Many people know I am a California CPA. However, I was an Arizona CPA before I was a California CPA. Shortly after I graduated from college I went to Phoenix to work for a Big Four CPA firm, only then they were part of the Big Eight. Through mergers and the demise of Arthur Anderson, the Big Eight became the Big Four.
I lived in Scottsdale with my parents and my two sons. I was a single parent, fresh from divorce, and we all pulled together to survive. Every morning I would drive to the Del Webb Townhouse (a business building) in downtown Phoenix, take the elevator to the 14th floor and start working. My drive often took me right by Arizona State University in Tempe, where I would see the ASU Sun Devils football players scrimmaging.
I was really into politics even then. I worked in Republican headquarters calling registered voters, urging them to vote for the GOP candidate for governor. Strangely enough, he lost to the Democrat, a man of Mexican descent. How's that for irony?
One evening when I was working in the headquarters, Barry Goldwater dropped by. He was running for reelection as the U.S. Senator from Arizona. I got to meet him and shake his hand. Since he was one of our tax clients, I mentioned to him that I worked for his accounting firm. "Oh yeah," he said, "they keep me out of jail!" We laughed. Goldwater was wearing a gray suit and black cowboy boots. I'll never forget that. He won reelection handily. In the primary election for president I voted for Ronald Reagan against Gerald Ford. Reagan lost but I still have his campaign button, as shiny and new as they day I got it in downtown Phoenix.
That was all thirty years ago, but my Arizona CPA certificate still hangs on my wall here at home, right next to my California one. Arizona is more than a news item to me.