AZ CPA March/April 2022

Page 1

AZ CPA March/April 2022

Brenda Ann Blunt CPA, CGMA

Nancy L. Roach CPA

Meet the 2022 Life Member Honorees

Kevin R. Yeanoplos CPA/ABV, ASA

The Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants y www.ascpa.com


+

CPACharge has made it easy and inexpensive to accept payments via credit card. I’m getting paid faster, and clients are able to pay their bills with no hassles. – Cantor Forensic Accounting, PLLC Trusted by accounting industry professionals nationwide, CPACharge is a simple, web-based solution that allows you to securely accept client credit and eCheck payments from anywhere.

22% increase in cash flow with online payments 65% of consumers prefer to pay electronically 62% of bills sent online are paid in 24 hours

Client Invoice #0123-A Your Client **** **** **** 9995

***

TOTAL: $3,000.00

PAY CPA Get started with CPACharge today

cpacharge.com/ascpa 866-424-4190

CPACharge is a registered agent of Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Concord, CA, Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA., and Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Cincinnati, OH. AffiniPay customers experienced 22% increase on average in revenue per firm using online billing solutions


“You make my education possible. Thank you!” - Anthony

Are you changing lives with your Corporate Tax Dollars? Through your support, we have awarded over 143,000 tuition scholarships to underserved students since 1998! • 99.4% Graduation Rate • 97% Matriculate to Higher Ed / Military • 1000s Hours of Community Service • Corporate Tax Credits

Corporate Tax Payers Arizona C and S Corporations, and Insurance Companies that pay premium tax may direct 100% of their Arizona liability through the Low Income and Disabled/Displaced dollar-for-dollar tax credits! Commit by 6/30/22

Single and Joint Filers Contribute any amount up to tax year max credit.

EL

E B R AT I N

24

It’s Quick. It’s Easy. Ask us How!

G

C

• Individual Tax Credits

yrs

Changing lives one scholarship at a time.

602-218-6542

OR

WWW.CEAZ.ORG


AZ CPA The Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants Oliver Yandle Haley MacDonell

President & CEO Editor

Heidi Frei

Advertising Board of Directors

Tom Duensing Rachael Crump Andrea Levy

Chair Chair-Elect Secretary/Treasurer Directors

Samantha Crum

Jessica Estrada Glen Evans Tabitha Fox David Gephart Barbara Gonzalez James McGettigan Lauren Murro Eugene Park Megan Romo Gidget Slater Christopher Tyhurst

Immediate Past Chair Ginny DeSanto AICPA Council Members Mike Allen

Jared Van Arsdale

Chapter Presidents Northern Chapter James Shankland Southwest Chapter Helen Greenwell North-Central Chapter Gidget Slater

Stay Connected Follow the Arizona Society of CPAs on social media! LinkedIn and Facebook: Arizona Society of CPAs Twitter: @ASCPA:

4

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

AZ CPA is published by the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) to provide information, news and trends to the accounting profession. It is distributed six times a year as a benefit to ASCPA members. The ASCPA, its members, board of directors and administrative staff assume no responsibility for advertisements herein. The ASCPA and the above people also assume no liability for business decisions made by readers in reference to statements and/or claims in articles or advertisements within this publication. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the ASCPA. Arizona Society of CPAs 4801 E. Washington St., Suite 180 Phoenix, AZ 85034-2040 Telephone (602) 252-4144 AZ Toll-Free (888) 237-0700 www.ascpa.com


Volume 38 Number 2

AZ CPA

Brenda Ann Blunt,CPA, CGMA

March/April 2022

Features

Nancy L. Roach, CPA

9

Meet the 2022 Life Member Honorees

Kevin R. Yeanoplos CPA/ABV, ASA

Meet the 2022 Life 9 Member Honorees By Haley MacDonell & Heidi Frei

rizona CPA Foundation for 17 AEducation & Innovation Donors By Haley MacDonell

Defeat 18 Ransomware: Reality and By Rob Samuelsen

Columns & Departments Chair’s Message by Thomas F. Duensing, CPA

6

Member News

7

Classifieds

30

Quick Quiz

31

elp Shape the Accounting 21 HProfession Through Service to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy By Christina C. Roderick

24 Meet Your ASCPA StaffBy Haley MacDonell

4801 E. Washington St., Suite 180 Phoenix, Arizona 85034-2040 www.ascpa.com

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

5


ASCPA Chair’s Message Finding Value in Service I’m sure most of you remember that moment when you realized you passed the CPA exam. I can remember the exact location and remember those around me who celebrated as well. After an ethics exam and a little more time, I proudly hung the CPA certificate on my wall. The CPA designation was checked off.

Thomas F. Duensing, CPA Chair, Arizona Society of CPAs Interim Deputy City Manager Chief Financial Officer, City of Tempe

