IPA Announces the Best of the Best Pyramid Awards

Carmel, Ind.-based INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) has announced that three Best of the Best firms are being recognized with Pyramid Awards this year at the third annual PRIME Symposium, Nov. 4-6, in Indianapolis:

Nigro, Karlin, Segal & Feldstein is the recipient of IPA’s “Pyramid of Excellence” award this year, for the firm’s stellar performance in the 23rd annual IPA Survey and Analysis of Firms. The firm scored No. 1 on the IPA Best of the Best Firms list this year. The firm debuted on the IPA 100 list in 2012, at No. 73. Nigro, Karlin, Segal & Feldstein was also named one of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing Firms among the IPA 100 in 2013.

 Novogradac & Company is receiving the third annual IPA Best of the Best “Fastest-Growing Pyramid Award.” With an impressive 16.6% organic growth rate, with no mergers to boost that number, the firm has seen continued success in a tentative economic environment. This is the third year that Novogradac & Co. has appeared on IPA’s Fastest-Growing Best of the Best list, and has been a Best of the Best firm since 2002. Novogradac is an IPA 100 firm and this year, the firm was also named an IPA All-Star Firm and one of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing Firms among all IPA survey participants.

Katz, Sapper & Miller is receiving the third annual IPA Best of the Best “Pyramid Award” this year. Katz Sapper & Miller debuted on the IPA Best of the Best list in 1996, and has been named a Best of the Best firm 12 times during that time span. Katz, Sapper Miller is an IPA 100 firm, ranking at No. 63 this year.

The IPA Best of the Best firms come in all sizes and are geographically dispersed across the U.S. They demonstrate long-term consistency and exceptional performance, regardless of outside factors. IPA’s independent ranking of the nation’s best-managed firms is one of the highest honors within the profession today. Selections were based on responses from more than 500 participating accounting firms on over 70 metrics. 2013 is the 18th year for the IPA Best of the Best ranking

Join IPA for The 2013 PRIME Symposium – IPA Launches PRIME Website

The 2013 PRIME Symposium

www.primesymposium.com

Enjoy Midwestern Hospitality

One-on-One Focused Time With Peers

A New Approach to Learning and Networking

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Mon. Nov. 4 Workshops 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Tues. Nov. 5 The PRIME Begins 8:00 a.m.

Wed. Nov. 6 The PRIME Adjourns 12:30 p.m.

 

Participation is first-come, first-served.  Only a few remaining spots available.

NOTE: The PRIME Workshops are limited to 50-guests [10 available] and the PRIME Symposium is limited to 100-guests. [22 available]

 We’ve created the symposium so leaders and key personnel can share knowledge and best-practices with others directly – by working within small groups in a relaxed setting. The lineup of speakers, facilitators and moderators is a who’s who of the profession. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to participate. The PRIME is eligible for 16+ CPE credits. Half-day group workshops focused on key metrics, facilitated by MPs and the Platt Group, beginning on Monday, Nov. 4, at 12:00 p.m. All sessions are focused on key topics. See a summary of the agenda. All participants will be included in the group discussions.

Women CPAs Hosting vCon

Women CPAs are hosting an online conference, worth 12 CPE hours, May 16–17. The Second Annual Ultimate vCon (short for virtual conference) is being held by Michelle Long and Sandi Smith Leyva, two accounting speakers and trainers. Conference topics include:

  • Escaping the hourly pricing trap.
  • Handling sticky client communications.
  • Assessing and monetizing client’s accounting needs.
  • Learning value-add services above and beyond compliance.
  • Gaining estimating and pricing skills.

Learn more at http://accountingvcon.com/

The Advisory Board Hires Lisa Benson as Chief Operations Officer

The Advisory Board has hired Lisa Benson as Chief Operations Officer, who has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and operational management experience. Benson is directing the development of the organization to ensure future growth through strategic planning, financial management, and marketing strategy. The coalition of accounting firm consultants is best known for the annual Winning is Everything practice management conference.

MBAF Earns The Second Annual Pyramid Award From INSIDE Public Accounting

Indianapolis, Ind. (Nov. 2012) – The Platt Group, publishers of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), is proud to present MBAF with the prestigious second annual Pyramid award. The award was presented Nov. 15 at the 2012 PRIME Symposium in Indianapolis.

