From a young age, Phil Foster
developed a powerfully positive "anyone can do it" attitude! Even, way
back in the 8th grade, "... when none of us had a clue as to what we
would really do when we grew up," as Phil recalls, he scored highly on
the clerical section of an aptitude test. "Heck! I didn't even know
what 'clerical' meant!" he added, but his counselor suggested that he
envision managing a library, or owning a CPA firm, someday. Well, Phil
laughs, as he recounts, "I objected, 'Libraries are boring!... Uh...
what's a CPA?'"
Throughout the succeeding years, there were many failures, but those failures
were embraced as opportunities to learn, and Phil thus nurtured his
love of goal achievement. Even representing
Branham High School, Phil competed in a District-wide accounting
competition, and despite a mild case
of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy, he was re-elected, and he served,
both semesters, in 1973, as Senior Class President. Certainly, there,
he left quite an unusual legacy!
With visionary spirit, Phil continued at Santa
Clara University, where he majored in accounting. Though he
degreed with honorable grades, he had no idea, even in his wildest dreams,
what truly awaited him!
Though roughly half of the rigorous 20-hour Uniform CPA
Examination was essay, thereby presenting a challenge for
Phil, because of his slow handwriting, he seemed to compensate, well,
with his sharp cognitive abilities and with his speed-reading skills.
He passed, in just two sittings, quite an accomplishment, in itself!
Additionally, he gained his audit experience in a wide range of
engagements, most notably, while conducting the audits of all of the,
then, San Francisco Bay
Area Bob's Big Boy Restaurants!
It was on April 25, 1980, that
Phil obtained his certification, and, a year later, on April 24, 1981,
Phil accomplished his 8th Grade goal of owning his own CPA practice!
Perhaps laying an emotional foundation for the future of his career was discovering that his own grandmother was duped, decades before, into
buying an inappropriate whole life insurance, rather than a more appropriate term life
insurance, policy. Worse yet, the real alarming discovery was that her
policy was worth more by cancelling it, ASAP, than if she died the next
Phil focused on audit, review,
and compilation of financial statements and taxation of
homeowners’ associations (condominiums and planned unit
developments), when he began his practice in 1981. His many articles
were published in "ECHO Journal", the homeowners association
specialty resource periodical widely-circulated throughout California,
and Executive Council
of Homeowners (ECHO), itself, was also a valued client, in
those early years.
Beginning in 1984, Phil
envisioned that, someday, the governing bodies would encourage CPAs
across the nation to provide financial services, such as mortgages,
investments and life insurance, for, after all, there was an incredible
need, among financially responsible men and women, to establish a
relationship with a professional whom they could trust, and who was
unusually skilled to make seemingly complex financial planning issues
simple and easy to understand and implement.
Phil began to envision his dream
become a reality when, in 1990, the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants amended Rule 503 to prescribe regulations for CPAs to perform these financial services.
Finally, on January 1, 1999, Business & Professions Code
Section 5061 was adopted, eventually establishing California
Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 1, Article 9, Section 56
of the California
Board of Accountancy.