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History of the Society of CPAs and State Board of Accountancy

Following are notes from minutes and newsletters, compiled by Rose Kitzan and Garry Pearson. If you have any fond memories or information to share, send them to the Society to be added to this list.

Book One - Minutes of the State Board of Accountancy July 29, 1913 to March 31, 1942.

  • North Dakota State Board of Accountancy was created by the Legislative Assembly of the State of ND H.B. No. 328, approved March 14, 1913.
  • The trustees of the State University on July 29, 1913 appointed as a Board of Accountancy the following:
  • Frank L. McVey, President of University of North Dakota
    F.T. Cuthbert, Attorney-at-Law, Devils Lake
    Walter Thomson, Public Accountant, Fargo
  • The members of the board met for organization on Sept. 26, 1913.

January 24, 1914 - Certificates were issued to Walter Thompson of Fargo and Frederick E. Luehe of Bismarck.

June 23, 1914 - A complaint was presented to the board by F.E. Luehe of Bismarck that no protection against nonresident competition was afforded to N.D. C.P.A. by the existing law. A committee consisting of F.E. Luehe and Walter Thompson was approved to investigate the complaint and recommend a remedy, if any be found.

Book Two - October 5, 1925 - We now have typed minutes.

  • The North Dakota State Board of Accountancy was revised by the Nineteenth Legislative Assembly by H.B. No. 149 in 1925.
  • A new three member board was appointed. Interestingly none of the members of the previous board were reappointed. One of the previous members had served about five years and one about three years but one had just been appointed November 26, 1923.
  • They decided to continue the policy of using the examination questions of the AICPA but the individual members of the Board would give their own markings on papers written by candidates.
  • The individual whose request for reciprocity was the subject of the letter mentioned above was turned down for a certificate. The reason stated to him was that Minnesota was not granting reciprocal certificates to applicants from North Dakota. The minutes also noted however that one or two of the reputable business men of St. Paul seriously questioned the ethics of the applicant as practiced by him in his profession.

May 1, 1929 - "I have looked up the statute in force prior to 1925 and I am of the opinion that any certificates issued by the board prior to the enactment of Chapter 2 of the 1925 Session Laws is valid and can not be canceled by the present board, as the certificate holder has a vested right in the certificate he holds."

  • The opinion goes on to state the Board could waive the examination and by issuing the certificate had waived the examination.

November 10, 1931 - The first woman to take the exam was Helen M. Brooks in November 1930. Miss Brooks passed while the other five candidates, all male, failed. Miss Brooks received certificate No. 28.

  • In a letter of October 8, 1932 from a D. Humphries of New York he put forth the need for reciprocity understanding between the different state societies. He stated "As business will ultimately demand such co-operation among professional accountants, we may as well accept the inevitable and begin to prepare for such improved business conditions. It is conceded that professional accountants are becoming more essential in business affairs throughout the commercial world and if we are to the advisers and counselors of businessmen men, we must of necessity, put our own house in order, and have smooth running cooperative membership among our Societies."

May 1, 1932 - The November 1933 exam was the last one noted in the minutes where the papers were submitted to the members of the board for final marking. Thereafter the markings of the American Institute were accepted by the board.

January 26, 1933 purchased one copy of Journal of Accounting for .35.

November 17, 1934 - A certificate holder had been found guilty of falsely pretending to be a federal officer, had forged postal money orders and was at the present a fugitive from justice. Upon the advice of the Attorney General's office the certificate was revoked. In the listing of certificates by the Board the number is listed as canceled.

November 9, 1939 reimbursed mileage at $.04 a mile, 2 dinners at $1.40 for the two, express examination material to Bismarck $.30, hotel room for two nights in Grand Forks $2.50.

December 31, 1940 - Mrs. Helen B. Larsgaard, Dickinson, ND was the first woman appointed to the State Board of Accountancy.

October 27, 1941 round trip train fare Fargo to Bismarck $8.16

  • Minutes of the State Board of Accountancy May 22, 1942 to l989
    May 1942 - The exam was held in Dickinson for one candidate and in Grand Forks for three others. The cost was $25.00 for the complete exam or $10.00 for one part.
  • An individual presented his application to sit for the November 1943 exam but immediately withdrew it as he had received orders to report for active duty with the Air Corps in North Carolina by October 10, 1943.

