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CONNECTIONS j a n u a r y




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ASCPA Accounting Connection Formerly the Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 8, 2017 and Friday, June 9, 2017 Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa Montgomery, Alabama

The Alabama Society of CPAs’ Annual Meeting is now Accounting Connection, a twoday event which includes a day and a half of education offerings, an expanded trade show, sessions for Young CPAs and students, and evening reception, Celebration of Success, to recognize outstanding members. The new location at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa offers more activities for families and dining at award-winning restaurants, opportunities to experience the newly revived downtown capital city, and a snapshot of where our 98-year-old organization has its roots.

GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS 6 | Get Trumped Up 8 | Moving Forward with the ASCPA’s Legislative Goals 10 | 2017 Legislative Outlook



4 | Message from the Chair

18 | ASCPA Consolidated Financials

5 | State of the Society

20 | Classroom Blitz

14 | Member News

23 | Nominations for Board of Directors

17 | Member Profile – Alan Duncan 34 | Remembering 34 | Classifieds


Old Senate Interior





Key Person Network. For the first time ever you may have a connection with a newly-elected official. This network gives the ASCPA an avenue to reach out to members for assistance when it’s time to voice our opinion or provide information related to new legislative matters. Our voice is stronger together and we want to continue to advocate for our members. Because we are considered one of the most trusted professions, legislators value our input.

can’t believe 2017 is here, I still have to make sure I don’t write 2015 on things! Where in the world did 2016 go!?!? Since my last article we have been through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and, oh, we elected a new president of the United States of America! Whether or not your candidate won a particular election, aren’t you glad we live in a republic where we have a choice and a voice? Of course, the presidential election was only one of many national, state and local ones in which we all participated. While it’s hard sometimes to think about “being political”, we still have a voice in this process and a responsibility which continues after the voting is all done.

As we roll into the new year and the new legislative cycle the ASCPA will continue to keep you informed on the legislative matters that are on the horizon. Read a variety of points of view in this issue of CONNECTIONS, starting with Jeannine’s message opposite and then move into the articles from our members who’ve been involved through the Business Council of Alabama and their own foray into elected office. Jimmy Long and Chris Grissom of Bradley Arant will outline some of the larger issues facing the Alabama Legislature in the 2017 session. Follow legislative developments, beginning with the opening of the session on February 7, in the ASCPA digital newsletter #ALcpasuccess.

The ASCPA continues to be a powerful advocate for our members across the state. If you go to the website, you see the ASCPA’s three core values of Protect, Educate and Connect listed across the top. Protect is not listed as the first one on the list by accident. The Society believes its most valued service to its members is in the area of advocacy. As I’ve mentioned before, whether you’re in public, industry, academia, government or any other area of practice; something will come down the pipeline one day that will affect you or your organization. The ASCPA strives to remain proactive, instead of reactive, concerning legislative matters so that we can help our members continue to have a voice and to make an impact.

Many wishes of happiness and health in the new year. Please let us know if we can help you.


Considering the changes in personnel in several offices across the state I would encourage you all to take this opportunity to go to the ASCPA website and register in the


STATE OF THE SOCIETY Jeannine P. Birmingham President and CEO

Welcome to 2017. We start each calendar year with our annual Governmental Relations issue, highlighting the Society’s efforts on your behalf. Presently, there are several issues that we will face during the upcoming Alabama Legislative Session impacting Alabama CPAs. Ban The Box, Regulation of Tax Preparers, Digital Goods Taxation and Combined Reporting are all legislative concerns where ASCPA will work to protect you. On the “watch list” are Taxation of Professional Services and Immunity and Indemnification of State Board members. At the federal level, there’s the uncertainty of tax reform issues that the new president and his administration bring to the table and the continuing effort of successful passage of Mobile Workforce legislation. ASCPA is committed to keeping you informed about any legislation and regulations which affect your ability to serve your clients or your organizations. Please note several perspectives presented in this issue: from Marty Abroms, chair of the CPA PAC, and former chair of the Business Council of Alabama, from Carl Jamison of JamisonMoneyFarmer, former BCA Chair, and from Leigh Dollar, CPA and mayor of Gadsden. Bradley Arant experts will outline for you what’s on the Alabama Legislature’s docket in 2017. If you are the CPA for an Alabama legislator, keep your eye out for the 2016 Legislator’s Tax Guide. Updated each year by Mobile CPA Kevin “Kee” Ruland, the Guide is helpful when completing your client’s 2016 return. All legislators will receive a copy at the start of the legislative session on February 7, 2017 and you may request one from our office after that date. The end of 2016 was a whirlwind, with the Classroom Blitz in mid-November, the 70th Federal Tax Clinic in the same week, followed by the 29th Governmental Accounting and Auditing Forum (GAAF). 46 volunteers went to 56 Alabama schools and saw 1810 students during the Classroom Blitz. The program is the major fall initiative of the Young CPA Cabinet (their annual charity golf tournament is their spring major initiative). This year’s new blitz PowerPoint presentation encouraged volunteers to customize for their

audience and reflect their own interests. The emphasis was on telling a personal story, inspiring these young people to choose accounting as a career path. We may never know how many lives we’ve impacted over the years, but we know that there are successes out there. If you were one of those students, whether at the high school or college level, please get in touch. It’s always fun for us to hear from you. Both the Federal Tax Clinic and GAAF are long-standing partnerships which benefit our members by offering access to outstanding speakers and topics. We’re very proud of the role we play in supporting or managing both events. The Society’s annual audit report is available for your review on pages 18 and 19. Let me know if you have any specific questions or if you would like to receive a copy of the complete April 30, 2016 audited financial statements. Meetings of the ASCPA Board of Directors are always intense, with frank and open conversations about where we’re headed and on the allocation of resources. The November 11 meeting was no exception. You can find a list of current board members on page 25. Take the time to share your thoughts with them about professional issues or how the ASCPA can better serve you. Are you interested in becoming a board member or know someone who would do a good job? Nominations will be accepted until the January 18th meeting of the nominations committee. Use the form on page 24. You have more influence than you realize and can be an effective individual advocate for the profession. Learn all you can about the Alabama and U.S. key person programs and become active. Contribute to the CPA PAC. Become educated about current issues before the legislature and have conversations with your local legislators about them. Stand-up and be counted.




Politics is full of surprises. The results of the 2016 presidential election (and some state and local races, too) may have been unexpected, bringing home to us the need to get involved at increasingly higher levels and to stay informed. If you feel passionate about this profession, then give some thought to ramping up your support of the Alabama Society’s advocacy.

21-.03) was issued in late 2012 by the Department, even though many CPAs felt it clearly overstepped its bounds. The result is a current tax case known as Moody vs. Commissioner, in which the ASCPA has stepped up to support this taxpayer in overturning a rule that impacts so many of our clients.

At home, our state legislature left the 2016 session with much unfinished business, including a struggling general fund with ever-increasing Medicaid expenses and overcrowded prisons without a revenue source to support them adequately. We have roads and bridges that are in need of repair. Our Alabama Education Trust Fund is in better shape, but there are still significant funding needs even there. What does this mean to you as a CPA? We must closely monitor what is going on in the legislature and throughout the regulatory process --- and how it impacts our clients and our CPA firms. A cause of great concern in recent years has been the impact of the Alabama Department of Revenue’s rulemaking. It is my view that since the legislature has been in anti-tax mode, the Alabama Department of Revenue has attempted to do everything in its power to raise additional revenue without legislative input. A good example was when a new rule (810-3-

Because of the pro-business legislature that our CPA PAC has helped elect, I am confident that your ASCPA will get a place at the table as future taxation and changes in the law impacting you and your clients are discussed. And that is a good place to be these days. But, without your financial support, we cannot keep our place at the table.


The other way you can get involved and improve our state’s pro-business atmosphere is to get involved with your local governments—either by running for office, seeking appointments, or volunteering for local boards. I would like to give a special shout out to northwest Alabama CPA Kerry (“Bubba”) Underwood, the new mayor of Tuscumbia. There is no question that our governments need more CPAs to help them balance budgets and do it in a responsible way—and I am confident that all of our Shoals area and the state will benefit from Kerry Underwood’s skills as a CPA. If you are a regular giver to the CPA PAC, thank you. If you have never donated to the CPA PAC, please consider giving $25 - $100 to make a difference. None of us can afford to stand back on the sidelines and shake our heads about what’s being done or not being done. Make that contribution through the website today, www. aspx. Marty Abroms is the president and managing shareholder of Abroms and Associates in Florence. He was the 2015 chair of the Business Council of Alabama, is a past member of the ASCPA Board of Directors and current chair of the ASCPA CPA PAC.


