I recently wrote an article on my dad highlighting some of the changes in his long career in public accounting. The article is entitled “An Inspiring CPA’s Career” and his story really is amazing. I thought you might want to read it and have included it in this post.
An Inspiring CPA’s Career
Robert E. Marple was born in Eastern Washington State and grew up on a small farm. Some of the difficulties experienced with his farm chores and barley farming convinced him that grain farming in the Palouse area of Washington State, was not for him.
It was off to Washington State College (now Washington State University) where he initially pursued a degree in music. He also played a clarinet in a Big Band and wrote music to make some extra money and it appeared music would be his future.
This changed when a music professor was playing a few notes on a piano and asked him to sing the notes. It was a defiant “no” to that singing request, out the door of that classroom, and a change to accounting as a major (Bob was already taking an accounting course and liked it and liked math too).
Bob graduated cum laude with a BA in business from Washington State College, and after serving in the Korean War (seeing active duty) he began his accounting career in 1952 with Niemi Holland & Scott in Kennewick, Washington.
There were no computers, faxes, or copy machines but there was a 10 key adding machine (it only added) and a Marchaunt calculator that was used separately for division.
At his first firm, tax returns were prepared manually in pencil then typed with carbon copy. Prior to typing, the pencil copy was proofed by another CPA. If any errors were found, the preparer had to put 25 cents in a fund that was used for a party after April 15th.
Bob made $325 per month when he first started and clients were charged around $10 for a fairly simple individual income tax return at this time.
After 60 years of practice, Bob has not slowed down much. He still works full-time and can often be found in his office on weekends. He has maintained his long-term client relationships and also serves as a wealth- source of information and experience for the other 5 CPAs who work in the firm he founded.
Bob’s favorite thing about his 60 years in practice has by far been his association with clients and the great relationships developed over those years. “There have been many great relationships over my 60 years, having done work now for up to three family generations for some businesses.”
He has also enjoyed seeing businesses succeed and grow over the years. One business client, in particular, started out in the 1960’s in a single office in a manufactured home and has grown to an industry heavy-lift leader now doing business all over the world. (“The family generations of this business have treated my wife and I like family.”)
In addition to work, Bob still finds time to get in 18 holes of golf three days a week and often shoots his age.
This article was written by Robert D. Marple, and along with other brother Steven J. Marple, currently practice with their father in the firm of Marple & Marple. “Our father has been a real inspiration to us and continues to impress us.”