Being young and naïve, my next goal was to succeed, as fast as I could, to the top of any organizational chart. After a couple of jobs and starting a family, my view of life and career began to change. Is business success the most important thing? One of the simplest, yet most powerful sayings my late father taught me was, “Always remember to ask yourself, is the world a better place because you were in it today?” I think of his wise words often and aspire to have a positive impact on those around me. What does it mean to be a CPA? From a functional standpoint, being a CPA means we can audit, perform reviews, do tax preparation and financial planning, and consult. What does it really mean to be a CPA and positively impact those around us? This is a much deeper question. I feel we all have a responsibility to perform ethically every day, support and develop those around us, and remain a reliable and trusted business leader and voice of reason. We provide value to our organizations. How can you feel value? I’d like to touch on one of the most fulfilling parts of my life, outside of my family: spending time as a volunteer. For me, volunteering started simply with my local school Parent Teacher Association. I’ll never forget the feeling when my kids thought that I was the coolest dad, the president of the PTA. Please take the time to step outside your career, volunteer and feel that value. Whether it be the local PTA, a charity, or a board and commission, it is absolutely true that you get back more than you put it in, many times over. My years in the ASCPA, and this past year serving as chair, have given me back so much. This didn’t happen without support. I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize those who have impacted my life and allowed me to volunteer and feel that satisfaction. First, and most importantly, thank you to my wife and family for the support and patience to allow me to serve and explore. You have, and always will, remain my inspiration. Thank you to my fellow board members for your support and dedication to the profession. You make the Society what it is today. Thank you to the ASCPA staff. You are a small, yet mighty group of dedicated individuals. Although you make running the Society look easy, it is not, and you are truly dedicated to making each of us better Arizona CPAs. Finally, I would like to thank the ASCPA membership for the opportunity to serve you as chair. Throughout my years, our members continue to amaze and humble me with their talent and achievements. You all make the world a better place. Stay fair, stay kind, stay healthy and stay curious. It has been my honor to serve you. l

Respectfully, Tom Duensing

6

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022


Member News Hilla Sferruzza, CPA was appointed as an independent member of the board of directors for Footprint, Inc., a global materials science technology company.

Arturo N. Moreno, CPA was appointed board chair for Nourish PHX, a food and clothing bank.

Danielle Gonzalez, CPA was promoted to partner at RSM US LLP.

Kevin A. Koril, CPA was promoted to audit manager at CBIZ & MHM.

Wesley Ryan Benally, CPA was promoted to principal at REDW LLC.

Curtis W. Balls, CPA joined REDW LLC’s audit and assurance team as a principal. The IDEA Committee at Beach Fleischman PC hosted a viewing of the ASCPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit on Jan. 14. Thank you to members Ashley T. Byma, CPA and

Julia Allen Miessner, CPA.

BeachFleischman PC IDEA Committee Meeting

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

7


Resources for Tax Season

Paychex would like to help during this busy time of year with accountant-specific online resources. AccountantHQ (AHQ) payx.me/az-flex An accountant-specific dashboard, accessible from any device, utilizing client data to generate robust reporting capabilities, insights, PPP loan forgiveness reports, and benchmarking. Accountant Knowledge Center (AKC) payx.me/az-akc Access the online 2022 U.S. Master Tax Guide®, state, local, and federal resources, matrices, law summaries and comparison, wage tax information, and much more. Tax Facts payx.me/az-tax-facts Create customized listings of federal and state payroll and retirement rate information for specific states and territories in a PDF format, with the option to add your firm name and address. WORX payx.me/az-worx Stay up to date with the latest legislative updates and regulation changes with articles, white papers, webinars, and podcasts from Paychex compliance experts

(877) 534-4198 Paychex is proud to be the preferred provider of payroll, retirement, and HR solutions for the ASCPA. © 2021 Paychex, Inc. All Rights Reserved. | 01/26/22


Celebrating our 2022 Life Members By Haley MacDonell and Heidi Frei

Life Members are recognized for their contributions to the ASCPA and the CPA profession. We are pleased to celebrate three people in 2022 for the generosity of their time, leadership and mentorship. Help us celebrate their accomplishments and service by attending the ASCPA Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon on May 12. Register here: www.ascpa.com/annual. MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

9


Brenda Ann Blunt CPA, CGMA By Heidi Frei, ABC

Long before she knew what a CPA was, Brenda Blunt found herself drawn to accounting activities. It started when she was given an allowance at the age of six. She learned skills like budgeting for gifts for family members, ensuring she had the correct change to tithe and helping her sister manage her money. Her interest in accounting activities continued, which led her to major in accounting in college and to earn her CPA. While at Miller, Wagner & Co., Blunt worked in general tax – particularly partnerships. The firm had a young not-for-profit practice and needed to replace the tax manager leading the tax side. “It was intriguing to me,” says Blunt. “So, I raised my hand and said, ‘I don’t want to do this full time, but I’d be happy to figure this out and be the tax person to step into that.’ And, of course, it did become full time and I’m still really happy.”

10

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

Brenda is now a partner at Eide Bailly LLP and has become a subject matter expert, and the go-to person, in the nonprofit community. “Drive down any street in our community, talk with any nonprofit leader and you will find a link to Brenda Blunt,” says Julia Patrick, CEO and founder of American Nonprofit Academy. “For decades, this brilliant leader has been at the forefront of wise counsel and the navigation of our most valuable institutions. I think that our state is stronger because of the leadership Brenda has given to so many nonprofits. In fact, I would bet that most of us enjoy a better quality of life as a direct result of Brenda’s hand.” The ASCPA has been fortunate that Blunt chose to give back to her profession by volunteering with the Society since becoming a member in 1986. It started out with her participation in the 1040K run and providing tax advice at the mall and

moved into committee and board service. Blunt’s drive and commitment contributes to the success and longevity of the ASCPA Not-for-Profit Conference. She has been part of the committee for more than 20 years, served as chair of the committee for two of those years and frequently leads conference sessions. “Brenda’s reputation in the Valley as a subject matter expert and her willingness to be engaged and involved for so many years definitely helped to develop the reputation of the conference,” says Kathy Gerhart, ASCPA Not-for-Profit Committee member and former committee chair. “Her warmth and her ability to interact and connect at the conference makes it feel like a community. That is a special gift that she has.” Blunt is a frequent speaker at the conference and always the first to volunteer to present. In addition to the conference, she also teaches


