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 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

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

Steven M. Platau — University of Tampa

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

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

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

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

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 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: 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: 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

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 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: 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

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: 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: 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