This week's conversation is all about leadership, or more exactly "reality-based leadership". As we know, there's always drama in the workplace between management and other team members which can lead to a loss of enthusiasm for work and trust. I speak to Alex Dorr, VP of People Evolution about the most comment causes of workplace drama, the role leaders play in alleviating these issues, and what CPA leaders should be doing to get past this drama. Listen as we talk about all the stuff that goes beyond the water cooler.
ResourcesReality-Based Leadership WebsiteAlex Dorr LinkedIn ProfileFast Company article, "These are the most common roots of workplace drama" by Patti Perez
This week, we meet a new leader for new times: Okorie Ramsey, the new chair of AICPA. He's a CPA, CGMA, and currently the VP of SOX at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals.
Okorie plans to continue to build upon the platform of the most recent past chair of AICPA, Anoop Mehta, by helping others grow personally and professionally, driving DE&I initiatives and preserving trust in the profession. In addition, he plans to face our newest challenges, namely the rapid advancement of technology and our continuing challenge of filling our talent pipeline - making sure our profession remains viable.
With these challenges in mind, Okorie has a 3-pronged agenda:Innovation to advance the professionInstilling integrity and trust into sustainabilitySupporting the next generation and giving them advanced opportunities to succeed
I was fortunate enough to dive into these 3 priorities in depth with Okorie, discussing what the future holds for accounting & finance professionals.
ResourcesOkorie Ramsey, CPA, CGMA, PMP, NACD.DC Linkedin ProfileAICPA-CIMA news article, "New AICPA Chair Looks to Foster Innovation and the Next Generation"
Episode 200! Thanks to all the listeners here to celebrate this milestone.
In this episode we're talking about the coming tax season (never too early right?). A lot of tax headlines to discuss this episode:IRS announces that this coming filing season, taxpayers may be able to file most documents and returns electronically and by 2025 the IRS will digitize all paper file returns when they are receivedIRS might push for an early end to the employee retention tax credit as the number of "legitimate claims" declinesTreasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says that while the IRS has done a good job of addressing cyberthreats, it needs to do a better job with documentation New tech being built called IVIX, the first AI powered platform to help governments address financial crimes and tax evasionTax prep companies like H&R Block and TaxSlayer have for years been sharing Americans sensitive financial data with tech giants like Meta and Google in a potential of violation of federal law
I speak with Steven Lyon, Senior Manager, Product Specialists with SafeSend to discuss all these updates and how to meet challenges as practitioners.
ResourcesSteven Lyon LinkedIn ProfileAP News article, "IRS aims to go paperless by 2025 as part of its campaign to conquer mountains of paperwork", by Fatima Hussein Accounting Today article, "IRS good at addressing cyberthreats, but not documenting them" by Chris GaetanoIVIX websiteCNN article, "Tax prep companies shared private taxpayer data with Google and Meta for years, congressional probe finds", by Brian Fung
Talking about Client Advisory Services, widely known as "CAS", this week; specifically spend management. Spend management goes beyond expense management in that all company funds are brought together in one centralized location so finance leaders have full visibility to set, track, and control spend before it occurs. These spend management capabilities provide a better understanding about spending patterns, leading to more valuable client interactions and growth for firms.
To find our more about spend management trends and how firms can get started with these services, I speak to Jyson Brannon, VP of Sales & Partner Services at CPA.com and Dan Luthi, Partner at Ignite Spark Accounting.
ResourcesAccounting Today article by Kalil Merhib, "Voices Spend management: An approachable CAS opportunity"CPA.com Expense & Spend Management Survey ReportJyson Brannon, LinkedIn ProfileDan Luthi, LinkedIn Profile
Today's show we talk about remote work, hybrid work, talent shortage, and everything in between. Since COVID, many futurists felt remote work was here to stay as "the new normal" and many employees felt a certain power in being able to request working from home. However, there were some large organizations that began to require employees come back to the office full time even though studies showed employees not only preferred remote work but were just as productive working from home.
Now, we're seeing that there can be a balance between the extreme of employers demanding working in the office and employees demanding they work from home full time. Hybrid work arrangements are now offered by the majority of companies which offers a sort of "truce" between employers and employees.
