Jackson — When Vance Randall assumes the presidency of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) next month, it will be with the same professionalism and dedication to service that he’s used in the accounting field for more than 30 years. Randall, 59, is senior tax partner at the Jackson-based GranthamPoole accounting firm.
A conversation with him about his chosen profession is peppered with comments regarding his desire to serve clients and members of the MSCPA. “Satisfying the needs of clients is what I’ve enjoyed most about being a CPA and I have no regrets about going into this field,” he said. “Every day I try to serve our clients to the best of my ability.”
He has been active in the professional association for a number of years, serving as chairman of the taxation committee, treasurer, chairman of the professional conduct committee and as a trustee of the Mississippi Tax Institute.
He sees the presidency as a three-year stint consisting of president-elect, president and past president serving on the board of directors. He will have more definite plans for his year of active presidency after meeting with the board in July. He has met with presidents of other state associations in preparation for this service and has enjoyed learning how they do things.
The presidency will take up a slice of his time, but Randall is looking forward to the next 12 months. “I will visit the seven state chapters and go to national association board meetings,” he said. “The main purpose of the MSCPA is to serve members in different ways. In my career, the association has been a good resource and this is a way to give something back.”
Randall isn’t overly concerned about scandals involving accountants in recent years. “It was just a handful involved,” he said. “The vast majority are not involved and do the right thing. Our members pledge to keep the association’s code of ethics.”
The Meridian native decided in high school to become an accountant and earned a degree from the University of Mississippi where he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honorary Fraternity. “I liked math. It was just something I always enjoyed doing,” he said, “and I like working with people and finding solutions.”
Shortly after college graduation, he went to work for an accounting firm in Jackson doing audit and tax work. He became more specialized in tax and stayed with it.
“I learned quickly that a lot of what you do on the job is not the same as in school,” he says. “Tax work was my leaning because it’s something different every day and the laws are changing every year.”
He likes helping clients save on their taxes and getting the best results he can for them. That may mean doing battle with the Internal Revenue Service and the state but he’s prepared to do that, too. Practicing CPAs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing professional education each year but Randall completes 60 to 80 hours.
“The complexities of tax laws are the biggest changes I’ve seen in accounting,” he said. “Even though the government tries to make it simple, it’s not.”
He and the other 55 employees at the GranthamPoole firm try to maintain a life during tax season, but Randall said they worked longer hours than usual this year due to havoc wrought by Hurricane Katrina. They hope to get back to normal next year.
“I have a fairly laid back personality,” he says. “In the heat of tax season you can’t get too stressed out.”
There have also been a lot of technology changes in his years of accounting. “It makes a difference. When I started we did tax returns manually,” he said. “It would be hard to do them that way now. We can be much more productive because of technology.”
On the personal front, Vance Randall and his wife, the former Tricia Watson, have been married 36 years and are the parents of two daughters, Sara Whelan Morgan and Elizabeth. Younger daughter Elizabeth is a junior in high school. Sara, who is also a CPA, brought a lot of excitement to the Randall family with the birth of twins, Will and McClain, on June 5. All live in Jackson so grandparenting will be convenient for the Randalls.
“I’m a proud grandfather and with a high school student at home, it’s a full life,” he said.
Randall also enjoys tennis and golf, is active with the Optimist Club of Jackson and First Presbyterian Church where he serves on the high school committee.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.