Meet the 2013-2014 Executive Committee

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The FICPA’s 2013-2014 Executive Committee (EC) is comprised of FICPA Board Chair Ken Strauss and seven directors. Deborah Curry, FICPA President/CEO, serves as secretary-treasurer and non-voting EC member. The Committee implements the Board of Governors’ policies and oversees the Institute’s activities.

Here are the Committee members’ thoughts about pressing issues and making a difference through the FICPA.


Jeffrey Barbacci

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Jeff Barbacci

Jeff Barbacci is a shareholder and director of assurance services with Thomas Howell Ferguson in Tallahassee. He has been with the firm for more than 18 years and specializes in not-for-profit and government auditing and consulting.

Barbacci has been involved in FICPA leadership for more than 12 years, and is serving his 10th term on the FICPA Board of Governors. He is a past chair of the State Legislative Policy Committee; was the first chair of the Young CPAs Committee; and helped transition the State & Local Government Committee to its current Section structure. Barbacci also is a regular FICPA speaker on topics such as internal controls; government accounting and auditing; and board responsibilities.

Why are you involved in the FICPA, and why do you think other members should be as well?
When I first moved to Tallahassee, Thomas Howell Ferguson encouraged me to join the FICPA’s State and Local Government Committee. That year, our committee was involved in writing and advocating legislation that would impact auditors serving the state and local government industry. I quickly learned how a few people, or even one person, could have a big impact at the state level. I also learned that the FICPA goes to great lengths to protect the accounting profession in Florida. Being a part of that process, and among leaders in our profession, has been a tremendously valuable experience. The benefit gained from volunteering with the FICPA far outweighs the time commitment. Regardless of their age or career stage, every CPA should consider volunteering.


Bethany Carr

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Bethany Carr

Bethany Carr is a manager for Cavanaugh & Co., LLP in Sarasota. She began her career as an auditor for governmental, non-profit and small-business clients but has transitioned to taxation, providing tax services for individuals, corporations, partnerships and trusts.

Carr began her FICPA service in 2004 as a member of the Young CPAs Committee and as a trustee for the FICPA Educational Foundation. Currently, Carr is serving her fifth term on the FICPA Board of Governors. She also has served on various FICPA committees and has chaired the Audit Committee and Women’s Leadership Committee. In 2008, Carr was named one of CPA Technology Advisor’s 40 Under 40. She is the current treasurer of Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay and the Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay Foundation, and a graduate of Leadership Sarasota County.

How would you like to see the FICPA develop and grow during the next year, and in future years?
I’d like to see our membership grow in numbers and in activity level. The more members who are involved, the more we can do as an organization to support Florida CPAs and provide them with additional value. Having more members also means we can be more effective in our advocacy efforts. Protecting the CPA franchise is of utmost importance. Our governmental affairs team is excellent, but they could be far more effective if we, as members, were more active in advocacy and having our voices heard.


Ed Duarte

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Ed Duarte

Ed Duarte is an audit senior manager with Mallah Furman. He has 13 years of experience in a range of professional services including audit, accounting, financial reporting and consulting. He specializes in audits and business-advisory services for several industries, as well as environmental; industrial; and emergency-response services, including oil-spill response.

Duarte has served public (SEC) and privately held companies. His experience includes Sarbanes-Oxley compliance; business combinations; business-process improvements; international financial reporting standards; and due-diligence engagements. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cuban-American CPA Association and Foundation, and vice president of the Florida International University School of Accounting Alumni Affinity Council.

How would you like to see the FICPA develop and grow during the next year, and in future years?
I’m excited about the introduction of the Mega CPE Conference this summer. I believe it’s wonderful to hold the conference at a venue that attracts members and their families, and I trust that the CPE topics were educational, appropriate and affordable. Continuing education is one
of the FICPA’s top services, and I think we’ll continue to find ways to deliver these quality products to our members. In the future, I’d like to see the FICPA collaborate with another state organization to co-host CPE conferences in our beautiful state.

I’d also like more events and communication among the leaders, members and Young CPA Committee. These young leaders are the future of our profession. With the FICPA and their insightful ideas, we should welcome all members to facilitate the Institute’s ongoing success.


Abby Dupree

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Abby Dupree

Abby Dupree has been a tax partner with Carroll and Company, CPAs since 2002 and has been with the firm since 1994. She specializes in tax planning and preparation for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. She also specializes in state and federal campaign finance compliance and reporting.

Dupree graduated from Florida State University in 1992, became a CPA in 1996 and has been actively involved in the FICPA since 2002. She has served in each of the Tallahassee Chapter officer positions; as a member of the State Legislative Policy Committee; and as chair of the FSU Accounting Conference Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 29 and is a board member of the North Florida Chapter of the Children’s Home Society. She also serves as finance chair for Holy Comforter Episcopal School.

Dupree lives in Tallahassee with her son, Matthew.

What advice do you have for FICPA members who wish to attain a leadership position at the FICPA. How do they get started?
All they really need to do is express their interest. I strongly recommend getting involved at the local chapter level or joining a committee. Don’t just be mildly involved – be actively involved. Show up for meetings, help plan events, speak up, give input and ask questions. The local chapters generally are looking for volunteers to serve on their Boards. This is a great way to get started.


