RSM’s Kastenschmidt Assumes New Consulting Roles; Brackett to Lead Risk Advisory Services

Rob Kastenschmidt

Rob Kastenschmidt

Chicago-based RSM US (FY17 net revenue of $2 billion) announced Rob Kastenschmidt will assume two new key consulting roles within RSM and John Brackett will take on the role of risk advisory services (RAS) national leader.

Kastenschmidt is moving from his position as national leader for RAS to assume responsibility for the continued strategy, design and rollout of best practices, methodology, and delivery for RSM consulting worldwide. He will work closely with the firm’s key leaders across the globe on new strategic concepts and will continue to lead the RSM delivery center.

As RSM continues to expand its consulting practice in Texas, Kastenschmidt will also assist with the execution of the firm’s growth strategy in the state. In this role, he will collaborate with the region’s leaders to drive consulting services in the market.

John Brackett

John Brackett

“Rob will play a pivotal role as we capitalize on this tremendous opportunity to continue to expand our consulting practice, both in the Texas market and globally,” says Brian Becker, national consulting leader. “His breadth and depth of knowledge gained from leading our national risk advisory services practice will be invaluable as we implement and execute these important growth strategies that build on the firm’s consulting strength.”

In Brackett’s new role as national leader for RAS, he will assume the responsibility of driving the overall strategies for the practice.

Brackett brings more than 20 years of experience to the role, including six years as RAS leader in the Southeast. He was also recently appointed to serve as consulting leader for the Southeast region.

“I am confident that John will do an excellent job leading the team, creating opportunities for our employees and guiding our clients on the most critical issues affecting their businesses,” says Becker. “His deep consulting expertise, strong enterprise leadership and client-centric focus will make him an ideal RAS team leader.”

Xero Names New CEO

Steve Vamos

Steve Vamos

Xero, a cloud accounting company, named Steve Vamos as its new global CEO. Previous CEO, Rod Drury, will remain with the company as a non-executive director.

“What Rod and Xero have accomplished is rare and remarkable,” says Vamos. “I’m excited to have this opportunity to lead Xero’s growth and development going forward. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Xero leadership team and we have a clearly communicated strategy, which we are committed to executing.”

Vamos has 30 years of experience including being the former head of Microsoft Australia. Prior to that, he served as managing director of Apple Computer Australia and New Zealand, and in various executive and professional roles at IBM between. Vamos also led the growth and development of an online media business in his role as CEO of Ninemsn, a joint venture between Microsoft and former Australian media company Publishing and Broadcasting Limited.

“Succession planning has been high on the board’s agenda and with the business performing strongly, we believe the time is right to make the transition at CEO level,” says Xero chair Graham Smith.

“Xero has recently achieved a number of key milestones: We’ve achieved positive EBITDA and operating cash flows, consolidated our listing on the ASX and built an exceptional leadership team. It’s now the right time for me to pass the baton to Steve, who has the experience to significantly expand Xero internationally. Steve has demonstrated to the board and me that he has the skills and experience we need to execute Xero’s next phase of growth, while I contribute to strategy as a non-executive director with my passion for product innovation,” says Drury.

How Do CPAs Remain Relevant in a Disruptive World? Research Points to Eight Key Competencies

With advancing technology poised to automate many of their data-driven tasks, accounting and finance professionals must master eight key skills if they want to remain relevant in a changing and complex world, says Tom Hood, executive director of the Maryland Association of CPAs.

Tom Hood

Tom Hood

As executive director of the MACPAs and its learning and innovation affiliate, the Business Learning Institute, Hood has spent the past few years analyzing the research, studies and thought leadership surrounding the future of the profession. After cross-referencing all of the available expertise, Hood has determined that future-ready accounting and finance professionals must be proficient in the following eight skills:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Anticipating and serving evolving needs
  • Synthesizing intelligence to insight
  • Integration and collaboration
  • Technology acumen and data analytics
  • Functional and domain expertise

“Anything that can be automated will be automated,” said Hood. “Crunching the numbers is no longer good enough. Machines can do that faster and more accurately that we’ll ever be able to. Our future relevance depends on our ability to do the things the machines can’t do — to interpret the numbers, to tell the stories behind the numbers and make our clients future-ready at the same time. These skills will help us do that.”

Hood’s list of future-ready skills is based on cross-referencing the research presented in a number of high-profile studies, including:

  • The AICPA’s “CPA Horizons 2025” study
  • The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  • Only Humans Need Apply, by Thomas Davenport and Julia Kirby
  • Humans Are Underrated, by Geoff Colvin
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus Schwab
  • Future Work Skills 2020, by the Institute for the Future
  • The 2020 Workplace, by Jeanne sister and Karie Willyerd

The problem, says Hood, is that most accounting and finance professionals – and the organizations they work for – refuse to spend enough time or money to ensure that they are proficient in these future-ready skills.

