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

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

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

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

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: 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.

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: 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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: 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