AICPA, CPA Practice Advisor Announce 2019 Most Powerful Women

The American Institute of CPAs and CPA Practice Advisor have recognized 25 leaders in the accounting profession with the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Award.

These women represent a broad spectrum of roles and perspectives within the profession, including executives from Top 100 CPA firms and Fortune 500 companies, small to midsize firm partners, state society leaders and consultants. In addition, members of CPA Canada were eligible for recognition for the first time.

The awards were created by CPA Practice Advisor and are jointly administered by the AICPA. The recognition came during the AICPA ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas June 12.

“This recognition of women leaders in the accounting profession shines a bright light on the role models and the inspiration needed by women finding their way in the profession and those who are considering accounting as a career,” says editor-in-chief Gail Perry.

A group of independent judges selected the award recipients, using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates she is a driving force in creating a culture of innovation or excellence within her organization or helped, as a vendor, to develop technologies that empower firms to be more productive and profitable
  • Reached a level of management and ownership within her company, with demonstrable impact on its success
  • Actively mentors those following in her footsteps

“We received substantially more nominations in 2019 than a year ago and it was a strong group of women,” says Jacquelyn H. Tracy, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIEC). “Asking our judges to choose among a fabulous nominee pool is a good problem to have as we start to see more women leaders rising in our profession.”

The 2019 winners are:

  • Tommye Barie, senior consulting shareholder, Succession Institute, LLC
  • Samantha Bowling, partner with Garbelman Winslow, CPAs
  • Danielle Supkis Cheek, director of entrepreneurial advisory services, PKF Texas
  • Susan Coffey, executive vice president of public practice, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Lynne Doughtie, U.S. chairman and CEO, KPMG
  • Sarah Elliott, principal and co-founder, Intend2Lead, LLC
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, global strategy leader for the cloud business group, Oracle
  • Cathy Engelbert, retired CEO of Deloitte US and incoming commissioner of WNBA
  • Tracey Golden, AICPA vice chair and an audit partner with Deloitte
  • Kelly Grier, U.S. chairman and managing partner and Americas managing partner, EY
  • Kacee Johnson, strategic advisor, CPA.com, and founder, Blue Ocean Principles
  • Elizabeth Pittelkow Kittner, controller, Litera Microsystems
  • Samantha Mansfield, director of professional development and community, CPA.com
  • Gail Perry, editor-in-chief, CPA Practice Advisor
  • Amy Pitter, president and CEO, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
  • Natasha Schamberger, president and CEO, Kansas Society of CPAs
  • Lindsay Stevenson, founder and CEO, Origin Evolution, LLC
  • Joy Thomas, president and CEO, CPA Canada
  • Michelle Loyd Thompson, CEO and firm managing partner, Cherry Bekaert LLP
  • Jacquelyn Tracy, partner, Mandel & Tracy, LLC
  • Amy Vetter, creator, The B3 Method Institute
  • Jennifer Warawa, executive vice president of partners, accountants and alliances, Sage
  • Sandra Wiley, president, Boomer Consulting, Inc.
  • Jennifer Wilson, co-founder and partner, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC
  • Candace Wright, director, accounting and assurance services group, Postlethwaite & Netterville

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Using Stolen PCAOB Data to Cost KPMG $50 Million

Big 4 accounting firm KPMG LLP will pay $50 million to settle SEC allegations that it altered past audit work after receiving stolen information from the PCAOB, which the SEC oversees, Bloomberg reported.

According to a June 17 statement, KMPG admitted wrongdoing and agreed to hire an independent consultant to review its internal controls. “KPMG’s ethical failures are simply unacceptable,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in the statement. “The resolution the enforcement division has reached holds KPMG accountable for its past failures and provides for continuing, heightened oversight to protect our markets and our investors.”

The fine stems from what was called a “steal the exam” scheme, from 2015 to 2017, in which KPMG professionals and former PCAOB employees worked together to help the firm, which had suffered a high rate of deficiencies. In the end, six KPMG professionals were dismissed after an investigation found they tried to obtain confidential information that would reveal which audits the PCAOB planned to review in its annual inspections. “With the data, the former employees oversaw a program to revise certain audits to reduce the likelihood government inspectors would find shortfalls,” Bloomberg reported.

The investigation resulted in January 2018 criminal charges against three former PCAOB officials, who went on to work for KPMG, of stealing information tied to PCAOB exams.

In an email statement, a company spokesperson said KPMG has learned important lessons and is a stronger firm because of steps taken to improve its culture, governance and compliance program. The SEC says its probe is continuing.