With the changing political environments in Alabama and Washington, D.C., it is more important than ever for business leaders to get involved in public policy discussions at the local, state, and federal levels. Rest assured, our Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants is involved and engages lawmakers and regulatory agencies on issues that affect certified public accountants and their jobs in public and private sectors.


At the state level, the legislature has passed some very positive pro-business initiatives over the past several years that were initiated by business groups such as the ASCPA, the Business Council of Alabama, chambers of commerce, and economic development organizations. These include education reforms to improve our future workforce, reforms to our legal system to level the playing field, tax simplification and tax incentives to recruit and expand industries, and regulatory reforms to cut red tape for small businesses.

We should all applaud our elected leaders for these successes. But it is no secret that Alabama is facing a series of political challenges that must be addressed if we are to continue to grow our economy and compete for new jobs. These challenges include the long-running deficiencies of the General Fund budget for which lawmakers struggle to balance available revenues with needs year after year; the condition of Alabama’s roads and bridges are in a state of crisis threatening drivers’ safety and hindering economic development; rising health care costs continue to put an added strain on businesses to provide much-needed quality health insurance, and the health care community is continuously threatened by the uncertainty of the Medicaid system; the conditions of state prisons is unacceptable, which has drawn ire from the federal government that threatens to levy a prison construction mandate that will come with a large price tag; and our education system, while improving, is still not producing enough graduates that are college- and career-ready with 21st century workforce skills.

There Are No Problems, Only Challenges Business leaders are inherently optimistic and focused on solutions. At this time of uncertainty in the national and state political systems, that is exactly what is needed: optimism and meeting challenges head on. As one example, the BCA’s board of directors approved the organization’s 2017 state legislative agenda at its Dec. 2 meeting. It provides a roadmap to address many of the most challenging issues facing Alabama and our business community. The process is a true grassroots effort by BCA members. The end result is the business community’s priorities and policy objectives for the upcoming 2017 regular session of the Alabama Legislature. ASCPA President and CEO Jeannine Birmingham is a member of the BCA board of directors and chairs its tax committee. She promotes our important legislative agenda in the Legislature and engages in regulatory events that can affect all of us and, by extension, our firms and public sectors. Jeannine has done a great job representing our profession and our society on advocacy issues and is part of a strong, unified business community

Our CPA community is uniquely positioned to help provide guidance on how public policy decisions will impact citizens and businesses. As we move into 2017, let us all search for ways to serve to improve our state. Get more involved with our state society, your chamber of commerce, or through the BCA. Search for opportunities to volunteer in your community. And maybe even think about running for public office. The most effective advocate for your community is you. You would not believe how great of an impact a simple phone call to your legislator or county commissioner can make. effort that leverages each other’s assets with each other’s permission. Currently our goals include actively monitoring known legislation on combined reporting, employment “ban the box” regulations, the regulation of tax preparers, taxation of digital goods, and taxation of 401(k) retirement plans.

We all have a role to play to improve our state. Whether you are in public practice or private industry; a growing, vibrant, diversified economy in Alabama helps all of the citizens of our state. So, please get involved and help our state become the great state we all know it can be!

The Alabama Legislature is also undertaking a comprehensive review of the state budgeting and tax systems, including a review of all tax credits, deductions, and exemptions. The business community, especially our CPA community, has a unique opportunity to educate lawmakers on realities of Alabama’s tax environment. The ASCPA, the BCA and other groups are actively involved to ensure that policy makers are hearing directly from those affected by their decisions. We will remain involved and act where necessary either individually or as a group focused on common business issues. ASCPA members may be called on to participate in important policy actions and decisions.

Advocacy For Economic Growth Spurs Investment And Jobs For All Alabamians We should never assume that policy makers have all of the information they need to make good decisions. In most cases, elected officials’ jobs are part-time and they have very limited staff, if any, to help them gather and process critical information.


Carl Jamison is a third-generation shareholder in the firm, joining JMF in 1980. He was admitted as a shareholder in 1987. His primary areas of concentration involve tax and audit, delivering a full realm of both tax planning and audit services to clients in the manufacturing, medical, retail, construction and professional services industries. He enjoys working with closely-held businesses, both local and international, to provide business and tax planning. Jamison was the 2013 chairman of the Business Council of Alabama.


Bradley Arant Boult Cummings


As the 2016 session for the Alabama Legislature came to a close, many significant items were again left unresolved. Specifically, the perennial issue of general fund shortfalls remains and appears to be of unending duration. An observer might say that the 2016 session rang a bell of what is likely to be coming down the pike in 2017: a potential reexamination of a large portion of Alabama’s tax code.

sales and use tax collection compliance - but not all agree with that path. There are numerous cases pending across the country challenging a state’s ability to collect online commerce sales tax, including a case pending in Alabama. In a similar vein, a push could be made by interested groups to ultimately define and provide guidance as to what constitutes a “digital good” for purposes of taxing online retailers and content providers.

At the forefront of the list of items handled by the legislature in the last session was the chronic general fund shortfall and funding of the state’s Medicaid program– the 800-pound behemoth in the room which continues to demand attention and will not go away. With a number of estimates pegging the cost of the Alabama Medicaid program to explode over the next five years, the 2017 legislative session for Alabama’s lawmakers will likely again be centered on either finding new sources of revenue or expanding gambling throughout the state via licensing agreements with existing interests.

Lastly, a matter gaining national attention is the effort by the federal Department of Labor and various state governmental bodies to reclassify independent contractors as employees for employment taxes. Nationwide trends point to a workforce which is becoming more mobile in nature. One of the more recent examples of this development is the rise of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. There have been many legal issues which have arisen regarding classification of their contract workers. Although these particular issues have grabbed the most headlines in jurisdictions such as California and New York, Alabama is not immune. It is important that businesses within the state, both large and small, know where they stand in regard to employer-worker relationships. Presumably, little effort would be required for the legislature to push for clear and consistent guidance from both the Alabama Departments of Revenue and Labor regarding when independent contractors may be reclassified as employees. Though the effort in doing such may be minimal, the resulting benefits of certainty and clarity to employers would be of much greater scale.

Another major development during the 2016 legislative session was the decision to allow the Alabama Historic Tax Credit to sunset instead of passing legislation providing for a seven-year extension to 2022. The Historic Tax Credit, first enacted in 2013 with overwhelming support, has been credited with spurring re-development of aging historical structures and providing a catalyst for downtown redevelopment. As a by-product of the general fund shortfall deliberations during the legislative session, certain lawmakers in both houses began questioning the necessity of continuing the credit program. Led by Senate ProTem Del Marsh (S-Anniston), a senate resolution (SR20) was adopted establishing a committee with a broad mandate to review all existing tax credits and incentives to determine the collective and individual impact of each credit and incentive on general fund revenues. Whether and to what extent this will impact the future viability of existing credits and incentives, is still unknown. A different tax issue likely to gain attention in the upcoming year will be the reformation of Alabama’s sales and use tax system. As of November 2016, Amazon began collecting the Simplified Seller’s Use Tax for sales made to Alabama residents. The move by Amazon could signal a movement by online commerce toward

The 2017 legislative session is poised to be bustling with activity as the legislature will be faced with a number of issues carried over from 2016. First and foremost, a lasting fix will again need to be addressed by lawmakers to place the state on a balanced footing fiscally. As things stand currently, such a fix may include both re-calibrating existing revenue-generating measures, as well as locating new sources of funding. Alabama’s general fund budget will be increasingly consumed by costs of the state’s Medicaid program in the upcoming years. With more revenue going to fund these costs, less will be available to adequately fund Alabama’s prisons and infrastructure. This is why all eyes should be fixed– and remain on – general fund legislation likely to be introduced in the next regular session. 11

Chris Grissom, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, practices primarily in the areas of state and local tax planning, LLCs, federal and state tax disputes, and state and local tax and non-tax incentives. Through his tax controversy, planning and incentives work, he deals with a wide variety of industries, including pulp and paper, software technology, automotive, finance, and telecommunications. In his tax practice, Chris regularly counsels many of the Fortune 500 on state tax and incentive matters. He also conducts multi-state entity studies for a wide array of planning strategies.

Jimmy Long, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, assists clients with state and local tax compliance and controversy matters, including income, franchise and transactional taxes. In addition, Jimmy has an active economic development practice in the area of tax incentives and credits, with particular emphasis on federal and state new markets tax credits and historic rehabilitation credits.


