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CPAs and Cessnas: Roy Mitchell, CPA discusses his professional and personal passions: Roy has spent more than 30 years as a tax professional. He takes great pride in his OSCPA membership as well as his profession. Roy shares what is important to him about his experiences with the Society, accounting awareness among college students, and Ohio's tax code.


I understand your hobby is flying. How long have you been a pilot and what first piqued your interest in the pastime?

Flying is more of a passion than a pastime. I have been interested in flying for as long as I can remember, but I first acted on this interest in 1994. By 1999 I had my pilot's license. I share a four-seater Cessna 182 with another person. For me the initials CPA also mean "Can Pilot an Airplane."

I understand that you have flown to some of OSCPA's Professional Issues Updates (PIU). What cities have you flown to and how do you get to the event from there?

I try to fly to business events whenever I can. I have flown to several PIU locations, including Lima, Cleveland, Mansfield, Youngstown and most recently Toledo. Virtually every county in Ohio has at least one airport. Last year I even flew to Orlando, Florida for a seminar. Regardless of the destination, after I arrive at the airport, I make my way to the event by taxi or courtesy car. Some facilities even offer drop off services.

Why do you choose to fly rather than drive to these events?

I take driving from one place to another for granted most of the time. Flying is a more spiritual experience. I never take my safety for granted when I am flying to a destination, and it keeps me more in tune with the presence of God.

What is the greatest benefit of your OSCPA membership?

Having the opportunity to share information and ideas with peers as well as members of the community has been very rewarding. I have travelled to many different cities talking with other CPAs about their areas of expertise. Having spent earlier 10 years with the IRS as an agent and group manager, I can share with other CPAs more than 30 years of experience in the tax industry. For the past seven or eight years I have enjoyed being a part of the WCPO local tax call-in show in Cincinnati where I advise taxpayers who have questions or concerns about filing their income tax returns. My OSCPA membership helps me give back to the community.

You mentioned that you have thought about succession in your firm. What do you feel has been your biggest obstacle in succession planning?

The greatest challenge in creating a succession plan is trying to anticipate what the future will hold, and then developing strategies to accommodate those changes. There have been times when individuals I thought would succeed me ended up moving away from accounting. Your plan has to be flexible enough to change with the unknown future.

How do you think the accounting profession can engage more minority students?

There's an unfortunate understatement of the value of human diversity in our society. Few people would limit their tossed salads to exclusively lettuce, or their investment portfolio to exclusively XYZ Corp, or the military to exclusively the US Coast Guard. Yet there is still a significant portion of America that does not recognize the inherent innovation and creativity that flows from diversity in human capital.

The accounting profession can engage more students from historically underutilized communities by first making it clear that the profession does recognize the value that they bring. Secondly, I believe there should be even greater interactions between accounting professionals and accounting professors. They both share the objective of building a stronger pool of professionals for both current and future challenges.

What is the biggest challenge that Ohio's tax code presents to Ohio businesses?

The big picture is for businesses to determine what services, if any, they want from state government, and then ascertain a reasonable "cost" to pay for those services. Once the amount is derived, then the tax code and Department of Taxation should focus on assessing and collecting in a manner that is efficient and practical.

Clearly this is an oversimplification. However, I believe an objective cost-benefit discussion will be far more effective in improving our system of taxation than emotional arguments about taxes being too high or state services being too expensive. The discussion of course must continue to include, "We The People."

If you could change anything about Ohio's tax code, what would it be?

The state has already begun to move in the direction of simplifying and stabilizing rules for businesses, and I would like to see that continue. Being part of the Ohio Tax Liaison Forum, I voice my concerns to the state and discuss many tax-related issues with representatives. The state has been very responsive to suggestions made by tax professionals from this group and I am pleased with the direction we are heading. However, I believe there is still much to do.

Roy Mitchell, CPA


"Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God ..."


Excessive clutter! I collect pictures and statues of eagles.


I have a weakness for popcorn.


I'm still working on it! In the meantime, I am proud to be a halfway decent husband and father.


* Small Business Advisory Board (Cincinnati USA Chamber)

* Ohio IRS Tax Liaison Forum

* African-American Chamber of Commerce Board Member (Cincinnati)
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Title Annotation:Member SPOTLIGHT
Author:Bartelheim, Megan
Publication:Catalyst (Dublin, Ohio)
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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