Joey Epstein

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Joey Epstein

As a director for McGladrey, Joey Epstein provides accounting, tax and consulting advice to law firms and other professional-service organizations, as well as other closely-held entities. His other primary responsibility is business development for the firm in South Florida. He has handled income- and sales-tax audits and has assisted clients with exit strategies. He is certified in Florida sales and use tax and holds a Health and Life, including Variable Annuity Insurance License from the State of Florida.

Epstein serves on the Florida CPA/PAC Board of Trustees and is serving his fifth term on the FICPA Board of Governors. He has served on the FICPA State Legislative Policy Committee for 20 years and has chaired it several times. Epstein is a Board member and treasurer of Business for the Arts of Broward. He also holds volunteer positions with several other philanthropic organizations.

Why is protecting the CPA franchise a critical issue and what role does the FICPA play in that?
Our franchise/certificate is the one thing that sets us apart from everyone else. We cannot ever let this become “diluted.” The FICPA is our eyes and ears in Tallahassee. Our governmental affairs team is on top of all legislation, and potential legislation, that may affect us. Without the FICPA, no one would be monitoring these issues on our behalf. This is a never-ending process.


Marshall Gunn, Jr.

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Marshall Gunn, Jr.

Marshall Gunn, Jr. is president of GunnChamberlain, PL, CPAs and Gunn & Company Investment Management Inc. He provides consulting, financial and tax-planning services to individuals, businesses, retirement plans, foundations and trusts.

CPA Magazine listed Gunn as one of the 100 most influential CPAs in America and one of the seven most influential CPA/Financial Planners in America. He is the author of The Money of Love and Take Charge of Your Financial Life!

He has served as chairman of the Florida Board of Accountancy and of the FICPA Investment Policy and Personal Financial Planning committees. He serves on numerous not-for-profit or charitable foundation boards, including FreshMinistries Inc. and Give Kids the World Village.

Gunn frequently is called upon as an expert witness.

Why are you involved in the FICPA, and why do you think other members should be as well?
It seems like every publication you read has an article about social media and networking. Everyone is trying to “crack the code” on networking. Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and work papers were on stone tablets, we had FICPA chapter meetings, accounting shows and annual meetings. Oh, we still do!
During the years I’ve met wonderful people I now call friends. I’ve discovered CPAs who are outstanding sources of knowledge, and who send me referrals when my knowledge is useful. These relationships, resources and networking opportunities have made my experiences with the Institute fun and rewarding.


Pat Patterson, Jr.
Image: Pat Patterson Jr.
Pat Patterson, Jr.

Pat Patterson Jr. is an award-winning, nationally recognized author, speaker and discussion leader for continuing education courses and numerous state societies. He has experience at the national CPA-firm level and as an adjunct university professor.

Patterson holds an MBA from the University of North Florida and has been president of Patterson & Associates, PA for more than 30 years. His firm provides auditing, accounting, consulting and tax-preparation services. The AICPA has recognized the firm for work in the “virtual office” field.

Patterson is a member of the FICPA CIRA Section, as well as numerous other committees and sections, and is a member of the FICPA Educational Foundation Board of Trustees. He has been named an FICPA Outstanding Discussion Leader and has received the FICPA’s Writing Excellence Award. He has also received the New York Society of CPAs’ Distinguished Discussion Leader Award.

What have you found to be the most challenging aspects of being a Florida CPA in today’s business climate?
The most challenging aspect of being a Florida CPA in today’s business climate is staying current on A&A issues and technology situations. Every single professional standard that CPAs are expected to be current on has changed. This includes GAAP codification; the Audit Clarity Standards; SSARS 19 and SSARS clarity for compilation and review; attestation standards; quality control; peer review and international standards. Most of the other non-A&A standards also have changed. When these changes are combined with ever-changing technology issues, we have a mild form of controlled chaos that CPAs are expected to handle professionally, and well.


James "Jim" Thielen

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Jim Thielen

Jim Thielen is a partner with Thielen Plus Tax and Business Consulting in Tallahassee. Thielen is a former chairman of the Florida Board of Accountancy, serving from 2003 to May 2007.

Since 1999, Thielen has served several terms on the FICPA Executive Committee and Board of Governors, as well as a three-year term on the Finance and Office Advisory Committee. He served as president of the Tallahassee Chapter from 1998 to 1999 and as regional vice president for two terms ending in 2001. Thielen is serving his sixth term on the FICPA Board of Governors.

Thielen has served as a trustee for the Florida CPA/Political Action Committee (PAC)-North since 2001 and as president of the North PAC since 2009. He also is a member of AICPA Council, representing Florida for a three-year term.

How would you like to see the FICPA develop and grow during the next year, and in future years?
I would enjoy watching the FICPA become the go-to resource for our membership, especially our members in industry, as well as in academia and public practice. Currently, most of our members are small practitioners. To realize our full potential as an organization, we must strive to be relevant to all our licensees. We should continue working to identify members’ needs and look for ways to increase our membership numbers among various practice areas. And as always, our future success lies in our younger CPAs.