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.


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

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: 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

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.

Bethany B. Carr — Kerkering, Barberio & Company, 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

The FICPA has great individuals who volunteer to create great things. The FICPA is a resource to the entire state in all that it has to offer. I recommend that all young CPAs become involved in the FICPA because there is so much they have to offer.

Gabriel-Maroun T. Shibly, CPA, CGMA — Orlando City Soccer Club

My membership in the FICPA is invaluable. As a sole practitioner with limited resources, I use FICPA Connect to get answers from my peers to questions outside the scope of my knowledge. I really appreciate the quality of the input and know that the FICPA is committed to ensuring it remains a valuable resource.>

Steven Wise — OwenWise LLC

Image: Kenneth J. Strauss

In the public sector, you’re encouraged very early in your career to get involved with some sort of club or cause. You have to build a client base, which necessitates getting out in the community. FICPA volunteerism is a great way to do that.

I was on my first FICPA committee in 1980. I enjoy what I do, and it gives me a good feeling of giving back and helping lead the profession.

 

Kenneth J. Strauss — Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, LLP

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

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

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: 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

FICPA Connect keeps me in touch with other CPAs outside the confines of my own office. I am constantly impressed by the knowledge the participants possess, and I am very grateful for how generous they are with their time. Not a day goes by that I don't learn from my fellow FICPA members.

Rose M. Jenkins — Peck Jenkins Kershner CPAs PA

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: 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

Image: Eric E. Santa Maria

I joined the FICPA as a student member while studying accounting at Florida International University in Miami. From an early age, I wanted to be part of an organization that represented and promoted our great profession. The FICPA has allowed me to get involved as a young ambassador and committee leader while networking with like-minded professionals. 

Eric E. Santa Maria — Verdeja, De Armas & Trujillo, LLP

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

Steven M. Platau — University of Tampa

Image: Eduardo Duarte

I’m excited about the introduction of the Mega CPE Conference. 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. With the FICPA and their insightful ideas, we should welcome all members to facilitate the Institute’s ongoing success.

 

Eduardo Duarte — Foreign Parts Distributors, Inc

I have been attending the UF Accounting Conference every year since 1977, and the 2013 event was the best one ever! Congratulations on topping your previous conferences.

Nina W. Tarnuzzer — Univ of Florida College of Medicine

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