continuing education seminars for the ASCPA and has presented at 75 seminars and conferences. Blunt shares, “Teaching is, in my view, absolutely the best way to learn. And I have been a teacher for my entire adult life.” Blunt served on the ASCPA board and Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation, in addition to chairing the scholarship selection committee. Blunt brought her nonprofit expertise to these governance boards. Former ASCPA Board Chair Armando Roman shares, “Brenda’s kind, nurturing and collaborative way of being helps her naturally be a tremendous resource to any mission-driven nonprofit organization, including the ASCPA.” Mentoring is another activity of importance to Blunt. She presented on servant leadership at the ASCPA’s emerging leaders program, serves on the Grand Canyon University (GCU) Accounting Advisory Council and is a mentor in her firm. “At the GCU Accounting Advisory Board meetings, Brenda is one of the first board members to speak up when she has an opinion or suggestion,” says Kelly Damron, associate professor of accounting at GCU. “We have used many of her ideas and suggestions to make curriculum changes in our accounting program.” “Brenda leads by example, encouraging staff to find their passion and become well-rounded advisors, while helping them reach their career goals through education and mentorship,” says Kim Hunwardsen, partner-in-charge of tax-exempt organizations, Eide Bailly LLP.

Blunt shares some advice for the next generation of accountants. “You don’t have to make all your career decisions today. You do need to spend some time and think about where you want to go with your career, but you don’t have to have all the answers today. You just need to know what your next few steps are.” She emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of opportunities. “Walk through doors when they are open and raise your hand.Particularly women, raise your hand. Leadership probably is not going to come ask you. Men are taught by culture to raise their hand and women are taught by culture to wait and be invited.” Outside of her nonprofit client work and volunteer roles within the ASCPA,

Blunt serves on various boards in the community. David Richardson, CEO of Take Charge America (TCA), shares about Blunt’s role on TCA’s board of directors and audit committee. “She is a brilliant strategist and often seems several steps ahead of me and others when contributing to strategic planning conversations, board policy discussions and potential tax-exempt implications of actions under consideration. What makes Brenda especially effective in her volunteer role is her ability to listen, engage and educate others in such a thoughtful, kind and humble manner.” Blunt reflects on her CPA career up until this point by saying,

It’s been a great ride. I have gotten out

of the CPA profession so much more than I feel like I’ve put into it. I have no regrets. It allowed me to be a single mom of two kids. It gave me the flexibility to be where I needed to be when I needed to be there. It paid the bills. I really believe God gave me this profession and this opportunity. And it’s clear to me in retrospect, why. It’s been great for me and my family. And I hope I’ve been

able to give something back.

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

11


Nancy L. Roach CPA By Haley MacDonell

During her career, Nancy Roach served as the executive director and later CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central and Northern Arizona, a “home-away-from-home” for families with children facing medical challenges. As an ASCPA member, she was the chair of the Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation, chair of the board of directors and a member of the Not-For-Profit Conference Committee. Leading with empathy and generosity, it was with her support that the ASCPA’s scholarship offerings expanded. Roach became a CPA because of her fascination for seeing “how it all comes together.” During her final role in the for-profit sector, she was tasked with giving money to mineral owners of an oil and gas company. In one instance, the company owed a mother and daughter, who were living out of their car, over $250,000. She became passionate about helping others and switched to the not-for-profit arena not long after.

12

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

While at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she received a call from the Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix, on their search for a new executive director and requesting that she apply. Though she wasn’t looking for a new job, she met with the intention of sharing her insights, one nonprofit to another. In the end, and after much deliberation, she agreed to move into the executive director role. She approached the new staff and met with each person on a regular basis for three months, learning everything about the organization and what it takes to be an executive director. It was like drinking out of a firehose, but she had a strong team. “They knew how to run this House perfectly,” Roach emphasizes. “They taught me how to do it. For that, I will forever be indebted to them.” Roach and her team saw a great need demonstrated by the families who stayed at their House. She remembers turning away up to 14

families in a single day. Intent on building a second House, Roach, leaning on her CPA training, asked the Board of Directors to raise the full funding before breaking ground. Luckily, the Board agreed completely. In cycles of fundraising and building, the organization expanded the first House from 26 rooms to 45 and built the nonprofit’s second House at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with 18 rooms. “I think the CPA designation contributed so much to her, even beyond the ethical standards,” says Mary Jane Rynd, who knew Roach through the ASCPA and nonprofit community. “She is somebody that will always do the right thing. She is a role model in that regard. Her generosity with her time stands out.” After six years of nonstop fundraising to reach the $6 to $7 million needed, the organization built its second House. It was a great accomplishment, and Roach knew it was time for recali-


bration and rest. Still another hospital, Banner Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, continued requesting a House of their own for over six months. This had the potential to be the nonprofit’s third house. As she left the original Houses in midtown Phoenix one evening, she met a man, Mr. Bedincort, on the sidewalk who asked to stay. His wife, who had a high-risk pregnancy with triplets, was at the Banner hospital. Roach said they were welcome to stay at the House located at 5th Street and Thomas. The man clarified that his wife was in the Banner hospital in Mesa, the hospital asking for a new House. He made such an impression on Roach that she knew the third house was on the horizon. “I called the board president the next morning and said, ‘We’re going to build a House at Banner. We need to start raising money,’” she remembers. “God could have hit me over the head with a feather, but he used a crowbar instead. So, that’s how the third house came to be, thanks to the Bedincort family.” Little moments like that, whether it be well-timed coincidences or the generosity of others, have dazzled

Roach during her career. Her tenure with the Arizona Society of CPAs is no exception. While on the board for the Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation, she oversaw the expansion of our scholarship program and assisted in revising the application process. Today, the Foundation distributes many scholarships of up to $2,000 for university students and $1,000 for high school students pursuing accounting. “Nancy was intent on ensuring that students were aware of the benefits of a degree in accounting and of becoming a CPA,” said Mark Landy, who worked with Roach on the Executive Committee of the Society’s board of directors. “Nancy spoke with prospective and current accounting students, making sure that they were aware of the availability of scholarships through the Foundation to help them in pursuing an education in accounting.”