Miami-based MBAF is receiving the second annual IPA Best of the Best “Pyramid Award” for the firm’s overall stellar performance in this year’s 21st annual IPA Survey and Analysis of Firms.

MBAF ranked among the Top 5 in the Best of the Best Firms by Region and is celebrating 10 consecutive years as a Best of the Best Firm. MBAF is an IPA Top 50 Firm, an IPA Top 100 Firm by Region in the Southeast and was named an IPA All-Star in Long-Range Planning this year.

Chairman and CEO Tony Argiz left his native Cuba at age 9 without his parents in what was known as the Peter Pan exodus, in which14,000 children were given “waiver visas” to leave Cuba. Upon receiving the award at the PRIME symposium in Indianapolis Nov. 15, Argiz said, “I had to mature quite early in life and it’s really helped our firm. It’s an honor to receive this award among my peers today.”

Best of the Best firms like MBAF represent the best of what the profession has to offer. Each of these firms demonstrates the right combination of vision, planning and execution to deliver superior performance and client service, in any economy.

“For a firm to make the IPA Best of the Best list in any given year is a great accomplishment and a well-deserved recognition of outstanding performance,” says Michael Platt, a principal with The Platt Group. “But for MBAF to have been named a Best of the Best for 10 years puts them in rarified air among the elite of the accounting profession.”

The Platt Group last week hosted the second annual PRIME Symposium, which brought together IPA Best of the Best firm leaders to discuss management practices with small groups of colleagues.

“In working with these firms for many years, we’ve seen what makes them tick,” says Kelly Platt, principal of the Platt Group and publisher of the accounting trade publication, INSIDE Public Accounting. “We launched the symposium so these leaders and others could share their knowledge, best practices and to openly discuss their challenges, experiences, and to ask questions and brainstorm solutions with some of the best minds in the business.”

Many of these firms have been named to the IPA Best of the Best list previously. Of the 50 firms named to the list in 2012, 29 were among this elite group in 2011, and 22 were on the list in 2010. To read the full list of Best of the Best firms, go to http://insidepublicaccounting.com/pages/IPABest.php.

The PRIME Symposium’s_Managing Partner Panel_INSIDE The Profession

Topic: INSIDE The Profession

Panelists:            

Tony Argiz, MBAF

Larry Autrey, Whitley Penn

Ken Baggett, CohnReznick

Ted Dickman, BKD LLP

Lou Grassi, Grassi & Co.

Gordon Krater, Plante Moran

Tom Marino, CohnReznick

Carl George, CliftonLarsonAllen

 

 

Overheard At The 2012 AICPA Spring Council Meeting

Top business leaders, MPs of major accounting firms, state societies and financial regulators gathered to discuss the most pressing issues facing the profession at the AICPA’s Spring Council meeting in Washington, D.C. in May.

“The potential changes to audit reports for public companies and mandatory firm rotation proposals may change the auditing process.” – AICPA President and CEO, Barry Melancon.

Melancon foresees a host of opportunities in assurance, including greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability of supply chains and more.

Melancon called creating more diversity in the profession “an economic imperative.”

“Big data will likely change our thoughts about how we audit and what we audit to increase relevance and reliability.” – Barry Melancon.

“We’re the most trusted professional in the business space. Other professions would love to have the type of reputation that people in this room have.” – Barry Melancon.

“Cloud computing has transformed the relationship between the practitioners and their clients. Technology is a driver of change today and into the future of our profession. We have to embrace it.” – Barry Melancon.

John Veihmeyer, CEO of KPMG, says he has a simple litmus test when it comes to regulatory changes: “Will it help? Or make it more difficult to retain and attract the best people into this profession?”

“We have a crisis at the audit partner level, they put their career on the table every single day.” – Lou Grabowsky, COO of Grant Thornton.

Audit practices are stressed, says Bill Freda, Vice Chair of Deloitte.

“I look at proposals using the lens of whether it improves audit quality and enhances governance. I don’t think mandatory firm rotation meets that test.” –  Steve Howe, MP of Ernst & Young.

“Let’s change the dialogue from defensive to offensive or aggressive.” – Lou Grabowsky on the need for good dialogue with executives and CEOs of the companies. “We’ve moved so far to a compliance discussion that we forget about the business discussion.”

