Neil Keller Named 2019-2020 WICPA Chair

Naperville, Ill.-based Sikich (FY18 net revenue of $168.7 million) announced that Neil Keller, PIC of tax services, is the new 2019-2020 board chair for the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs (WICPA), which gave him a scholarship as a senior in high school that launched his accounting career.

Neil Keller

“When I got into the career I really admired the past chairs of the WICPA, but I always looked at them and said, ‘That’s never going to be me.’ I just didn’t think I had what it took or had that same passion that they showed,” Keller says in a Sikich video. “Then I found myself on Capitol Hill talking with congressmen about the profession and realized, ‘Man, if that’s not dedication to the profession, if that’s not passion for the profession, I don’t know what is, and that was kind of the trigger for me saying, ‘Yeah I  can be a WICPA chair.’ ”

In his role as board chair, Keller will help the organization fulfill its mission of enhancing professional competency, promoting the value of the profession, advocating on behalf of the profession and building community.

At Sikich, Keller assists clients in choosing an ownership structure and assessing the tax impact when buying or selling a business. Keller “prides himself on listening to and learning about his clients’ needs and goals in order to develop successful strategies,” the firm says.

Janover Partner Elected an Officer of NYSSCPA

Joseph A. Maffia

Joseph A. Maffia

Garden City, N.Y.-based Janover LLC (FY17 net revenue of $30 million) announces that Joseph A. Maffia will be installed as a vice president of the board of directors for the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA). His one-year term begins June 1.

Maffia has practiced public accounting for over 38 years. He serves businesses and individuals across a wide array of industries, including technology and software development, sports, arts and entertainment and charities, foundations and not-for-profits.  At Janover, Maffia serves as co-chair of the quality control committee, having previously served on Janover’s executive committee.

Maffia has served on NYSSCPA committees, is involved in the AICPA and serves on the boards of several nonprofits in New York.

More news from Janover LLC

Many Paid More in Federal Taxes This Tax Season: NJCPA Survey

In a New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants’ (NJCPA) survey of more than 500 CPAs taken after tax season in April, an average of 36% of their clients paid more in federal taxes in 2018.

The NJCPA conducted the survey to determine the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on individual and family clients’ federal tax liability this tax season. Nearly 60% of respondents said that the TCJA either “definitely” or “somewhat” increased the number of clients that they would advise to leave the state. The TCJA’s cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions has led many taxpayers to consider selling property or leaving the state.

More than 75% of respondents noted that this tax season was worse than prior years, with 34% noting that it was the “worst tax season ever.” Additionally, nearly 30% of the CPAs surveyed said they counseled “most” of their clients to adjust their withholdings in 2019 based on their 2018 tax returns, while 24% said they counseled “almost all” of their clients to adjust.

“Surveys like these show the value that CPAs bring to the table and the importance of tax consequences on individuals and corporations,” says Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director of the NJCPA. “New Jersey is high-tax state, and our residents did not benefit nearly as much from the tax reform package as many other states. We need to work together on both the federal and state levels to improve the tax inequities so that individuals and companies will stay in New Jersey and thrive.”

Loretta Doon, CalCPA CEO, to Retire in June

Loretta Doon

The California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) and the CalCPA Education Foundation has announced that CEO Loretta Doon will be retiring in June.

After a nationwide search, the CalCPA board of directors and the foundation board of trustees have named Anthony Pugliese as the incoming CEO of both organizations. Pugliese will join CalCPA on May 1 and will work closely with Doon on the transition.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have worked with my talented staff, dedicated boards and committee volunteers, our diverse members and our partners over these years to build CalCPA into the largest state CPA society,” says Doon. “Our goal is to continually meet the evolving professional and education needs of our members so that they can protect the public interest. We accomplish this through a collaborative, diverse and inclusive culture that leads us to more innovative solutions for our members.”

Anthony Pugliese

Anthony Pugliese

Doon is recognized for her many achievements as head of CalCPA and the foundation, including surpassing a record-setting 45,000 in membership and purchasing the headquarters building in Burlingame. She has been named one of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting numerous times. Doon was also the chief architect for constructing a platform that attracted 53 education partners across the country, including 48 state CPA societies, four associations and a national CPE vendor.

