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CPAFMA Announces Top Award Recipient

Norman D. Saale

Norman D. Saale

Norman D. Saale, COO with McDermott & Miller and now Lutz employee in Grand Island, Neb., received the CPA Firm Management Association’s ACE (Achievement, Commitment, Excellence) Award at its June 2017 National Practice Management Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Selected offices of Grand Island, Neb.-based McDermott & Miller joined forces May 1 with Lutz of Omaha, Neb., (FY16 net revenue of $32.6 million).

During the awards presentation, Robert E. Biddle Jr., outgoing CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) president, noted Saale’s skills in professionally managing Lutz’s practice, including internal operations of the firm with respect to financial oversight, budget preparation, human resources, CPE, technology, benefit and risk management insurance and programs, banking, campus recruiting and executive functions for the board of directors/shareholders.

According to Andrew Janzen, president and CEO of McDermott & Miller, now partner at Lutz, “Norm has always functioned as if he was an owner as he took care of everyone from shareholder to the new employee in some fashion. Norm’s only weakness may be that he tries too hard, but that is a great weakness to possess.”

Saale was instrumental in holding the McDermott & Miller offices together these last several years, until the fall of 2016 when three of the four offices would make the decision to join Lutz with one office venturing out on its own, according to CPAFMA. McDermott & Miller had four offices with a lot of local autonomy, practicing more as an association than a firm. Saale served as the primary lead during the decision-making and initial implementation process.

Once a new CEO was named, Saale served as an advisor and confidant. Saale’s retirement announcement was the springboard for many to make a determination of their future plans. Originally slated to retire at the end of 2016, the executive team at McDermott & Miller asked him to stay on through the transition. Saale is now scheduled to retire Aug. 31.

Allan Koltin, KCG Koltin Consulting Group says, “Norm has a way of not just seeing when things are wrong or need to change, but more importantly he always has a win-win solution to problems. His selfless passion allows him to see the firm succeed and it’s never about him but rather always what is best for the firm.”

Saale served on the CPA Firm Management Association’s National Board of Directors for eight years including the position of national chair.

CPAFMA Announces that the AAAPM Designation is Now the PAFM Designation

The Association for Accounting Administration became the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) for many reasons, all of which are applicable to CPAFMA’s certification program.

To better align with the association’s new name, CPAFMA has officially changed the name of its Accredited Administrator in Accounting Practice Management (AAAPM) designation. The designation will continue to transition from a designation of AAAPM to PAFM, Public Accounting Firm Manager.

Certification for firm managers enhances the status and the position within the industry, and creates a significant professional recognition for those managing accounting firms who achieve the PAFM designation.

DeLeon & Stang Partner Elected to National CPAFMA Board

Jeanie Price

Jeanie Price

Gaithersburg, Md.-based DeLeon & Stang Certified Public Accountants and Advisors is pleased to announce that partner Jeanie Price has been elected to the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) board as director of membership and growth.

“At DeLeon & Stang, we believe in being generous with our professional talents,” says Price. “I am happy to have the opportunity to share my talents with CPAFMA. The firm’s long-standing relationship with CPAFMA has also been important for our growth over the years.” In June 2016, Price was presented with the CPAFMA’s ACE Administrator award at its annual conference in Baltimore.

CPAFMA, formerly the Association of Accounting Administrators, is a national professional association dedicated to CPA firm practice management.

HeimLantz Firm Administrator Elected President of CPAFMA’s DC Chapter


Laura Macauley

Annapolis, Md.-based HeimLantz has announced that Laura Macauley, firm administrator, has been elected president for the District of Columbia chapter of the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA), a national professional association dedicated to CPA firm practice management.

“Our staff is constantly working to increase their knowledge base,” says Carter Heim, president of HeimLantz. “Laura is no exception – she is as committed to her professional development as our accountants are to theirs. Her service to HeimLantz makes her an excellent role model for other firm administrators in our region.”

Macauley has held various roles at HeimLantz over the years and is a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma. As firm administrator, she oversees a variety of departments and several staff members.

