By Bill Ezzell
I recently had a unique honor and privilege as a CPA and a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. On May 8, 2015, I had the distinct honor of giving the commencement address for the master of accounting program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am an alumnus of the university, so being asked to come back for this occasion was very special and humbling.
After the ceremony, I was able to meet many of the 147 graduates, and they are quite an impressive group of new entrants into the profession.
I spoke about what it meant to me to be part of such a great profession, and the obligation that I feel we all have to uphold the hallmarks of the CPA credential: independence, objectivity, competence, and integrity. I shared a few situations from my career related to detection of fraud, and when I was pushed by a client to accept an inappropriate accounting treatment. In each of these situations, I was able to get to the right answer with the support of my firm and others in the profession.
I encouraged these graduates to go forth with the comfort that they too will receive support from the profession during their careers. I truly believe that we each benefit from the strong reputation of the profession which was built and nurtured by those who have come before us, and thus, we have an obligation to enhance that reputation for those who follow in future generations.
Now a member of NCACPA’s Board of Directors, Bill served on the Board of Directors of the AICPA from 1998-2004 and as its Chairman from 2002-2003. In addition, he served as President of the Board of Trustees of the AICPA Foundation and was one of the original six members of the Pathways Commission. Further, in 2009, he was awarded AICPA’s highest service recognition, the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, and in 2011, the American Accounting Association recognized Bill with the Outstanding Service Award. In 2012, Bill retired from Deloitte LLP after 37 years as an audit professional.