Judy Trepeck, CPA
Former Michigan Tax Tribunal Judge
This profile was originally published in the March/April 2007 issue of Leaders' Edge
Michigan Tax Tribunal Judge Judith R. Trepeck has been a certified public accountant for 36 years. Prior to her appointment in 2004, Judge Trepeck focused her practice in the areas of tax, consulting, dispute resolution and board and executive management governance. She has held the position of COO for the International Institute of Strategic Business Professionals, as well as shareholder of a Michigan regional public accounting and consulting firm. Judge Trepeck is an active member of the Michigan Association of CPAs and has served on the Board of Directors. She also serves as a trustee for the Michigan Accountancy Foundation (MAF) and is an active member of AICPA. In November 2007, Judge Trepeck will lead a group of women to South Africa as part of the People to People Ambassador Program – Women in Accounting Professional Delegation.
What made you decide to go into the accounting profession?
As a high school student, I became interested in accounting after being introduced to it in math class. When in college, women were all going into teaching. I knew, at that time, teaching was not the path for me and being interested in math and solving problems led me to an accounting major and business school.
Describe how you have made a difference by being a CPA.
The difference is really on many levels. I would like to think that I have made a difference for my clients during my 36 years as a CPA. Helping them accomplish what they wanted for themselves was ALWAYS my goal. Additionally, making a difference for the community through programs and volunteer projects has always been a high priority for me. I have actually carved out hours from my practice and positions for the past 36 years in order to help communities. I would also like to believe that I have made a difference for the profession. Through innovative programs and their implementation, I have served on MACPA and AICPA committees in order to make a difference for my colleagues and the people we work with and serve.
What are your major professional accomplishments?
It seems that I have always been a pace setter…brainstorming and creating programs and initiatives that were before their time. When I graduated from U of M Business School, I was one of three women. Getting a job was certainly a challenge, even with a profession hungry for young energetic grads. The profession was not as open to women as it is today…I would like to believe that I have contributed to that door opening even wider.
Additionally, contributing to the community as a CPA has opened the eyes of the community with regard to the diversity, innovation, creativity and intelligence that hallmarks our profession.
What is/was your most meaningful volunteer experience?
Leading and participating in the End-of-Life book created by the Financial Literacy Task Force at the MACPA is certainly high on the list. It was an honor to work with colleagues to help people by disseminating solid, instructive information that can impact the lives of those who are ill and their families.
You are the group leader for the People to People Ambassador Program – Women in Accounting Professional Delegation slated to visit South Africa. What is this all about, and how did you get involved in this program?
They were referred to me by another great woman in our profession. The purpose of the delegation is to expose and connect American women in accounting with the profession in other countries, in this case South Africa. This is a GREAT opportunity for women in industry, as well as public accounting. I expect to make wonderful business contacts, create opportunities for partnerships, and learn about the profession in this growing and energetic country. We are in the process of trying to partner with Oprah Winfrey’s Academy for Girls in Leadership in Johannesburg. This school is dedicated to catapulting young girls into leadership and we look to make a contribution.
Who should consider attending, and how will they benefit from this kind of a professional experience?
Women in industry will make wonderful contacts and, hopefully, be able to create partnerships and develop relationships with like-kind and related businesses. Women in public accounting will gain first-hand knowledge of the profession in South Africa and also have a chance to develop some meaningful relationships. Women in government and education will meet others in the same arena and have meaningful information to take back to their institutions. Young professionals would have the chance to network with other women from around the state and the country and take back unique experiences to share with those in their own work environments. And, it goes almost without saying, that an experience at Oprah’s Leadership Academy would make a unique difference for young girls AND delegates…I have a feeling we will receive MUCH more than we can possibly give!
Are there any other interesting things about yourself or your career that you would like to share with other members?
Not necessarily unique, but important. It is about volunteering and giving back. There is nothing like being a volunteer in the profession. As a young professional, you learn how to network, work with others, create deliverables, and make a difference in the profession and the local and national community. Additionally, paying attention to young professionals is an important part of everyone’s career. Young professionals need mentoring and constant support. They need to know that this profession provides a platform for a wonderful, fruitful and fun life. Accounting and our ancillary knowledge base is the backbone of business and the economy around the world. Young people should grab the chance to be a CPA!
What do CPAs need now to be successful in the future?
They need a broad outlook and education. Accounting is no longer about adding correctly and making sure numbers agree. It is about integrating business and financial knowledge with the economy, in the world!
What advice would you have for those considering entering the CPA profession?
DO IT! There is nothing like it…on all levels…the knowledge you gain, the people you meet, the difference you make. What a life!