Conversations

IGAF Firms Interview with Shimmerman Penn LLP

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).Shimmerman Penn LLP Principal Elaine Pantel, CGA, and Partner Maj-Lis Vettoretti, CA, agreed to tell AccountingWEB about their firm's progressive culture and comprehensive services.

IGAF Firms Interview With Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co. P.L.L.P.

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).These days, it's hard to imagine a timelier niche than alternative energy. Consultants are scrambling to get a piece of this business that has enormous growth potential. But going back a full decade, one Midwest firm carved out a substantial part of the alternative energy niche long before it was a hot trend. Now, Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co.

IGAF Firm Interview with Don Linzer and Karl Kunkle of Schneider Downs

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).It started as a concept, and just kept growing. Schneider Downs was the brainchild of two men with a shared vision, James Schneider and Paul Downs. They recognized a need among clients for insightful, innovative solutions, and high-quality, attentive care. That's why they opened their office in downtown Pittsburgh in 1956.

A Conversation With... Russell Secker: Leader of First Research

He's a true globetrotter... in more ways than one. Russell Secker is currently the leader of First Research based in Austin, Texas and Wilmington, North Carolina. But if you call him, don't expect a slow southern drawl. He's a Texas transplant with a British accent and a brisk but friendly way about him. Spend a few minutes in conversation with him and you realize that, whatever the subject, Secker can probably sift through all the chaff and quickly arrive at the key points.

IGAF Firms Interview with Berntson Porter & Company, PLLC

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).Rick Fisher, CPA, agreed to talk with AccountingWEB about Bellevue, Washington-based Berntson Porter & Co., PLLC, one of the state’s top 100 fastest growing privately held companies, which specializes in serving wineries, as Washington is the second largest wine-producing area in the country.Q: Can you tell us a little about how your fir

IGAF firms interview: Larry Unruh of Hein & Associates, LLP

As managing partner of Hein & Associates LLP, a major regional accounting firm with four offices in three time zones, Larry Unruh has developed a special admiration for the stamina of "road warriors," the people who travel throughout the country and the globe for their companies. Even a trip to the Houston or Dallas offices from Hein's Denver headquarters means two hours in the air for Unruh plus more time spent traveling on the ground. But Hein's geographical diversification and strength in four or five niches will sustain the firm in the tough economy.
Community News

IGAF Firms Interview with McKonly & Asbury

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).What makes McKonly & Asbury (MACPAS) an exceptional firm? There's no quick, simple answer to that question, but one factor does stand out. They are rule breakers, and proud of it. Breaking the rules isn't something most of us associate with great accounting firms.

A Conversation With David Walker, Former Comptroller General of the United States

Chances are, when David Walker graduated from Florida's Jacksonville University 35 years ago, he didn't look ahead and see that his accounting degree was the first step to landing one of the top jobs in the United States. But looking backwards, it shouldn't have been hard to predict. A long record of increasingly responsible private sector accounting for three of the nation's biggest CPA firms, years of high-level public service, and a commitment to nonpartisanship and solid values were all key factors that led to his unanimous confirmation as Comptroller General of the United States in 1998.
Community News

IGAF Firms Interview with Humberto Torres-Rodriguez of TorresCPA Group

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).Before joining TorresCPA Group in San Juan, Puerto Rico as partner, Humberto Torres-Rodriguez managed his own firm for twenty years, where he worked to create a different environment, one with a focus on people and team effort, that would lead to greater productivity and outstanding client service.
Tax

IGAF Firms Interview with Ray Dunkle of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Company

This is one article in a series of interviews with firms that are members of the International Group of Accounting Firms (IGAF).Ray Dunkle started his accounting career like many CPAs, by getting a degree and then putting in years as an auditor. But, he admits, this wasn't exactly the life he envisioned. Then one day, as he was starting a new job as an auditing supervisor, his career took a quick right turn and ended up on a path much more suited to his liking.

