Remembering BNA's Susan Webster | AccountingWEB

Remembering BNA's Susan Webster

(L-R Francine McKenna, Edith Orenstein, Susan Webster, at FEI CFRI 2008)

This time of year, when it's CFRI season (on the eve of FEI's 29th annual Current Financial Reporting Issues Conference) I think back fondly to my first meeting with BNA Managing Editor Susan Webster.

That first meeting was over coffee after I finished working the registration desk the eve of CFRI 2007. I remember discussing with Susan at that first informal meeting not only current events of the day (in the world of accounting standard-setting and the regulatory environment) but also sharing stories about other common threads in our lives, including the challenges and joys of having teens and tweens, the advent of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, and the use of social networks and technology by our generation vis-a-vis that of our children.

Our working relationship grew, albeit virtually, as I reached out to Susan for contacts/guidance on seeking permission to link to some of BNA's outstanding - indeed, exceptional - reporting, as I was a subscriber to BNA's Daily Report for Executives. She was very helpful in getting me in touch with the right people to be granted permission on occassion to reprint/post such material on our website and link to it in our blog. We also shared informal views with each other from time to time on topics of interest in our separate publications.

The following year, at CFRI 2008, I had the pleasure of joining together with Francine McKenna, Managing Editor of the blog Re: The Auditors, Steve Burkholder, BNA Staff Correspondent covering the FASB beat, and Susan Webster, for an informal dinner. [I remember specifically requesting that our entire conversation be 'off the record' and it was a fascinating evening indeed.]

Susan was also a member of a panel presentation coordinated and moderated by Francine at the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA's) June, 2009 Business Expo. Other panelists included former FEI President and CEO Colleen Cunningham, now Global Managing Director, Finance and Accounting, at Resources Global, and Joanne O'Rourke Hindman, Special Advisor to Board Member Steven B. Harris of the PCAOB. As usual, Susan shared the depth and breadth of knowledge that comes with the access BNA Editors and Correspondents have on Capitol Hill and beyond, and she provided helpful handouts from BNA explaining complex legislative developments and regulation.

The more I got to know leading journalists like Susan Webster, Steve Burkholder, Francine McKenna, and others, like CPA Trendlines Editor and Bay Street Group President & CEO Rick Telberg, the more I became interested in enhancing my journalistic skills to improve the quality of this blog. Susan and Rick were unmatched in their willingness to have me reach out to them and provide their support and insights, for which I am deeply grateful.

When CFRI rolled around again in November 2009, Susan was not able to attend (at the time, I did not know why). As Fall turned to Winter, she shared with me confidentially that she was facing some significant health issues. I remember speaking to her in January 2010 and our conversation was pretty much business as usual, without Susan dwelling on the gravity of her health issues; in fact, as I recall, I got the feeling that she was hopeful for the future.

Thus, it was with great sadness that I learned earlier this year of Susan passing away from her illness. I have wanted to write about her for quite some time since then, and now that CFRI 2010 is here (the 'anniversary' of my first meeting Susan) I felt it was time to put my thoughts to paper (to the screen?), in honor of her memory and how much she contributed to my own development and that of others who have shared their remembrances of Susan, here.

In addition, I welcome others to post a comment with your thoughts and memories of Susan, or thoughts about how a person within your own firm or organization, or in a shared industry or area of interest, has really make a difference in your life, the lives of members of that profession or organization, or the profession or community at large. (Readers of the FEI blog tend to be a shy group, but we always welcome your comments.)


This blog

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.