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.


I recently attended the 2014 University of South Florida Accounting Conference in Tampa – what a refreshing lineup! I really enjoyed the balance of technical topics and softer topics that you don't typically see intermingled.

Having personally experienced issues with my own father, I found the session combining financial planning and elder planning issues to be timely and useful. The conference offered a great mix of true subject matter experts that presented real-life scenarios instead of just reciting the rules and changes. Thank you for the great value, FICPA!

Karena S. Thomas — PPI Technologies GROUP

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

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

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

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

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: 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 — Michael I. Bloom, CPA, PA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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: 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

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’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

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: 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

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