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Shier Named AAM’s 2019 Marketer of the Year

Holly Shier

Holly Shier

Holly Shier, principal and chief marketing officer at Troy, Mich.-based Rehmann, has received the Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) 2019 Marketer of the Year award, sponsored by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA).

The winner was announced by IPA June 12 at AAM’s annual Summit, held in partnership with the AICPA ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas.

Shier leads marketing and communications efforts, brand awareness and growth strategies for Rehmann, which was ranked No. 41 on the 2018 IPA 100 list of largest accounting firms in the country. Shier is responsible for a $1.7 million marketing budget and supervises a staff of nearly 20 individuals.

Shier has led a transformation of Rehmann’s marketing approach and ensured integration of its “OneRehmann” service model. The firm’s service model deploys cross-functional teams to address a broad range of issues clients face, rather than promoting individual services.

“Holly instills a natural desire to help our clients be successful by bringing our OneRehmann service model to bear, ensuring we are consistently communicating our transformative solutions,” says CEO Randy Rupp, who nominated Shier for the prestigious award.

Rupp credits her with the “colossal effort” of researching and articulating the needs of clients and creating go-to-market strategies for the firm’s various niches. 

Additionally, Shier analyzed data from client surveys, panels and focus groups to create the firm’s latest advertising campaign, Rupp says. Through the data, a story emerged that clients weren’t particularly interested in services, per se, but in resolving issues surrounding business growth, transitioning to retirement and managing their money afterward. “Holly had the foresight to dig into the emotion behind these critical moments to understand what spurred the need for our services.”

“The marketing industry is tremendously dynamic,” said Shier. “There are constant changes and trends to be aware of because the dial is always moving. To be recognized as Marketer of the Year is a true honor. Accolades like this highlight the hard work, dedication and support of my team and it’s a great feeling to be noticed in such a competitive industry.”

Shier, referred to as the firm’s “dot-connector,” has restructured the marketing team, created a formalized business combination process and obtained naming rights to the Rehmann Club in the Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons.

In addition to her work developing the firm’s strategic vision and serving on numerous firm committees, Shier is heavily involved in the Detroit chapter of the American Marketing Association. She served as president from 2018-2019 and volunteers for DECA, a nonprofit organization that prepares students for careers in finance and marketing, among others.

This is the sixth year that IPA has sponsored the Marketer of the Year award. A panel of independent judges, themselves leaders in the profession, were selected by IPA to review and score each of the 2019 nominees.

AICPA to Oversee New Internet Domain for CPAs

The AICPA is in the process of being awarded the .cpa domain and is currently in a contract execution phase with the Internet’s global governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The AICPA’s role in administering .cpa will provide a defined global domain for CPAs worldwide to connect with their clients with increased trust, security and verification.

“By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online,” says Barry Melancon, the president and CEO of the AICPA. “We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

The new domain extension will be available to CPAs and their firms and will signal a clear connection to the profession. For example, Firm Name, LLC, could have a website address of www.firmname.cpa. Jane Smith, an employee at that firm, could have an email address of jsmith@firmname.cpa.

“Today, there’s a lack of authentication and growing mistrust of online information,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, the AICPA’s technology subsidiary. “This is why many leading companies and communities, such as Amazon, KPMG, and the banking industry are moving to restricted top-level domains. We’re looking forward to bringing this important new capability to the profession.”

More details on registering a domain name will be available later this year. For additional information and the opportunity to sign up for notifications, please visit https://domains.cpa.com

MOVE Project Lists Best Public Accounting Firms for Women, Equity Leadership

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, which sponsors the Accounting MOVE Project, announces its annual survey of leading financial and accounting firms for women.

The 2019 Accounting MOVE Report delves into the perceptions and misperceptions that women and firms have about how and why women pursue partnership and other senior leadership positions. The report also outlines tactics that women, advocates for women and firm leaders can take to ensure that all women CPAs can fully achieve their aspirations for their careers and drive firm growth in the process.

Highlights from the 2019 MOVE Report

  • Peer Power: Women’s peer networks are horizontal and tend to be powerful retention factors. By comparison, men’s peer networks tend to be vertical and transactional. Leading MOVE firms shape women’s initiatives to make the most of how women organically cultivate networks.
  • Piecing the Future: Women plot their expectations based on what they observe and experience. Firms that show women the benefits of partnership and that build confidence and results with early business development seed ambition for partnership.
  • Intervention Builds Retention: Women don’t want to choose between coasting and quitting. Firms strengthen retention by cultivating multiple paths to senior positions, and by working with women before they reach the point of no return.

