Profiles: D. Paul Regan

Paul Regan

D. Paul Regan

MS Accounting 79

Chairperson at Hemming Morse, LLP, CPAs, Litigation and Forensic Consultants

Forensic Accounting Pioneer


INVESTIGATIVE ACCOUNTING

Paul Regan is best known for the high-profile, seven-year Air West securities lawsuit and audit of the tycoon Howard Hughes. He quickly became one of America's top forensic accountants. His first case claimed the largest settlement of its kind. The SEC called this settlement the largest to which it had ever agreed in satisfying a claim. The case would spell the beginning of Regan's career trajectory. Like virtually all the working adult students who have attended Golden Gate over the decades, Paul found the pragmatic focus of the teachers and the opportunity to exchange ideas with others working in the same field to be valuable.

When Paul Regan first became a CPA in the 70s, the term "forensic accounting" was seldom used. Another decade would pass before he and a handful of other California CPAs would start developing standards, practices, and a professional certification. In the span of two decades, forensic accounting grew to become a recognized, accredited specialization in the field of accounting. The first forensic accounting college textbook appeared in 1982. Paul Regan is the author of dozens of articles and courses on the topic and has presented at nearly two-dozen professional conferences, helping the specialization gain academic traction and credibility.

During the 1980s Paul was called in by several government agencies to investigate savings-and-loans scandals. He helped to dissect and reconstruct the entangled mess of thrift institutions in California, Texas, Florida, and New York. The 1990s ushered in more Securities and Exchange Commission probes into accounting irregularities, but it was all preparation for Enron. Enron was one of the 150 and counting cases where Paul has been an expert witness.

Golden Gate University has been one of the most long-standing accounting programs in the US. Paul's son and colleague, Greg Regan, is one of the architects of the Golden Gate forensic accounting program. About ten years ago the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) developed a credential for forensic accounting with Paul Regan developing the framework for certification. He also has a seat on the executive committee that oversees all forensic practitioners in the country.

As a result, Regan was invited to join the GGU Board some years later. Today, Hemming Morse has a national reputation for taking on one of the largest and most complex commercial cases ever tried. It is also consistently ranked as one of the best places to work for young accountants seeking to enter the field of forensic accounting.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Paul Regan's father worked for the legendary Longshoremen's Union on the San Francisco waterfront. He was raised in the picturesque Sunset District and often visited his German grandfather's jewelry shop in the Haight District. Regan has lived in Hillsborough with his wife since 1976. His community spirit led him to serve on the Hillsborough Town Council from 1998 to 2010, including a two-year stint as the town mayor, and several years as its commissioner of finance.

He has also served on the Hillsborough School Board, where he drew upon his professional experience in accounting and mediation to create innovative solutions for school bond issues that comprised 20% of the annual budget. Education is important to Regan. "My mom was a school teacher, as was my sister and my wife." He's spent years working to improve the educational environment of his local schools, alma mater and profession.