HeimLantz specializes in general accounting, business valuation, employee benefit plan audits, forensics and litigation support, succession planning, internal controls and outsourced CFO services. The HeimLantz team is comprised of over 20 CPAs and business advisors.

Bowman & Co.’s Biddle Appointed Chair of CPAFMA’s Board


Robert Biddle

Voorhees, N.J.-based Bowman & Company LLP (FY15 net revenue of $15 million) announced that principal and administrator Robert Biddle Jr. was appointed chair of the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) board of directors.

Biddle has been an active member of CPAFMA for over 30 years and served as vice chair over the last year. He was appointed at this year’s National Practice Management Conference. This appointment continues Bowman’s tradition of active involvement in industry groups and leadership in the CPA profession.

The CPAFMA, founded in 1984 as The Association of Accounting Administrators, was formed “to enable accounting firm administrators to communicate with one another and provide each other with the benefits of everyone’s experiences in what was a new and emerging profession.”

Since its founding, CPAFMA has strived to develop its members’ expertise and learning, professionalism and lasting, collaborative relationships.

Study: Top Concern At Tax Time Is Too Much Work

As CPA firms ended their 2019 tax season, 40% reported that the top concern was the consequences of workload compression on morale and quality. The biggest concern of 30% of respondents was keeping staff and clients informed on new tax law changes.

That’s according to the 2019 Post-Tax Season Survey by Right Networks, which hosts cloud-based tax and accounting applications. The survey was sent to more than 3,500 members and prospective members of the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) April 18-April 30, drawing responses from 162 firms.

“Entering tax season, firms were balancing workload compression with the education of staff and clients on the implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” says Roman Kepczyk, director of firm strategy at Right Networks. “Add in late legislative updates on tax software and you can easily understand why most firms were in scramble mode from the very start of busy season.”

Fifty-five percent of respondents said this busy season was either substantially more difficult or slightly more difficult than in the past.

To prepare for tax season, many firms upgraded software or hired staff to handle the work. Seventy-five percent of firms increased staffing, including accountants, administrative staff and interns. Training new staff on firm systems proved a challenge for half the respondents, so firms may look to train earlier in the year in the future, the report said.

When asked about cloud services, “72% reaffirmed the convenience of anytime/anywhere access and 67% touted the secure environment provided,” the survey says. Also, 34% cited improved collaboration with personnel and 20% cited improved collaboration with clients.

“Tax season is always the most stressful time of year for CPAs, and 2018 filings were expected to be the most complicated in recent memory. Yet it appears that a combination of increased staffing and use of cloud-hosted applications helped firms successfully meet the challenge,” according to Kepczyk.

More news from CPAFMA

IPA Vendor Spotlight On … Allan Fisher, Premier Financial Search

Name: Allan Fisher

Allan Fisher

Allan Fisher

Company: Premier Financial Search

Title: President and Founder


  • 20 years of recruiting specifically for public accounting firms
  • Works with 25 of the IPA 100 firms, 42 of the IPA 200 firms and 64 of the IPA 300 firms.
  • Placed 1200+ candidates within CPA firms
  • Actively involved in CPAFMA
  • Acted as ‘matchmaker’ on multiple firm mergers

Many accounting firms have their own recruiters on staff, but what extra value can an outside recruiting service bring to the table?

Internal firm recruiters are a key part of the HR and talent acquisition process, and that is why we partner with them to fill their staffing needs. They do an outstanding job of promoting the benefits of their firm, and we do an outstanding job of identifying candidates they might not reach. Our team has created a strong national network. This enables us to target specific candidates by job, geography and industry specialization. We have built our success on relationships, and see this again and again in referrals. We see the big picture, and come at recruiting from a different vantage point. When combined with what CPA firms have in place for staffing, the value we add is tremendous.

What’s the biggest opportunity for CPA firms that Premier Financial Search can help them with?