COMMISSIONER TELLS AICPA TAX CONFERENCE The 2017 tax filing season should begin with no significant delays and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will strive to maintain the more than 80 percent level of service it provided during the 2016 filing season on the practitioner priority line “to the extent that we can with the resources provided,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the more than 500 attendees at the American Institute of CPAs’ National Tax Conference on November 15 in Washington, D.C. The AICPA has told the IRS repeatedly about the critical importance of the tax preparer hotline to tax practitioners throughout the year.  The AICPA also is continuing to press for improved levels of service to taxpayers and practitioners in other areas. Koskinen pledged that the IRS will continue its war against taxpayer fraud and called on tax practitioners to help as the IRS expands its pilot W-2 verification code program on a voluntary basis to about 50 million forms.  “One of the things we’re asking all of the preparers is, when you see a W-2 with that additional set of digits on it, there’s a place on the form where that goes.  If you could put that in, it allows us to validate those taxpayers and to stop suspicious returns and move the legitimate returns more quickly through the system than in the past,” Koskinen said. IRS Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson outlined concerns about the IRS’s Future State initiative, which she said could result in a more remote agency that may not address taxpayer requirements.  Olson has hosted a series of public forums around the country during the past year to gather information from taxpayers about what they need and want from the IRS.

Koskinen said the IRS Future State is an “evolutionary” plan. Referring to online personal accounts that taxpayers will soon be able to set up under the IRS program, Koskinen stated, “We are sensitive to the issues that practitioners have raised and the feedback from you continues to be valuable.  We need to make sure practitioners have access to the data as taxpayers do.  We recognize that it’s critical for you to have the ability to get into this system in the same way, in the same manner as your clients.” Other IRS speakers at the conference included William J. Wilkins, chief counsel for the IRS and assistant general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Douglas O’Donnell, commissioner of the Large Business and International Division, and Debra Holland, commissioner of the Wage and Investment Division.  Also speaking were Caroline Ciraolo, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division, and Thomas A. Barthold, chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Originally published on November 21 in the AICPA’s CPA Advocate Newsletter.


VIEW FROM THE MAYOR’S SEAT Leigh Dollar, CPA, Mayor of Guntersville

It’s not very often that you get the combination of a CPA and elected official. I can tell you from my personal experience that my CPA skills and training have served me well during my tenure as mayor of 8200 citizens in Guntersville. Governmental accounting is unique and not always easily understood. I immediately benefitted from understanding governmental accounting and having performed governmental audits. I did not have the learning curve that most elected officials have when learning the finances of their respective organizations.

Aside from doing governmental audits, just being a CPA in public accounting prepared me to be mayor. I often jump from one task to another very quickly in public accounting. This is very common as an elected official. You never know what issue will pop up at any given moment. The issues can be on very different ends of the spectrum, but you must be prepared to change your focus on a dime.

that it doesn’t matter, but they represent YOU! Many times, bills/ laws are put before them. The elected official may have a great understanding of what’s in front of them, but that isn’t always the case. It’s your duty to contact the respective official (email normally works very well and is easy) to let them know your thoughts and opinions on the issue at hand. If the elected official doesn’t hear from you, then they believe that what is before them is good (and it may be). But they need to hear from you, regardless of your positon on the issue. They also need to be educated on bills/laws that impact business in general and your clients in particular. Who is better than you, with your intricate knowledge of the impact of this issue, to call your elected official? Your email/phone call may be the one thing that changes their mind or perspective. I promise you, the more input from citizens the better. From my point of view, it is vital to hear from constituents. I represent them (even though we don’t always agree on everything). Your voice is what shapes policy. Never ever forget that! Take the time to make it heard.

A major benefit of being a CPA is talking to developers about incentives. Through my CPA training, I’ve had numerous classes and experience dealing with all types of incentives. Developers are very surprised when I can understand them immediately. We can get down to the real core of the discussion pretty quickly! Another benefit is when the annual audit is performed. I can easily talk with the auditor and be prepared, even ahead of time, when a new pronouncement goes into effect. GASB 68 is a prime example. Most of my counterparts were calling me to help them understand, and I was able to explain the new pronouncement to them. For many years I performed the city’s audit, so I did have special insight into what was going on from the other side of the desk. What a blessing it’s been to have an accounting degree when managing a city. We often forget that governments are just like running a business. I highly encourage all my fellow CPAs to strongly consider running for an office whether it be at the local, state, or federal level.

I encourage you to get involved through the ASCPA, and other organizations, to be sure your views are expressed. Organizations can be a very powerful voice when the members band together for the common good.

Leigh Dollar, center, officiates at a ribbon-cutting

We as elected officials and CPAs need more CPAs in government because we understand business. It may not be the highest-paid thing you will ever do, but it is definitely one of the most rewarding. There is nothing better than giving back. Is conducting a successful campaign not on your agenda? You can still be effective as a CPA and citizen by getting to know your local, state and federal elected officials. Most people think


Leigh Dollar has been a CPA with Guntersville firm Dollar and Watson, LLC for 18 years. She was voted the first woman mayor of the city in November 2012. Since she was a little girl she’s wanted to be mayor, following in her dad’s footsteps.


Richard, Harris, Ingram and Bozeman, PC in Montgomery admitted SCOTT LEE as a shareholder with the firm on January 1. Lee, who joined the firm in 2006, actively practices in the firm’s tax and audit sectors, with emphasis in audits of local city school boards, not-for-profit tax and audit, and tax services to small businesses and individuals. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Auburn University Montgomery. Richard, Harris, Ingram and Bozeman has provided tax, audit, accounting, consulting, and financial planning services to individuals, small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and governments throughout Alabama for over 65 years. ____________________

Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore P.C. announced

that SARAH PROPPER and DOUG UHLER have been named partners of the firm. Propper is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She joined the firm in 1999 and has over 15 years of experience in public accounting. Her focus is on tax planning for businesses and individuals with a concentration in business consulting for a variety of industries including real estate, retail, manufacturing, and professional services. Douglas K. Uhler is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Uhler has over 20 years of experience in public accounting and has served as the chief financial officer of a multi-state corporation. He has been with the firm since 2008 and specializes in tax, business valuation, and litigation support. He holds CPA licenses in both Alabama and Georgia. Uhler is a certified valuation analyst by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts and is a diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Accounting. ____________________

JAMES B. MARSHALL, III has been selected as

Jackson Thornton’s newest principal in the Montgomery office, where he has worked for more than 10 years. Marshall, a certified energy procurement professional (CEP), specializes in financial forecasting, cost of service and rate design consulting projects for electric, water, sewer and gas clients throughout the Southeast. Marshall is currently serving on the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Rates and Charges Committee and is also a member of the Utility Finance Management Committee for the Kentucky/Tennessee section of AWWA. He is a graduate of HampdenSydney College and holds professional membership in the Association of Energy Engineers. ____________________

STEVEN R. STRICKLAND and SHANA G. WIGLEY have been admitted as partners with Wear, Howell, Strickland, Quinn & Law, LLC. Strickland joined the firm in 2004 and practices primarily in the 14

taxation and audit areas. He graduated from the University of North Alabama in 2002 and has 13 years of public accounting experience. Shana Wigley joined the firm in 2009 and practices primarily in taxation and business advisory. She was graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2003 and has 15 years of public accounting experience. ____________________

Carr Riggs Ingram announced new partners at several of their Alabama offices. MATT SASSER has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting. His expertise includes providing accounting and tax services to timber, manufacturing, nonprofit, medical, and governmental entities. He also performs small business consulting and tax preparation services. Brewton ____________________

JASON DICKEY has more than 15 years of experience serving a diverse client base. He prepares federal and state tax returns for individuals, as well as for all business

entity types (including C-corporations, S-corporations, and partnerships). He specializes in preparing tax returns for financial institutions, agriculture operations companies, manufacturing operations companies, and service-based organizations. Enterprise ___________________

ROBYN BAILEY has more than 10 years of accounting experience and provides audit, review, and compilation services to organizations in the not-for-profit sector and insurance industry. She has worked extensively with self-insurance funds, trade associations, charitable foundations, political organizations, and related forprofit subsidiaries. Montgomery ___________________