“That has to change,” says Hood, “and it has to change on three levels. At an individual level, we each must take charge of our own careers and ensure that we have the skills that will take us to the next level. At an organizational level, the folks we work for must spend the time and money to ensure that their teams have the skills that will keep their businesses and their clients future-ready. And at an educational level, the folks who teach the next generation of CPAs must start including these critical skills in their curricula. Nothing is more important to our profession’s future relevance.”

“Wherever you learn the skills that will make you future-ready, insist that these eight competencies are part of the program,” says Hood. “Nothing is more important to you, your organization, or your clients.”

Christen, Chairman of Baker Tilly International, to Join Board

Tim Christen

Tim Christen

Tim Christen, former chairman of the AICPA, has been named to the board of directors of

Christen is currently chairman of Baker Tilly International and formerly CEO of Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP (FY17 net revenue of $546.6 million). As chair of the AICPA, he championed innovation and rapid technology adoption. He also played a key role in securing membership approval for the formation of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the 650,000-member global accounting organization that serves as the unified voice of the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

“Tim brings an important strategic perspective to our board,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of “As an experienced and respected firm leader, his insight and guidance will inform how we work with firms to transform core practices areas.  It’s an exciting time for both the company and the profession and we’re fortunate to have someone with Tim’s background join the board at this critical juncture.”

“We’re entering a critical time regarding the evolution of the audit and how that impacts the profession,” says Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA. “Having someone with Tim’s large firm and auditing background on the board will help us greatly in setting our strategic roadmap.”

Top Issues at 2018 Shareholder Meetings According to BDO

Chicago-based BDO USA (FY17 net revenue of $1.4 billion) has compiled a list of topics that corporate management and boards of directors should be prepared to address in 2018 annual shareholder meetings:

  • Tax Reform
  • M&A Opportunities, including buy and sell side
  • Global Economic Concerns
  • Cybersecurity, including cyber-breach response plans
  • Executive Misconduct
  • Board Refreshment and Diversity, including:
    • Tenure Limits
    • Skill Set Reviews
    • Limits on Board Seats
    • Composition Reviews
  • New GAAP
  • Sustainability
  • Deregulation
  • CEO and Median Employee Pay Ratio

Read the full details here.

IFAC Names Dancey as Next CEO

Kevin Dancey

Kevin Dancey

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) named Kevin Dancey as their next CEO. He will succeed current IFAC CEO, Fayez Choudhury, whose term expires at the end of the year.

In addition to leading CPA Canada and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Dancey has served as PwC’s Canadian senior partner and CEO. Prior to the firm’s global merger with Price Waterhouse, he was Coopers & Lybrand’s national tax practice leader.

“Kevin’s deep experience running large and complex membership organizations and an accountancy firm provides outstanding foundations to take IFAC forward,” says IFAC president, Rachel Grimes. “His leadership qualities, and his global relationships, will help ensure IFAC continues to grow its leadership role on the world stage.”

“To be selected as the next IFAC chief executive officer is a singular honor – a career capstone,” says Dancey. “Accountants positively influence the global economy in a multitude of ways. I’m looking forward to being a passionate advocate for the 3 million professional accountants represented by IFAC’s more than 175 member organizations in over 130 jurisdictions.”

“IFAC is a vital organization representing the interests of an essential profession,” says Choudhury. “I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and I’m delighted that someone with his stature, acumen and experience will take IFAC forward.”

Dancey joins on May 14 and will work closely with Choudhury to ensure a seamless leadership transition.

EY Americas Names Hogan Tax and Finance Operate Leader

Joseph Hogan

Joseph Hogan

New York-based EY (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion) named Joseph Hogan to the newly created role of tax and finance operate (TFO) leader. EY’s global TFO practice provides the processes, technology and people for functional outsourcing, enabled by leading-edge technology and client platforms.

“Joe is the ideal leader to build on our two-year momentum of major client assignments in the Americas, and our continual development of technological capabilities for full- or multi-function tax outsourcing,” says Kate Barton, vice chair of tax services. “His strategic approach to client service during his tenure as tax MP – west region led the west region tax practice through significant growth, stronger leadership in several sectors and geographic segments, and an increase in the number of people serving our west region clients by 25%.”

Hogan will be responsible for continuing to standardize the EY technology platform and transition process for clients, and help optimize the use of global resources as the demand for alternative sourcing models and outsourcing grows.

Hogan has been with EY since 1989, holding numerous leadership positions across federal income tax, transactions and tax accounting matters. He has supported some of the EY organization’s largest clients in the United States and Europe. He has led global tax accounting and risk advisory services, compliance and reporting services, and business tax services.

“Clients impacted by the combination of legislation and technology disruption need to consider tax and finance operations as part of their overall tax agenda this year,” says Hogan. “Our global and regional services are already helping clients define the right sourcing mix, and offering discrete or broad-based tax outsourcing services according to each client’s objectives for cost-effective efficiency and quality.”

Armanino Managing Partner Announces Retirement

Andy Armanino

Andy Armanino

Andy Armanino, CEO and MP of San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP (FY16 net revenue of $195 million), announced his upcoming retirement. Matt Armanino, COO, will succeed him effective Jan. 1, 2019.

During Andy’s tenure, the firm was regularly recognized as a Best of the Best firm by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA). He has also been named to IPA’s Most Admired Peer list for six of the past seven years and currently serves as vice chair of Moore Stephens North America and Moore Stephens International, a global accountancy and consultancy network.

Matt Armanino

Matt Armanino

“While I am extremely proud of all our firm has accomplished, I am most proud of our efforts to become the most innovative and entrepreneurial firm that makes a positive impact on our clients and people,” says Andy Armanino. “I believe good leadership involves knowing how and when to initiate change. It is time for a new generation of Armanino leaders to take the helm, and I am confident that through them our legacy will live on and the firm will continue to thrive.”

Incoming MP Matt Armanino joined the firm as COO in 2008 and has been a member of its executive committee for the past nine years. In addition to managing firm operations, he’s led Armanino’s CFO advisory and cloud consulting practices. As CEO and managing partner, he will be responsible for the firm’s overall strategy, growth and culture across its audit, tax, consulting and business management practices.

“Andy’s unwavering leadership and extraordinary vision have driven Armanino to new heights,” says Matt Armanino. “He is a tough act to follow. But our firm is well-positioned for the transition. He has set us up for success and I am personally very excited to lead the firm as we continue to build on his legacy.”

KPMG Names Daniels and Lopes as MPs for Bay Area and Silicon Valley Markets

Lisa Daniels

Lisa Daniels

New York-based KPMG LLP (FY16 gross revenue of $8.6 billion) named Lisa Daniels as the MP of its Bay Area market as well as the San Francisco hub market leader, leading a broad team which includes over 3,000 professionals. Effective July 1, Daniels succeeds Debbie Messemer in these roles who will retire later this year.

KPMG has also named Ron Lopes as MP of its Silicon Valley market. Effective March 1, Lopes succeeds Daniels, who will be transitioning from her current role as Silicon Valley Market MP.

“This is an exciting time to be in this role as we continue to experience unprecedented innovation and opportunities, and I look forward to helping our clients execute their strategy to thrive in this environment,” says Daniels. “

“I could not be more proud of handing the baton to this crown-jewel market to Lisa, a partner I have admired and mentored for years. I am proud to have had the chance to lead this team over the past 10 years and experience significant growth in all categories. Lisa will surely take our wonderful team and our brand to the next level,” says Messemer.

“For nearly three decades, I have had the privilege of working side by side with our Silicon Valley clients and talented KPMG professionals in the leading innovation hub in the world, and I look forward to continuing to do so as managing partner,” says Lopes.

Daniels and Lopes will be responsible for the strategic direction and growth in their respective offices and for ensuring that KPMG retains its reputation as a great place to build a career.

“I am very pleased to have Lisa and Ron leading such important markets because they are committed to ensuring our clients receive outstanding service and to continuing to position KPMG as an employer of choice. I want to also express my deep gratitude for the mark that Debbie has made not only on our team and results on the West Coast, but also on our firm,” says Rob Arning, vice chair, market development.

Clark Schaefer Hackett Names Chair of Manufacturing and Distribution Group

Eric Schnieber

Eric Schnieber

Cincinnati-based Clark Schaefer Hackett (FY16 net revenue of $65.7 million) named Eric Schnieber, a shareholder in the Cincinnati office, has been named chair of the manufacturing and distribution group. As chair, Schnieber will lead professionals from across the firm who serve hundreds of manufacturing clients in the region.

“At CSH, we know manufacturing and distribution. It is not just a core industry for us, it is the industry on which our firm was founded in 1938. Today our firm serves over 800 clients, ranging from closely held businesses to multi-national corporations. It is a great honor to lead such an accomplished group. I’m confident that we can build upon our record of client satisfaction and growth,” says Schnieber.

Schnieber, who joined CSH in 2007, has focused on assurance and consulting services for privately-held, middle-market commercial entities, both established and start-up, within the manufacturing, distribution and service provider niches. As a member of the manufacturing and distribution industry group, Schnieber works to develop an understanding of emerging issues impacting clients and provides proactive advice designed to maximize clients’ financial benefits.