April 30, 1946 - Helen B. Larsgaard, Secretary of the Board, called for a meeting of the Board to be held at Dickinson. All members of the Board were present -Helen in person and L.A. Harvey and R.A. Janz by proxy.

October 21, 1949 - Upon motion it was agreed that Rules and Regulations, similar to Board of other states, be adopted.

March 30, 1950 - It was moved and carried that a letter be written to G.H. Mace, Manager of the Northwestern Bell Telephone Co., asking that the Telephone Co. give publicity to their error in listing Mr. Axtman as a Certified Public Accountant in their classified ad section.

March 30, 1950 - It was decided to hold the May exam at Grand Forks since the majority of the candidates will be from the northern half of the state. I believe it has been held in GF ever since.

October 16, 1950 - A resolution was passed to pay the Secretary of the Board be paid $10.00 a day for supervising the exam.

October 16, 1950 - A resolution was passed to meet with the State Society officers on October 31.

October 19, 1955 - Accepted the State Society recommendation of having each new certificate holder subscribe to an oath to uphold the ethics as reflected in the Societies' adopted code.

July 20, 1956 - It was decided to award the certificates at the annual meeting of the ND Society.

October 19, 1971 -A member was to be notified that his conduct in Colorado is questionable and that the Board feels it is highly unprofessional. He will be urged to cease his activities before he damages himself and the accounting profession.

April 17, 1974 - Purchased an electric typewriter for $450.00.

July 1, 1976 - The board passed a resolution to hire Garry Pearson to write Code of Ethics and Resolutions.

December 3, 1976 - adopted a Code of Ethics.

June 17, 1977 - Adopted CPE requirements.
July 20, 1979 - Daryl Hill the new Executive Director was introduced.

September 30, 1983 - Authorized the purchase of a computer up to $7,500, ½ the total cost.

October 7, 1988 - RD Koppenhaver died recently.

January 30, 1989 - Positive Review Program. About 230 firms had registered.

Book Three - Minutes of the Society November 15, 1929 to April 13, 1951
November 15, 1929 - This was the organizing meeting of the Society. At this time there were 26 certificates issued. Six people attended this meeting and three more sent letters of support. Those attending were J.A. Cull of Fargo, R.A. Janz of Fargo, Irwin B. Kruger of Fargo, Arthur Blegen of Fargo, P.C. Bakken of Bismarck and E.W. Brady of Grand Forks. J.A. Cull was elected temporary chairman.

  • R.A. Janz was appointed a committee of one to draft the constitution and by-laws.
  • May 17, 1930 - meeting was held at the Rainbow Café in Fargo.
  • I.B. Kruger was elected President.
  • The constitution and by-laws were approved and accepted.
  • Article II stated: The objects of this Society shall be (a) to protect and foster the certificate of Certified Public Accountant as granted by the State of North Dakota; (b) to assist State authorities in regulating the public practice of accounting; (c) to improve the standards of the accounting profession: and (d) to obtain a more general recognition of the C.P.A. certificate within the state.
  • The fiscal year was set for the last day of August.
  • The annual meeting was set for August or September.
  •  The fee for admission to membership in the Society was set at five dollars.
  •  A resolution was passed that a standing committee on legislation be appointed.
  •  A resolution was passed that practice experience for candidates for C.P.A. certificates be studied and that municipal organizations be influenced to recognize the C.P.A.
  • The matter of advertising by certified public accountants as individuals and by the society for the benefit of the group was discussed but no action was taken.
  • The committees formed this first year were Legislation, Public Relations, & Bank and Credit Contacts.
  •  It was noted the Society "has the satisfaction of containing all possible members except two".

September 19, 1931 - The financial statement included a receipt of $50.00 from the American Society listed as a prize but no mention was made of what it was for.

  • A resolution was adopted honoring the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington in 1932.
  • A resolution was passed that the next meeting of the Society by left to the discretion of the Board of Directors. If all minutes have been kept and records of presidents then the next meeting turned out to be April 24, 1948

September 11, 1948 - After the annual meeting they retired to the Ryan Hotel dining room for noon luncheon.