My guests this week are seeing this same harmony in hybrid work; Alex Kirillov and Jim Brady are executives who have noticed better collaboration, stronger culture, and clearer communication when companies strike the balance between coming into the office and working from home. Here's our conversation about how to make room for both.
Resources:Business Insider article, "Here's a list of major companies requiring employees to return to the office" by Shana Lebowitz, Marguerite Ward, Emily Canal, Rebecca Knight, and Alexandra York Fortune article, "Bosses and workers are finally reaching a ‘truce’ on remote work" by Alicia Adamczyk Flex Report by Scoop, Companies by Office RequirementAlliant Group
In this episode, I get a chance to talk with Christine Aspell, the newly appointed chair of MACPA's Board of Directors. MACPA has a long history of pulling in leaders with some of the best diversity of thought in their profession. We lean on these leaders not only to help MACPA serve members but also help our profession flourish as a whole.
Christine is Managing Partner and Audit Partner at KPMG's Baltimore office, with 25+ years of experience providing assurance services to clients. She is passionate about the future of this profession, particularly when it comes to diversity & inclusion, advancing women in the profession, and helping the talent pipeline leading to profession.
The pipeline is a huge concern as of late and multiple solutions have been proposed centering around education and regulatory requirements. Christine is taking a different tact; she wants to reconnect CPAs with a purpose behind their work and to share that purpose with students and young professionals who are hungry for work with meaning.
"Our profession continues to change rapidly as technological advancements and regulatory changes and demographic trends reshape what we do and how we do it, but even amid that change, one thing remains constant: our purpose. The what, how, and even who of our great profession will adapt and change, but what won't change is our why." says Christine.
Christine is hoping to collect and share stories about how CPAs help their clients who in turn help their communities; how CPAs help people lead better lives. These are the stories that will inspire others to become a part of this profession. Listen to learn more about this initiative and to hear Christine's own inspirational story.
Christine Aspell, MACPA Chair of Board of Directors, Announcement
Christine Aspell LinkedIn Profile
This week I speak with my friend, Joey Havens, Partner for Strategic Growth and previously Executive Partner at HORNE LLP. Joey runs an executive blog, Be Better, filled with advice about being a better leader, better person, be future-ready, and how to flourish in a changing world. Recently, he became a best selling author with his book, "Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture". People-first is the right tactic to take these days given issues with burnout and retention. It's also been noted that customer satisfaction is intrinsically tired to employee satisfaction; you'll see more success in your business if you consider the professional fulfillment of your team. Keep in mind, it's not just about caring for your employees, it's about helping them forge a meaningful, purposeful career path. By "them" we're being inclusive of gender, races, identities, and backgrounds.
I speak with Joey about his book and what it really means to "lead with significance"; what this adds to conversation about putting people first and how so-called soft concepts like love, caring, service can actually be some of the most powerful leadership strategies around.
Joey Havens Website
"Leading with Significance" by Joey Havens, available on Amazon
Joey Havens LinkedIn
We're talking about advisory today, something on everyone's mind; how do we incorporate more value added advisory services? What types of advisory services should we offer? What technology do we need? How do we price these services? How do we staff them? The profession has been laser focused on CAS for awhile and still, there are so many questions to answer.
When it comes to CAS, top-performing firms showed a median growth rate of 16% just last year and are optimistic about continued growth. These top firms implicate key strategies for success:Dedicated CAS staffUsing technologies to drive efficiencies Standardize processes Raise fees to reflect the value providedExplore creative staffing and capacity building measuresEducate clients and staff on CAS
My guest this week, Jasen Stine, Tax & Accounting Education Leader at Intuit, speaks with me about what tax advisory really looks like; what types of services that are most in demand, what type of clients we should look for, what pricing looks like and possible first steps for those who are looking to explore this area.
Jasen Stine LinkedIn Profile
CPA.com CAS Benchmark survey
Intuit Podcast: Account Trends
This week we're talking about the pipeline: the talent crisis that's on everyone's radar in our profession. The most recent AICPA trends report found that accountants are leaving their jobs in unprecedented numbers and fewer students are opting to go into accounting.
