Happy 116th birthday, MACPA!

On April 12 at around midnight, 116 years ago, the MACPA was born.

According to the MACPA's history book, that is the time that Maryland Gov. John Smith "signed the bill...and the same became the law of the State of Maryland." Maryland became the third state in the nation to have a "Certified Public Accountancy" law with an examination and a State Board to oversee this new profession, which was created to usher in the new industrial age in the United States. Then as now, the MACPA had committees on legislative action to promote and protect the CPA profession.

Early founders of the MACPA were active in New York and Pennsylvania in creating CPA laws in those states, and our history shows that Maryland CPAs were involved in the formation of the predecessor of the American Institute of CPAs (founded in 1887 in New York). The video below was produced during the 125th anniversary of the AICPA in 2012 and captures the evolution of the CPA profession from the cradle of civilization to today. 


The MACPA has played a major role in shaping the CPA profession since its founding after the law was passed in April 1900. One area to highlight is our role in diversity and inclusion from our humble beginnings in 1900. Here are a few interesting historical notes from our history book:

  1. The earliest members were often from "business and industry," from organizations like Fidelity and Deposit, Baltimore Gas and Electric, and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
  2. The first women CPAs were admitted in 1909 − Elsa Doetsch and Florence Hooper. They were two out of 25 MACPA members at the time.
  3. Elsa and Forence were also the first women CPAs admitted to the AICPA.
  4. Our first woman chair was Patricia Bissell in 1983-84.
  5. Five of the first 100 black CPAs were from Maryland, starting in 1957.
  6. Benjamin King was the first African-American to chair the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy in 1969.
  7. The MACPA's first black chair was Graylin Smith in 2002.
  8. Maryland's 2010-11 chair, Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, will become the first black chair of the American Institute of CPAs in October 2016.
  9. Three young professionals have chaired the MACPA − Tami Bensky, Kimberly Ellison-Taylor and Byron Patrick. Kimberly also will be the youngest chair of the AICPA when she is installed in October.

Having spent the last few days with Kimberly (see my post CPAs Changing the World and Making History), she would not want to emphasize any of these points about race and gender. She would tell us to make sure we have the most qualified leaders, and I would say we always have. However, I would point out that our history of inclusion and collaboration would show that we have made (and will continue to make) a difference because of that diversity of thought (age, gender, race, background) that these leaders bring.   So happy birthday, MACPA, and thanks to all of the CPAs who devote their time and energy to making our profession great!