I’m so glad we had this time together

By Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM

When I was a kid, the Carol Burnett show was in its heyday and my family watched it together and we laughed until we cried. Oh, it’s a good memory! That’s where the title of carol-burnett-show-2013this blog comes from, the closing song at the end of Ms. Burnett’s variety show. Some of you will remember it; those who are younger than 40 will think the Carol Burnett Show is just a late-night infomercial for a video.

This song has been running through my head a lot lately because it’s time for me to say “so long.” After 17 fun, exciting, wonderful years with MSCPA, I have given my resignation. My last day in the office will be June 29th.

When I started with the Society in 2000, I didn’t appreciate the real value of a CPA. I didn’t know how vital you are to the business world and to people’s personal finances. I know your importance now and I am, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for CPAs, especially my friends in Montana.

I’ve been fortunate to work closely with so many of you and the friendships we’ve made are priceless.  The things we’ve accomplished through the years, the Board meetings, the Annual Conferences and the many volunteers whom I’ve had the privilege to work with, these are the memories I will be taking with me, along with too many laughs and smiles to count. I’d hate to lose touch so you can find me on Facebook and you can reach me at mc2@bresnan.net.

I’ve been lucky to grow through my job as your Communications Director. My job has morphed from one of hard copy communications to electronic newsletters and social media and so much more. I’ve earned my IOM (Institute of Organization Management) and CAE (Certified Association Executive) credentials along the way and my appetite for knowledge and more experience has grown with these accomplishments.

I’m grateful to Jane for the opportunities I was given along the way. She made it possible to have a job AND a family. I was 31 when I started at MSCPA, I had been married not quite four years and I didn’t have a child. I laugh when I look back and remember that the board had to write a maternity policy for me!  I was the first staff to ever have a baby while working at MSCPA. That baby is now 16 years old and moving on to his own adventures. This office has been his home as well.

I’m grateful to the rest of the staff I’ve worked with throughout the years: Jean, Carol and Heidi who are still here, but also to Kay Roos, Susan Lively and the interns we used to hire each legislative session.  It’s been a good gig.  Allen Lloyd, you are going to LOVE it here! I wish you all the best.

Thank you for your support through the years, your friendship. I have long maintained that CPAs are the best people to work for; I’m guessing I always will. So I want to leave you with the song I mentioned in the opening of this blog, because I am so very glad for the time we had together, https://youtu.be/PjQuZCTLAv4, please consider it my thank you gift to you.  We had a laugh (many) and yes, we even shared a song or two. But, it’s time to say so long.

God bless!


This is important, trust me.

Hi Everyone

I know our members in tax season are thinking “reading a blog from Margaret is the LAST THING I WANT TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW!” But trust me, this is important. It’s about how to find your next hire.

We are going to start a big social media campaign for Montana accounting jobs starting on May 1st.  We know you need to hire and that will be a big focus for us in 2017 with this campaign in the spring and another in late summer.

Herriges Margaret 2014

Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

Last fall we did a MontanaConnection social media campaign for the first time and had great exposure for Montana accounting jobs. But just like any promotional campaign, success won’t happen overnight. We need to build our brand and name recognition and establish ourselves as a legitimate job site for accountants and CPAs looking for a new job. We need to sell not only the job itself but our lifestyles, our opportunities, our cities . . . we need to showcase why a job in Montana is worthy of a big move.

So I’m interrupting everyone’s busy schedule now to urge you to get those job openings posted before May 1st! Any job posted between April 17th and April 30th won’t be charged until May 1st, giving you an extra couple of weeks’ exposure at no extra cost. The more jobs we show on MontanaConnection, the more viable career opportunity our out-of-state target market will see it as.

You can find more information about MontanaConnection and post your job online at https://www.mscpa.org/careers.

Thanks for taking time to think about this.  If you have questions about our upcoming campaign call me, email me . . . I am here to answer your questions. Your input is invaluable.


Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM
Communications Director

Sing Along! It’s Harvest Time!

Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

By Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM |  Communications Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much AWESOMENESS–Part 1

Herriges Margaret 2014by Margaret Herriges, IOM | MSCPA Communications Director

Many of you know I get a little excited when it comes to the convention and this year . . . I’m beyond excited for the 103rd Annual Conference at Fairmont. Let me explain why.

We have really changed things up this year! By your request, many of the sessions are one hour instead of two hour. The first set of concurrent offerings will look like this:

Thursday, June 23, 11:00 – Noon

  • Option 1:  Young Professionals Track–Catapult Your Career b103rdAnnConf2016y Paul Moya (Part 1 of 2)
  • Option 2: Ethics–Its History & Application in Today’s Business World by Jimmy Williams (Part 1 of 2)
  • Option 3:  Social Media for CPAs by Barry MacQuarrie (1 hour)

At noon we’ll celebrate Gary Staudinger, 2016 George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award Recipient, and then we’ll have our second set of concurrent classes.

Thursday, June 23, 1:00 – 2:00pm

  • Option 1: Young Professionals Track–Catapult Your Career by Paul Moya (Part 2 of 2)
  • Option 2: Ethics by Jimmy Williams (Part 2 of 2)
  • Option 3: 50 Apps in 50 Minutes by Barry MacQuarrie (1 hour)

You’ll be able to take one hour or two hours–it’s up to you –just remember to take both sessions of the Ethics class if you need your two hours.

On top of this we are doing fun new things with our Business Meeting. Yes, we know, business meetings can be dull, but hopefully you notice our efforts to try to make it more interesting. We’ve turned this year’s Business Meeting into a game of sorts and we’ve even scheduled happy hour to start a little earlier to help keep things interesting.

On Friday, concurrent sessions are all in two hour blocks again but we are doing an encore performance of the Ethics class so if you want to take other classes on Thursday, you can still get your ethics credits.

Friday, June 24, 8:30 – 10:30am

  • Option 1: Young Professionals Track–Crucial Conversations by Donna Salter
  • Option 2: Ethics: Its History & Application in Today’s business World by Jimmy Williams
  • Option 3: Unflappable You: Women in Leadership by Future Sync

From there we’ll move into a one-hour general session, The Honest Leader, and conclude with lunch and a professional issues update by Tommye Barie, AICPA recent past chair. She loved coming to Montana last year and we are incredibly lucky to get her back again this year!

“Awesomeness” will be a short series of blogs designed to help you understand and get excited about the changes we’ve made to the 103rd Annual Conference. There are so many fun things to share with you! If you have any questions when you register, or anytime before the Conference, I’m happy to answer them. You can post them below in the comments section or you can call me at 800.272.0307 or email me at margaret@mscpa.org.

It’s a Great Time to be a CPA! Come join us at Fairmont, June 23 & 24.

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.

Who is YOUR inspiration?

by Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

Herriges Margaret 2014I love talking to our members. You have this wonderful ability to acknowledge the people who have influenced you and played a part in your success story. I often think back to the wonderful speeches we hear each year at awards time. The Rick Reisigs (DSA ’14) of the world thanking the Tony DiLellos (DSA ’03)and Bob Bronsons (DSA ’09) for the impact they made on their careers; the Dwaine Iversons (DSA ’13) who credit the old guard for making this profession what it is today; the Lowell Duffners (DSA ’11) who encourage their peers to be involved in their communities and their profession; and the Reidun Johnstons (Outstanding CPA in Industry ’14) and Julie Kostelckys (Young CPA ’12) who are forging new ground in the accounting profession.

These speeches are really special memories for me, but they lead me to a question for you: Who has influenced your career? Is there someone who has made a big impact on you, on your community, on the accounting profession? If the answer is yes, it’s time to thank this person and acknowledge their contributions by nominating them for a special recognition award.

MSCPA is proud to recognize the influencers of Montana’s accounting profession. Each year we open nominations for:

Each of these honors are designed to recognize the contributions of CPAs who make a difference in the lives of the people around them. Each award has different criteria to distinguish the impact these professionals make.

