Help  |  Pay an Invoice  |  My Account  |  CPE Log  |  Log in


Chuck Selcer

Ethics expounder for 40 years

March 16, 2023

Chuck Selcer

Chuck Selcer doesn’t need to worry about the length or substance of his curriculum vitae — in fact, it’s not something with which he’s ever concerned himself.

The core of Selcer’s motivation is how he’s spent his life, and how the CPA credential has led him down a path that he was willing to embrace every twist that presented itself.

"If I lose those three initials, I can't make a living,” he said. “I worked hard to earn them. I cherish them."

Selcer, a founder of Schechter Dokken Kanter CPAs, has more than 40 years in the profession, has written the Ethics column in the MNCPA Footnote for more than three decades, has taught for nearly 20 years and currently serves as the chair of the Minnesota Board of Accountancy.

None of this was by design.

"You go where the trail leads you and you don't necessarily fight it," he said.

Be who you are

Among the Minnesota accounting circles (and readers of Footnote), Selcer is known for his sharp wit and straightforwardness. Did you read in Footnote about the problem facing Frank D’Skushin? Are you familiar with Cassius Czech? Perhaps Duncan Ball rings a bell? Welcome to the mind of Chuck Selcer.

What you see is certainly what you get — and it’s worked for him.

"When I come to the office, I don't have to be a different person than when I'm away from the office," Selcer said.

That doesn’t stop with his personality. It extends to his personal values, founded on service, a trait he likes to see in the clients with whom he works and the altruistic organizations he supports. It’s a principle that has led Chuck through life.

"I feel so blessed that I have clients who are making the world a better place," he said.

And he’s charitable with his time. In addition to serving on the Minnesota BOA, he’s been involved with, among other organizations, the Spina Bifida Association of America, the Jewish Community Foundation, the Phillips Eye Institute Foundation, the Sholom Community Alliance and Feline Rescue.

Selcer has pledged to give until his last breath — both with his time, and with his money.

"I want to die destitute," he said. "I want to run out of money the day I die by giving away money to charities I care about."

We need a teacher

Like a lot of young professionals, Selcer debated belonging to a professional organization. In 1981, that changed.

“I was wrong,” he said after joining the MNCPA. "It was exceedingly beneficial to my practice — to mingle with other CPAs. I found out that our profession is very collegial. We help each other in this profession.”

Chuck eventually joined the MNCPA Professional Ethics Committee and, a few years later, became chair. His goal for the committee? Become a greater resource for the members rather than purely a punitive group.

Enter the Footnote Ethics Q&A in 1990. Now, 33 years later, he still enjoys penning it for each issue.

“I really get a kick out of it,” he said.

After Minnesota enacted an ethics requirement following the accounting issues of Enron and its ilk in the early 2000s, Chuck was called on again, known for his steadfastness around ethics, to begin teaching, both for the MNCPA and at colleges and universities around the nation.

"I find that really rewarding," he said. "It's not a reflection on who I am at all or whether or not that I am ethical. I am no more or less ethical than others. I have the same issues as others have. I like to think I have an influence on people's careers. I don't necessarily show them the way, but I get them to thinking about certain things."

All of that experience made Chuck a perfect candidate for the Minnesota BOA, which he joined in 2015, after being appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, and later reappointed by Gov. Tim Walz. Chuck became chair in 2021.

For 40 years, between those early days of MNCPA involvement to writing, teaching, 12 years on the AICPA Technical Standards Board and serving on a not-for-profit committee for 80 national firms, it all is tied together by a simple mission.

"We have to enforce our ethics, but we have to keep ethics in front of people,” Chuck said. “We need to have them think about it, and then we don't have to enforce it as much."

Oh, and his advice for today’s CPAs who say they don’t have time to get involved?

Make room for volunteering now.

"With greater responsibilities come greater time needs.”

Topics: Member Profiles

Corey Butler

Corey Butler is the MNCPA communications manager, working to enhance the professional reputations of members through content, media relations and public affairs. He's been with the MNCPA since 2013. Corey keeps busy outside of the MNCPA spending time with his wife and children, serving on his local school board, volunteering in his community and catching up on long-lost hobbies. Corey enjoys the works of John Steinbeck and Rankin/Bass Productions, and Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood and Santa Claus lore. You may reach him at 952-885-5530 or

Blog Posts by this author