Pugliese was most recently the executive vice president of membership, technology and learning for the AICPA. Prior to that, he served as AICPA’s chief operating officer.

“I look forward to sharing my experience in all aspects of the profession with our staff and members, and all our partners and being inspired by their diverse perspectives,” Pugliese says. “We will draw upon these collective experiences to lead CalCPA and the foundation into the next era.”

CalCPA chair Lewis Sharpstone says, “It was important for us to select an incoming CEO with a strong vision for the future of CalCPA and the foundation. Anthony’s vision not only builds off of Loretta’s accomplishments to date, it will keep us focused on our mission to serve the profession’s needs as it evolves and to protect the public interest.”

CalCPA, founded in 1903, has 14 chapters throughout California.

New Jersey CPAs Say Minimum Wage Should Be Raised, But Not to $15

More than 55% of the 1,204 New Jersey CPAs surveyed earlier this month by the New Jersey Society of CPAs support raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.60 per hour, or $8.85 starting Jan. 1.

However, if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour – even over a period of years – 63% of those surveyed said it would hurt the state’s economy.

The majority of those surveyed supported a minimum wage hike even without exemptions for seasonal or teenage workers. Nearly 50% of survey respondents said such exemptions would not affect their opinion. Yet, 32% said they would be more likely to support a gradual minimum wage hike to $15 with the exemptions included.

Gov. Phil Murphy is in favor of having a $15 minimum wage in the state without any exemptions, but opponents and others have supported the exemptions to get more widespread acceptance of the full hike. New Jersey’s current minimum wage also excludes employees who are tipped, student workers and other exempt occupations.

Raising the minimum wage will have an inflationary impact, causing ripple effects which will impact consumers, and ultimately drive businesses out of New Jersey, say respondents, according to NJCPA. As one commented, raising the minimum wage is “nothing more than a short-term stop gap…It’s a false front for the politicians, not a true economic creator or benefit.”

Any wage hike should also be indexed to reflect the difference in cost of living in various New Jersey communities, according to respondents. Several cited the need for the wages to remain below $15, though increased from its current level, as it is a minimum wage designed for entry-level workers and not a living wage to support a family.

Hofstede Tapped to Become New CEO of Wisconsin Institute of CPAs

Tammy J. Hofstede

The Wisconsin Institute of CPAs (WICPA) has announced that Tammy J. Hofstede will succeed Dennis F. Tomorsky as the organization’s new president and CEO on Jan. 1.

“After a thorough, months-long national search process, during which the search firm and search committee interviewed many qualified candidates, the decision was made to appoint Tammy Hofstede as the new president and CEO,” says board chair Michael Akers.

Hofstede has been with the WICPA for 26 years, having joined the organization as an accounting intern in 1992. Since then, she has held the positions of accounting assistant (1993-1995); accounting, legislative, foundation and technology coordinator (1995-2002); executive assistant and foundation coordinator (2002-2007); director of finance and operations (2007-2011) and, most recently, chief financial and operating officer (2011-present).

“No one knows this organization and its members better than Tammy,” says Tomorsky, who served as president and CEO for 12 years. “Her long history and deep knowledge of the WICPA and CPA profession will make this a very smooth transition. Tammy’s demonstrated leadership is certain to have a significant positive impact on the organization and its members.”

“Through the years, I have experienced many changes encompassing both the accounting profession and the WICPA, and I am excited to continue my involvement working with our staff and members, moving the organization forward and making individuals, our profession and the WICPA stronger,” says Hofstede.

The WICPA has more than 7,300 members working in public accounting, industry, government and education.

N.J. CPA Poll: Almost 70% Have Outstanding Student Loans

Robert Albert

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) says that nearly 70% of the 109 respondents in a member survey last month carry student loan debt. Of those who provided data, close to 75% cited more than $20,000 in debt.

About half of the respondents are between the ages of 26 and 30, with 21% between age 31 and 35. The majority of survey participants (67%) said they expect to pay off their student loan debt within 10 years, while 19% said it will take more than 15 years to pay off their debt.

Because of the debt, more than 80% of the respondents said they are equally considering either moving to where the cost of living is less (43%) or taking a second job (43%). More than 25% said they would consider borrowing money from family or friends to pay down debt.

