Honoring rock star CPAs

Oct. 16, 2017  |  Linda Wedul

This month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2018 nominees. And, about a week before that announcement, the MNCPA held its annual Celebrate CPAs event.

What’s the connection between rock and rollers and an MNCPA event? In my mind, the people honored at the Celebrate CPAs Awards Luncheon are the rock stars of the CPA profession.

Nine members received Life Membership for their contributions to the MNCPA. On average, each person had more than 40 years of MNCPA membership and, in total, served on more than 60 committees.

And, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Another 10 people were honored -- some for contributions as members and others as friends of the profession.

If we had a CPA Hall of Fame, the award winners most certainly would be members. The honorees at this event have full-time jobs, and they still find time to serve on committees that work to enhance the profession. They supervise staff and still find the energy to mentor others. They excel at jobs because of their knowledge and expertise, and willingly share knowledge with others creating a stronger and more resilient accounting profession. In a few cases, they are not CPAs, but they have donated time and expertise to support and defend the profession.

Matt Birk, a former member of the Minnesota Vikings, was the keynote speaker. Birk is a two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowl selection and a Super Bowl champion. And, maybe more importantly to some, a St. Paul native. Two points from his speech struck me as especially relevant to the event and the honorees in the room. First, “The fundamentals never change. But, you have to work on them every day -- you never ‘have’ it.” While he used football as an analogy, it applies equally to leadership. The fundamentals of leadership don’t change, but they require regular practice to stay strong.

In Birk’s closing, he pulled out his Super Bowl ring. Now that is an impressive ring, even from 40 feet away. But what he said was even more important: “If you aren’t enough without the ring, you won’t be enough with the ring.”

Award winners may think they were just doing their job, because in their mind they are only doing the fundamentals. And exemplary leadership is just that: an intentional and consistent execution of the fundamentals. They didn’t need the award to be enough, but the profession needs to honor and recognize their contributions so that others can be inspired by their actions and the impact they have on the profession and the community.

I know there are more exceptional members whose work deserves to be recognized. Next year, there will be another Celebrate CPAs ceremony. Right now, write down the name of a fellow CPA in your network that deserves to be recognized for their work and then email that name with a short description of their accomplishments and service to Anne Janotta Erickson [CB2] . We’ll take it from there.

The MNCPA Hall of Fame may not make the headlines, but its members definitely rock!

Topics: Leadership, MNCPA programs and activities

Linda Wedul

Linda Wedul is president and CEO of the MNCPA. She’s usually spotted at MNCPA events, introducing herself to members with a warm smile and memorable laugh. Mixed among the Footnotes, accounting journals, leadership books and three monitors in her office, you’d be surprised to see a dog kennel. Her unpaid job is volunteering as a foster family for service dogs in training through Can-Do-Canines. She and her husband have two adult children and live in Farmington. Linda can be reached at 952-885-5516 or

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