legislators.  If legislators don’t hear from business professionals on tax and business issues where will they get their information?  Your voice, your expertise and your involvement are crucial.

So please:

  1. Read and respond to the legislative updates.
    Published in weekly issues of eConnect, emailed directly to you and/or posted on our website and social media sites. If we ask you to talk to your legislator, please take a moment out of your business schedule and tell them why an issue is important to you.
  2. Volunteer to run real life scenarios.
    Let us know how those numbers stack up for businesses and individuals. Let your legislators know why it matters.
  3. Support the MSCPA PAC
    Your donation gives power to our voice, and MSCPA’s voice is the voice of the accounting profession in Montana. Please remember—donations to PACs must come from individuals; they cannot come from your companies. We rely on your personal contributions.

We’ll be publishing video updates throughout this fall and giving you up-to-the-minute reports once the session begins in January. Technology makes participation easier than ever. You can watch or listen to floor session and committee hearings live over the internet, or watch and listen to archived broadcasts of previous floor sessions and committees. We also urge you to participate in our toll-free conference calls, every Monday at 7:00 a.m. throughout the session.

If you have questions or comments I want to hear from you. Please call 800.272.0307 or email Jane@mscpa.org.

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.