  • R.D. Koppenhaver was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

October 21, 1949 - Society dues were raised to $10.00.

  • Passed a resolution to pay the examination fee for the outstanding senior student majoring in Accounting at the University of North Dakota and fifteen dollars of the fee for the student ranked second. The students to be selected by the officers of the Society in such manner as they deem appropriate.

September 23, 1950 - Scholarship award for the last year was given to Harold Olsrud, first place, and to Roland Suess, second place.

  • A resolution was passed that the secretary-treasurer be exempt from dues.
  • Amended the constitution to allow an officer to succeed himself.
  • The meeting adjourned to the banquet room at the Ryan Hotel for the banquet. Seventy-five people were in attendance. Mrs. Thomas Clifford furnished the musical entertainment. The main speech was give by Mr. John L. Carey, Executive Director of the American Institute of Accountants.

April 13, 1951 - Scholarship award was given to Caroline R. DeGagne, first place and John Soderholm, second place.

  • A committee was appointed on the Natural Business Year.

October 25 & 26, 1951 - A resolution was passed to call the scholarship award the Roy Janz award. Apparently he died during the year.

September 13, 1952 - Suggestion for the 1953 program at the annual convention was a study of the Tavis Case in Morton County.

October 16 & 17, 1953 - A social hour was held at the Minot Country Club. Various committee meetings were held before, during and after the social hours.

  • It had been the practice from the beginning of the Society to "elect new members". A motion would be made and seconded and voted on to elect new members to the Society. This meeting was the first time for the public awarding of the certificates.

October 8&9, 1954 - The Ethics Committee was authorized to draft a letter to firms or parties likely to request competitive bids, that the code of ethics of the accounting profession does not permit this practice. This would be an informative letter only. A second letter of a stronger nature would be sent to firms actually requesting competitive bids.

  • It was suggested that a directive be given to the Ethics Committee to send a letter to all members refreshing their memory as to the use of window displays, soliciting of clients of others and for the improvement and dignification of letterheads.
  • The dinner meeting at 6:30 in the Ball Room of the Student Union was attended by over 150 people and the main talk was given by T. Colman Andrews, the United States commissioner of Internal Revenue.

September 23&24, 1955 - Various committee meetings were held after dinner on the 23rd.

  • At the business session the next morning President Sidney Holaday apologized for the delay in getting the meeting under way, due to the tardiness of several members.
  • New members were elected by a motion to "extend the right hand of fellowship".
  • The Publicity and Education Committee recommended that members in each city take it upon themselves to give the newspapers and radio stations the information about the activities of the Society, and that all members should take part in panels and other types of programs that afford an excellent medium of publicity.
  • It was moved by Clifford and seconded by Daily that all new C.P.A.'s be required to subscribe to a sworn oath before receiving their certificates.
  • The banquet in the Gladstone Hotel was well attended, and made the third excellent meal the members received during the two-day convention. An outstanding feature of the evening program was a fine presentation of the C.P.A. Certificates.

September 14 & 15, 1956 - At this time the conventions basically consisted of a dinner the first night, the annual meeting the whole next morning and a technical session in the afternoon. The lunch on the second day would have a speaker. This year it was on electronics in accounting by an individual from I.B.M.

  • The ethics committee was instructed to amend the code of ethics to include "No Certified Public Accountant may quote any per diem rates prior to being engaged, or to give any estimated cost of the audit or any figures relative to the cost of an audit prior to being engaged." The ethics committee is to send a notice to all practitioners in the state and to prepare an acknowledgment to be signed by each C.P.A.
  • A very fine banquet featuring Harold Schaefer, President of the Glass Wax Company, and a banquet at the Grand Pacific Hotel ended the annual meeting.

October 3, 4, & 5, 1957 - A resolution was passed to adopt the AICPA rules of ethics.

  • A resolution was passed that "A Committee be appointed to meet with the State Examiner's Officers of the League of North Dakota Municipalities to study the proposal to create more uniformity in Municipal accounting procedures and treatment of accounting classification of departments and a more uniform coding of accounts."

October 1958 Convention - Following is a letter included with the minutes, etc. for that year which I assume was sent out as the convention notice:
"Fellow Shermanites: Once again the time is nearing for the pilgrimage to Mecca and the various oasis en route. This time as the sun rises in the east, so shall we gather on the banks of the Red in all our vicuna-like splendor, where the Red Lake River merges with the sewage from Fargo.