Two of the biggest challenges facing CPA firms are staffing and succession planning. These are two of our largest areas of focus. As we work solely with public accounting firms, our entire inventory consists of candidates coming from local, regional and national firms. Our candidate interview process is in-depth and allows us to determine a candidate’s ultimate career goal. We can then make ideal matches based on the needs of the hiring firms.

How has the staffing industry changed with the rise of social media, specifically LinkedIn, in your years as an executive recruiter?

Much has changed in the industry since I started recruiting in 1998. LinkedIn has leveled the playing field when it comes to identifying talent. Recruiters and HR professionals alike can easily determine a talent pool at a particular level within a geographic area. Candidates tell me that they receive five to 10 emails via LinkedIn from recruiters and firms per week. This has created a Tinder-like atmosphere in which candidates feel they can be selective, swiping past opportunities until they find their perfect match. Recruiting is, and has always been, about relationships. For us, Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn open the doors to relationships. A positive for us is that LinkedIn allows us to reach more candidates on a national level. Interestingly, 30% of the candidates we place are relocating from one geographic area to another.

What makes Premier Financial Search different than other staffing companies?

We recruit and place nationally. We have placed candidates from almost every state into Top 100, 200 and 300 firms. We know what differentiates one firm from another. When a candidate considers making a move, their knowledge of firms is often focused on the very recognizable national firms. We assist by educating candidates on many things: the differences among national, regional and local firms; which firms offer industry specialty services; how one firm’s succession plan may be vastly different than another’s; how one firm’s culture compares to others. We know the market. With 20 years of expertise focused on one area, we know the trends, firms to watch, M&A rumors and important details not included on firm websites.

Final thoughts?

Our passion is placement within public accounting. In an overheated market for talent, we provide top candidates, allowing our clients to grow and properly plan for partner succession.

Do you know someone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.

DeLeon and Stang Partner Earns Firm Administrator Award

Jeanie Price

Jeanie Price

Jeanie Price, partner and director of administration at Gaithersburg, Md.-based DeLeon and Stang CPAs and Advisors has been recognized as the top CPA firm administrator in the nation.

Price, an Accredited Administrator in Accounting Practice Management (AAAPM), was announced as the recipient of the CPA Firm Management Association’s Ace Administrator Award at CPA FMA’s national conference in Baltimore in June.

DeLeon and Stang co-founder Richard Stang, in nominating Price for the award, says that having Price oversee firm operations and engage in client development and business development has freed up his time and that of all the partners, so they can focus more on client service.

Talent development is valued at DeLeon and Stang, and Price has been a key part of that strategy. “Jeanie’s involvement on our learning and mentoring committee has been strategically significant to DeLeon & Stang this year,” says Stang, noting Price is a member of the AICPA’s Private Company Practice Section. He adds that she encourages everyone at the firm to teach as well as learn, beyond the required CPE. “She has driven the firm to make hiring decisions and create mentorships based on the longevity of the firm beyond the careers of its founding partners.”

One of the most valuable – and often scarce – commodities in professional and personal lives is time. CPAs, CFOs and other professionals, feeling challenged just to ‘keep up’ in these fast-changing times, can sometimes put off planning for the future. Jeanie Price makes sure that doesn’t happen, the firm announced.

“Jeanie keeps the other partners moving forward even as we grow weary of taking time to meet about strategy instead of serving clients and working billable hours,” says Stang, who adds, “Because she takes time to orchestrate all of this, the firm has gained bigger clients and the talent pool has grown in size and breadth.”

Consultant Releases New Edition of ‘Quantum of Paperless’


Roman Kepczyk

Roman Kepczyk, director of consulting for Xcentric, has released a 2016 update of his book, Quantum of Paperless: Partner’s Guide to Accounting Firm Optimization.

In the seventh edition of the book, Kepczyk includes 2016 IT survey results from the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA). The survey provides actionable information on hardware, software, staffing and IT trends and allows accounting firm leaders to compare data with their peers. In addition, the 2015 Benchmarking Paperless Best Practices survey information is included.