Now that we've recognized this problem, a number of solutions have been presented such as adjusting certain requirements and regulations for CPA candidates. One major point we need to address is making sure the accounting career path is accessible to those of all backgrounds, allowing our profession to be more diverse and inclusive.
Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) has launched a campaign, Accounting+, designed to strengthen the accounting pipeline and reach Black & Latinx students at the high school level. In this episode, I speak with Liz Barentzen, VP of Operations & Talent Initiatives at CAQ, where she oversees strategies to attract and retain talent. Liz breaks down what Accounting+ is, what the response has been, and what roles CPAs can play in all of this.
ResourcesLiz Barentzen LinkedIn ProfileBusiness Insider article by Erica Sweeney,"Why There's a Shortage of Accountants and We Should Be Worried"CAQ Accounting+ website
I want to talk about engagement this week - according to a 2023 Gallup report, fewer than 1/3 of employees are engaged in their work. Study after study shows that employee engagement is directly linked to business performance. The secret sauce for engagement is part strength and part passion; things that we enjoy doing not just what we're good at. In this episode, I speak to Marcus Buckingham about identifying how we truly enjoy spending our time, aka "red threads", that you should weave into your daily activities in order to build your engagement.
Marcus Buckingham website
Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life
In this episode I speak with Christina Ho, a board member of the PCAOB, about the two most significant audit quality challenges we face today, in her opinion: technology and talent.
"Talent is the cornerstone to audit quality. Without well trained talent, there is no audit quality." - Christina Ho
Christina Ho LinkedIn Profile
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) - Christina Ho Board Member Profile
Bloomberg article, "The Accountant Shortage Threatens Capitalism's Future" by Adrian Wooldridge
A good conversation with a good friend; this week I speak with Tom Hood, CPA, CGMA, CITP, founding CEO of BLI, Executive Vice President of Business Engagement & Growth for AICPA-CIMA.
We talked about the trends that are impacting finance professionals, the opportunities that exist in this post pandemic world, and ideas emerging from the Future of Finance Leadership Advisory Group - a group of senior finance executives who's initial meetings resulted in a crowdsourced vision of what the future of finance looks like.
Journal of Accountancy article, "The changing role of the CFO", by Anita Dennis
Business Learning Institute powered by AICPA-CIMA
Tom Hood LinkedIn Profile
"We’re really seeing this evolution of CAS that’s happening here, 12-15 years after we started talking about this as a separate service line that was gaining traction" - talking about what's new on the CAS front with Amy Bridges, Professional Development Manager at CPA.com, and Beth Allen, Partner and Head of Client Accounting Services at GreerWalker LLP.
Client Accounting Services (CAS) is an area of the profession that is quickly growing and likely to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Listen to our discussion about how this could effect you and other firms.
2022 Benchmark survey
Amy Bridges Profile | CPA.com
Beth Allen Profile | GreerWalker LLP
Today we discuss what the younger generation is looking for in their work and career: a sense of purpose. I speak with Ingrid Edstrom and Mathew Heggem, founders of the Alchemy of Accounting Network (AAN), about how we should change - given the social and environmental issues that confront us today - how can our profession have the greatest, possible positive impact on the world around us. Join the conversation and help us find the answers.
“Let’s see what learning & growth can come out from having a diversity of ideas in the room.” - Ingrd Edstrom
Resources:"New Movement Advocates for Major Shift in Accounting Profession" by By Alina Nikishina.Accounting Alchemy Network (AAN) Mathew Heggem LinkedIn profileIngred Edstrom LinkedIn profile
This week I revisit a conversation I had last year with Alex Baulf, Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, to discuss the E-Invoice Exchange Market Pilot - who's involved, what comes next, and what CPAs need to know.
Tax authorities want more now, they want to look not at a sample of data, but they want to look at every single transaction and they don’t want to wait until 6 months, a year, 2 years after the fact…it’s too late then.” - Alex Baulf
Alex Baulf LinkedIn Profile
“You work all your life to build up a practice, you want to make sure you’re addressing exposure needs" - Stan Sterna
“We need the different thoughts, the different mindsets the different perspectives - we need you" - Jessica McClain, CPA/CITP, CISA, PMP, CGFM
"...Really came to know and understand and appreciate just how uniquely situated the Maryland Comptroller's office is to make a difference on economic matters, to build financially resilient communities, to make Maryland a great place to do business..." - Brooke Lierman, Comptroller of Maryland
In this episode we're talking about ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rumblings about the future of AI have been surfacing as well as questions about whether human biases are affecting the decisions AIs are making. Those questions are finding their way into our profession.
