Maryland Governor Honors AICPA Chairman

Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) member Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, a Baltimore native, is the first state resident to serve as chair of the AICPA and the first minority to lead the AICPA board of directors.

To recognize her accomplishments and service to the country’s CPAs, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation, which was presented to Ellison-Taylor by state Sen. Brian Feldman, himself a CPA, during the MACPA’s annual “CPA Day in Annapolis” advocacy event Jan. 26. Ellison-Taylor also was recognized later that day by Maryland’s full House and Senate.

The proclamation is a “well-deserved tribute” in honor of the “leadership, success and outstanding service” Ellison-Taylor has demonstrated throughout her professional career and as a CPA volunteer.

“I am honored and humbled to have received Gov. Hogan’s citation,” says Ellison-Taylor, who serves as Oracle’s global accounting strategy director. “My name is on the citation, but I believe it is a recognition for all Maryland CPAs and an indication of the MACPA’s commitment to leadership development.”

Ellison-Taylor was an early member of the MACPA’s New / Young Professionals Network (now the Young Professional Council) and served as chairman of the MACPA’s 2010-11 board of directors.

“The governor’s citation is not only a high honor for Kimberly; it’s a recognition of the quality of our membership and the significant role that CPAs play in our state and national economies,” said MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood. “The MACPA team couldn’t be prouder of the work Kimberly continues to do on behalf of CPAs everywhere.”

AICPA CEO Predicts Major Tax Reform

Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO, expects to see passage of major tax reform legislation during the Trump administration, Accounting Today reported.

Democrats may help Republican lawmakers enact the reform if Republicans can build bipartisan support, Melancon said Jan. 24 at a meeting of the Accountants Club of America in New York.

“The reason for that is you have eight Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 who now reside in states that voted for Donald Trump, so they will need politically to look for some things to be able to convey back home,” he said. “I think the potential for tax reform will fall into that. No matter who you are or where you are on the political spectrum, it’s pretty easy to beat up on the tax code and the IRS and certainly for those senators that would be the case.”

He continued, “The political winds are there for it to pass. In all likelihood, it will be the most significant piece of tax reform legislation since 1986, and all the CPAs in the room know very clearly what I’m talking about when I say that. It will be a very significant change if it goes through the process.”

Potential reforms include allowing the IRS to automate tax processing by using information returns, repealing the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, and changing the rules for pass-through entities, reasonable compensation and foreign revenue.

“There is a lot of traction for 100 percent write-off of all depreciable assets, except land,” he added. “They’re even talking about 100 percent write-off of inventory from a business incentive or business-processing standpoint. You can also imagine some of the passive loss rules that exist in the current tax law and how they might play out in a transition situation.”

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AICPA: Client Accounting Services Emerging as Significant Revenue Source

Client accounting services has become an important line of business for CPA firms of all sizes, even as overall client fees are growing, according to a survey sponsored by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section and

One trend is growing penetration of the client accounting services/virtual CFO services category for larger firms. The slice of net client fees represented by that service area, which includes outsourced finance and accounting services and other back-office support for clients, more than doubled to 9% for the largest firms with annual revenue of $10 million or more who are active in this area, according to the 2016 National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey. It also increased by double digits for the next two largest segments: firms with revenue of $5 million to less than $10 million and revenue of $1.5 million to less than $5 million.

“It’s safe to say that nearly 10% of revenues in the profession are focused on client accounting,” said Mark Koziel, the AICPA’s executive vice president of firm services, who discussed the survey results at the 2016 Digital CPA Conference. “And depending on the size of the firm, it may be more or slightly less, but overall it’s a strong category on its own. Tax and audit continue to be the No. 1 and No. 2 revenue categories, but client accounting demonstrates growing significance to the profession.”

On another front, CPA firms use of cloud services has grown since 2014. Some 56% of all firms surveyed said they use cloud-based software, up 17% from two years ago. Six of seven CPA firm revenue segments reported increases, with only the largest category ($10 million in revenue and up) reporting a slight decline (-1 %). Use of cloud-based remote backup increased 14% to 57% for all firms, and an identical number reported that they capture source documents digitally.

“We’re seeing broad pickup in cloud services and other emerging technologies,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of “The next wave that leads to greater productivity and capabilities for advanced firms is fuller integration of these technologies and the elimination of bottlenecks in work processes.”

Among other findings of the survey:

  • Some 38% of firms provide staffers with tablets or mobile monitors to work remotely, with 91% of the largest firms ($10 million in revenue and up) doing so
  • Some 49% of firms are using social media for business development, while 29% are using it for recruitment, although the latter is far more common for larger firms

AICPA ‘Standing Ovation’ Honors Postlethwaite & Netterville CPA

Benjamin Vance

Benjamin Vance

The AICPA Standing Ovation program has recognized Benjamin Vance as one of 25 CPAs age 40 and under to be honored for their contributions to the areas of forensic accounting and business valuation. He was honored at the AICPA’s 2016 Forensic & Valuation Services (FVS) Conference in Nashville in November.

