October 21, 2014

people to watch

Trendsetters: Accountants

Mike Vogel | 6/1/2009
Bill Miller Jr.
Moore Stephens Lovelace
President, CPA
Orlando

Public service: Board member of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission; former chairman and eight-year board member of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “I think you have to give something back. Really all it costs you is some sleep.”

Interests: “I had a golf game prior to becoming president of the firm and having a 2-year-old son.”

Navy connection: The son of a Navy lifer, Miller was born in Columbia, S.C., and grew up in Philadelphia; Puerto Rico; Norfolk, Va.; and Orlando, where his father helped open the Naval Training Center in 1968 and for which, when the Navy decided to close it, the younger Miller served on the base reuse commission. (It’s now Baldwin Park.)
[Photo: Brook Pifer]

As a high school student in Orlando, Bill Miller Jr. had his future figured out — he’d attend Georgia Tech for electrical engineering and Navy ROTC, become a Navy pilot and then go into the space program. He told his father, a career Navy man and retiree. Father’s advice: “Please don’t go in the Navy.”

?

» Accounting Leaders

CovingtonBarbara Covington, 50, a manager in Fort Walton for Alabama-based accounting firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram, is the national president of the American Society of Women Accountants.


HartkeCPA Karyn Hartke, 45, of Yulee is president of a 62-member new northeast Florida chapter of the American Society of Women Accountants. “It just really took off,” she says. “We really had a need for women to network in the Jacksonville area.” Hartke says groups in Orlando and Tallahassee are working to form new chapters, and there’s an effort in Tampa to reactivate the chapter there.

That was enough. While casting about for a new plan, he met then-Florida A&M University accounting department head Sybil Mobley, the first African-American CPA-Ph.D. in the nation and later a board member of Hershey Co., Anheuser-Busch and Sears. She steered Miller to public accounting. “I’m a disciple of Sybil Mobley,” he says.

A similarly crystalline moment led him to leave a Big Eight firm as a senior manager in Miami. Making partner, he was told, meant putting the firm before all. Miller considered: “Maybe I need to be in a place where my God, my family and my friends come first.” He joined what’s now called Moore Stephens Lovelace in 1985.

He headed its accounting and auditing practice for 15 years. In 2003, he became president. The 100-employee, 12-owner firm opened an office in Macon, Ga., in 2006 to add to four Florida offices as it pursues a Southeast expansion. “Our goal is to be the premier public accounting firm in the Southeast United States.”

At 56, Miller has years left but says his job is to groom the next generation of owners and a successor. Attorneys are like wine, he says: The older they get, the better. CPAs are like beer. “It’s got a born-on date, and the further you run from that born-on date, the worse it gets,” Miller says.

Tags: Trendsetters, Banking & Finance

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Adam Smith on the final gubernatorial debate
Adam Smith on the final gubernatorial debate

Adam Smith, Political Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, tells you what to watch for in the final debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, which takes place Tuesday night. 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Florida's final gubernatorial debate is tonight on CNN. Will you watch it?

  • Yes
  • No

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe