FICPA Chair Joey Epstein

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Joey Epstein

On July 1st, Joey Epstein, CPA, CGMA began his term as Council Chair of the FICPA. Chances are, on that day, he was wearing an orange shirt. Or orange slacks. Or orange shorts or sneakers.
Or an orange hat or tie. Or even an orange watch.

“I used to call it an orange ‘fetish’ but it’s really an orange ‘sickness,’” Epstein said. “It covers my three favorite football teams – the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.”

Originally from Chicago, Epstein earned his accounting degree in 1976 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

“I always knew I was going to be a business major,” he said. “My dad said accounting was the best business major, and many corporate CEOs were CPAs. My dad was not a CPA or an accounting major!”

Epstein is CFO of JetSmarter Inc. Formerly a director for RSM US LLP, he provided audit, accounting, tax and consulting advice to law firms and other professional- service organizations, as well as wholesale distributors and software-development organizations. He has handled financial audits, income and sales-tax audits and tax planning, and has assisted clients with exit strategies. He is certified in Florida sales and use tax and holds a Health and Life, including Variable Annuity Insurance License from the State of Florida.

Epstein is a member of the AICPA Council. He serves on the Florida CPA/PAC Board of Directors and is serving his ninth term on the FICPA Council. He has served on the FICPA State Legislative Policy Committee for over 20 years and has chaired it several times.

“Joey is extremely interested in how the political and legislative process affects our profession,” said FICPA President/CEO Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA. “During his 35-year membership, he has dedicated much of his time to helping ensure CPAs remain protected while advocating for sound business practices. His expertise in this area is of great value in his position as chair.”

In addition to his FICPA volunteerism, Epstein is an active volunteer in his Fort Lauderdale community. He is a Board member of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, The FLITE Center and the Florida Association for Child Care Management. He is audit chair of ChildNet and a Board member and treasurer of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association and Business for the Arts of Broward. He is treasurer of Broward Days and a member of the Florida Bar Foundation Audit/Finance Committee; the Executive Board of Legal Aid of Broward; and the Ambassador’s Board of Nova Southeastern University.

Epstein and his wife, Kip, have been married 28 years. Their son, Brad and his wife, Risa, live in Marietta, Ga. Epstein’s sisters, Jill and Jami, and his mother, Cookie, all live in South Florida.

In his limited spare time Epstein plays golf, and he and his wife love going to the movies.

“We’re big movie fans, yet my favorite movie is Blazing Saddles,” he said.” We also enjoy dinner with great wine, especially reds. Two of my favorites are Peter Michael Les Pavots and Joseph Phelps Insignia.”

When it comes to juggling the responsibilities of family, his career and FICPA leadership, Epstein takes the NIKE® approach.

“It really isn’t anything I think about,” he said. “I just do it.”

Here are some of Epstein’s thoughts about working in the accounting profession, and about FICPA membership and leadership.

Q. The FICPA has had tens of thousands of members since it was founded in 1905, but only 89 members have served as its president or chair. So, becoming chair of this organization is a tremendous professional achievement. What kind of person does it take to successfully serve in this position?
A. It takes someone who’s strong and not afraid to make decisions. And, theoretically, it takes someone who’s politically correct (which sometimes isn’t my strong suit!). The chair also needs to be a consensus builder, and be knowledgeable about our profession and its direction and issues.

Q. What have you enjoyed most about being in FICPA leadership? What would you say is the most difficult thing about serving in a leadership position?
A. I’ve enjoyed the constant interaction and feeling like I’ve  given back to the profession in a meaningful way.   I’ve also enjoyed being an integral part of the legislative process for so many years, particularly as it relates to the FICPA. The most difficult thing, I think, is to be patient with people and the process.

Q.  You’ve  been  involved  with  the  Florida  CPA/PAC  for several years. What would you tell members about the FICPA’s advocacy efforts and how they impact the profession? Why should members be engaged in the process?
A. To me, advocating for the CPA profession is the most important thing we do. If the FICPA hadn’t been so active in the legislative process all these years, our profession would look  much  different  (and  not  in  a  good  way)  in Florida. We fight the battle all the time to get more members engaged. Unfortunately, they generally  have no interest unless they find something that affects their individual practice or  company.

Q. Tell us what working in public accounting, and now in industry, have taught you. What lessons have you learned, and what advice would you offer other CPAs?
A. Always be honest and ethical in our profession and strive to represent us well. There’s plenty of business for everyone, so be honest and ethical all the time.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about the accounting profession? Is there anything you don’t like about your profession? If so, what, and how do you handle it?

A. I love the networking but don’t like the technical, nitty-gritty grind. Even though I’m a CPA, I’m not a detail person!

Q. If you had to do your career over again, would you do anything differently? If so, how would you do it, and why?
A. I’d live my life the exact same way (since I’d never be able to afford to own an NFL team!). I’m very happy with my career path and where I am today.

Q. What would you say are the biggest benefits of FICPA membership?
A. Getting to meet and interact with other CPAs from around the state, and staying legislatively active. FICPA membership also has allowed me to become a member of AICPA Council. It’s exciting (a broad use of the word!) to stay abreast of our profession, both statewide and nationally.

Q. What would you say are the most important challenges the FICPA faces today? During your year as Council Chair, how will you help the Institute tackle those problems?

A. I’d say our biggest challenges are keeping members engaged and providing them with value.  Our  2016- 2017 FICPA Business Plan  includes  several  initiatives  that address our goals in this area. Among them are expanding our market-development efforts; increasing engagement and participation among Young CPAs; and enhancing member value for students, to  encourage  their transition to full membership after graduation.

About the FICPA


Founded in 1905, the Florida Institute of CPAs is a Tallahassee-based, statewide, professional association representing member-CPAs throughout Florida. With a membership of more than 19,000 CPAs, the Institute’s mission is to serve the diverse needs of its members; enhance their competency and professionalism; support professional standards; promote the value of our members; and advocate on behalf of the profession.