Despite the fact that my job entails frequent use of the written word, I've never been comfortable writing birthday or anniversary cards. I usually let my wife and children fill in the inside jacket with sentimental prose, which somehow generates all the warmth of a plumber's wrench when I have a go at it.However, one special birthday/anniversary I'll gladly wax poetic on is Accounting Today's 20th.

A successful 20-year run is laudable in most business endeavors, but for print publications, it's an eternity. With the publishing graveyard regularly erecting new tombstones for hundreds of print start-ups that failed, Accounting Today has never wavered in its position as the newspaper for the tax and accounting community.

On an October Monday in 1987, many of you received the inaugural issue, a black, white and green tearsheet published biweekly on newsprint-style stock, whose annual subscription rate was $39. The editor at the time, the late Robert Crane, wrote the issue's first opinion piece, explaining to the new readership how Accounting Today would fill a much-needed vacuum.

Twenty years later, we still feel very much the same way.

Crane mused that had Rip Van Winkle, CPA, fallen asleep 20 years before, it's doubtful that he would have recognized the accounting profession circa 1987. Although much has transpired and changed in the ensuing decades, it's equally remarkable how much has remained the same in the profession.

For example, a sampling of the top issues of 1987 include the dearth of women partners at Arthur Young (30 out of 800 total); a significant rise in liability insurance premiums sparked by a $80 million settlement from a firm over an auditing client; and colleges reporting a decline in the number of accounting students, leading to a future hiring crunch for firms.

As an accompaniment to our special anniversary, we've included a timeline (see page 32), carefully chosen from our headlines of the past 20 years, which is sure to jog your memory to the tune of, "Oh yeah, I remember that."

When I assumed the editor's post here seven years ago, I obviously inherited a strong brand made possible by the many folks who laid the foundation for me - people like Bob Crane and the late Stan Slom, my immediate predecessor Rick Telberg, and the irrepressible Eli Mason, whose opinions and observations over the years may have elicited different reactions, but were always well-read. Or like long-time columnists Paul Miller and Paul Bahnson, Ed Ketz, George Jones and Mark Luscombe, Gary Boomer, Peter Berkery, and Bob Rywick, as well as a dependable cadre of stringers like Glenn Cheney and Ken Rankin, and our current and past staff, whose only demand over the years has been that I leave them alone so they can work.

For those who have been with us from the beginning, we hope you have enjoyed the ride. For our newer readers, we hope you'll be with us when we celebrate our 40th.

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