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Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper with The EnergyMakers Show and I’m here today with Brian Baumler, CPA, Energy Practice Leader at PKF Texas and the Chair of the 15th Annual Houston CPA Society Energy Conference. Also with us is Casey Stewart, CPA, the Chief Accounting Officer of Deep Gulf Energy Companies and Coordinating Director of the Energy Committee for the society, as well as Jennifer Poff, CAE, the Executive Director of the society. Welcome to the Playbook Brian, Casey, Jennifer.
All: Thanks for having us, thank you.
Russ: All right, so let’s start at the top, tell us about the CPA Society Jennifer.
Jennifer: Sure, the CPA Society has been around for 88 years and we have about 8,000 members in our 13 county area surrounding Houston, so we do about 10 conferences this year with the energy conference being one of our larger conferences.
Russ: Well I know the energy conference is large, I’ve been there probably 3 times now and it’s very impressive so tell us about the conference.
Brian: Well I think this being the 15th year were very excited, it’s our second year to be at the Hilton Americas which we’re really excited about being there. It’s going to really provide a great venue for the attendees as well as also the sponsors.
Russ: Okay, what’s the date of the conference?
Brian: It’s August 29th so it’s just about a month away and again we’re very excited about it.
Russ: Casey, I think when I’ve watched it over the years I kept thinking when the oil price went down a little bit the size of the conference would go down, but it seemed like it went up instead. Do I have that right?
Casey: Yeah it’s interesting Russ. We’ve had about 350, 360 attendees last year and this year we’re expecting well over that; we expect to beat 400 attendees this year. And it’s easy with the CPAs we all need our CPE and if you’re a member of the Houston CPA Society it’s $75, if you’re a non-member you’re still welcome to attend, it’s just $325.
Russ: Okay, so this is a place where you get credit for being there?
Brian: As well, another thing every year I look to this as really our union to the profession because it’s a number of CPAs who practice in the energy industry but it brings us all together at least once a year.
Casey: Yeah, it’s CPAs from all walks of the energy industry. It’s CFO to CAO to service providers at some of the large accounting firms in town.
Russ: Okay, so Jennifer I kind of got the feeling you have different conferences for different industries, is that right?
Jennifer: Correct. We have some that are focused on public accounting areas, we have some that are focused on our professionals in the industry, but this energy one is unique as it focuses on the people who serve the energy sector. So with this conference, we are unique in the fact that we’re one of the few in the state that produces the numbers we do, if not the only one in the state that produces the numbers we do for people who are in this area.
Russ: So I already alluded to the fact that I kind of expected maybe the conference to be down in a down year but quite frankly in a down year there might be more challenges, more accounting challenges, more bankruptcy so maybe there’s even more business to be had from an accounting perspective in years like this than last year. Is that right?
Casey: That’s right Russ. With these times we’ve got even more technical accounting issues that we have to deal with. You’ve got your service providers that are paying extra attention to it but also individuals in the industry, industry CPAs, who are also working to make sure they get the books right just because there’s even more scrutiny on all our books and records today.
Russ: So attendees at the conference I guess are accounting firms, but they’re also internal accountants with energy companies, right?
Brain: That’s correct and really the goal it’s intended to be an industry update on various accounting, reporting, and technical matters but also it gives an opportunity for us to find out what challenges are we currently facing in the industry and bring those experts to the table as our guest speakers who present on the topic.
Russ: Wasn’t it last year you had John Hoffmeister as one of your speakers?
Brian: Absolutely. This year we have Douglas Stephens, he’s the CEO for Frank’s International; he’ll give us a great perspective on what’s going on in both domestic and international oilfield service industry. We also have a number of great speakers falling in both the upstream and also the downstream space as well as capital markets and other technical accounting related matters.
Casey: That’s right we really don’t focus on one aspect of the energy industry. It caters to all professionals whether you’re upstream, downstream, midstream or oilfield services.
Russ: Okay, so before we close up what’s the date again?
Brian: August 29th.
Russ: And where is it being held?
Brian: Hilton Americas Downtown.
Russ: And is there a website where people can go and sign up to attend?
Jennifer: Yes. They can go to www.HoustonCPA.org.
Russ: Great. Jennifer, Casey, Brian I appreciate it, looking forward to being there myself.
Casey: Thanks, Russ.
Russ: You bet. This has been another Thought Leader production brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.