Remembering James P. Martin Jr.

The Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA) is saddened to learn of the passing of former GSCPA Executive Director James (Jim) P. Martin, Jr. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.

In 1965, Jim was hired as executive director of The Georgia Society of CPAs, which he held for 35 years when he retired in 2000. When Jim began, the Society membership was 1,050, and he was the only staff member. When he retired, the membership had grown to over 10,000, and he managed a staff of 28 who worked in six different departments. 

During the Society's Centennial celebration in 2005, Jim reflected on his time at GSCPA. "While I had been working prior to being hired by the Society, this position was the beginning of my career," said Jim. "I started with the title of executive director' and ended with the same title. It was a great job where I made many lasting friends and had the opportunity to work for professionals I respected."

He received his degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1960. In 1970, he received his J.D. degree from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law. From 1961-65, he edited TRUX Magazine, the voice piece for the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. Charlie Jenkins was the GSCPA president when Jim started, and he noted that although Jim came into the position with minimal experience, he impressed everyone with his enthusiasm and focus.

During his tenure, Jim worked with 35 presidents. He had an uncanny ability to "read" each person with whom he comes in contact, listen to the issues, and determine how to serve those whom he represented. Anyone who had seen him "work a room" at the legislature or an annual meeting knows he was a pro.

In 1965, Georgia began an introduction program for new CPAs given during the CPA Certificate Presentation Luncheon, which ran for years after Jim's retirement. The program was a highlight of Society events and included the certificate recipients and their families and guests.

The first issue of Little Accounts hit the streets in 1972. Jim was the editor, reporter, typesetter and envelope stuffer. He had a unique writing style and the ability to identify what the members needed and wanted to know. The one-page newsletter has evolved into Current Accounts, a 40-page, award-winning magazine.

In 1975, the Society moved its offices from downtown to Tower Place in Buckhead. Jim saw five complete moves and six expansions with the Society. He started with 5,000 sq. ft. on the 8th floor and eventually expanded to 24,000 sq ft on the 27th floor. In 1993, Jim negotiated space to create the GSCPA Conference Center. Georgia was one of the first state societies to have an on-site facility for educational programs and meetings.

Jim was responsible for GSCPA being the first state society to have an institutional advertising campaign. In the mid-70s, he co-authored an article that addressed the need to promote the CPA and the profession to improve the public image. Sixteen states developed similar models.

When the AICPA expanded its advertising efforts with the Image Enhancement Program in 1996, Jim conceived the idea for automobile tags, window decals and bumper stickers. Jim was selected by Accounting Today as one of 1998's Most Influential People in the accounting profession, recognized for his innovative marketing efforts. 

The Georgia Society's 1040K Road Race, the first of its kind in any state society, began in 1986 and was the model for 15 other state society programs. Jim was present at every one of the races until the program ended in 1998.

Jim established the Key Person program for Georgia's federal and state legislators and served as the AICPA Key Person coordinator. Georgia was the first state to have a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C., with its Key Persons and the Georgia delegation. This was during the time Jimmy Carter was president. Eventually, the AICPA took over the program and expanded it to include other states. 

Jim was active in the Georgia Society of Association Executives and CPA/SEA. In 1983, he became a Certified Association Executive and served as president of GSAE, chairman of the organization's Educational Foundation, and president in CPA/SEA. He also served on various AICPA Committees. In 1985, Jim received the Clifford Clarke Award as the Outstanding Association Executive. 

Jim was very proud of the reputation of The Georgia Society of CPAs and played a significant role in the organization's achievements and programs.

During his retirement, Jim stayed involved with the CPA profession, occasionally speaking at a GSCPA chapter or annual meeting and lending his knowledge to legislative issues. In 2002, GSCPA presented him with the Meritorious Service Award for his outstanding service to the profession. He served as the consumer member of the Georgia State Board of Accountancy for two terms from October 11, 2013, through January 21, 2021. The Georgia State Board of Accountancy recently passed a resolution of distinguished service in recognition and appreciation to Jim for his outstanding leadership and guidance to the CPA profession in Georgia for over fifty years.