JONATHAN KNIGHT has more than 15 years of accounting and audit experience, specifically in the insurance and employee benefit plan industries. He regularly works with clients whose largest assets are their investment portfolios. Additionally, he has a wealth of experience

handling complex issues related to investment accounting. Montgomery

WHAT’S GOING ON OUT THERE? Top 25 CPA and advisory firm CARR, RIGGS & INGRAM, LLC (CRI) has expanded into north Texas by merging Dallasbased firm Vogel CPAs, PC. The location and team now operate under the CRI name. CRI has focused on geographical expansion as a way to better serve client needs. They now have offices in three of the largest cities in Texas: Austin, Houston and now Dallas. ___________________

has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Auburn University. ___________________ ALDRIDGE BORDEN & COMPANY has opened a satellite office at 116 Company Street in Wetumpka, Alabama. The nearly 100 year-old firm elected to take advantage of the city’s streetscape project to open an office in Wetumpka’s historic downtown. Partner SCOTT GRIER will head up the new office. ___________________

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SCOTT STEWART, partner at RSM US LLP, has been chosen by the Birmingham Business Journal as one of their 2016 Top 40 Under 40 business leaders. He’s an assurance partner for the firm, with prior experience at PwC. Some of his accomplishments at RSM include spearheading a mentoring program, building the infrastructure at Sellers Richardson prior to its acquisition by RSM and helping implement the firm’s Southeastern Women’s Initiative, which encourages recruitment, retention and advancement of women in the firm. He

KASSOUF & CO., celebrating its 85th year, has moved to a new location at 2101 Highland Avenue South in Birmingham.


meet Alan Alan Duncan of RCP Companies, a real estate development firm in Huntsville, recently completed the AICPA Leadership Academy in Durham, North Carolina. He spent a few minutes sharing his story with CONNECTIONS.

Duncan was graduated from UA in 2007 and interned with a small firm in Tuscaloosa. He moved to Huntsville in 2008 and joined Hall Albright Garrison for tax season, staying through the summer until he returned to Tuscaloosa for graduate school.

Duncan was born in Houston but moved to Decatur when he was three. He was graduated from Decatur High School but had no accounting classes while there and no exposure beyond basic business skills like typing. His goal was to be a physician and he began undergraduate work at the University of Alabama as a chemical engineering major. He was a very excited 18 year-old who loved math and thought that his chemistry classes would tie into his medical aspirations.

“It was great experience to remain at the firm beyond tax season. I learned more about tax, about bookkeeping, about audit and write-up. The firm offered me a full-time position and would have helped me with graduate school in Huntsville. I was humbled and grateful, but went back to UA in August 2008.”

While at Hall Albright, Tom Albright became Duncan’s Barry Melancon, Alan Duncan and Tim Christen mentor. They remained in touch while he went back to school and During his sophomore year he took he ended up going back to the a co-op job with Georgia Pacific in a tiny town in west Alabama. It was firm after graduation. The firm went through a merger, but he remained an enlightening experience. Number one, he realized he didn’t like rural with them for six years. towns, where there was one stop light. Two, the realist in him understood that medicine was probably not going to work out. Three, he needed to He enjoyed building client relationships but still had a curiosity about shift his priorities from a chemical engineering degree to something else. the large, national firms. There was a lot of emphasis on Big Four and He wasn’t alone in this, several of his friends came to the same conclusion. large regional firms at the University of Alabama. This interest led to his joining DeCosimo as they opened a Huntsville office. It offered a great But there were positives about the co-op job. He learned a lot about opportunity to grow with them. One month later they merged with a firm how to behave professionally, about the values of working in such an that had a footprint in North Carolina and Georgia, and continued rapid environment and the high quality of his professional colleagues. growth into South Carolina and Virginia. He resigned from his co-op job and chose what he felt was the most difficult discipline in the business school, accounting. It fit his naturally introverted nature and focused personality. Numbers made sense to him. He liked the options that an accounting degree offered, the possibility of licensure as a CPA and the endless doors which would open for him. Chemical engineering was already a tough major, this would not be a rough transition.

“I was at their Chattanooga office a lot and took advantage of DeCosimo’s resources in helping grow the Huntsville office. If I learned technical skills at Hall Albright, I polished my business development skills at DeCosimo. I also saw how a career matures and the swing in priorities to more client development. You created an attainable set of steps and grew your own book of business by being consistent in working through those steps.”



He felt that the year with DeCosimo scratched the itch for a large firm and decided that a smaller firm was a better fit for him. He left DeCosimo in August of 2015, with a list of clients, to join Brand Blackwell & Co. The firm served the local community and offered more opportunities for moving up the career ladder. Ironically, DeCosimo closed their Huntsville office a month later.

information to share with the office. There were technical updates in the morning of the four-day program and soft skills development in the afternoon. It opened his eyes for what accounting could do or be. There were young professionals who were already partners at firms. Some organizations did not function as traditional public accounting firms at all. They concentrated on IT and accounting systems.

In November 2015 he received a call from a DeCosimo client and saw business development potential. He met with them and he was astonished when they asked him to come on board as their CFO. He was gratified by their offer, but wrestled with it for 10 days.

“I saw name badges with ‘Leadership Academy grad’ on them and started asking questions of a panel member. He encouraged me to pursue it. He said it was a good investment for a younger professional, that it was prestigious and had re-sparked his own drive. I went back to my room to call Tom Albright and thank him for sending me to EDGE. It took me about another year and a half to apply to Leadership Academy after learning more about it.”

“I’d only been with the new firm for three and a half months. It was going well there. I also didn’t want to get a reputation as a job-hopper, with just a year at DeCosimo and now barely four months at Brand Blackwell. I consulted with Tom Albright about what it would mean for me to leave public accounting and go into industry. I gained some peace about the decision to join this very exciting company and handed off my clients to a trusted colleague.”

He thought he knew what to expect, but Leadership Academy still offered surprises. “It was a room full of the superstars of the accounting profession. Men and women who were visionary, who were shaping the future and sharing what they saw. There was no shyness and awkwardness, everyone jumped in and participated from the start. Lots of collaboration on projects, along with a willingness to be open in a very honest way. Barry Melancon, Tom Hood [CPA and Maryland Association of CPAs executive], Tim Christen [past AICPA chair] and other top leaders were really available and willing to sit and chat for an hour.”

In his short time in the profession Duncan has seen some issues rise to the top. “When I first came into public accounting, the concept of going paperless was revolutionary. In the past you had to wade through piles of paper to find a client’s files. Now a tax return or work papers are a dozen clicks away. In the offices of the future there won’t be a server or other hardware to move, you’ll load up your backpack and you’re done! It will result in workforce flexibility – working on different schedules at all levels of an organization. In the past, the mid-level and lower-level staff worked in the office and partners were out having face time with clients. Now the CEO or managing partner can maximize productivity by creating flexible schedules and having confidence in their staff to get the work done. I learned from personal experience how a flexible schedule can pay off. My wife is a contracts specialist for Boeing in Huntsville and goes into work at 6:00 am. I went in at the same time and found that the two hours before the phones starting ringing were super productive for me.”

One of the distinguishing traits of all these leaders was their enthusiasm for the profession at a 25 or 30-year point in their careers. Duncan even gained a new appreciation for the Alabama Society by talking to industry leaders and decided that he would return to Huntsville and volunteer for the ASCPA. “I’m excited about the future of the profession. I think there are some big challenges facing us, whether we’re in public or corporate accounting. I don’t think an audit will look the same in 10 or 15 years. Technology will re-align how the accountant fits into the landscape and will lead to a merger of IT and accounting. What will we, as professionals, need to do to remain a necessary part of our organizations? We’ll see. I certainly want to be part of that discussion.”

Duncan learned about the AICPA Leadership Academy through another young CPA program, EDGE Conference in New Orleans in 2013. Hall Albright was open to his going and trusted that he would bring back good


Alabama Society of CPA’s Condensed Schedule of Activities For the Years Ended April 30 Compiled from consolidated audited financial statements

Alabama Society of CPA's Condensed Schedule of Activities For the Years Ended April 30 Compiled from consolidated audited financial statements


Charges for Services, Dues, and Contributions

2016 Net Revenues Over (Under) Expenditures

2015 Net Revenues Over (Under) Expenditures

Programs: Professional Development Seminars














Quality Review





Public Relations




Scholarships and awards










Conferences & committees





Chapter activities





Political Contributions Total Program Services

(47,750) $




Management and general expenses









Net realized/unrealized gain on assets



Other revenues



Net Revenues Over Expenditures






Selected Financial Selected Financial Information Revenues Revenues 2016 2016 AlabamaSociety Society of Alabama of CPAs CPAs Contributions 2%

Conferences & Meetings 14%

Membership 37%

Other Program Charges 1%

Newsletter 2% CPE Seminars 38%

Quality Review 5%

Investment Income 1%

Selected SelectedFinancial FinancialInformation Information Expenses2016 2016 Expenses Alabama SocietyofofCPAs CPAs Alabama Society

Conferences & Meetings 10%

Membership 3%

Other Program Costs 12% Newsletter 3%

Public Relations 8%

CPE Seminars 35%

Administration 25% Quality Review 4%

Classroom Blitz Reaches out to 1810 Students A huge thank you to the schools and volunteers who worked on the Classroom Blitz this November. It continues to be a project which the Young CPA Cabinet focuses on each year and they take great pride in its success. This year 56 schools signed up, and 44 volunteers participated.


