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Marsha Moffitt Looking for Future CPAs Down for the Count

3 min read

Marsha Moffitt was named executive director of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants in Little Rock in 2015 after spending the previous 21 years on the staff. Moffitt, 54, started her career working for a CPA firm in Jacksonville before joining the society as a peer review administrator in 1995. Moffitt, who isn’t a CPA, was soon named membership manager and was named interim executive director to replace Bruce Alt before taking over full time. “It has been a whirlwind ever since,” Moffitt said.

Moffitt and her husband, Alan, have a grown son, four dogs and three “very old” cats.

What are ASCPA members saying about the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017?
This is the most comprehensive tax legislation to be passed in 30-plus years, affecting every taxpayer. How it affects each taxpayer is different, which makes it all the more challenging for CPAs to plan and advise their clients accordingly. Not all taxpayers will see lower taxes due to the limitation on deducting state and local taxes, as well as the elimination of personal exemptions and miscellaneous itemized deductions.

The legislation is neither simple nor permanent. Taxpayers were told early on that they could file on a postcard; but there are eight pages of forms and schedules that actually replace the old two-page Form 1040. CPAs are answering more questions this year than ever before, and they plan to reach out to more of their clients during this year to be better prepared for what might happen when it’s time to file their tax returns. CPAs need more guidance from the IRS, especially on the new Section 199A deduction,a pass-through deduction for business owners.

What are your long-term goals for the ASCPA?
Almost half of our membership falls within the baby boomer generation, so we are working to rebuild our pool of upcoming leaders. One way to do this is by launching a leadership academy in 2019 for young CPAs, geared specifically for the accounting profession.

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We are also working closely with Arkansas colleges and universities, in partnership with the American Institute of CPAs, to strengthen the pipeline by promoting the accounting profession to students. Statistics show that 1 in 3 graduates with accounting degrees actually become CPAs. That’s not many to replace the large number of baby boomer CPAs that are retiring. A 2017 AICPA study shows that finding and retaining qualified staff is a struggle shared by CPA firms of all sizes.

Why should CPAs join your organization?
We are the professional home for CPAs. It is our mission to promote membership for all licensed CPAs and to provide a forum for personal and professional interaction to exchange ideas and experiences. We advocate for our members, both locally and nationally. We provide education that helps members meet licensing requirements. We work to maintain the integrity of the CPA designation, as well as the licensing process. We promote services performed by CPAs, which encompass integrity, objectivity and competence in the profession.

What legislation would you and the ASCPA like to see enacted?
Both the ASCPA and the AICPA have been discussing the need for firm mobility. I expect that discussion to continue. Every other year, members of our leadership have an opportunity to visit with Arkansas legislators in Washington, D.C. We will be doing that again in May 2019 as part of the annual spring Meeting of Council with the AICPA.

What is your leadership philosophy?
In order to lead, you must listen. I admit that I struggle with that one sometimes.

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