Member Testimonials

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From advocacy to education to social involvement, being a member of the Florida Institute of CPAs can have a positive impact on the profession. Below you will find stories from our members, and why being an FICPA is important.

Do you have a story about how the FICPA has influenced you? Tell us.


One of the main reasons I joined the FICPA was to make sure I stayed connected with all that is related to accounting policy and procedures regardless of the industry that I was working in. I would definitely recommend any professional in the accounting field to be part of this organization.

Adrian J. Torres — Univision Communications Inc

The FICPA MEGA Conference in Orlando was awesome! I highly encourage anyone in Florida to attend next year.

Andrew W. Argue IV — Ten Key Heroes LLC

Image: Jeffrey E. Barbacci

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.

Jeffrey E. Barbacci — Thomas Howell Ferguson, PA

While providing good technical education and a way to stay ahead of the changes, the FICPA’s State & Local Government Accounting Conference also provides an opportunity to network and interact with peers in the industry.

Sandra E. Breitenstein

Image: Brandon S. Perry

I would encourage all Florida CPA’s to become members of and contribute to the FICPA Educational Foundation. If you really think about it, there is no better way to support the future of our profession than to support the Foundation that provides scholarships for deserving students to continue their path toward becoming a CPA. The future of the profession will be in the hands of these students, and continued support of the Foundation helps to ensure it is a future of quality and integrity.

Brandon S. Perry — Raposa Perry Young, LLC

Serving on an FICPA committee is impactful. I have been able help increase awareness of the FICPA in the community, improve the brand of my firm and build my personal brand as a respected CPA. I am looking forward to serving again!

Andrew M. Schellenberg, MSF — PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

When I don’t find a good answer to my client’s question, I post it to the Federal or Florida State Tax Section Group on FICPA Connect. I am always rewarded with new insights from my colleagues!

Claire E. Baker — Claire E. Baker, CPA

Florida CPA Today is consistently a must read for the profession.

Steven M. Platau — University of Tampa

The conference far exceeded my expectations for high-quality, timely and engaging continuing professional education sessions. Every member of the FICPA staff was warm, welcoming and truly professional. I am looking forward to next year’s Mega CPE Conference!

George I. Augustin — George I. Augustin, CPA, PA

I am very excited to be actively involved with the FICPA as a student member!

Student Membership with the FICPA is an excellent resource for accounting students that are planning early for their future careers. The FICPA has already had a major impact on my future career. A member of the Emerald Coast Chapter reached out to invite me to one of their meetings, where I gained amazing networking connections and career advice.

Several of the connections that I made at an FICPA chapter event recommended that I volunteer for the United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program as a means of gaining tax preparation experience prior to graduation. I have since been contacted by the program coordinator and invited to interview for a position! This is a huge opportunity, and I never would have known about it without the connections that I made at FICPA meetings.

Membership with the FICPA provides countless professional and personal advantages for students. My only wish is that I knew about the organization sooner!

Nicole Heineken — Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund, CPAs

The 2015 Annual Show was great. Many of the presentations were far superior to some of those I have attended at AICPA events!

Donald Kosar — Broman & Kosar, Ltd.

Attending the FICPA Construction Industry Conference is always a great opportunity to keep up to date on the changes affecting construction accounting and taxation.

Ronald J. Person — WithumSmith + Brown, PC

Image: Marshall D. Gunn Jr

I'm a member of the FICPA because 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.

Marshall D. Gunn Jr — GunnChamberlain, PL

Image: Kathleen T. Masterson, MBA, CKM

FICPA membership, of course, provides CPAs with continuing education opportunities, but I have found even more reward as I become more involved with the organization. Serving on the FICPA Accounting Careers Committee has been quite eye-opening. I go out into the community and speak to high school and community college students about the profession.

So many students think of CPAs as tax preparers only. While tax planning and preparation are areas where CPAs provide valuable assistance to clients, the students learn that the profession can accommodate their varied interests. They are fascinated to learn of the international opportunities; they are intrigued by forensic accounting; and they open up to the idea that celebrities and exciting industries employ CPAs in a variety of capacities.

The reward comes as the students, whose eyes initially glaze over when they learn their speaker is a CPA talking about accounting, start to lean forward and pay attention. They ask questions. Some follow up after the presentation, and a few have even expressed to their teacher or professor that they are now considering a field and profession they had not considered before!

I encourage all Florida CPAs to become members. Then, pick a committee that meets your field of expertise and area of interest. While we are all very busy, it's gratifying to see the positive impacts we can each make on our chosen profession.

Kathleen T. Masterson, MBA, CKM — Flagler College

Image: David L. Dennis

I have had the opportunity to work with Paul Brown, Director of Technical Services at the FICPA, and learn more about peer review as the Board of Accountancy implements the provision of the statutory requirement.

Paul understands the peer review process and has been very helpful in bringing me up to speed. I am grateful for Paul's insight into the process and willingness to help me learn.

David L. Dennis

Joining the FICPA and having the chance to participate in the Elder Planning and Support Services Committee has been a very rewarding experience. Personal financial services for elder individuals is an area of personal finance that is vastly under served, and I cannot think of a better group than CPAs to make sure their personal finances are protected. It has been an honor to meet so many dedicated professionals from the FICPA and the accounting profession who are passionate about elder financial services and making a difference in the lives of these people.

Christopher J. Baker, CPA — Baker DMM, LLC

Image: Joseph A. Epstein, CPA,CGMA

It is critical to protect the CPA franchise because the CPA 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.

Joseph A. Epstein, CPA,CGMA — Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra, LLC

The FICPA’s CPAs in Industry Conference touched on a variety of topics in accounting, tax, business and IT development. It detailed the latest industry trends and broadened the knowledge of attendees. I enjoyed this high-quality conference – especially the opportunities to network with my peers – and would recommend it to my colleagues.

Liang Wu, Ed.S. — Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Tampa International Airport

I will always feel honored to be able to contribute – and better yet, to pay back some of the opportunities the FICPA has given me to grow in the profession. Accounting is my second career and I was always afraid of being a ‘paper CPA.’ I know I still have a lot to learn, but I couldn’t have done much without the resources the FICPA offers.

Yanick J. Michel — Y. J. Michel & Associates, PA, CPA

Image: Michael I. Bloom

I am honored to have served on the Board of Trustees of the FICPA Educational Foundation since 2002 because the Foundation is investing in the future of our profession. My most rewarding experience has been seeing the smiling faces of the scholarship recipients and their expression of gratitude. The Board of the Foundation is comprised of individuals who volunteer their time and pay their own expenses when participating in Foundation activities. 

Michael I. Bloom — BDO USA, LLP