The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced this week a new initiative to enhance its support of small CPA firms.
James Metzler, previously a partner of a local firm in Buffalo, NY, and a nationally known consultant to small firms, has joined the Institute as Vice President – Small CPA Firm Interests; he will report to Alan Anderson, AICPA Senior Vice President – Member and Public Interests.
In his new role, Metzler will supervise the AICPA’s firm practice management initiatives, which include Partnering for CPA Practice Success (PCPS) and the Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Committee. He will serve as an advocate for small firms on legislative matters, act as liaison between the AICPA and its member firms, and help firms deliver high-quality services to their clients.
"The AICPA remains committed to being the national voice for the CPA profession, especially our smaller practitioners, who are a vital segment of our membership," said Anderson. "Jim Metzler has been a small-firm practitioner for most of his career, and through his work as a consultant, has helped other firms achieve success. Jim also has represented small-firm interests through his many years of service on AICPA volunteer committees. He is a driven and forward-thinking professional who is highly esteemed by his colleagues."
"There are approximately 45,000 CPA firms in the United States, and they have their unique business challenges," said Metzler. "In small firms, the challenges vary, but they include succession planning, partner unity, new leader preparation and service mix issues where firms are working to focus only on those initiatives that make business sense. On the legislative front, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may have serious ramifications for firms that audit private companies. A number of states are drafting Sarbanes-type bills that could impact the ability of small firms to conduct business. It will be the charge of this new initiative at the AICPA to develop programs that guide and support firms on these matters."
Metzler brings to his position three decades of experience as a small-firm practitioner. He was a partner at the Buffalo, NY, firm of Gaines Metzler Kriner & Company, LLP, for 24 years. He also was founder and chairman of GEMKO Information Group Inc., the firm’s successful information technology consulting company. In 2000, Metzler and Jennifer L. Wilson co-founded ConvergenceCoaching LLC, which provides leadership and marketing consulting to CPA firms.
"We will miss Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit and are sad to see him leave us," said Wilson. "Even so, we fully support his new role at the AICPA because we believe in the mission of this new group and feel it can only help small firms, a segment of the clients we serve at ConvergenceCoaching."
In his career, Metzler has had many years of service in the public accounting community. He is a former President of the Buffalo Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a member of the AICPA Governing Council, a member of the AICPA Member Innovation Advisory Panel and past Chair of the AICPA Information Technology Executive Committee. He served on the planning committee for the Institute’s 2003 Practitioners Symposium and was named eight years in a row as one of the "100 Most Influential People in Accounting" by Accounting Today.