By Jason Bramwell
To describe Teresa Mackintosh's past year and a half at CCH as "exciting" would probably be an understatement.
"It's quite an honor to work for a company – we just celebrated our 100-year anniversary – that's still evolving, changing, and accelerating the rate of innovation to meet our customers' needs", the forty-one-year-old Mackintosh, who was named president and CEO of CCH Tax & Accounting US on October 15, told AccountingWEB.
After joining CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, as executive vice president and general manager of tax in April 2012, Mackintosh was charged with overseeing all of the technology provider's tax-related products for practitioners, including tax product development, tax technology, product management, sales, and tax operations.
In January of this year, Mackintosh was named executive vice president and general manager of CCH Software US, and in July, she took over as president of the software division.
"As we have evolved the organization, we wanted to make sure that we had a very similar and consistent user experience across the entire suite of software", she said. "So in January, we reorganized such that I took responsibility for not just the tax software, but the other software within the suite."
In the past nine months, Mackintosh lead the launch of several mobile, Cloud, and software products for tax and accounting professionals, including CCH's now-signature product CCH Axcess, a Cloud-based tax preparation, compliance, and firm management platform that was released to the market in April.
Now, almost eighteen months to the day that she began her tenure at CCH, Mackintosh is taking on a new responsibility: overseeing operations for the entire US CCH business as president and CEO.
"I see this new job as a natural evolution, honestly", Mackintosh said. "It's certainly an honor, and it has come very quickly upon joining CCH. But it's something I've been preparing for my entire career. It's a big job, and I'm very glad that I'll have a great team to help continue to push us forward."
Mackintosh fills the vacancy left by Karen Abramson, who became CEO of the Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting division in June 2013. Abramson had led CCH's North American operations for the past year. In her new role, Mackintosh will report to Abramson.
"Teresa is a visionary leader with deep insight into the profession, a passion for innovation, and a complete commitment to execution excellence", Abramson said in a written statement on October 15. "She has exactly the right experience, insight, and expertise to lead CCH at this exciting time as we continue to pioneer new ways to help our customers grow, manage, and protect their businesses."
In her new role, Mackintosh said she is most looking forward to the thrill and excitement of delivering products that CCH customers not only want, but need.
"That's what really gets me up in the morning, knowing that I'm helping an entire profession that I think very highly of", said Mackintosh, who is a CPA. "Accountants tend to be the unsung heroes of commerce and businesses around the globe, and helping them help others really speaks to me. It's something that's been a lot of fun, so to help them get up to date with what technology can do for their practice and for their clients is really exciting."
A Collaborative Style
Mackintosh brings approximately twenty years of industry experience to her new position within CCH. Before joining the Riverwoods, Illinois–based company in 2012, Mackintosh spent nearly sixteen years with tax and accounting software and service provider Thomson Reuters, where she served in various leadership positions, including general manager/senior vice president of indirect, property, and trust, and general manager/senior vice president of Americas Professional.
"I've been very fortunate to have experience in a lot of different functional areas within organizations in the vendor world, whether it was strategic marketing, product development, or product management", said Mackintosh, a native of Michigan who earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She now travels regularly from her family's home in Texas to meet with colleagues and clients.
Mackintosh said her most powerful attribute that she brings to her new leadership position at CCH is the ability to collaborate and get a team to work together.
"I have a deep understanding of our customers, and that really helps crystallize things for the team in order to keep priorities in line, in scope, and in sight at all times", said Mackintosh, who will now oversee approximately 2,000 employees as CCH president and CEO. "It's important to keep people very focused on that goal of pushing something forward, getting it delivered, and constantly figuring out what's best for the customer. The ability to help a team collaborate isn't something you can take for granted. It's a style and something you have to constantly work toward. Fortunately, it's my go-to style, so whether I'm talking to a customer or a colleague, I use fundamentally the same approach."
Mackintosh believes her top accomplishment in the last eighteen months was delivering CCH Axcess to the market, and the Cloud-based platform continues to be the company's number-one priority.
"In the next six to twelve months, you'll see us continue to deliver and build up CCH Axcess", said Mackintosh, who added that additional modules for the platform are in the works. "So much was wrapped into that deliverable. It was getting the organization to work more effectively to get it out the door and developing a go-to-market strategy where customers can understand the benefits of it. It's the fruition of a lot of hard work."
CCH invested more than $100 million in the platform, with the goal of fundamentally changing the way workflow is accomplished in accounting firms. CCH Axcess provides a Cloud solution with an integrated central database that offers practitioners a single point of access to handle all tasks associated with the tax process – from return preparation and compliance to file storage.
"CCH Axcess allows customers to completely and radically change their workflow and use software differently within their firm and experience tremendous time-savings", Mackintosh said. "Professionals' inventory is time, and they can spend it and they can sell it however they would like to. What we need to do is make sure they're doing it as efficiently and effectively as possible. With the advances in technology, mobile solutions, and Cloud-based solutions, it's really an exciting time to be serving the profession."
CCH soft-launched CCH Axcess during this past tax season, and Mackintosh said it was well received by professionals – from sole practitioners to those working at national firms. Based on data CCH received from national firm customers, professionals who used CCH Axcess reported 10 to 30 percent gains in time-savings last tax season.
"It's immensely rewarding to hear our customers tell us how CCH Axcess is saving them so much time and boosting their efficiency", she said.
Mackintosh has been recognized nationally by industry print publications as one of the most influential and innovative women in accounting. While she is very appreciative of the honors that have been bestowed on her, Mackintosh said accolades from customers are the most special.
"The things I save in my personal inbox are the nice notes from customers about how one of our products or services helped them be a lot more efficient, which helped them take more money home to their family or send their kid to college", Mackintosh concluded. "To know you have touched them in that way are the ones that mean the most."