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.


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

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: 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

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 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

 

The 2013 State & Local Government Accounting Conference was a convenient way to obtain required CPE and receive the latest information from experts in governmental accounting and auditing. I definitely plan on attending the conference again.

Richard L. Collins

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

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.

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 — University of West Florida Dept of Finance and Accounting

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

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

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

Steven M. Platau — University of Tampa

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

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

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

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

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

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 — JetSmarter

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: 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