Louisville, Ky. (May 14, 2003) -- He’s not a CPA, nor did he ever want to be, but Bernard “Ben” Gratzer has done much for Kentucky accountants during his tenure as executive director of the Kentucky State Society of CPAs. Now, after 31 years, he is retiring.

Gratzer, 64, will officially retire June 30 after the society's annual meeting, but he plans to stay active on behalf of Kentucky CPAs.

“I am going to enjoy my retirement. I am financially set from this job and from my military pension, but I love lobbying and enjoy the legislative process,” Gratzer said. “If I do anything it will be for the CPAs in this state.”

He also noted that his replacement has been found, though the person has not officially accepted the position. An announcement will be made on May 19, though Grazer did indicate that it is “someone with 20 years experience at a professional association.”

In his role as executive director, Gratzer has been charged with developing the 4,800-member organization's educational efforts and public policy work. He has been involved with lobbying efforts on the local and national level, and he often travels throughout the state meeting with members.

Gratzer said the high point of his career was when Kentucky CPA Olivia Kirtley was named the first woman to chair the American Institute of CPAs in 2000.

“Part of my job is to call the right people and get them active, and I called her one day and said ‘You’re good at taxes, you should be on the federal tax committee,” Gratzer recalls. “She did that and when I saw her installed as first woman CPA and the first Kentuckian to chair the AICPA, I cried.”

And the low-point? Half-jokingly, Gratzer said, “I think we are pretty close to that right now, but I can’t let everyone get down about Sarbanes-Oxley, GAO standards and all that. I let them know that we need to focus on the vision of confidence and integrity and we [the industry] will get back on track.”

-- Seth Fineberg

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