2019 Accounting MOVE Project Best CPA Firms for Women:

  • Pittsford, N.Y.-based The Bonadio Group (FY18 net revenue of $97.9 million)
  • San Francisco-based BPM LLP (FY18 net revenue of $99.5 million)
  • Creve Coeur, Mo.-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY18 net revenue of $50 million)
  • Clark Nuber (FY17 net revenue of $38.6 million) of Bellevue, Wash.
  • New York-based CohnReznick LLP (FY18 net revenue of $623.7 million)
  • Fargo, N.D.-based Eide Bailly (FY18 net revenue of $299.2 million)
  • Greenville, S.C.-based Elliott Davis (FY19 net revenue of $126.3 million)
  • Lurie LLP (FY17 net revenue of $28 million) of Minneapolis
  • Louisville, Ky.-based MCM CPAs & Advisors (FY18 net revenue of $56.8 million)
  • Seattle-based Moss Adams (FY18 net revenue of $691 million)
  • San Francisco-based Novogradac & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $147.4 million)
  • San Francisco-based OUM & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $19.9 million)
  • Southfield, Mich.-based Plante Moran (FY18 net revenue of $542.1 million)
  • Troy, Mich.-based Rehmann (FY18 net revenue of $143 million)

2019 Accounting MOVE Project Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership
The Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership list recognizes firms with at least 33% women partners and principals, as 33% is widely recognized as the tipping point for members of any identity group to have individual impact.

In descending order of percentage of women partners and principals; firms also on the Best CPA Firms for Women indicated with an *.

  • Powell, Ohio-based Kaiser Consulting – 100%
  • Sarasota, Fla.-based Kerkering Barberio & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $16.5 million) – 60%
  • Alexandria, Va.-based KWC CPAs (FY18 net revenue of $14.4 million)
  • RoseRyan of Newark, Calif. – 60%
  • Abbott Stringham & Lynch (FY17 net revenue of $21.8 million) of San Jose, Calif.– 50%
  • Clark Nuber – 50% *
  • Gainesville, Fla.-based James Moore & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $22.3 million) – 50%
  • Bethesda, Md.-based Councilor Buchanan & Mitchell – 47.1%
  • Eugene, Ore.-based Jones & Roth (FY18 net revenue of $15.4 million) – 46.2%
  • Lincoln, Neb.-based HBE – 45.5%
  • San Jose, Calif.-based Johanson & Yau – 42.9%
  • Novogradac – 40.4% *
  • The Bonadio Group – 39% *
  • San Francisco-based Hood & Strong LLP (FY18 net revenue of $16.5 million) – 37.7%
  • MCM CPAs and Advisors – 37.3% *
  • Tucson, Ariz.-based BeachFleischman (FY18 net revenue of $27.9 million) – 37.5%
  • Brown Smith Wallace, St. Louis – 36.6% *
  • Atlanta-based Frazier & Deeter (FY17 net revenue of $83.6 million) – 35.4%
  • Lurie LLP – 33% *
  • OUM & Co. – 33% *

Read the 2018 list.

Citrin Cooperman Expands to West Coast

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY17 net revenue of $244 million) has announced that the firm has expanded to the West Coast with the addition of Shuwarger & Company LLP of Los Angeles, a boutique CPA firm with a staff of 10.

Partners Robert Shuwarger and Richard Dettorre and the team joined Citrin Cooperman on June 1.

“A significant number of our clients, particularly our entertainment clients, are located on the West Coast, and we’ve searched long and hard for a firm in L.A. that would be the right fit for them and for our firm,” says CEO Joel Cooperman. “Shuwarger & Company LLP is a terrific addition with a history of excellent client service and long-term relationships.”

The firm provides strategic tax planning and compliance, trust and estate planning, litigation support services and business management services to high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, closely held and family-owned businesses, private foundations, the entertainment industry and families.

Shuwarger says, “Our clients will benefit from an expanded service line while retaining the high level of client service they’ve been accustomed to. Citrin Cooperman is a strong firm with great leadership and a talented team.”

With the addition of the Los Angeles office, Citrin Cooperman will transform their U.S. practice from a regional firm to a national firm, with 12 domestic offices. The firm also has three international locations.

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Arizona-based Firm TopLine Strategies Joins Wipfli

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million) has announced that TopLine Strategies of Scottsdale, Ariz., joined the firm on June 1, marking the firm’s first office in the Southwest.

