24th Annual Accounting Show

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By Wendy Johnson, CPE Conference Manager

The Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA) held its 24th Annual Accounting Show Sept. 23-25 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. With expert speakers delivering more than 50 sessions, the show offered a variety of topics and gave attendees the opportunity to expand their knowledge about key issues CPAs face today. And with almost 1,000 participants, the show was an ideal setting for professional education and networking.

The Accounting Shows Committee, a dedicated committee of volunteer CPAs, selects Annual Accounting Show topics each year. Participants select their own courses and instructors.

This year, in recognition of today's challenging business climate, the committee selected timely educational topics on the economy; fraud; auditing standards; employment law; and financial planning. These sessions, as well as a four-hour ethics seminar, were exceptionally well-attended.

Among the most popular speakers were familiar faces including F. Gordon Spoor, CPA/PFS, managing shareholder/Spoor & Associates, PA; Cecil "Pat" Patterson Jr., CPA/MBA, president/Patterson & Associates, PA; Eugene Ristaino, CPA/ABV/MT, partner/Isdaner & Company, LLC; Steve Platau, CPA, professor of accounting/University of Tampa; R. Lawrence Heinkel, JD/LLM, tax and bankruptcy attorney/R. Lawrence Heinkel, PL; and Lynn H. Clements, DBA/CPA/CMA/CFM/CFE/CrFA, professor/Florida Southern College, Department of Economics.

FICPA Goes Green!

Last year, the FICPA moved to electronic materials for all conferences and shows, encouraging registrants to use the information as a searchable reference. This year, the FICPA stepped up its efforts to help save the environment by changing to electronic evaluation forms and attendee lists, saving thousands of pieces of paper. Attendees were happy to have access to the materials before the show, and the electronic format allowed easy access to information on demand. Participants also took home heavy-weight FICPA bags made from recycled materials.

Keynote speaker Robert R. (Bob) Harris, CPA/CFF, presented key and emerging issues affecting the CPA profession. Mr. Harris discussed the ways in which the profession is supporting CPAs, as well as the public, during turbulent economic times. He also spoke about the positive CPA image and reputation; efforts to expand the CPA pipeline and future leadership; and professional quality standards and member resources. A video recording of Mr. Harris' informative session is available on the FICPA's Web site, www.ficpa.org.

New this year, FICPA staff "tweeted" highlights of the session through Twitter. To view the archive, search hashtag #as09. Before the session ended, Mr. Harris responded to questions attendees submitted using Twitter or text.

When asked what they liked most about this year's accounting show, attendees' responses included the professionalism of the speakers, the great networking opportunities with exhibitors and other attendees, the variety of topics and the number of CPE credits available at an affordable price. Other comments included the convenient meeting facility, the flexible format allowing attendees to change tracks and the relevant, updated material.

Vendors Showcase Up-to-the-Minute Ideas, Equipment

The 24th Annual Accounting Show also was host to almost 100 companies featuring the latest products and services to help accounting and business professionals maximize productivity. During breaks throughout the day, attendees explored the show floor and gained hands-on experience with the latest accounting software, tools and technology.

The always-popular Thursday cocktail reception, offering food and fun, was a huge hit again this year. Participants returned completed membership surveys to the prize barrel for a chance win a variety of prizes. Giveaways included more than $1,500 in free CPE, hotel packages, American Express gift cards and a $200 Best Buy gift card.

The FICPA Educational Foundation (EDF) also announced the winner of their Blue Hat Raffle, Jose Valiente, and the many winners of an array of unusual and luxurious silent-auction items. Mr. Valiente, FICPA president, donated his winnings back to the EDF.

FICPA Thanks Sponsors and Committee Members

The FICPA accounting shows would not be possible without the generous support of our program sponsors. Sponsors for the 24th Annual Accounting Show include ADP, Thomson Reuters, Bisk Education, The Tax Advisor publication and the American Institute of CPAs' Journal of Accountancy publication. We thank all of them for their contributions.

It is because of the continued dedication of the Accounting Shows Committee that the FICPA can provide the most relevant topics and speakers. Many thanks to this dedicated group of members who selflessly contribute their time and energy to facilitate this great event.

2008-2009 Accounting Shows Committee

Gary Fracassi - Chair
Frank Ward - Vice Chair
Alan Campbell
Lynn Clements
Richard Dotson
Lucinda Gallagher
Paulette Holder
Stanislav Jansta
Sharon Lassar
Jim Luffman
Bill Maloney
Chris Moreno
Pat Patterson
Marty Prague
Poornima Srinivasan
Denise Stubbs
Frank Ward
Donna Zeitler

Join Us Next Year!

Mark your calendar now for the Silver Edition 25th Annual Accounting Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2010, at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. We hope to see you there!