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11 creative CPA vanity license plates

More accountants show their imaginative side.
By Cheryl Meyer

How popular are vanity license plates to some accountants? We received such a positive response from our first article on vanity plates, published in January, that we decided to do a follow-up. Here are some of our new favorites from 10 accountants across the country.
 

FF CPA and CPA FF
FF CPA and CPA FF. For almost 20 years Patrick Wellnitz, CPA, has routinely and hurriedly left his small public accounting firm, Wellnitz Tax & Accounting, in Whitewater, Wis., to rush to the firehouse less than two blocks away when emergencies arise. “I’m usually the first one to get to the fire station and get the truck out,” said Wellnitz, assistant chief of his local volunteer fire department. His crew at the firehouse not only fights big and small blazes, but also rescues cats from trees and people from car crashes. In one case, he helped pull a young man crushed by the steering wheel out of a car, saving his life. Wellnitz said most firefighters have vanity plates, so he decided to follow suit and get similar-but-different plates for his Ford F-250 and Ford F-150 trucks, highlighting his profession as well. The firehouse team “used to give me a hard time because I showed up with a white shirt and tie,” he added.
FF CPA and CPA FF
FF CPA and CPA FF. For almost 20 years Patrick Wellnitz, CPA, has routinely and hurriedly left his small public accounting firm, Wellnitz Tax & Accounting, in Whitewater, Wis., to rush to the firehouse less than two blocks away when emergencies arise. “I’m usually the first one to get to the fire station and get the truck out,” said Wellnitz, assistant chief of his local volunteer fire department. His crew at the firehouse not only fights big and small blazes, but also rescues cats from trees and people from car crashes. In one case, he helped pull a young man crushed by the steering wheel out of a car, saving his life. Wellnitz said most firefighters have vanity plates, so he decided to follow suit and get similar-but-different plates for his Ford F-250 and Ford F-150 trucks, highlighting his profession as well. The firehouse team “used to give me a hard time because I showed up with a white shirt and tie,” he added.
I AUDIT
I AUDIT. David Legge, CPA, president and CEO of LeggeGroup in Springfield, Va., added “I AUDIT” to his Virginia Credit Union League specialty plate, which has brought in plenty of business from people who can’t help noticing. The vanity plate, featured on his Acura TSX, has “more than paid for my car by the clients I’ve picked up,” he said. Legge has worked in public accounting for more than 40 years, largely with credit union clients. Now he works primarily as a consultant, providing specialized services such as fraud investigation and compliance management to financial institutions. Having the plate is also fun and falls in line with the large number of vanity plates in Virginia, Legge admitted. “I’ve had people see it and think I’m an IRS auditor,” he said.
CPAFNLY
CPAFNLY. Eighteen years ago, Linda Webber, CPA, CGMA, passed the CPA exam and breathed a sigh of relief. “My kids were 2 and 5 when I passed the exam,” she said. “I was just really proud of my accomplishment.” So CPAFNLY — a play on words for CPA FINALLY — seemed oh-so-appropriate to display on her car and tout her success. Because she works in manufacturing as an accounting manager for truck builder Navistar International in Huntsville, Ala., the plate on her 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport has not brought her business, but it has garnered some attention. “Sometimes people will honk at me and wave and give the thumbs up,” she added. “When people finally get it, they’ll say, ‘Congratulations.’”
SAVE TAX
SAVE TAX. Stan Apple, CPA, tax principal at Apple Growth Partners in Akron, Ohio, is a vanity plate veteran who got his first one for his Chevy Corvette more than 47 years ago. He later had vanity plates for his 1993 Jeep and his BMW convertible. Now 77 years old, he drives a Lexus LS 430, and his plate displays what he still does for his clients: SAVE TAX. “I’m full of vanity,” Apple quipped. “I love driving my car, and having people pull up behind me. You can see one person point to the other and point to my license plate. I get a kick out of that.” Apple has been with the firm for 55 years and holds one of the prime parking spots in front of the office. Everybody knows his car, he said.
OG CPA
OG CPA. Dallas, Texas-based Rebel Robertson, CPA, who runs her own firm, Rebel Lea Robertson, CPA PLLC, has worked with oil and gas clients for more than 20 years and is known for her industry expertise, she noted. So about five years ago she decided to order a vanity plate to plug her proficiency in the field and boost business. She said the plate, on her 2011 Lexus LX 570 SUV, brings in about $10,000 annually in business. Ironically, most of this business comes from clients outside of the oil and gas industry. “I would say it paid for itself,” she said.
CANVCPA
CANVCPA. Robert Johanson, CPA, president of RVJ Associates Inc., in Westlake Village, Calif., holds CPA licenses in California and Nevada and drives in both states. But he didn’t buy into the vanity-plate craze until about two years ago, after California came out with its throwback black-and-yellow plates. “I wanted to get a personalized plate to represent my occupation and the fact that I straddle both states,” he said. He sports the vanity plate on his 2006 Honda Pilot, which he occasionally drives to Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe (a ski resort located technically in both states), and elsewhere. People sometimes cannot figure out that his plate stands for “California-Nevada-CPA.” The seven letters may not have been the best choice, he admitted. “They think it stands for ‘Conniving CPA’ or something like this,” he joked.
USGAAP
USGAAP. New accountant Ryan Emrich, CPA, a senior staff accountant at a tech company in Boston called Invaluable, and a graduate of Suffolk University, recently passed the CPA Exam. As a reward to himself, he bought a vanity plate after completing the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section. Emrich said he likes his unique plate for his black 2008 BMW 335xi coupe because it signifies not only a commitment to the profession, but also illustrates that CPAs also have a sense of humor. “Clients don’t just want people who are locked in the audit room crunching numbers all day,” he said.
ATX CPA
ATX CPA. Austin, Texas, native Grant McMichael, CPA, who runs his own practice, Grant W. McMichael CPA PLLC, recently grabbed this vanity plate (which stands for “Austin, Texas, CPA”) to use as a marketing tool on his 2017 Chevrolet Impala, he said. He has featured the car on Facebook and Instagram and run a few promotions touting the vanity plate. “I did it because I want to try to brand myself a little bit,” he said, noting the response has been “fairly positive.”
PFS CPA
PFS CPA. Charles Sarowitz, CPA/PFS, founder and managing partner of tax consulting firm Sarowitz Milito & Co., CPAs, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Cherry Hill, N.J., secured this plate in 1998 after he passed the PFS exam. “I had never had vanity plates and it wasn’t really my thing, but the PFS exam meant so much to me that I was proud of it,” he said. Occasionally he’ll attract attention when driving his 2017 BMW 750. “The other day a guy was honking at me on the highway,” he added. “He must have been a CPA.”
4TAXCME
4TAXCME. Elliott Ring, CPA/PFS, president of Elliott H. Ring, CPA, P.C., in Oak Park, Mich., has displayed this alphanumeric pun on his 2003 Dodge Ram van for more than 15 years. It’s inexpensive to have a vanity plate in Michigan, he said, and he enjoys reading vanity plates on other vehicles. He doesn’t believe the plate has brought in business, “But it’s a subliminal form of advertising, to have that plate out there,” he noted. “You can be different for very little cost.”

Cheryl Meyer is a California-based freelance writer. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager for newsletters at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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