Today, Saturday March 20, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of the issue date on my certificate as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). There has been no other single event that has shaped my adult professional life as being a CPA. I am proud to be a CPA and I thank all those who made it happen.
One of my first actions as a new CPA was to join the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) and specifically the State and Local Tax Committee. I am honored to be a current member of the MACPA Board of Directors.
I remember my first State and Local Tax Committee meeting. The speaker was Bob Nelson, the Director of the Michigan Income Tax. He spoke to the committee about the new Michigan unitary policy and other contentious issues. I recall that the committee was a little rough on the guest. The MACPA staff person assigned to the committee, a young woman new to the MACPA, felt so bad for the guest speaker, she sent flowers home to his wife. That was the spring of 1975, I was a Treasury auditor at the time.
That summer, after receiving my unitary training, the Department of Treasury sent me to Cincinnati, Ohio for 16 week of Revenue Agent training at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also that summer, the Michigan Legislature repealed the Michigan Income Tax and replaced it with the Single Business Tax with no unitary.
What goes around comes around. After 32 turbulant years, the Single Business Tax was repealed and replaced with the Michigan Business Tax and unitary. Also, that new staff person to the State and Local Tax Committee in 1975 is now the president of the MACPA, Peggy Dzierzawski.
I was honored to serve the profession as an appointed official in Lansing for 18 years In August of 1987 I was appointed by Governor James Blanchard to the Administrative Committee on Public Accountancy, the investigative arm of the Board of Accountancy. I served until 1996 when I was appointed by Governor John Engler to the Board of Accountancy. I was on the Board of Accountancy for nine years, the last four as Chair.
Over 17,000 CPAs in Michigan probably also share my feelings about being a CPA. I recall a discussion, while Chair of the Board of Accountancy, with Veto Danzo who was responsible for certifying CPE for CPAs. He said that almost all CPAs in industry, not engaged in the practice of Public Accountancy, choose to keep their license and complete all the requirements including CPE even though not required. They could easily go registered status. However, they choose not. I suspect they all feel it something special to be a CPA.
Over the years I have had many opportunities to speak to CPAs, either at conferences, on committees, at seminars or local practitioner groups. I have observed first hand the great level of co-operation between CPAs, sometimes competitors. I am proud of the way CPAs help each out and make the profession stronger. When CPAs speak to each other, we and the profession are stronger.
Certified Public Accountant, I love the sound of those words. That's what's on my certificate.