During the nearly seven years that I have been covering the accounting profession, I've conducted countless interviews, written more than a thousand stories on topics ranging from financial planning to fraud, attended no less than 40 accounting-related conferences in more than 15 states, and penned some 80 columns for this space.

Through it all, I have learned far more about the myriad issues facing the profession and its members than I ever could've imagined. I can rattle off the city, state and names of the managing partners for at least half of the firms on the Top 100 Firms List (a project to which I also owe my hard-earned mastery of Excel). I have memorized a list of acronyms that could fill a phone book. And I learned how to pack five days' worth of business attire into a carry-on bag. I've also been lucky enough to have gained some terrific sources and wonderful friends along the way.

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