Featured ACAT Spotlight: Virginia Bruns

Virginia A. Bruns, CPA, EA, ABA, ATA, ATP, ARA
Johnson Bruns Co.
Big Lake, MN

I decided that I wanted to be an accountant when I had to write a paper in the 9th grade civics class about “What you want to be when you grow up”.  My parents were both accountants and I had been doing add jobs around the office so that was why I wrote my paper on becoming an accountant.  After graduating from college, I started working from my parent’s office in New Ulm, MN.  My husband and I moved to Big Lake, MN when he was hired as a teacher at the school.  I kept working from my home until we decided to open a branch office in Big Lake.  The office opened in November of 1977, the same year my daughter was born.  She is now working with me.  I sold the portion of the business in New Ulm when my father became ill and passed away.  He was still working when Erin, my daughter joined our firm and was very proud of the 3 generation firm.  My 7 year old granddaughter says she would like to work in the office too, but she wants to be the boss of Grandma and Mom, (she already is).  Will we have a 4th generation…anything is possible.

Why did you initially decide to earn an ACAT credential? What are the benefits of earning a credential?
I was encouraged by my father to earn the ACAT credential.  The benefit in having credentials is showing you are serious about the profession you have chosen and that you keep current on updates and changes within the profession.

How did you promote your ACAT credential(s) or other credential(s) that you have earned? If someone asked you why you got the ABA what would you tell them?
I promote the credentials by having them listed on my business cards and stationary.  In addition, I have the certificates displayed in my office.  The reason I got the ABA was to have an accounting credential.  My office does accounting work as well as tax, and I felt it was important to be credentialed in both areas.  Along with my ACAT credentials, I am also a CPA and EA.  The ARA credential has also been helpful with dealing with issues for my maturing clients.

What's one piece of advice you'd give someone just starting out:
My advice to someone just starting out is to find someone you can network with.  Make sure you get credentialed in the work you are doing and keep learning.  The CPE requirements for a credential are a minimum of what you should get.  Keeping updated and networking with other professionals will be a huge asset to you in your profession.

Describe our most interesting/strange accounting moment in 10 words:
Doing my first estate tax return.

After all the numbers are crunched what do you do to unwind?
My favorite thing to do is to get together with my grandchildren.  Whether it is to do something special or just play with them…it is just the BEST!  Basketball is also a favorite hobby, (watching…not playing).  We enjoy the Minnesota Timberwolves and are die hard season ticket holders.  Of course during the busy season my husband needs to find someone to go with him many times to the games.  Our grandchildren are just starting sports in elementary school, and I’m looking forward to watching them compete in the future.

Favorite IRS Publication:

Here Jini is with her family: