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Randy Zats

Creating pathways for future CPAs

June 14, 2022

Randy Zats You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to start where you are.
 
It’s a philosophy that MNCPA member Randy Zats, CPA has used throughout his accounting career, wellness journey and volunteerism — particularly in addressing the talent pipeline shortage.
 
There’s a lot of talk about what accountants can do to make the profession more appealing to younger generations. Randy has been doing his part through a partnership with Step Up, also known as Achieve Minneapolis (now Achieve Twin Cities). The program opens opportunities for Minneapolis students while bolstering the accounting profession’s talent pipeline.
 
He learned about the program while working as a controller with The Minikahda Club and decided to participate by bringing on a summer intern to help in the accounting office. It proved to be a success and Minikahda continued to have an intern three years in a row. The internships were six weeks, part time and available to high school juniors and seniors. 
 
“They received a paycheck and they also got experience working in an office,” Randy said. “I think it added a lot to Minikahda, too; the students come from diverse backgrounds, so it was a win-win for everyone.”
 
Unlike the students he mentors, Randy began his pathway into accounting a little later in life. After graduating with a degree in international studies, he found himself up against the challenging economy of the early 1980s. At the urging of a friend, he decided to enter a graduate accounting program at the University of Minnesota.
 
Randy in front of his Community Center building“A friend of mine said I have the right personality for accounting,” he said.
 
His friend was right. Randy has spent many years in the profession, primarily working as a controller. He’s currently finance director at the Minnesota Jewish Community Center and enjoys being the go-to person for everything financial in the business.
 
“I’ve been in small businesses, large businesses — Fortune 500 — entrepreneurial, and I really enjoy giving financial advice to company management and helping businesses grow,” Randy said.
 
Outside of the office, Randy makes staying in shape a priority by riding his bike, hitting the gym and participating in two or three 5Ks a year.
 
“Regardless of what shape your body is in, you’re good enough and you start where you are. … It’s a good philosophy because so often we think, OK, ‘I’ve got to be ready for the Olympics,’ but it doesn’t work like that.”
 
He has also been a member of the MNCPA for two decades and has volunteered his skills and expertise through participation in multiple task forces, including the Management & Business Advisers Conference (MBAC). His contributions have been incalculable, according to Anna Decker, MNCPA conference coordinator who oversees MBAC.
 
“Randy is wonderful to work with and an asset to the MBAC task force. He reaches out year-round with ideas for the next conference and facilitates connections between his contacts and me,” she said. “It’s clear that he cares deeply about the accounting profession.”
 
Likewise, Randy said the MNCPA has been an asset.
 
“I’m just very happy to be an avid MNCPA member,” he said, noting the benefit of continuing education offerings of all sizes and the HR Hotline.

Topics: Member Profiles

Rachel Kats

Rachel Kats is the MNCPA communications coordinator, working to develop and produce publications, activities and programs that promote the CPA profession. Rachel keeps busy outside of the MNCPA by spending time with her husband and pets. She enjoys traveling, drawing, long walks, watching Jeopardy, gardening and cooking. You may reach her at 952-885-5533 or rkats@mncpa.org.

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