Volunteers from Hartmann Blackmon Kilgore at Foley High School

Abbeville High School

Addie Grissom

Asbury High School

Amanda Romine

Athens High School

Alison Montanaro

Auburn High School

Allison Guice

Autauga County Technology Center

Amanda Pope

Brookwood High School Calera High School Carver High School Central High School


Blount County Career Technical Center

Amber Beavers Andrea Armstrong Billie Ann Taylor BJ Gilbert Bob Slaby

Charles Henderson High School Cherokee High School

Clarke County High School

Colbert County High School

Colbert Heights High School Decatur High School East Lawrence High School

Cassie Ward

Michael Kassouf

Enterprise High School Fairhope High School Foley High School G.W. Carver High School

Catherine Casey

Thank you for sharing your time and talents with my students. Hopefully, we will be able to convince you to return to our Business and Personal Finance Class one day in May to discuss taxes with us!

Diann Hammon Dustin Hornbuckle Emily Espy Emma Cole Erica Bush Garey Morrison Hannah Avery

Karen Price, W.P. Davidson High School, Mobile

Greene County Career Center

Dan Sellers


Chelsea High School

Grissom High School

Jack Johnson Jeff Sims

Jennifer Mayfield

Hazel Green High School

Jessica Bou Akar

Holly Pond High School

Jessica Roberts

Kinston High School

Josh Yarborough

Montevallo High School Moody High School Mortimer Jordan High School Mountain Brook High School

Julie Parker Kate Fluker Keren Deal

Murphy High School

Kristen Francisco

North Sand Mountain High School

Krystal Pino

Oak Mountain High School

Leigh Knosher

Oxford High School

Lori Hall

Sardis High School Sheffield High School Shelby County High School Southlawn Middle School Thompson High School Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy Vestavia Hills High School W.P. Davidson High School Wilson High School

Maggie Seeger

Oak Mountain

Hannah Avery, Jennifer Mayfield, Emily Espy

Thank you so much to the Young CPAs for participating and donating their time to come and speak to our classes. Natalie Strickland, Sardis High School, Etowah County.

Woodlawn High School

Mandy Parker Marena Molay Matt Savela Melanie Shores Michael Kassouf Randy Thomason Rob Pearson Scott Gardner Sharon McMahan


Trae Zablan

ASCPA Member Volunteers Contribute Beyond Alabama The Alabama Society is always grateful when members volunteer to serve on ASCPA task forces, committees, the Young CPA Cabinet, Educational Foundation Board and the ASCPA Board of Directors. Service at the national level reflects your commitment to the profession beyond Alabama’s borders. This listing of AICPA volunteers from Alabama is for terms that began in October 2016 and will end in January 2018.

Jeannine P. Birmingham Peer Review Board, Peer Review Education and Communication Task Force

Andrew J. McLelland Government Performance and Accountability Committee (GPAC)

Michael L. Brand Professional Ethics Executive Committee

David Mills IMTA Cybersecurity Task Force, Service Organization Control (SOC) Reporting Task Force

James R. L. Carroll Designated Council Representative for one year David J. Elzinga National Accreditation Commission Jacob W. Gatlin PCPS Technical Issues Committee Gregory B. Guin Definition of Client Task Force, Non-attest Service Oversight Task Force, Professional Ethics Executive Committee, Transfer/ Return of Client Files Task Force Teresa K. Lang Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) Subcommittee

Donald W. Murphy Life Insurance/Disability Plans Committee Darren L. Neuschwander Individual and Self-Employed Tax Technical Resource Panel Kenneth R. Odom Auditing and Attestation (AUD) Subcommittee E. Lamar Reeves Council – Elected Members Edward J. Schnee Corporations and Shareholders Taxation Technical Resource Panel John P. Shank Benevolent Fund, Inc., Council – Elected Members

Dr. Kaye F. Sheridan IRS Advocacy and Relations Committee M. Chad Singletary Auditing Standards Board Tommie W. Singleton CITP Champion Program, IMTA Cybersecurity Task Force, National Accreditation Commission (NAC) Dr. Mary S. Stone Board of Directors Jason A. Westbrook Joint Trial Board Jimmy L. Williamson Past President/Chairman of the Board Serving on a national committee can be rewarding in many tangible and intangible ways. If you have questions about this commitment, get in touch with any of the ASCPA members listed here.

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The Alabama Society of CPAs Board of Directors has begun soliciting nomination for new board members to serve a three-year term beginning June 2017 at the Annual Members’ Meeting. In addition to adding new members, the board must determine a key nominee for chair-elect of the Board. This person will also serve as a member of the ASCPA Executive and Budget Committees. Jamey Carroll, chairman of the ASCPA board, said the board is looking for nominations in compliance with by-laws. “As in the past, members of the ASCPA Nominations Committee are searching for leaders who are forward thinking, service-oriented and dedicated to furthering the Society’s mission”, stated Carroll. “After nominations are received, the Nominations Committee will meet to review applications and will conduct tele-interviews if necessary.”

Interested individuals should submit nomination information by Friday, January 13, 2017.

Alabama Society of CPAs Nomination Form – 2017 NAME of NOMINEE___________________________________________________________________________________________________ TITLE_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ORGANIZATION______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ TELEPHONE__________________________________________EMAIL__________________________________________________________ PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS_________________________________________________________________________________________ PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS___________________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIONS HELD (by title and date) 1. 2. 3. 4. DEGREES EARNED_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ SUMMARY OF CONTRIBUTIONS ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Feel free to add more information on a separate sheet.) 23

ALABAMA SOCIETY OF CPAS’ BOARD OF DIRECTORS The phrase is “Charity begins at home.”, but it could equally be applied to advocacy. If the ASCPA is asking members to become more involved in the political process, isn’t that also relevant to governance of the Society itself? To that end, here are the members of the ASCPA’s Board of Directors. They are your “legislators”, determining how the Society is governed. Have an idea to share? A concern that needs to be addressed? An issue which is affecting you and your business or a client’s business? The board may not always be able to help, but they stand ready to listen and respond.





Dennis E. Sherrin Managing Shareholder Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore Fairhope

Michael L. Brand Partner Johnson, Feigley, Newton & Brand Athens

Timothy B. Smith (Tim) Managing Partner Smith Dukes Buckalew Mobile

Lisa M. McKinney Lecturer in Accounting University of Alabama Tuscaloosa

James R. L. Carroll (Jamey) Member Barfield Murphy Shank & Smith Huntsville

Keina C. Houser Tax Manager Jackson Thornton Montgomery

Paul Marcus Hamilton (Marc) Chief Financial Officer CDG Engineers and Associates, Inc. Andalusia

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Dr. Lowell S. Broom Professor of Accounting Samford University Birmingham (205) 807-4466

Lynne N. Bozeman Partner Richard Harris Ingram & Bozeman Montgomery

Macaroy Underwood (Mac) General Manager Birmingham Water Works Board Birmingham


Steve Steve Emerson Emerson

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Cherion S. Sibley Senior Manager Barfield Murphy Shank & smith Birmingham Laine H. Spruiell International Controller Progress Rail Services Corporation Albertville

Free Estimate and Proposal for client Wholesale rates offered to Accounting Partners Free marketing materials for Accounting Partners Online brochures Presentation with company logo Webpage to educate clients on the benefits of Cost Segregation

Comprehensive Cost Segregation final reports that are easy for Accountants to read New Income stream for Accounting Firms Affiliate or Partner fees No Affilia

J. Brian Grainger (Brian) Manager Horton Lee Burnett Peacock Cleveland & Grainger Birmingham


Do you know someone who’d be a great addition to the board of directors? Nominate them (or even yourself!) using the form on page 23. Or send an email to ASCPA President and CEO Jeannine Birmingham,

6 FACTORS ASSOCIATION ADVOCACY HAS IN COMMON WITH POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS by Cleo Dan In many ways, legislative advocacy efforts conducted by a trade association [like the ASCPA] mirror the operations of a political campaign. Both association advocacy initiatives and political campaigns share the goal of influencing an outcome that is ultimately decided by a group of political stakeholders: associations look to legislators to vote a certain way on a piece of legislation and political campaigns rely on citizens to vote for a particular political candidate. As such, government relations professionals can draw upon the experiences of those involved in political campaigns to shape their political advocacy strategy. Here are 6 functions that both political campaigns and association political advocacy outreach share in common:


Engaging constituents should be the goal of all outreach, communications, and events hosted by the political campaign. Without a solid engagement strategy, a political campaign lacks a strong supporter base that will follow through with the mission of the campaign on voting day. Similarly, associations require the active engagement of their membership to voice their support on critical legislation to sway decision-makers.  The Alabama Society’s state and federal key person program is a critical bridge to legislators at both levels.

constituent management, etc. Similarly, a variety of software products exist to help associations streamline complex processes.