In her mind, one of her greatest accomplishments from her time as chair at the ASCPA was the recognition of member Kate Forbes by the AICPA with the Public Service Award for her contributions with the National Board of Governors during the events of 9/11 and with the Red Cross. “I learned something almost every time I came to a committee meeting or conference,” Roach recalls. “I remember when I got the first call to be on the board, thinking that it was wonderful to be with this group of people who cared so much about the profession.” Roach, now retired, works part-time for the Foundation for Blind Children. She continues to be passionate about learning and teaching accounting. Roach says. “This was a whole community that enhanced my field of service, and I am so thankful to have had it.

I am so grateful to have worked with

the people with the state society. It

enhanced my career.

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

13


Kevin R. Yeanoplos CPA/ABV, ASA By Haley MacDonell

Kevin Yeanoplos is a mentor, teacher and director of valuation services at Brueggeman and Johnson Yeanoplos, P.C. As a member of the Society, he is a leader in business valuation and served on the board of directors, as chair of the Business Valuation Committee and the Business Valuation and Litigation Services Conference Committee. “I have known Kevin for roughly 30 years, and he is an amazing individual and professional,” says Ron Seigneur, founding partner at Seigneur Gustafson LLP CPAs. “I am honored to have him as a mentor, a friend and someone that I can always count on for sage advice when needed.” Early in his career, Yeanoplos graduated with a degree in accounting and set his sights on the CPA designation. In 1983, Yeanoplos remembers coming home to tell his wife that he had passed the CPA exam on the first attempt. It was a moment of pride, and the designation bolstered his credibility, especially when testifying in the courtroom. “Someone once said to me that ‘A CPA is what you do, but not who you

14

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

are,’” Yeanoplos says. “I’ve tried to take that to heart, because there’s frankly so much more to our existence than what we do for a living.” As a side gig, Yeanoplos was once a music journalist, passionate about interviewing performers such as Dave Schools, the bassist for Widespread Panic. “Challenging life experiences helped me to understand what the people I interviewed were feeling and what they were thinking,” Yeanoplos recalls. He remembers his interview with Schools, who had just experienced the loss of a bandmate to cancer. In moments like that, Yeanoplos – and musicians such as Schools – appreciated the chance to connect on life’s ups and downs, like human kindness and loss. In life, learning and teaching drives Yeanoplos. “The challenges we face give us knowledge and wisdom,” he explains. “Life is completely meaningless if we don’t share them. What good is knowledge if you don’t pass it on?” This mindset is due in part to an unexpected opportunity in 1994, wheb Yeanoplos was asked to teach when a

presenter canceled at the last minute due to illness. It was the first time he had ever taught business valuation, but he enjoyed the topic and the creativity it embodied. “Someone once told me that the reason I like business valuation is that I can never be wrong,” Yeanoplos says. “I kind of laughed at that, but it’s true. You want to understand your craft so well, that you can explain any position, any side, and depending on the facts and circumstances, it’s going to be different.” In 1997, he moved to Arizona, fresh from establishing the business valuation committee at the Utah Association of CPAs. He traveled from Arizona to Utah for committee meetings for a year. At the time, the committee at the Arizona Society of CPAs was not as active. Seeing an opportunity, Yeanoplos joined and was part of the group spearheading the founding of the Business Valuation and Litigation Services Conference, which recurred annually for seven years. “I was fortunate enough to have a strong network of people, and we


brought in some top experts to the conference,” Yeanoplos explains. “That was rewarding, and, I have lifelong friends that I have met through committee service.” “He has done a tremendous amount of education and speaking related to business valuations and is a true professional,” explains Brendan Kennedy, who served on committees with Yeanoplos. “He has given back to the community individually, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to the people willing and able to do that.” After teaching business valuation for 25 years for a number of organizations, he returned to graduate school as a master’s student and completed his degree in March 2021. He had much more experience than most of his peers and enjoyed bringing his practical expertise to the theory of the courses. “When I teach, I hope that there’s one person listening to me that has been impacted,” Yeanoplos explains. “That’s all I care about. If there’s one person in there that I can help understand something a little bit better, I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.”

Twenty years ago, Yeanoplos had a stroke and was in the hospital, paralyzed on his left side. It was a terrifying and uncertain moment that changed his perspective on life, work, family and supporting his community. “That had a profound impact on my perspective,” he explains. “Since that time, I’ve looked at what I do for a living as a means to an end. It’s a way to give back to the profession. It’s a way to help other people.” After a particularly challenging 2018, Yeanoplos started carrying around a rose quartz pebble in his right pocket. The crystal, which represents love and

healing, is a reminder of the power of compassion and the individual ability to make a difference. It reminds him that each day he sends ripples into the universe like a pebble in the ocean. It’s just a small ripple, but it can be one of compassion. “He is very deserving of this award,” says Marv Strait, who served on the business valuation committee with Yeanoplos. “If the ASCPA is giving this award to people like Kevin, you’re doing it right.” Yeanoplos explains,“If we have just a little more compassion for each other, the world will be a better place.