Nominations are open for these awards and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to thank the people who have positively influenced your career by submitting their name. Nominations are easy and MSCPA staff is always happy to help you with dates and service records, just be sure to complete nominations by December 19, 2014.

You are all an inspiration to us here at MSCPA. We look forward to receiving your nominations and if you need more information about an award, please don’t hesitate to contact me because truly, I love talking to our members.

7 Steps to Make Registration Easy-Peasy

by Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications DirectorImage

I joke with the Board that for years I have been dreading planning the 101st Annual Meeting.  I mean, how do you follow up the gala celebration at the 100th Anniversary?! But as I worked with this year’s planners I got more and more excited for the 101st Annual Meeting. We have such great things planned for you . . . and it starts with a new registration process.

We recently had new registration software built that resides on our website and communicates with our database. It’s a huge technological step for us and one we are pretty excited about because it should make registration for our conferences and annual meetings easier than ever!

Step 1
When you register I encourage you to be logged in. That way most of your information will auto-fill making your experience so much faster and convenient. If you’ve never logged in before simply use your email address and your membership number (usually the same as your license number)

Step 2
When you first land on the 101st Annual Meeting page hit the register button (upper right corner) even if you are just looking for more information.  You can find the prices for all the different types of registration on the right side of the page. We have registration options for:

  • full convention (members & nonmbrs)
  • ethics only (live or webcast)
  • students
  • guests (full registration, combination of events or just individual events)

Please note that these prices are good through June 6th. After that prices go up $50.

If you scroll down the page you will see a blue box with a small check box that says “Register Yourself”. If you are already logged in, that box will automatically be checked. Proceed by choosing your registration type–if you are bringing a guest that part of the registration is coming. Just select YOUR registration type.


Step 4
Next, more check boxes will appear based on the registration type you selected. Do you have special dietary needs? Will you be hanging out in the CPA Lounge Wednesday evening? Make your menu selection for the Distinguished Service Awards luncheon, and so on. You will need to make these selections for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


This year for the first time ever (!) we are offering the Opening Keynote “The Good Ones: 10 Crucial Qualities of High Character Employee” by Dr. Bruce Weinstein as a webcast.
That means if you can’t go to the entire convention you can sign up to take this class as a LIVE webinar  or attend just this session and fulfill your ethics requirements.


We only have one set of current sessions and that’s on Thursday afternoon. Be sure to select the “Covenant Not to Compete” panel OR Dr. Bruce Weinstein’s second session.  Don’t pick both!


Step 5
After you’ve made all your selections you can register someone else:  your guest or someone else from your office. The cool factor on this part of the registration is it will show other members linked to your office and if they’ve already registered, making it easier for the person doing all the registering (especially firm administrators). Once a selection is made you’ll be asked what the additional person is registering for and the appropriate check boxes will pop up for you to complete.


Step 6
Something new we added to our registrations as so last year was the Emergency Contact Information. This is a risk management strategy that we’ve adopted as a best practice.


Step 7
The last step before payment will be to decide if you want your annual meeting handouts as electronic documents (emailed to you prior to the event) or as a printed copy (in your packet at the event).

If you need to make a change to your registration or add a guest after you have registered, please contact MSCPA directly at mscpa@mscpa.org or call 800.272.0307. In fact we invite you to contact us if you have any questions at all. We are here for you and we’d be delighted to help any way we can.

I can’t wait for the 101st Annual Meeting. Watch for future posts about the exciting speakers we are bringing in just for you as well as the fun we’ve got planned. I have a feeling this could turn out to be my favorite annual meeting experience. I hope I get to share it with you!

P.S.  Be sure to make your hotel reservations by May 30th to get our discounted rate.



3 Ways to Find More Value in Your Membership

by Margaret Herriges, Communications Director

Question: How do you find organizations who need audits and conversely, how do you get an RFP for an audit into the hands of the right professionals?Image

Answer: You use MSCPA’s RFP Center! It’s relatively new, but it’s a spectacular idea if we do say so ourselves!

The idea behind it is to create more value for our members—both for those who do audits and those who need them. How does it do that? Let us count the ways . . .