Finances often dictate the strategies behind a political campaign. Whether a campaign is funded by billionaires, Super PACs, or grassroots donations, every penny donated towards a campaign influences the decision-making process behind the creative direction of the campaign. Understanding the budget is an important component in the overall strategy driving the campaign forward. In the association world, budgets delineate the path that associations can take. Often, smaller associations work towards their missions under heavy financial restrictions while large associations with bigger budgets have greater flexibility and freedom with their resources. Whatever the budgetary situation may be, it’s crucial that your association allocates a certain amount of annual budget to lobbying expenditures and tracks expenses closely.

Targeted Messaging

Communication coordinators of a political campaign are responsible for representing their

candidate to constituents through traditional and digital messaging. Nowadays, online media and email marketing are key avenues for showcasing candidates’ policy stances and gaining public support, as well as fundraising. Association professionals should look to the way that political campaigns communicate with constituents by learning from their hyper-targeted messaging. Political campaigns reach out to segments of constituents strategically and with tailored messaging for maximum impact. For an association, it is critically to keep contact lists organized and segmented prior to any political advocacy initiatives. For example, it is useful to generate multiple contact sub-lists, grouping constituents together by political district. Come advocacy season, having these lists on hand will streamline political advocacy outreach. This article was adapted from a November 8, 2016 blog posting on “Political Advocacy Tips”, a blog for association and nonprofit professionals involved in, or interested in, legislative advocacy. Cleo Dan is Director of Media and Communications for Muster, a technology company serving the nonprofit sector. Muster’s grassroots advocacy software empowers organizations and associations to mobilize their base on legislative issues and meet their policy goals.


Campaign staffers juggle many responsibilities, but the end goal is the same for every team member: elect the political candidate. In the same way, association professionals who work with a small association are most likely balancing multiple responsibilities. While staff members serve the same association in different capacities, it is every staff member’s responsibility to help advance the association’s political agenda. Whether it is through lobbying, communications, public relations, online messaging or fundraising, everyone can contribute their skills to reaching the same policy goals. 



On a political campaign, grassroots donations can propel a campaign forward and help elect the desired candidate. In an  association’s  context, fundraising depends on your relationship with people. Supporters donate money as a viable extension of their trust in your association. The Society’s CPA PAC supports businessfriendly candidates during each election cycle. Contributions from members make the CPA PAC have an important impact. Use the check box on your dues statement or go to the ASCPA website, to make a donation.


Technology streamlines the complicated, yet crucial, processes necessary to facilitate everyday operations. The marketplace for technology solutions for those involved in the political campaign arena is seemingly endless. Online and mobile applications are created specifically to aid political campaigns in canvassing, donations, 25


“occasionally or frequently” to alter audit findings, while 14 percent declined to answer, which the report suggests could be because of “intimidation.” What’s more, 29 percent of chief audit executives (CAEs) reported being pressured at one time, and 5 percent of CAEs left that question unanswered.

A new report from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) makes clear that internal audit practitioners often face ethical challenges, and how they handle them determines their own value and their organization’s value.

That pressure is borne of a company’s culture – those unwritten rules about what’s acceptable or not. Culture can change according to who’s at the top, too. Many companies once considered highly ethical changed quickly in the face of pressure to create short-term earnings, the report states.

Ethics and Pressure: Balancing the Internal Audit Profession reveals that 23 percent of internal auditors worldwide have been asked at least once to change or suppress an important audit finding, and 11 percent “preferred not to answer” the question, according to data from the IIA’s 2015 Global Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge Survey.

There’s pressure, too, between organizational codes of conduct and professional codes of ethics. Usually, organizational codes describe how employees should act within the company and how they should treat others outside of the office. Things like fair dealing, trust, confidentiality of information, respect in the workplace, and honesty are the mantra.

The survey of more than 14,500 practitioners in 166 countries also indicates that 20 percent of staff auditors have been pressured

Codes of ethics, however, lay down what’s expected of anyone in a particular profession, such as internal auditing.


Worldwide, 65 percent of CAEs are appointed by the audit or supervisory committee or the board, the report states. CEOs, company presidents, or top regulators appoint 35 percent of CAEs.

“Individuals attracted to the internal audit profession usually have high personal values and ethical standards. Similarly, many internal auditors are attracted to strong organizational cultures consistent with their own values,” the report states. “The organization’s governance and control environment should support both the internal auditor’s personal needs and values, and the organizational culture.”

So, what happens when internal auditors don’t want to go along with unethical requests? According to the report, 33 percent said they’d be excluded from meetings, 18 percent would lose opportunities, 4 percent saw budget cuts, 1 percent were demoted, another 1 percent had their pay cut, and 13 percent said “other.”

That’s a fine goal in theory, of course, but it doesn’t always play out that way and it can play out differently worldwide. Though the majority (72 percent) of CAEs around the world said they report to an audit committee or board of directors, that ranged from 62 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 87 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the IIA.

While each situation is unique, the report states, some of the more typical “other” responses included: • Reduced communication from executive management. • Discrimination via gossip and second-guessing. • Job elimination. • Audit department outsourcing. • Hostile working conditions and stress, resulting in health issues. • Pay raises for internal audit staff frozen, while others received pay increases. • Denied requests for additional internal audit department staff.

Management pressure can be mitigated by a good relationship between the CAE and audit committee chair. But that works only when the committee is truly independent. Note the word “truly” – because audit committees may not want to hear the bad stuff, or maybe the audit committee gets overrun by the chair, who may also be the company’s CEO. What’s more, most internal auditors said their organization’s board or audit committee has the ultimate authority to appoint and retain them.

Terry Sheridan is an awardwinning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines. This blog post first appeared in Accounting Web, November 29, 2016.


Welcome New ASCPA Members! (since May 1, 2016)

Russell W. Adams Emily C. Bagley Chasity C. Beard Aaron J. Bell Brad A. Benson Sheri H. Black James R. Bone Anna P. Bonner Tracy L. Bowman Katherine F. Bozeman John T. Brack Jennifer M. Brinley Kimberly A. Brittain

Ben F. Brooks Meredith R. Burbank Lesley G. Byars Nathan S. Byrd Lewis W. Catrett, III Bernard A. Clayton Russell M. Cole Christopher Cook Richard W. Cook Tony A. Craft Dustin J. Craik

Carey L. Detwiler Mathew D. Doss Anthonette D. Dotson Mark A. Edmonds Richard M. Enger Karen S. Farlow Melissa P. Farmer Jeremy Flannery Lauren L. Fletcher Cristalle S. Ford Kristen E. Francisco Alberto E. Fuentes Kelsey P. Glass


Randall B. Gonzales Michael Gracey Brooke B. Grainger Stephanie M. Graves Keith A. Gray Catherine C. Gunter Dennis D. Hamlet Scottie L. Harbuck Mary H. Henderson Bethany K. Hovater Morgan P. Hurst Charles A. Irons

Joseph T. Janning Holly R. Johnson Blaine H. Joyner Charles W. Kinslow IV George B. Kitchens Carson D. Landers Adam LeCroy Jared M. Lee Craig D. Liechty Elizabeth A. Livesay Andrew M. Manning John W. Mason II Leslie D. Matte Derek L. Melson Jessica D. Michelson Richard A. Miles II Marena A. Molay Clark A. Morson