I carry the pebble to remind me that

I can change the world if I simply change myself. I can change the world by mentoring and helping people.

LOOKING TO

GET OUT OF THE FAST LANE?

JAMES CHAKIRES CPA, CVA Managing Partner

CONTACT US TODAY!

623.250.6544

WE CAN HELP!

Do you own a successful accounting firm up to $1 million in revenue and are looking to merge? We are interested in exploring that opportunity with you. With our relentless commitment to success, you can trust Apex with your clients and business. Reach out today to start the conversation.

www.apexcpas.com MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

15



Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation Donors Thank you to our members for your generous contributions to the Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation in 2021. Your donations support accounting students on their paths to becoming CPAs.

$750

$50-$99

Mark L. Landy

Glen C. Evans

–––––––––––––––––––

Andrea B. Levy

$500

Susan M. Mortenson

Virginia E. DeSanto

Lauren Murro

Jessica R. Estrada

L. T. Neighbors

Rufus Glasper

Anna Y. So

Leslie B. Stackpole

Susan M. Spaur

–––––––––––––––––––

Cheryl J. Stanislawski

$100-$400

Luis R. Teran

Louanne T. Gagnon

Nancy Thomas

Rachael Crump

Susan D. Vines

James S. McGettigan

James W. Westling

Gidget S. Slater

Krista K. Winn-Norman

Thomas F. Duensing

Michael A. Zongolowicz

Barbara J. Gonzalez

–––––––––––––––––––

Gilbert B. Blumenthal Patricia J. Elder Tabitha L. Fox LeRoy M. Gaintner Stephen P. Harnden Edwin Hsu Debra A. Hunter Adela E. Jimenez

Thank you also to our members who donated other amounts throughout the year and through their annual dues renewal.

Philip J. Martens W. Gregory Nelson Tess L. Ridgway

To learn more and donate, go to www.ascpa.com/foundation

A. Marvin Strait Linda S. Tansik Randy D. Wagner –––––––––––––––––––

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

17


Ransomware: Reality and Defeat By Rob Samuelsen My heart rate hastened, and a bead of sweat appeared on my forehead after I opened up my computer on the morning of April 30, 2020. Nothing appeared normal. My desktop icons were broken links and rearranged on the display. Most of our employees were working from home on COVID protocol, and the only reason I was in the office was to run checks. Then I saw a readme text file, opened it and raced downstairs to our IT manager’s office.

A29812-Readme.txt

Hi! Your files are encrypted by Netwalker. All encrypted files for this computer has extension: .a29812 If for some reason you read this text before the encryption ended. This can be understood by the fact that the computer slows down, and your heart rate has increased due to the ability to turn it off, then we recommend that you move away from the computer and accept that you have been compromised. Rebooting/shutdown will cause you to lose files without the possibility of recovery. Our encryption algorithms are very strong, and your files are very well protected. The only way to get your files back is to cooperate with us and get the decrypter program. Do not try to recover your files without a decrypter program. You may damage them, and then they will be impossible to recover. For us this is just business and to prove to you our seriousness. We will decrypt you one file for free. Just open our website, upload the encrypted file and get the decrypted file for free.

18

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

Our IT manager was getting texts from our remote workers and struggling with the same broken links I encountered. I showed him the readme file, and we immediately started turning off every computer in our office including servers, desktop computers, print servers, controllers and the IP-based phone system. After helping him, I returned to my office and called our bank to shut down our accounts. By the end of the day, I had talked to my bank, ADP online payroll provider, insurance broker, executive director, human resources director, every employee and the FBI. For the next six weeks, our IT infrastructure included home computers and cell phones. Everything else was dead. We had been breached by Netwalker, a ransomware threat actor from halfway around the world! On the next day, with the support of our cyber-insurance provider, we


built an expert team of cyberattack consultants. We learned that the bad guys infiltrated our network on January 1, 2020, snooped around our computer systems at least 20 times, sold our vulnerability to a Netwalker extortionist and set the time bomb on our servers. At about 12:20 a.m. on that fateful morning, a piece of aggressive code started to spread like metastasized cancer, encrypting every file in our IT ecosystem, including Microsoft Office files, executable files, system files, database files, custom code files and more. It spread through our office onto our employees’ home computers, Dropbox, OneDrive and remote backup servers. The only thing that saved us was our quick action in shutting down everything, leaving only about half our IT infrastructure infected. My immediate supposition was that we were attacked through one of the open ports of our quarantined workforce. We had no idea what was on their home computers or how those computers were being used. Did they have anti-virus software, the latest operating software or two-step authentication? Did they protect against phishing, spoofing, Denial of Service attacks, malware or other attacks? I was feeling very vulnerable! Ultimately, we learned that the threat actor entered our domain through an old version of Telerik, a user-interface development tool that we no longer licensed but still used. Our bad guy entered through a known worm hole and dropped the bomb on us. Netwalker was developed by Russian programmers in 2019 to be highly secure, highly automated and ultimately set up for Ransomware as a Service. For $50 a month, you could rent the code on the dark web and inflict havoc on unsuspecting victims. We believe our threat actor was an unsophisticated renter because he reduced the ransom once and gave us three extensions through the efforts of our savvy dark web negotiator. There are many eyes on the world wide web that would prohibit deviant behavior, such as the FBI and the IRS.

There are also many deceitful eyes that want to do commerce without governmental oversight who have created a nefarious version of the world wide web called the dark web. In fact, the dark web is 50% larger than the worldwide web. Because of its unique architecture and tools, the transactions are virtually untraceable. It’s in this environment that the hacker sold our vulnerability to the extortionist who licensed the software from the Russian ransomist to attack us with a bitcoin demand. There are two responses to a ransomware attack.