Vance is an associate director in the consulting practice at Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY15 net revenue of $53.2 million).

The Standing Ovation program recognizes young CPAs who exhibit outstanding professional achievement in specialization areas, such as forensic accounting and business valuation.

“Benjamin Vance was honored this year for having demonstrated significant accomplishments in the areas of forensic accounting and business valuation,” says Jeannette Koger, AICPA’s vice president of member specialization and credentialing. “The AICPA’s Standing Ovation program was developed to identify those CPAs who are rising stars in the accounting profession, particularly in their area of specialization.”

AICPA Outlines Tax Reform Priorities

The AICPA has identified several priorities that it would like to see incorporated in any tax reform proposal that advances through the legislative process. These include repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, harmonization of education-related tax provisions and consolidation and reform of the multiple retirement savings provisions in the tax code.

“We commend lawmakers for signaling that tax reform will be a top priority in the next Congress,” says Annette Nellen, chair of the AICPA tax executive committee. “The CPA profession prides itself on providing objective analysis of potential changes to our tax code and we again welcome the opportunity to lend expert input as the House and Senate consider tax reform.”

The committee, the most senior committee of the AICPA’s tax division, recently outlined key issues it believes should be considered as part of any major overhaul of the tax code:

  • Follow principles of good tax policy including equity, simplicity, minimum tax gap, transparency and economic growth and efficiency
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax for simplicity and transparency
  • Harmonize and simplify education-related tax provisions
  • Make adjustments via the tax rate schedule (and avoid phase-ins and phase-outs wherever possible) to promote transparency
  • Eliminate temporary provisions that cause tremendous uncertainty for taxpayers
  • Simplify retirement savings for both individual plans, employer-provided plans and those plans for self-employed individuals
  • Simplify or repeal the “kiddie tax” provisions for calculating the tax on unearned income of a child
  • Reduce tax rates for businesses operating in the corporate form as well as a rate reduction for other forms of business
  • Preserve the current availability of the cash method of accounting for tax purposes
  • Focus on IRS improvement of the taxpayer and tax preparer experience by utilizing modern and secure technology, hiring and training knowledgeable employees, and seeking and utilizing stakeholder engagement

“The AICPA has long advocated for simplification to the tax system because we are convinced such actions will reduce taxpayers’ compliance costs, encourage voluntary compliance through an understanding of the rules and greater respect for the system, and improve enforcement actions,” says Edward Karl, AICPA vice president of taxation. “All of these recommendations are in the public interest and are worthy of serious consideration by the House and Senate.”

Dean Dorton’s Woodward Named to AICPA Committee

Elizabeth Woodward

Elizabeth Woodward

Elizabeth Woodward, director of forensic accounting and litigation support at Lexington, Ky.-based Dean Dorton Allen Ford (FY16 net revenue of $25.6 million), was appointed to serve as a member of the Forensic and Litigation Services Committee for the AICPA.

Woodward has more than 20 years of experience in public accounting, specializing in bankruptcy accounting matters, litigation support and forensic accounting services. She has served in several fiduciary roles, including as a chief restructuring officer, receiver and fee examiner.

Woodward is also an experienced expert witness and has testified in multiple courts. Her experience includes testifying for local and regional matters as well as national cases.

Dean Dorton’s litigation support team is the largest in Kentucky with nine full-time experienced professionals in expert witness testimony, bankruptcy accounting and litigation, marital dissolution, fraud investigation, forensic accounting and due diligence procedures.

AICPA Honors 25 Top Young CPAs in Forensics and Valuation

The AICPA’s Standing Ovation program has recognized 25 CPAs age 40 and under for their contributions to the areas of forensic accounting and business valuation.

The young CPAs were honored recently at the AICPA 2016 Forensic & Valuation Services Conference in Nashville.

The Standing Ovation program annually recognizes young CPAs who exhibit outstanding professional achievement in specialization areas, such as forensic accounting and business valuation services.

The list of recipients is in alphabetical order below:

  • Michelle Avery, Veris Consulting, Reston, Va.
  • Joshua Brummett, LBMC, Brentwood, Tenn.
  • Bryan Callahan, Indianapolis
  • Julian Dozier, Thomas Howell Ferguson, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Chris Ekimoff, Resolution Economics Group, Washington, D.C.
  • Jessica Giresi, WithumSmith+Brown, Princeton, N.J.
  • Daniel Golish, Skoda Minotti, Westerville, Ohio
  • Mark Hughes, Gorman Consulting Group, Phoenix
  • Geoffrey Ihnow, FTI Consulting, Chicago
  • Robert Kester, Blue & Co, Louisville, Ky.
  • Brad Koranda, Minneapolis
  • Jeffrey Kotch, Brendon Pierson, Wall, N.J.
  • Joseph Lesovitz, Citrin Cooperman, Philadelphia
  • Scott Lockhart, Oxdale Ventures, Birmingham, Mich.
  • Jeremy McGannon, FTI Consulting, Chicago
  • Chris Miller, SteelGate Advisors, Wexford, Pa.
  • Matthew O’Leary, Baker Tilly, New York
  • Paul Peterson, Grant Thornton, McLean, Va.
  • Paris Powell, Perkins & Co., Portland, Ore.
  • Erum Randhawa, BlumShapiro, West Hartford, Conn.
  • Zachary Reichenbach, Ellin & Tucker, Baltimore
  • Sean Saari, Skoda Minotti, Mayfield Village, Ohio
  • Benjamin Vance, Postlethwaite & Netterville, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Alexander Walther, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, Friendswood, Texas
  • Laurie-Leigh White, The BVA Group, Houston

Gantnier Appointed to AICPA Peer Review Board

Elizabeth (Liz) Gantnier

Elizabeth (Liz) Gantnier

Charlotte, N.C.-based Dixon Hughes Goodman (FY16 net revenue of $394 million) has announced that Elizabeth (Liz) Gantnier, the mid-Atlantic region professional practice partner based in Baltimore, has been appointed to the AICPA Peer Review Board for the 2016-2017 term.

“I am excited to serve with colleagues from around the country to promote the enhancement of our profession’s commitment to quality,” says Gantnier. “Providing guidance and overseeing the peer review process are critical elements of the Peer Review Board’s mission, and I am honored to serve the accounting profession in this new role.”

The mission includes developing, implementing, maintaining and enhancing comprehensive standards for performing and reporting on peer reviews and related guidance for firms subject to peer review.

With more than 30 years of experience in the accounting industry and having served on numerous committees within the AICPA and other governing boards, Gantnier will provide extensive insight into the peer review governance process, the firm announced.

Nellen Named Chair of AICPA Tax Executive Committee

Annette Nellen

Annette Nellen

The AICPA has named Annette Nellen to the position of chair of its Tax Executive Committee.

Nellen is the director of San José State University’s (SJSU) graduate tax program and a professor in the program. She teaches courses in tax policy, high tech tax, property transactions, employment tax, accounting methods, ethics and tax research.

The AICPA Tax Executive Committee is authorized to act on behalf of the AICPA in tax matters and oversees the work of the 14 other tax committees and technical resource panels. Its members represent CPAs working in accounting firms of all sizes, business and industry, and academia.

Prior to becoming chair, Nellen served as vice chair of the Tax Executive Committee; her appointment was effective Oct. 25. Nellen succeeds Troy Lewis, whose term as chair began in October 2014.

“Annette is a strong leader with exceptional insights about the effect of the tax law on individual and business taxpayers from her decades of experience as a tax practitioner, IRS agent and educator,” Edward Karl, AICPA vice president of taxation, says. “She is a nationally recognized tax policy expert who has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee about various aspects of federal tax reform. Her expertise has been invaluable as a member of the AICPA’s Tax Reform Task Force.”

Nellen has been an AICPA volunteer for more than 20 years. The AICPA Tax Division recognized Nellen’s dedicated service in 2013 by awarding her the Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, which is the highest award given by the accounting profession in the area of taxation.

Baker Tilly’s Walther, O’Leary Honored with AICPA Standing Ovation Awards

Alex Walther

Alex Walther

Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY16 net revenue of $522 million) announced that Alex Walther and Matthew O’Leary recently were each honored by the AICPA with the Standing Ovation Award for professional achievement in the field of forensic accounting and business valuation.

Walther is a senior manager in Baker Tilly’s forensic, litigation and valuation services practice and has been with the firm since 2007. Walther specializes in working on complex litigation services, forensic accounting and valuation services assignments for businesses ranging from start-up entities to Fortune 100 companies.

Matthew O’Leary

Matthew O’Leary

O’Leary is a senior consultant in the firm’s forensic, litigation and valuation services group and has been with the firm since 2013. His forensic experience includes digital forensic analysis, white-collar crime investigations and tax fraud investigations. O’Leary is a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) and is a member of the AICPA CITP Champion program. O’Leary has also been selected as a recipient of the 2016 AICPA Information Management and Technology Assurance (IMTA) Standing Ovation award.

The AICPA established the Standing Ovation recognition program to recognize young CPAs in forensic accounting or business valuation who exhibit exemplary professional achievement.