Stephen N. Muigai Elizabeth A. Nicholson Bryant R. Northington Gregory P. Norum Jennifer Novellano Ebony N. O’Brien Joy T. Parker Aulton R. Pennington Samantha B. Peters Micah C. Pointer Edward K. Pope Tosha L. Quick Jerrod C. Rodden Abigail E. Roveda Justin T. Rowe Joshua H. Russell Edward J. Ryszkiewicz Jr. Lauren E. Sampson

Anne M. Schilleci Jennifer R. Scrivano Frank R. Smith III Jessica R. Smith Tina M. Smith Chen Song Mary C. Spradley Julie A. Staples Sandy K. Steele Julia E. Stewart Matthew D. Stewart Stephen E. Taunton Jeffrey A. Temple Eugenia S. Thompson Samantha D. Thompson William B. Thompson Emily B. Tubbs Mary W. Tucker


Rebecca K. Vaughn Daniel T. Ventress Rachel A. Wagner Thomas M. Wagner Jr. Amanda J. Washburn Daniel S. Watkins Frank J. Waverka Elizabeth R. Westjohn Frank D. Wilbourne Ginger Willcoxon Clinton D. Wilson W. G. Windham Jonathan G. Wolfe Daniel R. Worrall Amanda J. Wright Matthew H. Young Zachary A. Zeigler Michael B. Zieman

TAKE THE TEST: What are your unconscious biases?

These 4 questions will help you determine how hidden stereotypes unwittingly sway your decision-making. By Cheryl Meyer 30

CPA firms working to encourage diversity in the profession often run into a nettlesome problem called unconscious bias. If left unaddressed, it can affect everything from hiring to promotions to project assignments—and potentially could derail well-intentioned efforts at promoting diversity. Unconscious bias is a tendency to let stereotypes unwittingly sway decision-making. While biases are not innately harmful in and of themselves, they can perpetuate inequities if people act on them and unwittingly give preferential treatment to members of certain groups. “Biases are nothing more than preferences,” said Manny Espinoza, president of the CTR Factor Inc., a firm that offers diversity and inclusion consulting and training. “Your experiences lead you to have certain preferences.” Understanding your own biases can help you mitigate any unintended negative effects they might cause. But, as the name implies, it can be difficult for people to identify their own unconscious biases. “People need to understand that it exists and it is impacting every decision that we make,” Espinoza said. To help CPAs, the AICPA is providing a free, threepart webinar series on the theory of unconscious bias. This webinar is being presented by Espinoza and Suri Surinder, CEO of the CTR Factor, and is based on an unconscious bias course offered by their consulting and training group.   During a recent webinar session, Surinder and Espinoza posed several questions designed to help individuals and organizations uncover their biases. Answer them for yourself—or for your firm—to see what kind of biases you may hold: 1. Three candidates are the front-runners for an open position. They all meet the minimum requirements. Below are unique aspects of their background: a. Person 1 has 10 years of experience at a Big Four accounting firm and graduated with honors from DePaul University. b. Person 2 has 12 years of experience in accounting at Kraft Foods, is bilingual, and graduated from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. c. Person 3 has a couple of years of experience at a midtier accounting firm, graduated from Howard University, and is new to your town. Who is most likely to be selected for the open position? This question is designed to unveil unconscious bias in hiring decisions. It asks companies to

choose between candidates with a different mix of attributes so that they can weigh the attributes (here, experience, education, and language proficiency) and decide which matter most to them. “By mixing and matching different attributes, the question forces companies to make picks that reveal their unconscious biases,” Surinder said. When many CPAs at public accounting firms answered this question, they “saw ‘Big Four’ and zeroed in on that,” Espinoza said. However, he noted, your personal background may affect how you answer: “But if you as a person did not go to a Big Four firm and went to work for Kraft Foods, you’d probably pick the person who worked at Kraft Foods.” 2. A team is being formed to deliver a special project. The project has generated a high interest among employees. Who is most likely to be picked for the team? a. Person 1 has a reputation as a go-getter— someone who takes initiative. Has a good track record of success. b. Person 2 has been described by some as shy, but by others as introverted. Delivers excellent results. c. Person 3 is considered a rising star. Described by many as high-potential. This question helps companies see which attributes they value when putting an employee in a potentially career-changing situation. “The people who get placed on visible projects tend to move up if they do well, so we picked this situation because it is a high-impact precursor to advancement and promotion,” Surinder said. The example also lets companies see what their unconscious biases are around temperament and performance vs. potential. “A lot of people will pick those who look like them or that have the same kind of personality and similar experiences” for key tasks, Espinoza said. But these people may not be the right fit for the job, and thus firms need to consider other factors as well. “The biggest factor is getting a different perspective or opinion on the task at hand,” he added. “Sometimes a person who challenges your perspective helps you to arrive at a better solution. A person that is different from you as it relates to background and experiences may offer some insights that you were not aware of. Diversity of thought is powerful.” 3. A new leadership program has been created for individual contributors aspiring to become managers. It is believed to almost guarantee promotion. Space is limited. Who is most likely to be invited to the leadership program?


a. Person 1 is a Millennial with less than two years tenure with the firm. b. Person 2 is a Gen-Xer with more than five years’ experience with the firm, who speaks English as a second language. c. Person 3 is a Baby Boomer who rejoined the workforce after a long leave and who used to be a manager before leaving. A leadership program gives a good indicator of who will advance in the firm, and this question focuses on a person’s (or company’s) perception of age. This question helps employees learn if their firm favors a certain generation or perceived length of career. “Do you pick a Millennial who has relatively little experience but a lot of runway? Or do you pick a Gen-Xer who has moderate experience, or a Baby Boomer who has had a lot of experience but a shorter runway?” Surinder said. 4. A team is tackling a tough business issue. The decision is made to run the initial agreement by a “key person” outside of the team. Who is most likely to be consulted? a. Person 1: A high-ranking leader from the same practice. b. Person 2: A highly respected leader from a different practice. c. Person 3: A colleague outside of the firm, whose background suggests he or she may have a critical input. This question tries to determine whether a firm is focused on its own practice or a different practice when a tough business issue needs to be addressed.There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and people who answer it will have different perspectives depending on their relationships and experiences. While there are many other questions that can be posed, these questions provide a glimpse of the potential impact of unconscious bias in the workplace and make people think about their personal preferences and the decisions of their firms. “The insight and awareness that is gained through the study of unconscious bias can be transformative for both individuals and organizations,” said Anthony Newkirk, senior manager of diversity and inclusion at the AICPA. “The knowledge that is gained through this information expands the consciousness of professionals, allowing them to embrace a broader range of people and ideas that leads to greater business success.” This article originally appeared in the Journal of Accountancy, April 2016.

ADVERTISING WITH THE ALABAMA SOCIETY OF CPAS Let’s face it, you’re a very desirable audience. Imagine a straight pipeline to a very distinct niche of consumers, 6800 Alabama certified public accountants. That pipeline is advertising in the bi-monthly CONNECTIONS magazine, or in the weekly digital newsletter, #ALcpasuccess. Display advertising is open to any organization or business with no difference in member and non-member rates. Classified advertising in the magazine is a members-only benefit, while members and non-members may advertise in the digital weekly newsletter. All advertising is subject to acceptance by the ASCPA.


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$400$400 / 5"x5" / 5"x5" Discount of 10%offor contracts Discount 10% for contracts with three or more ads.

with three or more ads.


Open t he door to ASCPA’s future

State of t he Society



Open t he door to ASCPA’s future

Issue Issue

Editorial Theme Theme

January/February January/February Issue Issue

Governmental Relations Governmental Editorial Relations Theme Theme

March/April March/April January/February January/February

Corporate Accounting Corportate Accounting Governmental Relations Governmental Relations

March/April March/April

Corporate Accounting Corportate Accounting

May/June May/June

July/August July/August

May/June May/June September/October


July/August July/August November/December November/Deccember

September/October September/October

Membership Membership

Deadline Deadline

December 119 December Deadline Deadline February 510 February December 119 December April April87

February February510

Professional Education Professional Education

June June109

Student/Educator Student/Educator

August August 511

Membership Membership

Professional Education Professional Education Practice Management Management Practice Student/Educator Student/Educator

April April87

June October 7June October 6 109

August August 511

The Alabama CPA magazine is published bi-monthly and mailed by the 5th of November/December Practice Management October 76 November/Deccember Practice Management October each month to more than 6000 Alabama CPAs. Digital versions are sent to all 6800 members and remain archived on the ASCPA website for two years.