“Student loan debt is so pervasive today that young professionals in a variety of careers, including accounting, face considerable challenges,” says Ralph Albert Thomas, executive director of NJCPA. “The survey should enlighten accounting firms and other corporations who employ these professionals as to how much debt they have and see if they can help to alleviate that burden.”

Two CPAs Win Innovation Awards

Two CPA firm leaders – one an early champion of blockchain services, another an advocate of artificial intelligence in the audit process – have been named recipients of CPA.com’s 2018 Innovative Practitioner Award, which recognizes innovation in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting.

The honorees are:

Samantha Bowling

Samantha Bowling

  • Samantha Bowling, partner, Garbelman Winslow of Upper Marlboro, Md. – Bowling is chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs. Bowling and her team of small firm practitioners are successfully integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in auditing for small businesses, nonprofits and local government. Using an external AI platform, the firm has improved the audit process and helped reduce the risk of material misstatements for its clients. As an early adopter, Bowling is providing valuable input to help make the technology more usable for other firms.
  • Jagruti Solanki, senior manager, Atlanta-based Aprio (FY17 net revenue of 85.1 million)Solanki helped launch the firm’s blockchain services group and has been instrumental in developing best practices for accounting and financial reporting related to the digital distributed ledger technology. Among other services, her team helps clients navigate blockchain implications for domestic and international accounting, as well as tax obstacles associated with tokenization, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency. Solanki is being admitted to the partnership next year in recognition of her leadership on initiatives such as blockchain that drive growth and profitability for the firm.
Jagruti Solanki

Jagruti Solanki

“Samantha and Jagruti define what being an innovative practitioner is all about: the ability to assess where the profession is going, incorporate emerging technologies to either imrove an existing service or launch a new one, and then successfully position the practitioner’s firm as a leader in that area,” says Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “Both blockchain and AI stand to make a big impact on the profession and our honorees are both advancing strategies around these technologies for their firm.”

Frabotta Receives Distinguished Service Award

Anthony P. Frabotta

Anthony P. Frabotta

Chicago-based UHY (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) announced that its chair and CEO, Anthony P. Frabotta, has been recognized with The Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession. Honorees have shown exceptional leadership and service, making a lasting impact in their industry and their communities.

“As a true advocate for the profession, Tony has mentored hundreds of young CPAs, both at the firm and on the campus of Wayne State,” says Guy Gordon, WJR radio host and the emcee for the night. “Beyond the profession, Tony is a strong supporter of Detroit and its surrounding communities through involvement in several area charities”

Frabotta helped establish UHY Cares, a nonprofit organization run exclusively by employees. Over the entirety of his 44-year career, he has been an outstanding leader in the MICPA family.

Maryland Association of CPAs Names Four ‘Women to Watch’

Jill Gansler, Heather Latham, Maxene M.  Bardwell & Ebony Hypolite

Four outstanding business leaders have been honored by the Maryland Association of CPAs as Maryland’s “Women to Watch” for 2018. This year’s awards attracted 21 nominations.

Jill Gansler, CFO of Regional Management, Inc., and Heather Latham, director of accounting and finance for R&F Metals, Inc., have been honored in the “Experienced Leader” category.

Gansler has three decades of corporate finance, tax, governance and oversight; internal auditing; personnel administration; portfolio management; general accounting, and commercial lending. Latham served on the board for the MACPA’s Southern Maryland Chapter for 21 years, and helped implement mentoring programs in the local community to help new CPAs develop and increase interest in the community to become a CPA.

Meanwhile, Maxene M. Bardwell, director of internal audit at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and Ebony Hypolite, a manager in SC&H Group’s Business Performance Management consulting practice, have been honored in the “Emerging Leader” category.

Bardwell leads an audit team that saves the commission millions of dollars each fiscal year. She is an avid volunteer and ethics commissioner for the City of Laurel.

Hypolite helps organizations transform how they forecast and analyze results through technology implementations and process re-engineering. An alum of Stevenson University, she established the Ebony Hypolite ’06 Annual Scholarship for juniors and seniors.

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.

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s winners – indeed, of all the leaders who were nominated for this year’s awards,” said 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.”