The firm integrates and develops sales, marketing and customer service technologies to corporations and institutions. Wipfli’s new MP, Kurt Gresens, says the Southwest has been targeted for Wipfli growth, and that the addition of TopLine will complement and deepen Wipfli’s wide range of IT consulting services. TopLine has been offering customer relationship management and business intelligence tools in the Soutwest for more than 30 years.

“Through this transaction with Wipfli we will have access to the firm’s broader network of services and resources to offer our clients so they can continue to capitalize on the opportunities ahead,” says TopLine CEO Tim Fargo says. “Our firm is also excited to team with a firm that is committed to the consulting model and places a significant emphasis on the role of technology in the future, which is a commitment both of our firms share. In addition, our employees will be provided additional opportunities for career growth and professional development, which will help us to continue to attract and retain the best and brightest in the industry.”

The merger is not the only one this year. Bedford, N.H.-based Howe Riley & Howe joined the firm Jan. 1.

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BKD Acquires Texas Firm Teegardin & Associates CPAs

Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY18 net revenue of $594.6 million) announces that Teegardin & Associates CPAs of Austin, Texas, will join the firm June 1.

CEO Ted Dickman says, “Teegardin & Associates’ commitment to client service and true expertise will help us achieve our goals as we move forward.” The firm, which specializes in tax, accounting and family office services, will grow BKD’s capabilities in the Austin market.

“As the state’s capital and status as one of the top technology and innovation cities in the nation, Austin has been a key target of growth for BKD for several years,” says Tom Watson, new MP of BKD’s South region. “The addition of Teegardin & Associates provides exciting capabilities, broadens our reach and gives BKD a presence in the five largest business markets in Texas.”

As of June 1, BKD will have 40 offices in 18 states.

Teegardin & Associates’ one partner, one managing director and approximately 12 staff will remain at their current location at 500 North Capital of Texas Highway. Jon McDowell, based in San Antonio, will serve as OMP.

“This is a great opportunity for all involved,” says MP Tricia Teegardin Edwards. “We’re looking forward to joining BKD and leveraging our skills and local connections to help BKD become a leading CPA and advisory firm in the Austin market.”

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Wipfli Partners With Paladion For AI-Driven Managed Detection And Response Services

Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million) has announced that it has partnered with Paladion, a global provider of cybersecurity and managed detection and response services.

“Cyber threats continue to increase at an extremely fast pace with no signs of slowing down,” says Jeff Olejnik, PIC of Wipfli’s cybersecurity practice. “Today, it takes U.S. companies an average of 200 days to detect a data breach. Through our partnership with Paladion, we can reduce the response time to minutes.”

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is unlike traditional managed security service providers (MSSPs) who provide alerts from security monitoring. MDR provides more extensive services than threat detection. It is an advanced managed security service that provides threat intelligence, threat hunting, security monitoring, incident analysis and incident response. MDR uses AI and machine learning to investigate threats, contain them and orchestrate responses.

“We developed our AI-driven MDR program to give businesses simplified access to next-generation cybersecurity, and our partnership with Wipfli will bring leading edge AI-driven threat detection and response to Wipfli’s clients,” says Rohit Kumar, who leads strategic partnerships at Paladion.

Wipfli chose Paladion’s MDR for end-to-end threat management that combines AI and automation, the firm says.

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PKF O’Connor Davies Merges In Hodulik & Morrison

New York-based PKF O’Connor Davies (FY17 net revenue of $160 million) has merged in Hodulik & Morrison of Highland Park, N.J.

The firm says the move was designed to expand expertise in its public sector practice.

“Hodulik & Morrison has earned its reputation as a leading accounting resource for the public sector,” says MP Kevin J. Keane. “We’re excited to work with talented individuals who are as passionate about serving clients as we are. We welcome Bob, Andy and the entire Hodulik & Morrison team and look forward to combining our efforts.”

Two partners and more than a dozen team members will join the firm’s Cranford, N.J., office. For nearly three decades, Hodulik & Morrison has provided government accounting services with a focus on auditing, management advisory and financial advisory services for county, municipal, authority, school district and commercial clients.

“We’re thrilled to combine our experience in government audits with PKF O’Connor Davies’ industry-leading client service,” said Andrew Hodulik. “It’s exciting to join a network of professionals who share our commitment to serving central and northern New Jersey public entities.”

PKF O’Connor Davies has 11 offices in five states as it continues to expand through organic growth and acquisitions on the East Coast. Hodulik & Morrison is the third firm to join PKF O’Connor Davies in the last six months.

In February, the firm announced that Batchelor Frechette McCrory Michael & Co. (BFMM) of Providence, R.I., joined the firm. And in December of last year, Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based GKG CPAs joined PKF O’Connor Davies.

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