The Alabama CPA magazine is published bi-monthly and mailed by the 5th of For information contact: Diane Christy, 334.386.5752, each month to more than 6000 Alabama CPAs. Digital versions are sent to all 6800 members and remain archived on 32 the ASCPA website for two years. For information contact: Diane Christy, 334.386.5752,

invoice is not paid within 60 days.


Advertiser will bear full responsibility for withholding advertising materials that may violate any law, regulations or ruling of the Federal Trade Commission of infringe any copyright, trademark or patent and shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless the publisher from all third party claims on account thereof.



Advertising rates are based on artwork that is print-ready and meets our size and mechanical specifications. When no new Company Name ad copy is provided the last ad run will be repeated. Publisher assumes no liability for errors in new copy or copy changes submitted after the deadline date. Contact Email


The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement, or illustration that is not in keeping with the standards of our publication.


photograph Address






Payment City/ZIP

for advertising is due within 30 days of invoice date. HALF PAGE $700 Publisher reserves the right to cancel the advertising contract if The Alabama CPA magazine is published bi-monthly mailed invoice is not paid within 60 days. ONE-THIRD PAGE and $400


Advertiser will bear full responsibility for withholding advertising that may violate any regulations ruling of the Imaterials acknowledge by signing thislaw, contract that I or have carefullyFederal read and accepted its terms and conditions. Anytrademark verbal Trade Commission of infringe any copyright, agreements it are indemnify not binding reduced the to or patent andaffecting shall defend, andunless hold harmless writing and signed by both publisher from all third party parties. claims on account thereof. Scan and email completed contracts to Diane Christy,, 334.386.5752 Company Name Authorized Signature

Contact Email

by the 5th of each month to more than 6000 Alabama CPAs.


Digital versions areYOUR sent toAD: ISSUES FOR all 6800 members and remain JANUARY/FEBRUARY archived on the ASCPA website for two years. MARCH/APRIL For MAY/JUNE information contact: Diane Christy, 334.386.5752 JULY/AUGUST


rates are based on artwork that is print-ready and Address meets our size and mechanical specifications. When no new ad copy is provided the last ad run will be repeated. Publisher Printed Name assumes no liability for errors in new copy or copy changes City/ZIP submitted after the deadline date.


standards of our publication. I acknowledge by signing this contract that I have carefulPayment for advertising within 30conditions. days of invoice ly read and accepted is itsdue terms and Anydate. verbal Publisher reserves the right to cancel the advertising contractto if agreements affecting it are not binding unless reduced Company Name invoice notsigned paid within 60 days. writing isand by both parties. Advertiser will bearcompleted full responsibility for withholding Scan and email contracts to Diane advertising Christy, Contact Email materials that may violate any law, regulations or ruling of the, 334.386.5752 Federal Trade Commission of infringe any copyright, trademark or patent and shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Address publisher all third party claims on account thereof. Authorizedfrom Signature

FULL PAGE Alabama $1,100 CPAs. than 6000

Date Advertising

FRONT INSIDE COVER $1,400 BACK INSIDE COVER $1,200 The Alabama CPA magazine is

published bi-monthly mailed The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement, BACK OUTSIDE COVER and $1,100 FIEDCLASSIFIED AD orCONTRACT Phone photograph illustration that is not AD in keepingCONTRACT with the by the 5th of each month to more

is a








wing ad


e is led h to As.

t to

City/ZIP Date Company Name Phone Printed Name Contact Email

Scan and email completed contracts to: Diane Christy,, 334.386.5752

HALF $700are sent to DigitalPAGE versions all 6800 members and remain

ONE-THIRD $400 archived onPAGE the ASCPA

website for two years. PLEASE CIRCLE THE For information contact: ISSUES FOR YOUR AD: Diane Christy, 334.386.5752 JANUARY/FEBRUARY

Advertising rates are based on artwork that is print-ready and meets our size and mechanical specifications. When no new ad copy is provided the last ad run will be repeated. Publisher assumes no liability for errors in new copy or copy changes submitted after the deadline date. The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement, photograph or illustration that is not in keeping with the standards of our publication. Payment for advertising is due within 30 days of invoice date. Publisher reserves the right to cancel the advertising contract if invoice is not paid within 60 days. Advertiser will bear full responsibility for withholding advertising materials that may violate any law, regulations or ruling of the Federal Trade Commission of infringe any copyright, trademark or patent and shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless the publisher from all third party claims on account thereof.

The Alabama CPA magazine is published bi-monthly and mailed by the 5th of each month to more than 6000 Alabama CPAs. Digital versions are sent to all 6800 members and remain archived on the ASCPA website for two years. For information contact: Diane Christy 334.386.5752



Classified advertising is a members-only benefit, available for posting in the Authorized Signature City/ZIP

Date Phone

I acknowledge by signing this contract that I have carefulPrinted ly read Name and accepted its terms and conditions. Any verbal agreements affecting it are not binding unless reduced to writing and signed by both parties. PLEASE CIRCLE THE ISSUES FOR YOUR AD: Scan and email completed contracts to Diane Christy,, January/February 334.386.5752

Alabama CPA magazine. Deadlines are the end of the first full week of the

The Alabama CPA magazine is month priorbi-monthly to the month of publication. Cost is $50 for the first 50 words, published and mailed by the 5th per of each to more with $1.25 word month thereafter. You will be invoiced following publication. than 6000 Alabama CPAs. Send your ad copy in a Word document.

Digital versions are sent to all 6800 members and remain archived on the ASCPA website 33for two years. For information contact:




We are North America’s leader in practice sales. If you are thinking about selling, contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Knowing what your firm is worth is the first step. Contact us TODAY to receive a free no-obligation market analysis of your firm. Accounting Biz Brokers has been offering personalized business brokerage services to CPAs for over 12 years and we know your market. Our process is strictly confidential. Visit our website at to request additional information about the sales process. Listings: NE MS Tax & Bookkeeping Firm Gross $850k-SOLD, Montgomery Area Gross $28k-SOLD

PRACTICES FOR SALE: • Huntsville CPA practice grossing $315K • Greater Jackson, MS EA grossing $60K • Upper Cumberland, TN CPA grossing $70K • West of Downtown Chattanooga CPA grossing $165K • Southwest of Nashville CPA grossing $175K

Kathy Brents, CPA, CBI Cell 501.514.4928 Office 866.260.2793 Email:

For more info on any of these listings or to sell your practice, contact Lori Newcomer, CPA at 888-277-6040 or or visit



Daniel Gary Hamm was a native of Elba. He was a member of the Alabama Bar, practicing at Keith and Hamm, later at Hamm and Wilkins in Montgomery for over 20 years. He served as a Chapter 7 panel Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District. He was a member of the ASCPA for more than 18 years.

Ms. Herman worked for the state of Alabama for 25 years as an auditor in the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts and retired as the chief accountant for office of the state attorney general. She was a past president of Hadassah and a sustaining member of the Junior League. Herman was a graduate of Auburn Montgomery. She was a member of the ASCPA for more than 23 years and a regular attendee at the Governmental Accounting and Auditing Forum (GAAF).

June 11, 1951-October 8, 2016 Lake Mary, Florida Certificate 3803

May 9, 1954-November 20, 2016 Montgomery, Alabama Certificate 5982


December 19, 1957-October 22, 2016 Decatur, Alabama Certificate 3160

DEBRA ANN SCALES BRADFORD August 4, 1959-November 10, 2016 Gadsden, Alabama Certificate 5762

Stanley Penn was born in Morgan County. He was a 1976 graduate of Austin High School and went on to earn a masters of taxation degree from the University of Alabama. He worked with D. Mark Holman, CPA in Huntsville. Penn was a member of the ASCPA since 1984.

Ms. Bradford was a graduate of Gadsden High School, Gadsden Community College and Jacksonville State University. She was an auditor with the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts and member of the Alabama Society for over 20 years.


2017 Conferences


June 8 & 9, 2017 Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa


Partnership with Louisiana Society of CPAs AND Florida Institute of CPAs July 17-21 | Hilton Sandestin


August 17-18, 2017 Pelham Civic Complex

25TH ANNUAL FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING CONFERENCE Partnership with Auburn University at Montgomery September 22, 2017


November 30-December 1, 2017 Birmingham Marriott

Presort Std US Postage PAID Permit No 131 Montgomery, AL

The Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants 1041 Longfield Court P.O. Box 242987 Montgomery, AL 36124

ASCPA Connections Jan Feb 2017  

Governmental Relations Issue

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