1. Pay the ransom and hope for an honest criminal. 2. Try to restore everything manually piece by piece. The insurance provider holds the key to this decision because of the economics. However, it’s not a binary decision. Even in the bestcase scenario, if you pay the ransom to the threat actor and that threat actor provides a valid decryption key, not all files or computers will be recoverable. We lost about 1/5 of our hardware because of permanent damage to their file systems and had to buy new computers. Some files just weren’t recoverable. In our case, the insurance company worked with us as we slowly isolated and restored everything. We are back in full operation. Backups mostly worked, email was not infected, and we only lost a few critical files. We’ve rearchitected our IT system to be more secure, implemented new security protocols, purchased new computers, licensed or deleted all software used by our organization and installed more robust detection software. We continue with robust employee education, and we continue to carry cyber-insurance (albeit more expensive). We have some battle scars after our fight with the dark web, but we’re more enlightened and significantly more wise. l

Robert Samuelsen joined the Pima Association of Governments and Regional Transportation Authority in 2008 after a private sector career. Vocationally, he has worked in corporate accounting, corporate finance, product management and strategic planning. He has also served on many boards, both for commercial enterprises and not-for-profits. Samuelsen has a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University with a double concentration in banking and finance. He will be speaking at the ASCPA Not-For-Profit Conference on June 24, 2022.

Unite with your Network Actively engage with your CPA community on the Connect site. Give and receive relevant advice from your colleagues on topics affecting the CPA profession. The forum has communities for everyone, including accounting & assurance, auditing, business valuation, cannabis & hemp, tax and more. Get started: connect.ascpa.com/home

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

19



Help Shape the Accounting Profession Through Service to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy By Christina C. Roderick, CPA, REDW Principal, Tax Practice Leader Volunteers are fundamental to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy, which depends on highly talented individuals to help advance the accounting profession in the public interest. Certified Public Accountants, accountants and auditors act as guardians of the public trust. Since our profession is so complex and diverse, and much of our work centers around investigative methods, our ability to offer contrasting opinions, advice and intelligence adds great value in both public practice and industry. Part of this guardianship role can include serving on one of six regulatory committees for the Board: • Accounting and Auditing Advisory Committee • Tax Advisory Committee • Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee • Law Review Advisory Committee • Certification Advisory Committee • Continuing Professional Education Advisory Committee Continued on next page...

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

21


The Board’s mission is to protect the public from unlawful, incompetent, unqualified or unprofessional CPAs through certification, regulation and rehabilitation. Working together, we create a legitimate financial system that works for everyone.

Inclusion and Duty Drive Board Service Wesley Ryan Benally, CPA, and Anthony R. Gerlach, CPA, are REDW principals who have served in board advisory committee positions since 2015, sitting on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee and the Certification Advisory Committee, respectively. They signed on to a second five-year term. With a few exceptions, professionals who want to serve on Board committees must be active CPAs and licensed in Arizona. Applicants need to write a letter of interest and send their resume to the Board; recommendation letters may also be accepted. “When I wrote my letter of interest, I saw an opportunity to give back to a profession that has provided a generous livelihood to me and my family,” said Gerlach. As a member of the Certification Advisory Committee, he finds it rewarding to help others navigate the same journey to becoming a CPA that he did many years ago. By striving to make the process as objective as possible, the Certification Advisory Committee ensures there is a standard level of fairness built into the evaluation. Benally was also drawn to Board service from a desire to improve the profession. “I wanted to ensure more minority voices were represented on the Board,” said Benally, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. As a member of the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee, he helps oversee the Board’s peer review administering entity.

The Value of Qualified CPA Service Board service is an act of self-regulation, CPAs regulating their own profession with the profession’s highest standards of integrity. Benally describes his service on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee as monitoring the peer review process itself, a responsibility shared between the Board and its administering entity, the California Society of CPAs. The objectives of oversight are to ensure compliance with the peer review standards and consistency. “As a committee member, our work aids in the oversight of the Review Acceptance Body (RAB) to make sure that members of the RAB are consistent in their decision-making process and adhere to the AICPA peer review standards,” Benally explained. “For example, if a firm fails its peer review and that report appears before the RAB, we oversee the RAB’s decision to accept that report and ensure it’s based on the fact patterns. In some instances, the RAB may require additional information based on the documentation provided by the peer reviewer.” This allows committee members to regulate the formal process, detail what’s next for firms, including the quality control procedures for certain audits and guide practices in the right direction. On the Certification Advisory Committee, Gerlach is part of a group that ensures that applicants for the Uniform CPA Exam are qualified to sit for the exam and make it through the certification process. “We review each application to ensure an applicant has the necessary education, work experience and recommendations from other CPAs to qualify for the CPA credential,” Gerlach said. “We ensure that the evaluation process is not personal or based on who you know. For example, we look to see if an individual has the right credit hours. The use of judgment comes from examining whether some of the credit hours are duplicates.”

22

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

Benefits of Service Serving on boards brings benefits, including expanding professional networks and learning skills. One benefit to Gerlach and Benally has been exposure to many different industries and types of firms – from sole proprietors to large firms and every size in between – and learning how the regulations affect each of them differently. Benally elaborated, “Staying current with the latest state and AICPA regulations on the Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee helps keep our firm safe and maintains the integrity of the profession and our jobs within it.”

