In his letter ("More on the Top 100 People," Dec. 14, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010), Mr. Bossin states that, "No one in your Top 100 People is truly a practitioner" and that, "No one on the list has made any difference to me during my 30-plus years of practice."
Respectfully, I disagree with his comments. I have been honored to be part of Accounting Today's Top 100 list and I am an active CPA sole practitioner for nearly 30 years. And there are others among the group. In terms of people who have or will make a difference:
* Karen Hawkins, who was in private practice as an attorney for 25 years, stepped up in 2009 to become the director of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Professional Responsibility, and is likely to be overseeing the most formidable transition in the delivery of tax prep services this country has ever seen.
* Krista McMasters is the first woman to lead a Top 20 firm. Having started her career with Clifton Gunderson right out of college, she rose through the ranks to become its CEO. She has been a practitioner her entire career, and as a leader of a national firm impacts upon the practice of accounting every day.
* The IRS commissioner, whomever that is at the time, impacts the accounting profession dramatically. And, Mr. Bossin, when your Houston area was impacted by 9/11 or by hurricanes, it was the commissioner of the IRS who directed relief. I don't think any CPA will forget that Sept. 15 deadline of 2001 that was extended unilaterally by the commissioner's sole decision for everyone in the country by the stroke of his pen, as just the first part of a nationally coordinated relief effort. I know because I was there at the time.
* Nina Olson, our National Taxpayer Advocate, fights a constant battle in protecting taxpayers from an overzealous IRS and recommending congressional reforms.
* Then there is Paul Caron, the publisher of TaxProf Blog, one of the best free resources for tax information in the country, whose timely information helps thousands.
* And, Mr. Bossin, if you have ever done an offer in compromise before the IRS, those rules were negatively impacted by Congress a few years ago, and Sens. Grassley and Baucus took responsibility for that and have been leading virtually all tax legislative initiatives for a decade. You don't think the complexity of their enactments and the frequency of such changes impact your practice every day?
Suffice it to say, the Top 100 clearly impact the profession, and mostly in a positive way. And there are dozens who are current or past practitioners. I am proud to be recognized for my efforts and to be associated with the overwhelming majority (i.e., not Bernie Madoff) who work toward improving tax administration or our accounting profession.
I find the generalizations made by Mr. Bossin, and the earlier letter from Joseph Conrad that he quotes, to be narrow-minded negative generalizations. As one learns about what each of the Top 100 does and the variety of the selections that Accounting Today has made, one just has to be impressed by the extensive work Accounting Today has done to generate their list.
E. Martin Davidoff, CPA, Esq.
As one honored in your Top 100 People feature, I feel I must respond to the most recent comment of Elliott Bossin, CPA.
For the record, I have practiced in the same local CPA firm of Brink & Sadler, in Lakewood, Wash., since joining Don Brink in forming the firm in 1972. Although I sold my interest in the firm to the continuing partners in 2002, I continued to work as an employee. As chair and now past chair of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, I have always done my best to represent the interests of CPAs in public practice, especially those in the small firms. Just as small business is the driver of the U.S. economy and employment, also essential is the contribution and the health of the small CPA firms that serve them. I have always been a strong advocate for common-sense standards, meaningful peer review, and fair and efficient regulation.
I am sorry Mr. Bossin doesn't know them, but you can assure him there are thousands of CPAs volunteering their time and devoting their personal resources to make a difference to CPAs like him.
Thomas J. Sadler, CPA, ABV, CFF, CFE
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