A Conversation With Daryl Hill: From the classroom to the boardroom

You've got to like a guy who shows up at work every day with a smile on his face. Even after 20 years at the helm of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, Daryl Hill still loves his job, and a big part of that is the staff and members that surround him.
Education & Careers

A Conversation With... Valerie Wendt: Trends in accounting education

AccountingWEB asked Valerie Wendt, product manager for Bisk Education, Inc., to discuss trends in accounting education. Bisk offers online CPE courses through CPEasy and CPA review courses that have helped more than 140,000 candidates pass the CPA Exam since 1971.Q: When the CPA Exam changed from a paper-and-pencil format to a computer-based test in 2004, the number of exam takers declined significantly. Are the numbers back up to pre-2004 levels? Does Bisk play a role at all in encouraging people to take the exam? What's the biggest hang-up in taking the exam?
Practice Management

A Conversation With Betsy Nolen: The busy accountant’s best friend

Betsy Nolen is not an accountant, but at the CPA firm of Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith in Birmingham, Alabama, she's a VIP. Ask anyone who works there and they'll tell you that this young woman is well-loved. What does she do? For the last two years, she has filled the role of personal valet to every member of the BMSS staff, from partners to the receptionist. It all started when founding partner, John Shank read about another firm that employed a valet to help busy CPAs get through the hectic tax season with a little more peace of mind. Shank admits... he stole the idea...

A conversation with... George Lewellen: The Inside scoop on being an expert witness

George Lewellen is in the credibility business. When it comes to choices, he has a broad foundation of education and experience to draw from, but what he really enjoys is working as a CPA expert witness.Background Lewellen's list of credits is long, starting with serving the country as a Marine during the volatile 1960s. Then he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from San Jose State University. But 1977 was truly pivotal year in his career path.

A conversation with... Louis Grumet: Confessions of a policy wonk

Why would a guy who, by his own self-description can't even count, want to work with a bunch of accountants? Several reasons. "I love public policy," says Louis Grumet. "I'm a public policy wonk. I believe government can make life better, and I've spent my life trying to do that." In 2000 when he was asked to become the Executive Director of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, he knew that was one place he'd have a real chance to influence policy. He also liked the kind of people he knew he'd be working with. "I was struck by the intelligence of CPAs.

A conversation with... Barry Schimel: How simple ideas led to big profits

"You might make a better salesperson than accountant." That was the advice Barry Schimel got early in his accounting career, back in the 60s. Not because he wasn't a good accountant, but because in addition to his abilities with numbers, he had significant people skills. Over time, those skills, combined with his genuine concern for the well-being of his clients, would lead him down a somewhat different path within the accounting industry. After a few years with a national firm and then with smaller local practices, Schimel went out on his own. Unfortunately, the timing was bad.

A Conversation With... Harold Gaar: He's not your typical managing principal

Not all the key people in a CPA firm are accountants. Take Harold Gaar, for instance. He's the managing principal at TravisWolff, the seventh largest public accounting firm in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. In 1976 with a political science degree from Southern Methodist University, he went straight from school to a three year executive training program with Belo Corp, a large media company where he gained a broad base of management experience.
Education & Careers

Career Exposure network shares tips for job seekers in a tight market

A tight employment market is creating new demands on job seekers according to The Career Exposure Network, a source of niche job sites for women, diversity, and MBAs."With more candidates applying for each open position, standing apart from the competition is increasingly critical to getting the offer letter," stated JillXan Donnelly of CareerExposure.com. "The rules for job seeking are changing and candidates need to switch up their game to make new connections and learn new skills that will get them noticed." To this end, Career Exposure offers the latest tips to getting noticed.
Education & Careers

First year experience - Life in the Big Four, by Anita Chan

Anita Chan joined KPMG last year upon graduating from a five-year master's program (in four years) at the University of Southern California. Anita is now an audit associate in KPMG's Los Angeles office.When I graduated from the University of Southern California about a year and a half ago, there were many things that I couldn't have predicted about my current position as a second-year associate in KPMG's audit practice. On the other hand, much of my experience has been just as advertised. There is the frequent misconception that accounting is just about crunching numbers.
Technology

A Conversation with Mark Holland: Don't Be Frightened of Software as a Service

Having launched an online accounting service, Revas, Baker Tilly OnLine managing partner Mark Holland urges the accountancy profession to embrace the latest technology tools.Much as it may affront us, there are still those people who subscribe to the old stereotype that accountants are single minded, number crunching, spreadsheet-loving technophobes. While there may be a few who still conform to that image, a great number of us don't as we all realize that technology is continually changing. So too must our profession.

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