This year, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) celebrates its 85th anniversary, with Jackson CPA Paul Calhoun at the helm.
Since June, Calhoun has led the 2,575-member statewide association, whose members are split with approximately half in public practice and half in industry. He is a partner with Haddox Reid Burkes & Calhoun, PLLC, Certified Public Accountants, where he has served for nearly 30 years.
A 1976 accounting graduate of the University of Alabama, Calhoun also serves as a council member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and has served as a director on the MSCPA Board of Governors. He has also manned various MSCPA committees and chaired the personal financial planning and MAP committees.
A board member and finance committee member at Jackson Academy, Calhoun is also finance chairman for First Baptist Church in Jackson.
Calhoun took a few minutes post-Hurricane Katrina to tell us how the society is responding to member needs in the wake of the Category Four storm, to remind accounting professionals of services and benefits of MSCPA membership and to share with us special plans for the society’s landmark anniversary celebration.
Mississippi Business Journal: How is the MSCPA responding to member needs in the wake of Katrina?
Paul Calhoun: Our MSCPA members and their firms and companies, as well as other state societies and the AICPA, are cooperating in a clearinghouse of available resources to benefit the members. The MSCPA has already assembled a list of firms who have volunteered space, computers and Internet access to help our members. As communication lines are re-established, and as we talk with the affected members, we will be able to identify their greatest needs.
MBJ: What technical issues most concern Mississippi CPAs?
PC: Our federal and state laws continue to become more complex. Changes occur every year that require CPAs to spend more time learning about these changes and how they impact their clients. We will be focusing this year on understanding how our clients affected by Katrina can obtain any benefits they are entitled to receive. We will assist them with preparing the documentation and forms that must be submitted to obtain federal and state assistance.
MBJ: What are you planning to do differently this year?
PC: We are focusing on introducing accounting students to firms and companies in the state and are producing a new publication with specific details on the firms/companies, type of practice for public accounting firms, size of staff, internships, etc. There will be ongoing support for our members affected by the hurricane.
MBJ: How does the MSCPA accomplish its goals?
PC: The MSCPA accomplishes its program of work through committees, which make recommendations to the board of governors. We have 16 committees, which are extremely active with approximately 250 members serving. Many of our committees sponsor annual conferences, such as the Accounting & Auditing Conference, Health Care Services Seminar, Governmental Accounting & Auditing, Business Valuation or Non-Profits Conference.
Educators who are members of the association also hold a symposium each fall.
MBJ: What are the primary areas of focus for the association?
PC: The MSCPA has a strong continuing education program offering nearly 100 programs a year, in cities over the state. We administer a peer review program whereby CPA firms review each other’s work to help raise the quality of work. The MSCPA has an education foundation, which awards scholarships each fall to students pursuing an accounting degree. Our legislation committee, assisted by our lobbyist and the society staff, monitors legislation each session. We have a political action committee that approves contributions to legislative candidates who support a positive business climate. In addition to our committees that meet year-round, the MSCPA holds an annual convention each June, which is strongly supported by the membership.
MBJ: What are the benefits of membership in the MSCPA?
PC: Group insurance plans, discounts on education programs, participation in chapter activities at the local level and leadership opportunities through committees and the board.
MBJ: The MSCPA observes its 85th anniversary during 2005. Any special plans?
PC: We will move into our new society building on Highland Colony Parkway in September, which will provide expanded space and the opportunity to provide more services to the members.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org.