  1. FIND YOUR NEXT AUDIT JOB—If you provide audits, check out the RFP Center (under Member Resources) on a regular basis. Whenever we post RFPs here we shout it out on our Social Media feeds and in eConnect. Only members can see this section of the website so you will need to log-in.
  2. IF YOU NEED AN AUDIT—Contact Margaret Herriges if you want to post your audit RFP to the Center. It’s free and we’ll make sure lots of people see it. We understand how hard it can be to get an audit RFP in the hands of the right people.
  3. TELL YOUR CLIENTS ABOUT IT—If you have clients who need an audit (and you can’t perform it for them) tell them about the Audit RFP Center and have them contact Margaret. Any organization can POST an RFP on this site for FREE—nonprofits, for profits, governments–we accept them all.  We do encourage them to post it as early as possible giving our members some lead time to prepare an excellent submission.

The Audit RFP Center was created to help you. We hope you will use it and encourage others to use it as well. MSCPA’s Vision is to be the most valued professional resource for our members. We hope the RFP Center goes a long way towards achieving this.

What a difference a year makes . . .

by Margaret Herriges, Communications Director

It’s hard to believe that 2013 is drawing to a close. I still remember anticipating what we’d be doing when it turned a new century! Little did I know at that time that I’d actually be starting an adventure with MSCPA within a few months. After nearly 14 years working on your behalf, I count my blessings daily!

But at this time last year there was a different tone to the season . . .

  • Jane was already hard at work with the State Taxation and Legislative Committees, revving up our advocacy engine so we could protect your interests during the legislative session.
  • I was on pins and needles, working with the super folks on the Century Celebration Committee, trying to make MSCPA’s 100th anniversary celebration an event you would always remember. 
  • Carol was keeping us all financially prudent and making Peer Review run smooth as silk. 
  • Jean was busy preparing for the 2013 CPE Season and working like mad to get the calendar published by the end of January for our members in industry. Okay, that hasn’t changed . . . this very week she’s putting the finishing touches on a calendar that will be so beautiful and a great resource as well. 
  • And at this time last year, the voice you heard when you called the office was Kay Roos.

Thankfully we’re coming into an even numbered year so that means no legislature, but Jane and the folks on the State Tax and Legislative Committees have already started working on legislation for the 2015 session. Our advocacy efforts have never been stronger and we are launching into 2014 with ideas about tax simplification that will make it easier for people to comply with our voluntary tax system. You’ll be hearing a lot of information about that in the coming months.

The 100th Anniversary Celebration was an event to be remembered and I’m so honored to have coordinated the efforts to make it special for you. It was an event I will always treasure. We will be announcing the line up of speakers soon but mark your calendars for June 19 and 20, 2014 in Helena for the 101st Annual Meeting. In the last few months we’ve incorporated some major changes to our social media presence in an effort to make communications with you more vital and in 2014 we will make some huge changes to our web presence that will make www.mscpa.org a better tool than ever.

The State Board Profession Monitoring Program morphed into the MSCPA Peer Review and that gives Carol the opportunity to help even more CPAs throughout the state become more proficient, more professional at their work. This has been a big change for many of you and Carol is here to walk you through it all.

Time has never been more critical for each of you and because of that, Jean and the Professional Development Committee have been working to offer more webcasts on more topics. Our education model is changing and Jean has not only kept MSCPA current with the changes, she helps the entire Society blaze new trails for education options.

And we said our farewells to Kay (she’s doing awesome by the way) and welcomed Shannon Murray to the office as our new Secretary. We can’t wait to bring her to conferences and the convention to meet you all.

There are so many big and little changes that happen in a membership organization throughout the year. The one constant is our respect and admiration of our members. We are proud to work on your behalf and excited to bring you new tools and resources, more advocacy efforts and incredible education offerings. VALUE is the word we focus on these days as we strive to make everything we do more valuable to your in your accounting career.

This holiday season and throughout 2014 we hope your blessings are many and your worries are few. And if we can help with some of those worries please remember we are a phone call or email away.

Merry Christmas! And a wonderful New Year!