  • When the fumes and fog of Thursday evening clear away, we will find six new members among us.
  • This time there will be no green tags and each will finance his own "inebriancy".
  • We are planning a magnificent, stupendous program of knowledge and entertainment under the chairmanship of George Walter Ulseth, C.P.A.; C.P.C.U.; D.D.L.; B.A.; M.S.C.; (member of Petrillo's union).
  • Some of our speakers have widespread reputations and are well known in all areas of Grand Forks county.
  • George is also planning entertainment for the wives. He calls it, "Hags Bags or what have you."
    Plan to be there! The dates, October 2-3-4. University campus and other notorious spots. More information will be sent early in September. There will be a football game on Saturday afternoon, October4. We need you here, "Ike""
  • The convention was a Thursday, Friday and ended Saturday morning. The cost was $10.00 for the member and $10.00 for the wife. That included two evening meals and one lunch.
  • For the 58-59 year there is a list showing 53 members of the Society. Dues are $10.00.
  • For the 57-58 the Secretary of the Society, R.D. Koppenhaver was paid a salary of $120.00. There was no Executive Director and the Secretary functioned in that capacity.
  • The banquet speaker was Dr. Robert K. Mautz, Professor of Accountancy, University of Illinois. His speech was entitled "Evidence, Judgement, and the Auditors Opinion".

September 25, 1959 - Shirley Martz emphasized the need to sell the meaning of C.P.A.

November 10-11, 1960 - There are 70 members of the Society now. Up until this time the minutes of the annual meeting published the names of those attending and those absent.

  • The secretary reported one student had failed to write the November C.P.A. examination because of a lack of funds.
  • A resolution was passed that a deserving student in an hour of need could make a temporary loan from the Society to pay the exam fee.
  • Following are excerpts from an October 31 letter regarding notice of the convention:
    Regarding the dinner for Thursday night "Steak can be ordered; for those with poor or no teeth, hamburger will be available."
  • "Plan to attend the annual meeting in a city where a red light may mean a stop light."

September 21 & 22,1961 - The convention was held in Bismarck at the Prince Hotel. A double room without bath was $4.00 and with bath was $5.50 to $6.50.

  • There was discussion about a notice a firm had placed in a newspaper of an office they were opening in that city. The firm received a reprimand as that was a violation of the code of ethics.
  • A new committee was set up for CPA Consulting Service.
  • An August 1 notice regarding the convention included the following "Thursday evening the "Green Tag" frolic will be held at a place to be determined later. I am not certain if this delay is to keep its location from the police as long as possible or because our reputation proceeds us, and there is trouble in finding a hutch willing to cater to the idiosyncrasies of our clan".

Book Five - Society minutes October 4&5, 1962 through

  • The Public Relations and Education committee report stated "We are falling down in letting the public know who the CPA's are and where they are located, especially in the smaller town.
  • The number of members in the beginning is difficult to tell from the records. It appears from the dues payments there were 10, 9, and 10 for years ending August 31, 1930, 1931 and 1932 respectively. I don't know how accurate the other counts are. I took them from the list of members present and absent at the annual meeting.
  • As of 1960 they quit listing the members absent in the minutes.
    The dues for the year ending August 31, 1930 were $5.00. They went to $10.00 the next year and then down to $3.00 for the next two years. The organization didn't operate from 1932 to 1947. For the year ended August 31, 1948 the dues were $10.00 and stayed that way until year August 31, 1952. They then went to $15.00 for some people and stayed at $10.00 for some people. They stayed that way through year ending August 31, 1965. For the year ending August 31, 1966 they went to $15.00 and $30.00 and stayed that way until the year ending August 31, 1968. For the year ending August 31, 1969 they went to $20.00 and $50.00 and were that way as of August 31, 1971.
  • Koppenhaver was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Society in 1948 and served until 63+. He received an honorarium of $120.00 a year starting August 31, 1958. August 31, 1964 this went to $240.00. August 31, 1970 this went to $1200.00 and for 8/31/71.

Sitting for exam and passing (Of the first 10, 4 were waivers; no info on rest)


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