Ryan L. Burger received his Nebraska CPA certificate in 2007 and has been a member of the Nebraska Society of CPAs for 13 years. He presently serves as chairman of the Nebraska Society of CPAs Board of Directors. Burger has also served on the Accounting Careers Committee for the past seven years and as chairman of that committee for the past six years.
Tell us about your present job and work history.
I am a partner at GBE CPA in Seward. My first four years out of college, I worked for the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office.
Where did you grow up, and how has that influenced your path in life?
I grew up in Kearney and went to Concordia University in Seward. Thanks to an excellent high school accounting teacher, I decided to make accounting my major. Thanks to an adjunct professor in college who owned a local accounting firm, I was able to stay connected to public accounting and eventually become a partner.
Where did you receive your college degree?
I received my bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Nebraska, where I also received the 150-Hour Accounting Scholarship from the Foundation of the Nebraska Society of CPAs. A belated thank you to the Society members and Foundation Board of Trustees back in 2003!
Tell us about your volunteer and community activities.
Like all CPAs, I have too many! I serve on about a dozen boards and committees for non-profit entities in Seward and Lincoln. One of my favorite community activities is to speak with high school and college students about a career in accounting.
What or who inspired you to become a CPA?
I hesitate to try to name people at the risk of missing an important one. All of my high school business teachers, college business professors, current accounting firm business partners, and the taxpayers of Nebraska who reimbursed my exam fees in the mid-2000s served as inspiration. But most of all, I would like to thank my dad who runs a detasseling crew out of Kearney/Elm Creek. Nothing motivated my desire for a desk job more than working long, hot days in the cornfield.
What do you love most about the Nebraska Society of CPAs?
As chairman of the Society Board, I can tell you there is an absolute desire for outreach to young people in Nebraska. We provide presentations to local students about accounting careers, set up scholarship opportunities far beyond what other state societies provide, and collaborate with organizations to achieve future growth in the profession.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Love God. Love others.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Staying married through 13 tax seasons.
What advice do you have for young CPAs and those considering the CPA profession?
For young CPAs: Practice in several areas and then specialize once you find something that brings you joy. And please, please learn Excel.
For those considering the CPA profession: Everything in business comes back to accounting, whether you love it or hate it. After the years of school and exams, it just makes sense to put your resume above others by becoming a CPA and having job opportunities for life.
How do you see the CPA profession changing over the next decade?
We are already seeing the trend toward advisory services. Whether your clients are for-profit, government, or non-profit, they come to you for a need (tax, audit, payroll, accounting, wealth management) but they desire your knowledge and advice.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Lisa is from Norfolk and also graduated from Concordia University Nebraska. It was love at first sight . . . we met in accounting class. Kylie (9), Lexie (6), and Dylan (3) round out the household. The outlook for them as future partners is bleak as none of them think taxes are fun.
What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
As a blood donor, I’ve almost reached the nine-gallon mark.
Three Words That Describe You: Competitive, Debits, Credits
First Job: Detasseling
Favorite Book: Dune by Frank Herbert
Favorite Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Food: Duck Foie Gras
Favorite Band or Musician: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Favorite Charity: Lutheran churches, schools, and service organizations