The Kentucky CPA Journal

KyCPA 100-Year Celebration

The First 25 years (1924-1949)

March 6, 2024
By Kimberly Lindsey

Each Issue in 2024 of The Kentucky CPA Journal will contain historical content in celebration of our 100-Year anniversary. In this issue the focus is the first 25 years of the Kentucky Society of CPAs and the CPA profession in Kentucky during that time.

On June 19, 1924, W.A. Hifner, Jr., J. W. R. Bradford, and J. H. Youtsey, as the incorporators, obtained a corporate charter from the Secretary of State.
Click here to view details from Issue 5, 2023 of The Kentucky CPA Journal.

The Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants, Bulletin No. 1 was published in December 1924.

It lists all 32 members at the time, important tax dates, and the following articles:

  • The value of audits
  • Taxation. The Revenue Act of 1924
  • The balance sheet

Bulletin 1


Kentucky Society of CPAs: 1924-1949 Board Presidents


Spotlight: Chauncy Lewis Christian

In 1926, Chauncy Lewis Christian sat for the Kentucky CPA Exam and passed three of the four parts on the first attempt; the fourth part of the exam he passed on his second attempt. Fifty candidates took the CPA Exam that day; Christian was one of only seven who passed the exam. He was the third Black CPA in the United States and first in Kentucky with certificate number 114. 


Spotlight: Helen Hifner Fortune

Helen Hifner Fortune, daughter of KyCPA founder W.A. Hifner Jr, was the first woman CPA in Kentucky. In 1935 she received certificate number 174, and was admitted to the American Institute of Accountants (AIA) the following year. In 1937 she was a partner in the Lexington, Ky., firm of Hifner and Fortune and was on the Kentucky Society of CPAs Complaints Committee according to the State Board of Accountancy Annual Register. In 1940, according to the State Board of Accountancy Annual Register, Fortune made history once more as the first woman to be Vice President of the KyCPA Board. 

In this 1978 interview, Helen Fortune spoke about being the first woman CPA in Kentucky and her father, W.A. Hifner Jr.'s work for the Frontier Nursing Service as a CPA that began in the mid-1920's.

State Board of Accountancy Registers

Click the individual link below to view or download the PDF for each year.  

First Issue - 1933
Foreword: This is the first issue of the annual year book to be published by the State Board of Accountancy of Kentucky. Its purpose is to furnish information about holders of the Kentucky C.P.A. Certificate and to advance the interests of the accounting profession.

Why be Certified?
The first reason is because of the almost imperceptible yet gradual change in the attitude of the public.
The second and most important reason is because of the effect upon the attitude of the accountant himself. 

Since the law was passed in 1916 the Kentucky Boards have issued 182 certificates as follows:
By Waiver - 15
By Reciprocity - 30
By Examination - 137

Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants Committees for the Year 1936-37
Legislation, Meetings, Admissions, Publicity, Auditing, Ethics and Complaints

It will be noted from the statistics shown in this register for the last five examinations that the average examination only about one candidate out of every five is successful. 

The first woman CPA, Mrs. Helen Fortune is listed as Vice President under the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants Officers.

12 cities in Kentucky have at least one CPA Firm, including Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Cumberland, Lexington, Louisville, Middlesboro, Newport, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg and Winchester. 

The following CPAs are listed as Kentucky College Accounting Educators:
Robert Dee Haun, Professor of Accounting, University of Kentucky
James Cecil Holland, Bowling Green College of Commerce and Private Practice
James Russell Meany, Head, Accounting Dept., Bowling Green Business College

Elizabeth Mae Lutkemeier, listed as receiving certificate number 266, may have been the second woman in Kentucky to earn her CPA. She worked for the Department of Revenue in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

Mary R. Fowler, listed as receiving certificate number 287, may have been the third woman in Kentucky to earn her CPA. She worked for D.M. Fairchild Audit Co. in Henderson, Kentucky. 

Several CPAs are listed working within Kentucky companies throughout several industries such as Franklin Title & Trust Co., Louisville Gas & Elec. Co., American Air Filter Co., Inc., Pepsi-Cola Co., Louisville Bottlers, Inc., Jefferson Island Salt Co., Ken-Rad Tube & Lamp Corp., Harlan Central Coal Co., C.T. Dearing Printing Co., Louisville Color Gravure Co., Aetna Oil Co., The Mengel Co., James B. Beam Distilling Co., Belknap Hdwe. & Mfg. Co., Frankfort Distilleries, Inc., and Sterns Coal & Lumber Co.

The 1946 Kentucky General Assembly enacted a law governing the practice of public accountancy entitled "The Public Ac­counting Act of 1946" which became effective on June 20, 1946. This law, among other things, requires that all persons, either Certified Public Accountants or non-certified public accountants, shall register with this Board and obtain a permit to engage in practice beginning July 1, 1946. Included as a part of this register is a copy of this Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, also, Rules of Professional Con­duct, listing of Certified Public Accountants and Public Accountants registered with the Board (alpha­betically arranged) and a listing arranged by cities, of all accounting firms (partnerships) practicing in this State.

Fees for Examination: The statutory fee for the examination in $25.00, payable to the State Board of Accountancy of Kentucky in the form of certified check, draft or money order. 

Mary Noel Barron, listed as receiving certificate number 399, may have been the fourth woman in Kentucky to earn her CPA. Her place of employment is not listed, however, her mailing address is Chattanooga, Tenn.

What is a Certified Public Accountant? A statement issued by the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants in pamphlet form.

The Kentucky Accountant

In January 1949 Vol. I No. 1 of The Kentucky Accountant was published by the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants.

The first issue includes The Presidents Page written by Gordon Ford. 

"In my judgment, every Kentucky CPA should be a member of the Society. While every CPA has an obligation to the Society, the Society also has a very definite obligation to the CPAs of Kentucky, and in their efforts to fulfill this obligation, all of your officers and di­rectors are motivated by a desire to accomplish, to the greatest possible ex­tent. the purpose of the Society, as set out in the by-laws." - Gordon Ford


The first issue also includes a summary of the annual holiday party, a list of new members, a new firm partnership Boswell & May formed in Owensboro and more.

February 1949 Vol. I No. 2

"Enthusiastic comment has been heard on all fronts in connection with the publication of the first issue of The Kentucky Accountant. This is gratifying to all of the officers and directors of the Society. About 1,000 copies of the first issue were mailed to Society members, registered accountants, colleges, news­papers, banks and others. This issue represents a good start but we will all look forward to improvement in the future." - Gordon Ford

April 1949 Vol. I No. 4

The tentative program for the Southern Accountants Conference is included in this bulletin and that it was held at The Brown Hotel in Louisville May 29-June 1, 1949.

The first advertisement also appears.

Victor Adding Machine

May 1949 Vol. I No. 5

J.B. Brown had a good sense of humor in these selected "DON'TS".

Don't turn in a time report. Your job is too important for useless details and you will be sure to retain the client's good will if he never gets a bill.

Don't use the waste basket or ashtray. This is professionally unethical and creates a bad impression on the clients.

Don't fail to bring a new gripe to the office every day. This is the best way to dis­play your mental alertness.

Click here to read more selected "DON'TS" on p. 7. 

June, July, August 1949 Vol. I No. 6

Articles include:

  • Ford delivers silver anniversary address; Grogan elected president, Simpson secretary
  • Roster of resident members, May 31, 1949 
  • Report of the retiring President

"I want to leave one thought with you, the efforts of the Society merit and should receive the support of every CPA in Ken­tucky. There should be no free-riders. Every member owes and should make a contribu­tion to the advancement of his profession. Attendance of meetings is a small matter, but it gives endorsement to the program and promotes cordial relationship among ac­countants. There is a great deal to be gained by meeting with your fellow practitioners. In face, attendance at meetings is the smallest obligation of a member to the Society. Good relationship among Certi­fied Public Accountants is, and always will be, vital to the progress of our profession." - Gordon Ford

100-Year Celebration and Annual Members Meeting


Join us June 14, 2024 for our 100-Year Celebration and Annual Members Meeting at The Olmsted at 6 p.m. We will have food, music, dancing and more with a throwback "Roaring 1920's" theme.