I am a partner in the three-CPA firm of
Bagge, Cennamo & Co. LLP. I spend
about half my time in auditing and accounting and
the remainder in tax, consulting and peer review.
You have to reach a happy medium with your
responsibilities. Being self-employed
gives me the liberty to do that. But I have seen
people who are completely absorbed in their work,
hobbies or family. I am very busy with all
three—including my hobbies of sky diving and
Everyone remembers their first jump,
and most don’t go on from there, but at
the ripe old age of 39, I was hooked from the
start. When I travel for business, I often take my
gear and sky-dive. I have made about 500 jumps
I parachuted onto the front lawn of the
church on my wedding day, dressed in my
tuxedo. About 150 guests and my bride were kept
waiting outside of the church for me to show up.
Earlier that morning, I marked a huge X on the
lawn in flour—I landed pretty close to it. Looking
back on it now, I think, “What was I doing?” It
was probably the most expensive jump I ever made.
I had to get permission from the FAA and state
agencies—not to mention my wife—and I had to buy
My most prized possession is a replica of
Dennis Hopper’s bike from Easy Rider .
I grew up in Springfield, Mass., and
began riding at age 16. I was 19 when Easy
Rider came out and thought that Dennis
Hopper’s bike was the coolest in the world. A
company produced a limited number of
reproductions, and I had the opportunity to buy
one. Whenever I ride it, people recognize the bike
big-time. I can’t stop and get a tank of gas
without somebody coming over and saying something.
Like many of my contemporaries, I began
with a Big Eight firm. At one point, I
questioned whether I wanted to stay in public
accounting, so I returned to school to get my MBA.
Then I rounded out my training with a regional CPA
firm in New Hampshire. I hung my own shingle out
in 1983, and I continue to learn something new
As a partner in a small firm, you have to
wear a lot of hats. It is a very
dynamic profession, and the constant change can be
overwhelming. The partners of my firm take about
80 hours of education a year and perform 20 to 30
peer reviews. In order to effectively evaluate
someone else’s work, you have to know what you’re
doing and be on your toes.
Being a part of the profession rather than
just being in the profession is important.
I’ve been active in the Connecticut
Society of CPAs for many years and served a
three-year stint on their board of governors.
Currently, I serve on FASB’s Private Company
Financial Reporting Committee. It was a normal
progression to serve on a national committee. Most
people who are active in their state society
ultimately have some movement toward the AICPA or
I am also a Vietnam veteran and belong to
the American Legion Riders, which honors other
veterans. We’ve attended funerals and
parades and participated in the Moving Wall, which
is a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial. I have ridden twice in the Rolling
Thunder Inc. Memorial Day parade in Washington.
Approximately 500,000 bikers assemble at the
Pentagon to begin the parade, which honors our
nation’s fallen military heroes. I recently bumped
into an 83-year-old rider with his wife on the
back of his bike. I’m 57 years old. Hopefully, I
will be able to continue riding as long as
Likewise, I think of sky diving as a
lifelong pursuit. But like everything else,
you’ve got to keep it in perspective.
I’ll show up at the airport and make only
two jumps and leave. People look at me funny, but
I have got other things to do. You’ve got to draw
the line somewhere.