How You Can Help We know that you’re busy, and it’s not always easy to allocate time to non-revenue-generating work. That’s why there are different ways for you to get involved through committee participation. According to both Benally and Gerlach, minimal preparation is required, as the peer review and candidate files are reviewed and decisions made during monthly committee meetings. Committee meetings typically last two to three hours, leaving plenty of time for CPAs at all professional levels to participate. For a complete description of the tasks, skillsets, and time commitments required for Board membership, please visit https:// www.azaccountancy.gov/ and click on Board Advisory Committee Volunteer Opportunities. l


NOT-FOR-PROFIT CONFERENCE

June 24, 2022 · Desert Willow Conference Center and via webcast Meet our Keynote Speakers

Allan Klose

Kristen Merrifield

Robert Samuelsen

CBIZ & MHM “Audit and Accounting Update”

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits “Nonprofit Lifecycles”

Pima Association of Governments “Overcoming a Ransonware Attack”

Register: ascpa.com/npc In a fast-paced accounting world, not-for-profit leaders must know how to be efficient and effective with the resources they’re given in an ever-changing financial environment. Get to know the most pressing issues facing not-for-profit organizations, and personalize your experience with four breakout sessions.

Gold Sponsors

AZ Tax Credit Funds. CBIZ & MHM CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) Fester & Chapman, PLLC Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. Henry+Horne Innovest Portfolio Solutions, LLC Your Part-Time Controller

Platinum Sponsor


Meet Your ASCPA Staff Our staff is dedicated to ensuring your success. Each of us brings a unique combination of professional skills to provide a great membership experience to you.

Oliver Yandle, JD, CAE

John Baumer

Haley MacDonell

President & CEO

Director of Government Relations

Communications Manager

Innovator. Mentor. Supporter. Amateur chef. Reach out to Oliver for anything, but especially to share thoughts about the profession and how the Society can help you succeed.

CPA policy and regulatory advocate. Political buff. Legislative manager. Avid movie goer. Reach out to John with questions on policy, issues with laws or regulations or to get involved in the ASCPA’s advocacy efforts.

AZ CPA editor. Social media and newsletter guru. Frequent public library patron. Reach out to Haley to learn about submitting an article or member news to AZ CPA magazine or for information about the Tax Guide.

Anna Niemkiewicz CPA, CMA

Madison Ongstad

Heidi Frei, ABC Senior Director of Marketing & Membership

Marketing maestro. Connector. Sponsorship promoter. Host of the Auntecdotes podcast. Reach out to Heidi to strategize promoting your business, announce promotions or recruit through the ASCPA’s advertising and sponsorship programs.

Meredith Butler, MBA, MSL Director of Professional Development

Growth mindset advocate. Learning design architect. Process nerd. Bibliophile. Reach out to Meredith to explore new learning topics and formats.

24

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

Director of Finance and Administration

Overseer of finances, planning and budgeting. Avid listener of electronic dance music. Reach out to Anna to obtain any financial data or forecasted plans for the ASCPA.

Cynthia Quinonez Senior Manager of Membership

Member benefit and engagement specialist. CPA pipeline supporter. Database wiz. Home baker. Reach out to Cynthia to learn about your membership or how to get involved with your CPA community.

Learning Manager

Learning advocate. Events manager. Dog lover. Reach out to Madison if you have questions about one of our wonderful conferences or a CPE course.


Sandra McKitrick

Elizabeth Torres

Jamar Jones

Executive Assistant

CPE Support Representative

Member Services Representative

Uber organizer. Taskmaster. Technology guru. Cycling enthusiast. Reach out to Sandra to learn more about our scholarship application process or to share volunteer board opportunities/openings with our members.

CPE expert. Webcast specialist. Avid hiker and photographer. Reach out to Liz for your CPE needs or if you need help with a webcast.

Member services multitasker pro. Database virtuoso. Office support go-to guy. Coffee enthusiast. Reach out to Jamar for technical support with your ASCPA account, webcast troubleshooting and general member assistance.

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

25


Renew Your ASCPA Membership and Save Thank you for your continued support and membership during 2021. As a member, you receive 25% off on CPE and have access to free CPE. Last year, we offered nine free webinars, a $360 value! In addition to member pricing, you receive an additional 15% off most CPE if you register by May 31, 2022. Your renewal statement will be available by April 1, 2022. Renew online by visiting www.ascpa.com/renew or contact membership at (602) 252-4144.

SINCE

1998

300+ SCHOOLS

Get New Clients List your firm or update your firm information listed on the ASCPA Find a CPA directory. Please log in to the website and visit www.ascpa.com/ cpareferral to register or to update your account.

26

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022


ascpa.com/annual

Reunite with us at the 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon to connect with colleagues and celebrate three new Life Members and this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient.

May 12, 2022 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Arizona Biltmore

Life Member Honorees

Brenda Blunt

Nancy Roach

Preferred Provider Sponsors

Kevin Yeanoplos


Meet your ASCPA Community

28

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022


Advocacy in Action In February, eleven ASCPA members joined our advocacy team to meet with legislators to forge connections and share their experiences. Thank you to our volunteers for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with our state’s policymakers: Ginny DeSanto, Mike Allen, Jared Van Arsdale, Kate Franklin, Barbara Gonzalez, Michael Lemme, Edward Zollars, Patricia Bambridge, Gephart David, Greg Patel and James Sean McGettigan.

2022 Governmental Accounting Conference GAC was back with in-person and virtual options in February. Designed for CPAs, auditors and accountants in federal, state and tribal governments, the long-running Governmental Accounting Conference gathers like-minded professionals to explore new insights in governmental accounting and auditing.