“The level of accountability for the profession is higher than it’s ever been and it’s moving in the right direction.” – Bill Freda, Vice Chair, Deloitte, on the strides the profession has made.

“Assurance is seeing a lot of growth and the potential is enormous. If we continue to hire the best and the brightest, we’ll continue to be the profession that brings our clients the solutions.” – Jean Hobby, Assurance Technology, Entertainment and Health Industry Leader, PwC.

“Diversity in the profession is a necessity and 10 years from now it will be an absolute requirement.” –  Jean Hobby.

“Our profession is becoming much more of a team activity.” – Jean Hobby.

Dan Griffiths, co-founder, Proficio Services Group, says empathy is a “gaping hole” in the strengths of the profession. It’s important to work with people with diverse backgrounds and understand where they’re coming from. “We’ve got to get more comfortable working with diversity.”

Gen Y says, “Hey, the technology I’ve got in my pocket is better than what I have at work.” – George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research.

“I think it’s important that we emphasize creativity and intuition just as much as rational, logical, fact-based thinking.” – Gerardo Godinez, Business Assurance Senior Manager, Moss Adams, commenting on soft skills.

“What’s not motivating to our generation is ‘pay your dues, put in your time and there’s this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.’ ” –  Dan Griffiths on meaning and purpose being more important than a paycheck.

“LinkedIn is “incredibly powerful” and is being “underutilized.” Dan Griffiths advises firms to stop blocking staff from using it.

On social media bans: “You’re not going to get the best and the brightest to work at your “company. This is the air they breathe and the water they swim in.” – George Colony.

“I think technology is going to enable us to get to the point where there’s no busy season.” – Gerardo Godinez.

“Collaboration is key. The days of financial people sitting at their computer, sitting at their desks all day, are long, long gone.” – Brad Dickerson, CFO, Under Armour Inc.

“Are you a problem solver? Or are you an accountant? Don’t tell me accounting stuff. Tell me a business solution.” – Kenneth Kelly, Senior VP and Controller, McCormick Corporation.

“How do we as financial professionals move up the value chain – not just counting the beans but how to grow the beans?” – Kenneth Kelly.

“I think maybe 15% of your [CPA’s] work is black and white and 85% is gray.” – Brad Dickerson.

“I always thought I had to be the expert on whatever issue was out there. Be an expert in your swim lane. Be comfortable where you’re an expert and be comfortable where you’re not.” – Brad Dickerson.

“Make sure the information is clear and concise and it’s not information overload. I think it’s our [professions’] job to be storytellers.” – Brad Dickerson on leadership.

“I believe many of the assurance engagements we’re doing outside of opinion audits are where clients are seeing the most value. That’s where the market is taking us. If we don’t take advantage of that, we’re going to lose that opportunity.” – Charles Allen, CEO of Crowe Horwath, regarding investors seeing audits as important and having confidence in the audit process.

U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who served two terms as Florida governor and 18 years in the Senate, called for regulatory reform and said three issues should be considered: acting in a timely manner, creating simple, clear regulations and ensuring they are sustainable.

Neal Spencer, CEO of BKD LLP, said he would take a “hard look” at eliminating some regulations. “It’s causing a lot of pain with our clients today.” Some regulations make sense, “but we’re piling on, quite frankly.”

“We need to be balanced between independence and accountability.” – IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman.

“I’m a big believer that there’s a link between transparency and integrity.” – Douglas Shulman.

“Over 60 action items are in this report that can move us to another level, but it takes support from leaders in this room and in the accounting profession.” – William Ezzell, Commissioner of the Pathways Commission, on the future of accounting education.

AICPA Unveils Online Calculator To Estimate Tax Burden

Taxpayers interested in estimating the total amount of tax they pay each year can do so online, thanks to a new tool offered by the AICPA. The tool was unveiled May 15 at the AICPA’s Spring Council Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

The Total Tax Insights calculator (www.totaltaxinsights.org) gives taxpayers the ability to figure out the amount of taxes they pay each year for the most common federal, state and local taxes. Although most Americans pay more than 20 different taxes in a year, 54% of respondents to an AICPA poll said they paid fewer than 10. 

“Our recent national poll showed that taxpayers do not know the percentage of their income that goes to pay taxes or how many types of taxes they pay annually. AICPA’s goal is to make federal, state and local taxes more transparent and the Total Tax Insights calculator does that,” Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO, said in a statement. 

To get an estimate, users of the calculator should input the county or city in which they live, their marital status, their federal “adjusted gross income” and their number of dependents. The Total Tax Insights calculator estimates what that taxpayer is paying on an annual basis for about 20 different taxes and provides a pie chart that shows the percentage of their total tax bill by category. The tool does not take into consideration certain deductions, credits or other adjustments, however, so actual tax bills can vary.

AICPA Council Meeting…CEO Panel

Kenneth Kelly, senior vice president and controller, McCormick —

“What are the things making you successful? Is it the innovation pipeline? You should be measuring that, but it may not be a number on a balance sheet.”

McCormick is a fairly old company, from 1889, and in 1932, C.P. McCormick took over company. He had a totally different concept. He gathered employees together in factory and said, ‘Listen you are one of my most important assets. We need to work as a team and get better here.’ He raised salaries 10 percent. Took the work week from 56 hours to 48 hours and the next year they were in the red, productivity increased hugely. People started to work as teams to increase that productivity. They were more empowered.

“We’re teaching leadership, we’re teaching collaboration and we’re teaching a broader knowledge of processes in our business.”

“Are you a problem solver? Or are you an accountant?”

‘Don’t tell me accounting stuff. Tell me a business solution.’ “I think you need to listen broadly to your customers…what are their issues? What problems do they have and how do you solve those problems? That can lead you to innovation.”

“How do we as financial professionals move up the value chain — not just counting the beans but how to grow the beans.”

Brad Dickerson, CFO, Under Armour Inc.

“Employees make customers happy, which ultimately makes the shareholders happy.”

“You have to have a good work force with an aligned vision.”

“How do you attract talent in this virtual world? I think it will be interesting to see how companies are going to react to that.”

“Collaboration is key. The days of financial people sitting at their computer sitting at their desks all day are long, long gone.”

On financial professionals’ skills:

“Connecting people to solve problems is a very, very important trait to their success.”

“I always thought I had to be the expert on whatever issue was out there.” After MBA program he learned, “Be an expert in your swim lane.”

“Be comfortable where you’re an expert and be comfortable where you’re not.”

On leadership:

“I think maybe 15% of your work is black and white and 85% is gray.”

“Make sure the information is clear and concise and it’s not information overload. I think it’s our job to be storytellers.”

AICPA Council Meeting…IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman Speaks Out

 

  • “The tax code has become a monstrosity.”
  • “Our tax system is the envy of tax systems around the world.”
  • “Public trust in institutions is a critical element of U.S. competitiveness and we’re held up as the global standards.”
  • “We need to be balanced between independence and accountability.”
  • “I’m a big believer that there’s a link between transparency and integrity.”

On tax preparer initiative:

  • “90 percent of people use either tax software or a preparer to prepare their taxes.”
  • “We are charged to make sure the tax system works. We might be the core to make sure the tax laws are administered in a fair and even-handed manner, but in no way does it end with us.”

 On the AICPA’s 125th anniversary:

  • “I commend you for playing an important part in upholding the integrity of the tax system.”
  • “We believe that we’re heading to a post-social world.”
  • “55 percent of time spent on social media is being wasted.”
  • “The New York Times and Wall Street Journal give away newspapers for free on college campuses, but everywhere I went I saw stacks of newspapers.”
  • Gen Y says, ‘Hey, the technology I’ve got in my pocket is better than what I have at work.”

On social media bans at workplaces:

  • “You’re not going to get the best and the brightest to work at your company. This is the air they breathe and the water they swim in.”
  • “Companies that really make money are going have to give an integrative experience.”
  • “Digital disrupters want to build better product experiences, a stronger customer relationship and finally, they want to bring it all to market so much faster.”
  • “There’s really only one choice. Somehow, someway you have to be a disruptive leader. You have to do it.”

Advice:

  • Harness the power of digital consumers
  • Generate more ideas, with greater speed
  • Deliver total product experiences
  • To be a disrupter, you need energy, skills and policies.
  • “People see this all coming, but they’re not ready for it.”
  • “You really have a very simple choice. You either have to be the thunderstorm or you’re going to get very, very wet.”
  • “The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 110 years old. Only one company is left from 110 years ago: General Electric.”