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The Process of Picking Valley’s Top CPAs

I never got into the newspaper business because it was inflexible, boring or absolutely black and white (I’m not talking about the printing process.) I got into it because it is tremendously exciting dealing with the issues of the day. Sometimes a newspaper can even set agendas as to what the issues of the day are. I got into it also because everyday you’re in the thick of things, making readers happy and making readers mad. It’s all very public. But because of this, you can’t expect to please everybody all the time. Everybody’s different and each reader wants something different. So it is with our Top 25 CPAs special report in this issue of the Business Journal. As you see, the Business Journal editorial staff under my supervision chose from a pool of more than 100 nominees 25 individuals who we felt exemplified the best in the Valley accounting profession. There were many more than 25 who are deserving of this honor. But 25 was the number and I had to do my job as an editor to choose only 25. Here was the editorial staff’s criteria as it chose the Top 25. – Finalists needed to be in leadership positions at an accounting firm or private or public company. – They all needed to have a good size book of business. We chose $1 million as a cutoff. Some CPAs didn’t want us to publish their book of business but we needed to know it internally to even consider the person. – We looked at significant achievements. Did they start a firm? Were they managing a firm? Were they implementing new ideas or growing a firm significantly? Because we were measuring accomplishments, it made it necessary for our honorees to be in the business for awhile usually at least 10 years. Community involvement was not considered in choosing the Top 25 just purely professional achievements. During the process, I had some concerned readers call and ask me if I was going to limit the number of CPAs that could be honored from a single firm. I didn’t. I felt that would limit too many fine accounting professionals. And as with all Business Journal special reports in which individuals or companies are selected to honor, the Top 25 CPAs were selected by the editorial department of our newspaper and the editorial department only. If you don’t agree with out criteria for choosing the Top 25, let me know. I had one person come up to me at the end of our event last week in which we honored the Top 25 and told me that she was very unhappy with our picks. She thought that largely it was the same old, same old a lot of people who have been honored before. She thought we should move things forward in the industry picking people that don’t get written about that much. We’re always looking for new ideas and to write about new people. I’m totally open to that. But those people who have made significant achievements in their professions year after year should not be ignored either. I think we have a great group of winners who we have written about in this issue and I think our process was fair and sound. If you feel differently, let me know. That’s the beauty of the newspaper business. It’s all very public and a free press is very flexible. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or at jschaff@sfvbj.com .

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