Quantum Paperless discusses how every accounting firm is unique yet similar. Firms are unique in the production processes they have developed over time to service clients, produce tax returns, complete audits, enter time and produce billing. However, the transition from traditional manual processes to today’s digital solutions is remarkably similar and it is primarily a matter of identifying where the firm is today and implementing the next proven process that firm personnel are sufficiently capable and willing to adopt.

This guide is broken into 32 mission-critical quantum leaps where your firm production can be optimized. In each section, proven solutions that accounting firms are successfully implementing and using today is listed.

The book answers tough tech questions firms face:

  • Multiple monitors – beyond 3?
  • The Cloud?
  • Hardware selection and replacement?
  • Document management?
  • Managing and retaining data?
  • Digital tax workflow systems?
  • Audit field equipment?
  • Delivering client reports digitally?
  • Client portals?
  • Security issues?
  • Remote access technology?

Kepzyk helps firms throughout North America effectively use information technology by implementing digital best practices. He has spent the past 17 years consulting with CPA firms.

Purchase Quantum of Paperless: Partner’s Guide to Accounting Firm Optimization

IPA Spotlight On … Kim Fantaci, CPA Firm Management Association

Name: Kim Fantaci

Association Name: CPA Firm Management Association

Title: President

Association Accomplishments:

  • Transitioning to a firm membership base with more than 1,100 individuals strategically involved in the day-to-day operations and management of CPA firms in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Partnering with the AICPA’s PCPS to provide firms throughout the U.S. and Canada with additional resources and collaboration opportunities.
  • Providing educational opportunities and best practices for firms to share and utilize.
  • Connecting those involved in CPA firm management.

CPAFMA_Name_Pantone_HorThe Association for Accounting Administration (AAA) has changed its name to the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA). How does the new name better reflect what your members do?

The new name allows us to better reflect the work our members do and will do. There are many involved with the successful management of an accounting firm with the firm manager at the core. Our members are responsible for the day-to-day operations of accounting firms, not just the administrative tasks as was often interpreted with the name of our association.  The new name allows us to become even more inclusive for everyone managing the firm.

Can you talk about the scope of what your members do? How does it exceed the original vision of the association founders over 30 years ago?

Our members are responsible for firm management, whether it’s financial, human capital, strategic initiatives, marketing, learning, administrative, technology or operational. CPAFMA members are thought leaders. The Association’s core mission has not changed, although the profession is continually changing. CPAFMA is a strategic enabler of relationships and provider of valuable connections, resources and education to support holistic CPA firm management in the areas of strategy/partner issues, human resources, technology, finance, marketing and business development, in-firm communications, client service and operations and facilities. We are there to lead our members through constant change. The CPA Firm Management Association, its leaders and members are committed to expertise and learning, professionalism and lasting relationships and collaboration.

What is the role of CPAFMA today in an increasingly global economy?

Firms, regardless of size, need to be aware of the changes and growth of the global economy from a management, technical and client-focus perspective. The Association needs to provide information, best practices, data and benchmarking to our members to build an awareness of the increasingly global economy and what this means to their success. Our firm manager members can then lead their firms to be strategic players in the profession. By developing alliances with key organizations, we are able to develop and share content and resources.

What’s the biggest challenge CPAFMA member firms are facing, and how are they working together to address it?

Staying ahead of change to realize growth through successful initiatives. Accounting firm management is absolutely at the core of our new identity. It’s the foundation of the profession and the basis of our organization. We recognize the scope of our members’ roles within their firms and its impact is so much broader than what our founding fathers imagined for the association. By remaining committed to providing our members with the services and benefits expected, we will work with each member to customize their experience.

Any long-term plans or goals for CPAFMA that you’d like to share?

We would like to develop educational programs to contribute to the success of every segment of firm management and include those at the firm committed to the success. The distribution method of education and sharing is something we are working to improve, as we’d like a limitless reach.

Final thoughts?

CPAFMA is a recognized leader in CPA firm practice management delivering valuable education and collaboration opportunities to those interested in elevating their practice and strategically growing their firms. By providing our members with expert thinking, support, education, inspiration and advocacy, we will provide the leadership to take firms to the next level, regardless of size or structure.