The Indiana CPA Society marked its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, May 6.

Originally formed in 1915 as the Indiana Association of Certified Public Accountants, the organization has grown to become one of the largest professional associations in Indiana, counting more than 8,000 members. The organization’s name was changed and shortened to Indiana CPA Society in 1979.

The association's founding followed shortly after the creation of the CPA designation in Indiana on March 9, 1915. On that date, legislation was passed by the Indiana General Assembly to begin issuing CPA certificates in the state of Indiana for professionals who desired to earn the CPA designation. Less than two months later, five Indianapolis area businessmen—Charles Freeman, Horatio Roney, Arthur Holt, Charles Coen and Washington Lowe—helped incorporate what was known then as the IACPA.

To celebrate this historic occasion, the Society is planning a centennial gala called CPA Celebration on May 15. More than 800 are expected to attend the event, including 27 past presidents and chairs of the board of INCPAS (the title of the top volunteer leader of the organization was changed from president to chair of the board in 1999). The event will be held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis.

“This is an exciting time … a monumental moment,” said current INCPAS chair Kent Williams in a statement. “It is a time to celebrate and a time to reflect upon our past. But it's also an opportunity to look to the future. I think that as a Society we do have an incredible opportunity but it's coupled with a significant responsibility. To make sure that we don't squander what's been built and that we continue to build upon it. We can enjoy the moment, but continue to persevere, be innovative in our thinking and be entrepreneurial just like the early leaders of our association were."

To recognize the centennial anniversary, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Concurrent Resolution No. 33 and read it in both the House and Senate chambers on March 9. The resolution concludes with "That the Indiana General Assembly and the residents of Indiana join INCPAS members in celebrating the Society's 100-year milestone and its long history of successful achievements on behalf of its members and the state of Indiana during the week of May 10-16, 2015."

Williams and INCPAS chair-elect Steve Beardsley represented the Society at the resolution readings in both the House and the Senate. INCPAS produced a two-minute video of the presentation including an interview with Williams.

The Society has also developed a 144-page commemorative history book and an accompanying 13-minute documentary-style video that chronicles the organization's activities and achievements through the years. The book and DVD package will be given to attendees at the May 15 event and sold throughout the year to Society members. Indianapolis-area author and film producer Todd Gould served as the historian for the Society and oversaw both projects.

In the Society's history, only four individuals have served as chief staff executive. First was Roy Steele from 1948-56. Upon Steele's death, Mary Ann Shingledecker held the position from 1956-59. After Shingledecker's retirement, Jack Noble led the organization for 30 years until his retirement in 1989. Gary Bolinger, who had been on the INCPAS staff for five years at the time, took over for Noble and has been with the organization for 31 years. The current INCPAS staff numbers 20.

The two-minute video appears below:


"One hundred years is a significant milestone for any organization," said Bolinger, the current president and CEO. "The fact that the Society and its members have been able to grow, thrive and impact business in Indiana over such a long period time says a lot about the volunteer leadership and dedicated membership. We will continue to innovate, educate, advocate and lead as we begin our second 100 years, just as we have done for our first 100 years.”

To attract attention to the occasion and create a keepsake, Society staff traversed the state last fall with a large banner imprinted with the 100-year logo. Hundreds of INCPAS members signed the banner, which was framed and is currently displayed in the Society's office.

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