Andrea Cope


 Andrea Cope is known around these parts as CalCPA’s centennial chair, but lesser-known facts about her include:

• She’s been to culinary school.
• She once had to fire herself.
• She signed Don Henley’s (of the Eagles) will.

Cope began her accounting career at Windes McLaughery in Long Beach after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from CSU Sacramento in 1981. Over the course of the next dozen years, she worked for various firms, including controller for the Houston Symphony and at a business management firm for high net worth movie stars and executives.

That position lead to the aforementioned signing of Don Henley’s will, which landed as a thank you to her on one of his albums and provided an opportunity to meet agent and movie producer Jay Kanter’s wife, Judy, who was a bridesmaid for Grace Kelly.

Cope also spent nearly seven years at a firm with an emphasis on working with restaurants, which heightened her percolating culinary interests.

After that stretch of unique experiences, she chose a different path. “I just needed a change,” she says. “I had always wanted to learn to cook professionally and it just seemed to be the perfect time to take a sabbatical and develop the more creative side of my brain and learn how to create great food!”

So she attended an 18-month program at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where she “had the time of my life,” she says. “A lot of light bulbs went on learning how to do techniques on how to cook properly.”

Eventually Cope moved back to accounting and began working at Burr Pilger Mayer, although she was still keeping her catering business, Two Chefs Catering, on a simmer.

“We would shop on Wednesdays and Thursdays, start prep on Thursdays, I would come home on Friday and we’d cook until midnight and cater our events at the weekend,” she says. “But after about two years of that I fired myself. It was too much effort. I cook for family and friends now and people are more than happy to come over for dinner.”

Since returning to accounting, Cope, now a partner at BPM, has an unrivaled passion and respect for the profession.

“This profession opens up so many doors for women,” she says. “You can go into tax, finance, economics, industry, your time can be flexible—but you’ll always have a job. The CPA license gives you that added credibility you need to show the world that your qualifications are unparalleled.”