10 Jul Paul Marcus Hamilton is the 2017/18 ASCPA chair
By ASCPA | Connections
Marc Hamilton really entered the consciousness of the ASCPA as a member Tuscaloosa Chapter, serving as an officer for 3 years and then beginning service on the ASCPA board as a chapter representative. His fascination for the effect of technology on the accounting profession was immediately apparent and he began to serve on technology related committees. Additionally, his interest in development of continuing education programs led to consultation on a variety of efforts focused on the use of evolving technology in the ASCPA CPE programs. He was the subject of a member profile in the April 2013 issue of the ASCPA magazine.
Hamilton was born in Huntsville and grew up in north Alabama. He attended high school in New Hope, and after graduation, served in the US Army for three years in the 101st Airborne Division. After completing military service, he began his focus on getting a college education. He worked his way through an undergraduate program that eventually included three associate degrees from Calhoun Community College and an accounting degree from Athens State.
At an early point in his college career, he was working for a physician’s group in Huntsville which operated several walk-in clinics. “My boss, a wonderful lady and mentor named Ada Weiseman, suggested that I take some business or accounting classes because there might be an opportunity for me to help with management of the business. After my first accounting class, I knew I had found my calling!”
Just before finishing his undergraduate degree, Hamilton was married to his wife, Kathy and following graduation from Athens, he was offered a scholarship to enter the MBA program at the University of Alabama. At the end of the first semester, he realized that he wanted to concentrate exclusively on accounting and transferred into the masters of tax program, finishing in December 1989.
“I was blessed to be born at a very special time in the evolution of technology. The first personal technology tools began to arrive in the late 70s and early 80s, just as I was embarking on my career path. When I went to graduate school, I decide that I needed a personal computer to help me. I bought the component parts and built my first one myself. With software “borrowed” from a co-worker, I developed an expertise in the first PC applications. Within six months I was teaching software lab courses as a graduate student and quickly realized the transformation that these tools would create.”
Upon completion of his graduate work, he and Kathy packed their bags for the big city of Nashville so he could join the tax department at Deloitte and Touche. Not content with just busy season, Hamilton set up a server and modem system in the first year of IRS electronic tax filing and he and Kathy processed and filed electronic returns from their home. During this time, he also convinced the managing partner at Deloitte’s Nashville office to let him implement one of the first networks in a Deloitte & Touche tax department.
“Throughout my career I have used accounting and tax knowledge, along with technological competencies, in a wide variety of functional areas within organizations. The ability to bring creative, strategic insight to complex transactions, and to develop and implement efficient processes has allowed me to take on leadership roles. I’ve really played on my own natural strengths and am so fortunate that they aligned with what was new and interesting.”
After five busy seasons in the Deloitte tax practice, Hamilton left to work for a client. While initially focused in corporate tax, he learned that tax worked closely with corporate accounting but was perceived as a treasury function. Finance, treasury and risk management were intriguing to him, although he had no formal education in any of these areas. As his competency and expertise grew he also assumed a larger role in the oversight of corporate accounting efforts which now included systems and process design.
“In the beginning of my career, I thought that opportunities in accounting were limited to audit or tax. But I’ve learned that the CPA credential has opened my career to being a trusted advisor in a variety of capacities.”
It’s no surprise that Hamilton cites technology as the biggest agent of change in his nearly thirty years in the profession. That was always a passion for him. While the changes which came after the Enron and Worldcom scandals have transformed public perceptions, regulations, rules, processes and procedures, it is still technology which will determine the future.
As far as Hamilton is concerned, there is still no substitute for the professional fellowship offered by state societies.
“When I began working in industry membership provided me with a way to stay connected to the critical issues of our profession. I participated in my state society wherever I lived but about ten years ago decided that actively participating in leadership was a fantastic way to give back to the profession. The team at the ASCPA is incredible to work with and I have enjoyed my involvement. It has been very fulfilling.”
Hamilton credits his wife of 29 years with inspiring him and remaining supportive through a lot of changes in their lives. There are five children and five grandchildren, but so far none appear to be interested in accounting! They are avid cruise fans and sailed in June on their 28th Carnival cruise. With four UA alumni in the family they are also big University of Alabama fans. In true down time, Marc goes seriously low-tech enjoying fishing off his pier on the Conecuh river.
“I’m so honored to hold this position at the Society and to represent a large segment of its members. I hope that my efforts will epitomize that perspective and peers in public accounting, education and government practice can gain some insight into the specific challenges for CPAs in business and industry. I look forward to an exciting year!”