Why Is This CPA Walking 2,826 Miles?

Apr 7th 2014
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Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA) annual Beach Retreat. Why so much time? Because Ryan (shown below) isn't flying, taking a train, or even driving: he's walking 32 miles a day through 14 states. And he has several reasons for doing so.

Ryan has long been involved with Baltimore-based Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit organization that provides treatment and care for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities. He's been a 30-year volunteer and is currently president of its board of directors. This walk is designed to shine a spotlight on the group and its mission and help raise funds.

The walk is also about atonement and gratitude. In an article written for the MACPA, Ryan said he wants "to ask any person that I have hurt in my life to forgive me, any person that I have let down or disappointed to pray for me, and any person I have helped to consider helping another. The gratitude part is this: I’m asking anyone who is willing to follow me for a mile or two, so that they can help carry some supplies. I don’t know if I will get that support, but I will be very grateful for any help I can get."

A Serious Walk
He's not accompanied by any support vehicles carrying supplies. The 62-year-old accountant is carrying about 50 pounds of supplies in a backpack and is pulling an additional 60 to 80 pounds of food, water, and gear behind him. He welcomes anyone who wants to join him for a mile or two as he proceeds to Maryland.

AccountingWEB caught up with Ryan in Arizona, where he cheerfully agreed to a brief phone interview as long as we didn't mind if he walked while he talked.

We asked if among his other goals, his walk would change the public perception of CPAs as being sedentary professionals. He said he hopes so",because we really are active—we really do run around." Indeed, physical activity is no stranger to Ryan, a Marine Corps veteran who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq and reached the rank of colonel.

He's proud of serving is country, and was pleased at how the CPA profession has supported him over the years. Ryan said that no matter what their politics, his accounting colleagues have been very understanding about his deployments.

We also asked him a tax question: given that he's going to walk through a lot of shoe leather in the coming weeks, can he deduct new walking shoes as a charitable contribution? He laughed and said he wasn't sure.

So AccountingWEB is reaching out to its many tax experts who have access to research sources currently unavailable to Ryan: are shoes, or anything else on this journey, deductible? Post comments below.

Meanwhile, the sidebar shows how you can help and keep track of Ryan's journey.


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