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

29


Classifieds Employment

Office Spaces

Business Opportunities

EXPERIENCED CPA OR ENROLLED AGENT | ASSET PRESERVATION TAX AND RETIREMENT SERVICES

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE OFFICE SPACE

LOOKING FOR AN EXIT PLAN?

A tax practice CPA firm has an office building with office space available for lease. The CPA firm is in need of assistance with its workload if the tenant has extra billing time available. The office space comes with a conference room, kitchen area, covered parking and office assistant if needed. If you have any interest, please call Dave at (602) 751-5993

Looking for CPA firms in Northern Phoenix and Scottsdale to acquire. Ideally, you will be active for one year for the transition. Confidentiality is assured. Your practice includes both tax, consulting and bookkeeping services. Contact John (480) 579-4688

You will be working in a wealth management firm, preparing taxes and forecasting tax scenarios. Client must have a minimum of five years’ experience in preparing federal and state individual, estate, some business and partnership returns. You must be knowledgeable in the latest legislation and regulations, be detail-oriented, comfortable with analyzing tax data, interviewing clients, auditing tax forms for completeness and accuracy and ensuring the highest standards of confidentiality and customer service. Looking to fill a seasonal (January to May 2022), permanent position with options for year-round employment. | Job Types: Full-time, Part-time | Pay: $2,000- $3,500 per week | Reach out to Michelle Umbower at mumbower@apsitaxes.com.

ACCOUNTING MANAGER – FULL TIME Use your skills and experience to make a difference among some of the least-reached peoples in the world! Frontiers USA, a nonprofit Christian organization, is looking for someone to provide management and supervision of accounting processes and staff at our office in Phoenix, AZ. Some of the essential responsibilities of this position include: Reviewing and posting journal entries into the accounting system; Reviewing payroll processing; preparing and maintaining accurate records of payroll transactions; Maintaining accounting for 403b plan; Coordinating subsidiary accounting; Overseeing the production of monthly financial reports. View the full job description and apply online at: www.frontiersusa.org/jobs/ accounting-manager

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE OFFICE SPACE There are three offices available for lease in prime Old Town Scottsdale. One office is 150 square feet and the other two are 100 square feet and includes the use of a conference room and kitchen. Monthly rent is $850 a month for the larger office and $750 a month for the smaller offices. Covered parking is available for $25 a month. For more information, please call Dave at (602) 751-5993.

shout out to your clients that a tax credit donation to a new leaf helps families

e ! n m i e lik

TurnaNewLeaf.org QCO 20075

serving families in the valley for 50 years through: housing & shelter health & wellness

30

AZ CPA MARCH/APRL 2022

financial empowerment educational services

family support

foster care

sexual & domestic violence


AZ CPA Quick Quiz You’ve Read It, Now Get Credit Take this quiz on AZ CPA content online or submit this hard copy. Receive a score of 70 percent or more and earn one hour of CPE credit in specialized knowledge. It’s that easy!

m Try to restore everything manually piece by piece m Connect external storage devices to your infected systems 7.

Fees: Members: $25 Nonmembers: $40

m A secure, automated Ransomware-as-a-Service platform m A secure, automated cybersecurity platform m A user-interface development tool

Online Access Go to www.ascpa.com/quickquiz to access links to all active quizzes. Once a quiz is purchased, a link and password will be emailed to you. Your results will be sent immediately after completion, and certificates are emailed within two business days. Hard Copy Please select one answer for each question. Fill out registration/payment information below and mail or fax to the Society office. Quiz results and certificates will be emailed to the address provided on the registration form. *This quiz will be available until April 2023. Please note that users have three attempts to pass the quiz with at least a 70 percent score.

March/April 2022 Issue of AZ CPA* 1.

True or False: Tom Duensing believes service is a way that he, as a CPA, feels value in his profession and life. m True m False

2. Life Member Honoree Brenda Blunt was a speaker at __ seminars/ conferences for the ASCPA throughout her career. m 25 m 50 m 75

5. How many years did the Business Valuation and Litigation Services Conference run for?

8. How many regulatory committees does the Board have? m 3 m 5 m 6 9. Which of the following committees can you serve on for the Arizona State Board of Accountancy as a volunteer? m Peer Review Oversight Advisory Committee m Board of Directors m Legislation Review Committee

m Three years m Seven years m 10 years 6. Which of the following is not a good response to a ransomware attack? m

What is Netwalker?

10. What purpose does the Certification Advisory Committee serve? m It ensures applicants are qualified to sit for the exam. m It revises the certification’s design. m It serves as a review acceptance body.

Pay the ransom and hope the criminal will turn over your information

3. What career advice did Brenda Blunt share? m Raise your hand m You don’t have to have all the answers today. m All of the above 4. What benefit does the Arizona CPA Foundation for Education & Innovation offer for accounting students? m Scholarships of up to $2,000 for university students and $1,000 for high school students. m Peer-to-peer mentoring programming m Coursework support

Quick Quiz Registration Name: __________________________________________________________________________________ Email: ___________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone: _____________________________________________________________________________

Payment

m Member: $25

m Nonmember: $40

Checks: Please make payable to: The Arizona Society of CPAs Credit Card:

m Visa

m MasterCard

m American Express

Credit Card #: __________________________________________________________________________ Expiration Date: _______________________________________________________________________ Name on Card: ________________________________________________________________________ Mail to: ASCPA, 4801 E. Washington St. Suite 180, Phoenix, AZ 85034-2040; fax to (602) 252-1511 scan and send to ASCPACPE@ascpa.com.

MARCH/APRIL 2022 AZ CPA

31


PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Phoenix, Arizona Permit No. 952 4801 E. Washington St., Suite 180 Phoenix, AZ 85034-2040

ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED