Two CPAs Honored as Maryland’s ‘Women to Watch’ for 2017

Lisa Blackmore

Lisa Blackmore

Two outstanding business leaders have been honored by the Maryland Association of CPAs as Maryland’s “Women to Watch” for 2017.

Lisa Blackmore, a partner with Squire Lemkin + Company (FY16 net revenue of $6.3 million) of Rockville, Md., has been honored in the “Emerging Leader” category, while Faye Miller, a partner with Chicago-based RSM US (FY17 net revenue of $2 billion), has been honored in the “Experienced Leader” category.

Launched in 2014 by the AICPA, the awards highlight the accomplishments and contributions of women in the CPA profession and demonstrate to emerging female leaders that success is not out of reach.

“(Women) are leaders in our communities, homes and in business,” says Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, chair of the AICPA’s board of directors. “As leaders, we work hard every day to improve our credibility, capability and our commitment to excellence. Our nominees are an indication of that excellence. As women, we bring a rich perspective and mastery of success skills that are essential to every organization.”

Faye Miller

Faye Miller

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s winners – indeed, of all the leaders who were nominated for this year’s awards,” says MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood. “They represent the best this profession has to offer, and they serve as role models not only for other women in the profession, but for every accounting and finance professional on the planet.”

Blackmore was named partner at Squire Lemkin + Company in January 2015 and has developed a tax practice that focuses on individual and high-net-worth individuals and professional service firms.

Miller has 30 years of experience in public accounting, including client service and office managing partner roles. As a partner in the national office of RSM, she is a lead subject matter expert on complex financial instruments and is charged with identifying and developing talent, publishing accounting guides and white papers, speaking as a firm expert at conferences and on webcasts, and developing and presenting internal training.

Outsourced CFO Community Gains Momentum

The Maryland Association of CPAs and its center for learning and innovation, the Business Learning Institute, has helped plant the seeds for a community of professionals who call themselves outsourced CFOs.

That community now includes the MACPA’s new Outsourced CFO Task Force, a group of MACPA members who are interested in promoting outsourced CFO services and sharing resources.

The task force officially went public recently by hosting the MACPA’s Outsourced CFO Community Forum, a gathering of MACPA executives as well as outsourced CFOs and those who use their services. The event was a platform for sharing issues that impact the outsourced CFO community, lessons learned from those who have made the journey, and insights from leaders of firms that offer outsourced CFO services.

“I see this community as the third branch the personalized business application of the private company CFO with the ability to oversee and advise multiple companies at once,” says Barrett Young, former member of the MACPA’s board of directors. “The group of firms seeking to add this service within their existing companies surpasses the group of sole practitioners and dedicated outsourced companies. This is not a niche idea any longer. Larger firms are paying attention. The time to move on this is now.”

“It might be the first time I’ve seen a niche service that spans the entire range of our profession,” says MACPA executive director Tom Hood.

“Outsourcing jobs to independent contractors can go in waves with businesses, but with the help of the MACPA I hope we can continue to educate the small to mid-size business community that the skills of a CFO are something every business needs – if only on a part-time basis,” says Kelly Jennings, founder and CEO of Quincy CFO and a former member of the MACPA Board of Directors. “For the sake of businesses at every stage out there, I hope outsourced CFOs become commonplace.”

View Tom Hood’s presentation from the event here, and the forum report here.

New E-Books Offer Steps Toward Future-Readiness for CPAs, Finance Professionals

The Maryland Association of CPAs and its learning and innovation center, the Business Learning Institute, have released a pair of e-books that will help accounting and finance professionals become more future-ready.

The e-books describe “five strategic and practical steps that anyone can do to become a future-ready CPA or finance professional,” says Tom Hood, CEO of the MACPA and the BLI. “The guidance applies to every role in any firm or organization. These five steps, applied through the lens of your particular expertise and experience, are what can help you anticipate change and prepare for it. It’s a new set of eyes and a new set of tools that only you can bring alive in your context of where you are professionally.”

Hood continues, “How will the disruptive forces of technology and automation affect your organization and career? This is the most important thing for CPAs and finance professionals to pay attention to right now. Forces of change aren’t something that we can or should fight. We’re not going to slow down change. We’re not going to make technology obsolete. What we can do is be ready for it. We can put ourselves in a place where the future helps us, not hurts us. That’s what being a future-ready finance professional is all about. Don’t fight change – leverage it, for the benefit of your career and organization.”

The e-books can be downloaded at no cost from the Business Learning Institute’s website. They are accompanied by an online quiz that will gauge readers’ future-readiness and provide access to additional resources that can help them become even more future-ready.

Indiana Becomes First State to Recognize New Learning Option for CPA Renewal

Indiana is now the first state in the nation to recognize competency-based education as a learning option for CPA license renewal.

The bill, effective July 1, was passed unanimously by the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Although Indiana began requiring continuing education for CPAs in 1979, there has been no substantive change that recognizes the evolution of learning and available technology, including computers, according to the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS). It started and remained an exclusively hours-based education model – until now.

This new competency-based education will ensure a certain level of the subject material is learned and at the pace that works best for each learner. In a 2016 survey of INCPAS members, 83% favored the additional learning option, up from 58% in 2012.

“This legislation will enable the Board of Accountancy to write rules that make learning personal and measure what matters,” says INCPAS president and CEO Gary Bolinger. “Further, it has the potential to expand beyond Indiana and even beyond CPAs by serving as an enhanced professional development model for other licensed practitioners.”

State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) introduced and supported the bill. “This legislation can improve the quality of learning and lessons during the renewal process, which is not only beneficial to professionals but also to their employers and clients,” Carbaugh says. “If it proves to be effective, it has the potential to carry over into other licensed professions in Indiana.”

The next steps include working with the Indiana Board of Accountancy to develop the reporting framework, create a learning plan template and promulgate a rule to implement the statute.

Lantz Tapped to Lead Idaho Society of CPAs

Laura Lantz

Laura Lantz

Laura Lantz has been named executive director of the Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Lantz joins the association after eight years with the Idaho Association of Highway Districts, the past four years serving as associate director.

In her previous role, Lantz was a legislative advocate for local highway and transportation issues. She was the liaison for 61 districts, advising members on budgets, management and policy. Her other responsibilities included member engagement and training.

Bolinger to Retire as CEO of Indiana CPA Society

Gary Bolinger

Gary Bolinger

Gary Bolinger, president and CEO of the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS), will retire on Dec. 31 after 33 years of service.

Bolinger joined the Society in 1984 as field activities director. He was appointed interim executive director in 1990, was promoted to full-time executive director in 1991, and in 1999 was named president and CEO. Under Bolinger’s leadership, the Society has revamped its organizational structure to better leverage volunteers and talent, become more proactive in legislative and regulatory affairs, overhauled its strategic planning process, initiated award-winning diversity programs, and implemented the statewide INCPAS Professional Issues Update, which he has presented for 17 years.

Other major highlights from recent years include:

  • Establishment of the award-winning CPA Center of Excellence®
  • Development of an Integrated Report
  • Celebration of the organization’s centennial anniversary
  • The addition of competency-based learning as an option for CPA license renewal.
Indiana is the first state in the country to do so.

“Gary has been an outstanding CEO,” says INCPAS Chairman John Sauder. “He is the driving force that’s put INCPAS in the pioneering state it’s in today.”

His successor – current senior vice president and COO Jennifer Briggs – will begin serving as president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2018. “Jennifer is well prepared to take on this role,” says INCPAS chair-elect Doug York. “She brings talent in many areas, not least of which is her ability to connect with all our members, regardless what field or stage of their career they’re in.”

New President at New Mexico Society of CPAs

Kelcy Flanagan

Kelcy Flanagan

The New Mexico Society of CPAs has announced that is has selected Kelcy Flanagan, the society’s continuing professional education and communications director, to serve in the role effective July 1.

Flanagan will replace John Carey and was chosen by the society’s search committee. “Kelcy has taken on every assignment she’s been given with efficiency, dedication and thoroughness,” Carey said in a statement. “She is richly deserving of this promotion. I look forward to working with her to ensure a smooth transition during the next few weeks.”

Established in 1930, the New Mexico Society of CPAs is an association uniting professionals who provide their time, talents and resources toward strengthening and enhancing the CPA profession in New Mexico.

Baker Tilly Partner is New President of New York State Society of CPAs

Harold Deiters III

Harold Deiters III

Harold Deiters III, partner at Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY16 net revenue of $522 million) has been installed as the president of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA). His one-year term starts June 1.

“Harold’s support and dedication to the NYSSCPA has continuously grown over the years and we are proud to have him take on this new role as president,” says Christine M. Fenske, MP of the firm’s practice in metropolitan New York. “His more than 20 years of experience have not only greatly benefitted our firm, but now will benefit the thousands of professionals he represents in the NYSSCPA as well.”

The NYSSCPA is one of the largest CPA state societies in the nation with over 26,000 members

Deiters is the PIC of the litigation and valuation consulting team in the New York regional offices of Baker Tilly. He specializes in business appraisal and forensic accounting and is experienced in valuations for matrimonial settlements, estate tax purposes, gift planning, shareholder disputes, buy/sell agreements and complex forensic accounting projects.

Texas Lawmakers Pass Sales Tax Exemption for CPA Firms

The Texas Legislature passed a bill May 9 that creates a de Minimis exemption for a CPA firm whose work for a client may unintentionally stray into the state’s broad definitions of “insurance services,” the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) announced.

John Sharbaugh, TSCPA managing director of governmental affairs, testified on behalf of the bill, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 22, and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The bill, SB 1083, addresses the murky sales tax issue that arose in 2015 when the comptroller performed a routine audit and determined that a Texas CPA firm conducted insurance services and owed back sales tax. TSCPA worked with the comptroller’s office on the matter. SB 1083 states that insurance services do not include a service performed by:

  • A CPA firm as defined by the Texas Public Accountancy Act; and
  • If less than 1% of the firm’s revenue in the calendar year is from services in this state that would otherwise constitute insurance service.

“The passage of SB 1083 is a win for Texas CPAs and the TSCPA governmental affairs volunteers who worked so hard to lobby for this important issue,” Sharbaugh says in a statement. “It’s important for CPA firms to have some protection in the event they inadvertently perform insurance services, as defined by the Texas Comptroller, as part of their work for their clients, and this bill accomplishes that by providing a limited safeguard for CPAs.”

Kruggel Lawton Partner Receives Indiana CPA Society Honor

Kevin Kruggel

Kevin Kruggel

South Bend, Ind.-based Kruggel Lawton (FY15 net revenue of $7.4 million) has announced that partner Kevin Kruggel has received the CPA Center of Excellence® Award by the Indiana CPA Society.

The award is given to an individual or firm embodying excellence through collaboration, development of critical business skills, knowledge-sharing and a competency-based approach to lifelong learning.

Kruggel is one of the Indiana CPA Society’s original Knowledge Management Task Force members, and has helped to lead creation of the CPA Center of Excellence®, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the state society. He engaged the center to work on staff development and succession at Kruggel Lawton. The majority of the firm’s staff also chose two competency-based online courses to work on so-called “soft skills.”

Kruggel serves on the CPA Center of Excellence® board of directors.