When the American Institute of CPAs in New York City went looking for a board member to replace an outgoing Sacramento State alum, it found another Sac State graduate.
Ken Macias, founding partner/chair of Macias Gini and O’Connell LLP, was appointed to the institute’s board in November. He takes a seat on the panel just as Patricia Cochran, former chief financial officer of VSP Vision Care and a Sac State alum herself, steps down.
That they were from the same university was merely serendipitous. “It just so happened she was coming off when I was coming on,” says Macias, a 1978 graduate.
The two have joked about it, he says, but still note its implication for the quality of Sac State’s program to put two former students on the prestigious board. “It’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual, and it’s really a coup for the accounting program to have that kind of impact on the leadership of this profession,” says Macias.
The Institute makes decisions on where the accounting profession is going. As with any other professional organization, it provides training, technical guidance, issues new guides to keep members up-to-date on tax law, and performs advocacy work on behalf of its members.
The executive board consists of 21 members. That Macias would be chosen out of 550,000 CPAs and 44,000 firms nationwide says a lot about his credentials.
Macias started the firm on Sept. 1, 1987, in the Greenhaven-Pocket area near his home. The firm became the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned accounting practice. The business is now housed in a three-story building on S Street near Alhambra Boulevard, and has branch offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and two in the Bay Area. An entrepreneur, Macias has started other businesses, and served as the chair of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
His interests outside of his profession are varied. Macias is an avid skier, golfer, trout fisherman and marathon runner. He’s also a California State Athletic official for boxing and mixed martial arts events, and worked the Lennox Lewis/Lionel Butler heavyweight bout in 1995.
A Sacramento native, Macias stayed in the area because of his family’s roots – plus he liked the climate. When it came time to choose a college, he went with Sacramento State, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration plus a master’s in Accountancy (Emphasizing Taxation). He has since added two other master’s degrees from other universities, and a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
He remembers his professors at Sac State as having a good blend of practical and theoretical teaching. “I emphasize the ‘practical’ first,” Macias says, “because the instructors got us going in the right direction. They taught us what it would be like out there.”
The campus was big, Macias says, but still felt small enough that you knew everyone in your college and many more in other areas of the campus. “Even though it had a reputation as a commuter school, it still seemed like a community,” he says.
“The University prepared me to be successful,” Macias adds. “It kept me competitive and gave me the foundation to improve my skills as an accountant and a business person.”
For more information on Sacramento State, visit www.csus.edu. For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
– Craig Koscho