A recent Accounting Today article reports a growing number of accounting service solutions are using AI for a wide range of applications. The accounting profession has spent $1.5 billion on this type of software in 2021 and is projected to spend $53 billion by 2030, according to a report from Acumen Research & Consulting. The Accounting Today article notes that despite this rapid growth, "too little attention has been paid to the ethical considerations that come with it". Sage's CTO, Erin Harris says in a quote, "The current issues are less to do with the accidental creation of a robot overlord and more about the insertion of human biases into the code". The main issue is not the technology in it of itself, it is our human biases impacting the way the technology works.
Biometric Update, recently published an article listing the 6 key considerations for ethical AI in financial services:Fairness & biasTrust & transparencyPrivacyAccountabilitySecuritySocial benefits
The author, Matt Peake, writes, "If just one of these fails, it can have series consequences for individuals and businesses".
However, the upside is that there are groups developing AI committed to the betterment of our world.
I speak with today's guest, Enrico Palmerino, Founder & CEO of Botkeeper, about the role of ethics in AI, the types of biases in AI, how we can protect ourselves and our clients from these biases, and what the future marriage of AI and human intelligence looks like.
ResourcesAccounting Today article, "AI ethics a growing concern", by Chris GaetanoAcumen Research & Consulting report, Artificial Intelligence in Accounting Market Analysis - Global Industry Size, Share, Trends and Forecast 2022 - 2030Biometric Update article, "Six key considerations for ethical AI in financial services", by Matt PeakeBlueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, from the White House "AI for Good" initiative, from the UNBotkeeper, automated bookkeeping solutionEnrico Palmerino, Founder & CEO, Botkeeper, Linkedin profile
This episode, we're talking about saving for retirement, specifically how we can help our employees save more money for retirement.
The general story we keep hearing is, as Americans, we aren't saving enough. The economy is playing a role, with 54% of Americans either reducing the amount they are saving or stopping all savings due to inflation, based on a survey by Allianz. The survey also showed the following:43% respondents report having to dip into retirement savings to meet rising costs75% say they are worried the cost of living will impact their retirement plans25% of U.S. workers have no retirement savings at all36% believe their retirement plans are on track
Even more statistics show those who are close to retirement age do not have enough to support themselves for an extended period of time. This is an issue that impacts us all. Local and state governments are likely to shoulder a share of the financial burden when it comes to those who don't have retirement savings (which means we'll all have to chip in for support).
But in Maryland, and handful of other states, there is help on the way. A new program, MarylandSaves, was launched on September 15th 2022, making it easier for employers to provide workers with access to a retirement plan.
MarylandSaves is a byproduct of a law that was passed in 2016 by the General Assembly, mandating that employers in Maryland who pay their employees with an automated payroll system or service must offer their employees access to a retirement plan. Maryland become just the 5th state to enact what Glenn Simmons, my guest today, calls "a state sponsored auto IRA program".
Employers who participate in MarylandSaves, or offer another qualified program, will receive an annual waiver for their yearly $300 State Department of Assessments & Taxation Report filing fee. To qualify for the 2023 waiver, employers must enroll by December 1st 2022. However, you can still earn that waiver beyond 2023 just by enrolling in the program. The waiver applies every year after you enroll.
In this episode, I speak with Glenn Simmons, Executive Director of the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program - the driving force behind MarylandSaves. Together we dive deeper into how programs like this work, how employers like you can get started, what it means for your employees, and what a difference this can make in the lives of future retirees.
ResourcesAllianz Press Release; Inflation Causing Majority of Americans to Stop or Reduce Retirement SavingsPwC, Retirement in America ReportMarylandsaves.comGlenn Simmons, Executive Director/CEO at Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program, LinkedIn profile