CPA INSIDER

More fun CPA license plates

A dozen CPAs showcase their creativity in our latest collection of vanity tags.
By Cheryl Meyer

Since January 2018, we've featured 32 creative CPAs who proudly represent their profession on vanity plates on their vehicles. The first time, we noted plates like RITEOFF and 4NSICPA ("forensic CPA"). In September 2018, there was I AUDIT and USGAAP, among others. And last fall, we listed TAX GAL and DR CPA, along with other imaginative plates.

Now we're at it again, featuring 12 original vanity plates coined by CPAs nationwide. Here are some new license-plate favorites:

TAX MOM
TAX MOM. Cherri Peterson, CPA, an accountant at PNW Financial Concierge LLC, in Camas, Wash., does a lot of client work for people younger than herself, and they look to her "as their tax mom," she said. So it made sense to parade that plate on her Porsche 911 Carrera. Since she lives in a small community and drives a beautiful car, people identify her around town. "The problem in Washington is that I can only drive my car in the summer, as it's not a rain car," she lamented.
CPANA4D
CPANA4D. Who says CPAs aren't imaginative? Bill Bradley, CPA, a partner at Ferguson, Redelsperger & Bradley PC in Duncan, Okla., came up with this catchy combination in 2000, on the day he passed the CPA Exam. "Nobody can figure it out," he said of his plate. The clue is in his vehicle — a black Ford F-150 pickup truck; Bradley is a CPA in a Ford. "I just wanted people to know that I was a CPA and that's who is driving this truck," he quipped.
PMB-CPA
PMB-CPA. Peter Bratlie, CPA, CGMA, a principal at TMCE LLP in Shreveport, La., received his personalized license plate about eight years ago, when his son gave it to him as a gift. He now displays it proudly on his white Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. He doubts he has drummed up business from the plate, which includes his initials, but said one grocery store patron who saw his car in the parking lot asked him a tax question. Also, he recalled, "I've had people honk at me and wave and say, 'That's Pete's car.'"
MBACPA
MBACPA. Indiana-based John Minnich, CPA, CGMA, an executive coach, business consultant, and visiting assistant professor of accounting and full-time MBA faculty member at Purdue University Fort Wayne, is proud of his current academic role, his CPA designation, and his education (he received his Master of Accountancy from Manchester University in 2002), so he chose this plate to adorn his 2010 Ford Fusion. "My wife is a CPA as well, so we try to promote the profession as much as we can, and just how important it is to earn that CPA license," he said. Having a Master of Accountancy degree and CPA designation, he noted, "just opens up a whole lot of doors."
CPASCNT
CPASCNT. Few people can decipher the meaning of this vanity plate created by Karen Brown, CPA, vice president of operations for The Florence Crittenton Agency Inc., in Knoxville, Tenn. "I've had a few CPAs who have figured it out, but typically people have to ask," she said. Brown, who drives a Lexus GX 460 SUV, went with a shortened version of "CPAs Count" for two reasons: CPAs are known for counting numbers, and they also "count as human beings," she noted.
DEBIT
DEBIT and DEBIT 2. Gerald Dean Mills, CPA, secured his first vanity plate, DEBIT, in 1996, and that plate now adorns his gray 2015 Nissan Murano. "I wanted to have something distinct to show that accounting was my profession," he said. Then about eight years ago, his wife, Clara Mills, also a CPA and vanity plate aficionado, decided to acquire DEBIT 2 for her new burgundy Chevrolet Camaro convertible so the couple would be in sync. The pair operate Mills & Mills Inc., a public accounting firm in Grove, Okla. "He wanted me to choose 'CREDIT,'” Clara said about her husband. "I didn't want to be 'CREDIT' because credit is a liability."
DEBIT 2
DEBIT and DEBIT 2. Gerald Dean Mills, CPA, secured his first vanity plate, DEBIT, in 1996, and that plate now adorns his gray 2015 Nissan Murano. "I wanted to have something distinct to show that accounting was my profession," he said. Then about eight years ago, his wife, Clara Mills, also a CPA and vanity plate aficionado, decided to acquire DEBIT 2 for her new burgundy Chevrolet Camaro convertible so the couple would be in sync. The pair operate Mills & Mills Inc., a public accounting firm in Grove, Okla. "He wanted me to choose 'CREDIT,'” Clara said about her husband. "I didn't want to be 'CREDIT' because credit is a liability."
IL CPA
IL CPA. Marcus Reynolds, CPA, a senior auditor at Washington, Pittman & McKeever LLC in Chicago, acquired a vanity plate to show off his hard work. "It's not easy to get, and I wanted to let the whole world know I got it," he said of his CPA license. His plate, affixed to his red Hyundai Sonata, has garnered some unusual attention. "A guy said he liked my license plate and was in the recruiting industry, and if I ever needed a new job to reach out to him," Reynolds recalled.
TNT CPA
TNT CPA. Mesquite, Texas-based Karl Thomas, CPA, coined this combination for his gold Lexus RX 400h hybrid. "TNT reminds me of the '70s show with JJ Walker loudly exclaiming, 'Dy-no-mite!’ It's good for a chuckle." But he actually chose this plate to note the name of his public accounting firm, Thomas & Thomas CPAs, which he runs with his wife, Melanie, also a CPA. "The initials were available, and I thought, 'What the heck?'" he said. "That's really all the advertising we do."
TAXING
TAXING. Thirty-year accounting professional Michael Palumbo, CPA, vice president–head of tax for TransRe, a reinsurance organization in New York, sports his unique New Jersey vanity plate on his silver 2017 Corvette. "I'm proud of the profession, and I'm proud of being on the tax side," Palumbo said. "Most of the response [to the plate] has been pretty positive."
B A CPA
B A CPA. Phil Yaeger, Ph.D., MBA, CPA, CGMA, founder and head of Yaeger CPA Review in Rockville, Md., got his vanity plate in 1977 and flaunts it on his 2018 Mercedes E350. Trouble is, he admitted, not everyone can figure it out on first read. Yaeger joked that "B A" stands for "Bonni Ann," his wife, but in truth he chose this plate to mean “Be a CPA.” “I figured hey, we have the CPA review school now, and we prepare people to be CPAs," he said. "I wanted people to know what we do."
AFWA20
AFWA20. In 2019 Laura Mangan, CPA, the controller at SV Probe, a provider of semiconductor testing products in Tempe, Ariz., became the national president of the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) for 2019–20. So she obtained a vanity plate to highlight her new designation on her blue Honda Civic. "It was a nice opportunity to tie in my term as president and my lifetime commitments as well," she noted. "It also makes it easier to find my car."

Cheryl Meyer is a freelance writer based in California. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, a JofA associate director, at Chris.Baysden@aicpa-cima.com.

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