Michael Biondo, a tax manager at the Buffalo, N.Y.,-based firm of Freed Maxick CPAs PC -- also know as as Duke Maynard von dem Steine in the kingdom of AEthelmearc -- was recently selected as Accounting Today’s newest Accountant of the Month.
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The news was posted on Accounting Today’s Facebook page in late July. Biondo’s passion for recreating the romantic chivalrous era of the Middle Ages proves that “accountants aren’t boring.”
Biondo found his calling at the age of 18 when he was a freshman at the University of Buffalo. He saw a student dressed head to toe in combat armor posting SCA flyers around campus. He attended the informative meeting and has been hooked ever since.
Biondo journeyed into the kingdom of AEthelmearc, located in the western part of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He moved up the community ladder by winning fighting awards, which earned him the title of a knight. It usually takes more than 10 years of service and weekly fencing and combat training to become a knight. “It’s like getting your black belt in karate. Once you’re a knight, you’re a knight forever.” As a knight, Biondo was able to take on his next challenge … becoming the king of AEthelmearc.
Each kingdom has a king and queen who reign over the land for six months. First-time kings are honored with the title of count, and countess for a queen. Those who become king and queen more than once are named duke and duchess. “I’ve actually been a king of our kingdom twice,” he said, explaining that there isn’t a limit to how many times a person can rule over a kingdom -- as long as they keep winning tournaments. Biondo will take another shot at the crown when he competes in October.
Given that Biondo has ruled as king more than once, he now goes by Duke Maynard von dem Steine. It’s a “persona” that he picked when he joined the society. The personas are usually people who may have lived in the Middle Ages, and Biondo’s persona was a 14th century German crusader. “I have German roots in my family, and I have always been interested in the northern crusades in Prussia and Lithuania.”
The firm’s marketing department encouraged Biondo to enter the AotM contest. “Becoming Accountant of the Month is a great honor. In the last few months I passed the CPA Exam and have been promoted to manager, so this was icing on the cake,” said Biondo. His winnings include free registration for the Accounting Today Growth & Profitability Summit this fall, social media promotion and a personalized caricature.
Read more about the contest, and see our next AotM, on our Facebook page.