John Pridnia, CPA
Managing Partner, Rehmann
This profile was originally published in the November/December 2008 issue of Leaders' Edge
John Pridnia never takes his CPA credential for granted. After more than 25 years in the profession, and as partner/owner of Pridnia LaPres, PLLC in Muskegon, each day he faces new challenges and opportunities for professional development. John is actively involved in advancing the profession by serving as Secretary on the MACPA Board of Directors and as a member of MACPA’s Political Action Committee. In addition to his work with the MACPA, John finds the time to volunteer in his community on various committees and boards of nonprofit organizations, including the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties. According to John, “We, as CPAs, have great talent in the financial area, where most charities need help.” His ability in finding new ways to use his CPA credential to support others, whether by advancing the profession as a whole, or assisting important organizations within his community, is commendable. Effective January 1, 2009, Pridnia LaPres, PLLC will merge with The Rehmann Group.
What made you decide to go into the accounting profession?
I had a high school teacher that saw something in my schoolwork that caused him to suggest that I consider going into accounting. I went to a small high school that did not have an accounting class, so this teacher created a self-study/independent study class in my senior year, which introduced me to the world of accounting. I enjoyed it and decided to pursue it in college.
What makes going to work every day fun and exciting?
Every day is different and has different challenges. The ability to work with a variety of people on their tax and accounting needs is really an exciting part of this profession. After more than 25 years of working in the profession, I can truly say I get up most every day fired up to get to the office and begin another day. It is those challenges that keep you on your toes and make you a better advisor and CPA.
Explain any obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are today.
I don’t think I would consider the path to where I am today having obstacles, but rather challenges. I am a firm believer that working hard and tackling challenges are part of being successful in your work and your personal life. If you are committed and give 110% in everything you do, the rewards and satisfactions are endless.
What is the most exciting aspect, for you, of serving on MACPA’s Board of Directors?
Getting to be a part of the direction of your profession has to be the aspect that I would say is the most exciting. Also, the knowledge I have gained through my involvement at the Board level and through the various task forces is so valuable in my professional development.
You’ve been very involved in the MACPA Political Action Committee and advocacy efforts. What steered you in that direction?
It seems that I have always been somewhat interested and involved in the political process through my father having served in the Michigan House and Senate. I learned early on how the legislative process consisted of many different ideals and interests; and those who were elected by us, were there to represent us. I truly value the open communication with people who enact legislation. The sincere gratitude from legislators for the education and assistance we provide to help them do their jobs is so satisfying, as well as important in the policy-making process in our state.
What interests or activities are you involved in outside of work?
I am truly a “trout bum” at heart and any time I get the chance, I’m off to some river with fly rod in hand. It is my time for solitude and reflection on every aspect of life.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I am blessed to have an exceptional and understanding spouse who truly understands the philosophy of “work hard/play hard.” We have always tried our best to be there for each other and for our two daughters. It is not always easy, nor can you be everywhere all the time, but their understanding and support is essential in the overall balance.
What has been your most meaningful volunteer experience?
I think one of the most rewarding things we can do as a CPA is volunteer time and expertise to those individuals and organizations in need. We, as CPAs, have a great talent in the financial area, where most charities need help. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to serve in many different volunteer roles, with each playing an important part in supporting our community. I would point to two most meaningful volunteer experiences. The first has been my many years of serving on the Board of Directors and various committees of the American Red Cross serving Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties. The second would be my time serving on the Hackley Hospital Board of Trustees. I have had more opportunities to see how the American Red Cross helps so many in our community at times when they need it most, and that has been so personally emotional and rewarding. My involvement at the Hackley Hospital Board of Trustees and the recent merger with Mercy General Health Partners has been a very challenging but also rewarding experience that will help serve our community’s health needs well into the future.
What advice do you have for those considering entering the CPA profession?
This is such an exciting profession and great time to get into it. We play such an important role in so many different aspects of the financial world. It is not the same profession I entered some 20 years ago and I’m sure it will change many more times before I am ready for retirement. I think that’s why I so much enjoy being a CPA. You have to adapt, be committed and find the type of work that gets you up in the morning, charged up and ready to get to work!
What do CPAs need now to be successful in the future?
That is a tough question, as I think there are many things that are not just needed, but imperative to the success of our profession. Education and educators are going to be the key to this success. We must to recruit and develop the educators that will lead the next generation of CPAs into the profession. We need great new graduates and people entering the profession to help fill the important roles and address technical aspects of our profession. We need leaders to help guide CPAs in our state and throughout the country in these changing times. We need to continue to strive to be “the most trusted advisor” and promote our independence, abilities and adaptability to an ever-changing economy. We have many challenges and many opportunities…stay tuned and hang on for the ride, as it will be exciting to be part of it.