CPAmerica Advantage CPAmerica's Programs, Events, and
Special Edition Member Sharing Testimonials P. 2
CPAmerica’s motto is “Improve through Sharing.” To that end, our events play a major role in being the forum for sharing. Part of sharing is having a relationship with fellow members. Knowing their business, their needs, and their capabilities goes far in building trust and either seeking help or wanting to share.
It’s getting redundant to say, but we live in extraordinary times. Social distancing, hand sanitizer, face masks, disinfectant wipes and overall awareness of who you are around and what you are
touching has provided CPAmerica with CPAmerica's Featured Resources P. 3 some serious challenges in producing President's Corner - Alan Deichler P. 4 its lineup of 2020 events. But we are working hard to provide alternatives. I would like to share how CPAmerica has adapted its programs, events and offerings during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes have been dramatic and the pace has been rapid. BLACK I am very proud of our staff of 17 people in LIVES adapting to these major changes in our environment. MATTER CPAmerica has planned for 17 events this year and that includes the four major events including the Leading Partners CPAmerica is in support of the Retreat, A&A Conference, Tax Conference, Black Lives Matter movement. We are in place to help our firms and NextGen Conference. All would attract “Improve through Sharing.” You 100 or more members over three days with can soon expect to see new CPE ranging from 18-26 hours over each programs and offerings to assist our firms in hiring and providing conference. opportunities for people of color The pandemic has disrupted all our lives and particularly black people in including our events teams. The A&A all roles at our firms. Conference is our first major event and it was to be in Charleston, S.C., on June 17-19, preceded by a pre-conference session on Yellow Book. With help of a professional production company, it has been converted to a 14
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CPAmerica Preferred Providers and Consultants Offer Critical Guidance During COVID-19 CPAmerica has established relationships with more than 50 outside consultants and providers, offering members expertise over a wide range of areas impacting the CPA firm. Our screening process ensures that only those that offer authentic value and worthwhile services will engage with our members and their clients. Through these valued consultants and providers, members are able to seek legal advice and obtain professional opinions at a discounted price. In response to COVID-19, many of our preferred providers like Surgent CPE, ACPEN, AICPA, and KnowBe4 are offering our member firms complimentary webinars and assistance on topics like requirements for PPP loan forgiveness, cybersecurity when working remotely, and using AI to assess financial risk in times of crisis. We continue to move forward with establishing new preferred providers
See Providers, continued on page 2
Membership in CPAmerica Begins With Member Sharing There are many reasons to join an association, but at CPAmerica, we take the phrase “Improving Through Sharing” to heart. Through the words of some of our firms’ leading partners, we’d like to relate their stories of the benefits they get from being a member of CPAmerica. Whether from the viewpoint of governance, large firm, a long-time member, or a new member, here is what they said. "I’ve been in public accounting for 36 years, with all of that time at Cummings, Keegan & Co. We have been a member of CPAmerica during this entire time (since 1979) and I cannot imagine doing business without this resource. The benefits we have received over the years far outweigh the cost of membership. These benefits include: access to resources in areas of practice that we don’t specialize in; the ability to compete with larger firms in our market through leveraged expertise from other members; discussion lists; conferences; and training. The Practice Management Survey is something that we use every year to help us improve. I have developed long-time friendships with other CPAmerica members across the country, some from more than 25 years ago when I attended staff level training. I served on the CPAmerica Board of Directors for five years and found it to be among the most rewarding volunteer opportunities I have experienced." - Kathy Klang, Leading Partner & Managing Partner with , St. Louis Park, Minn. "Operating a firm of 140+ people that are practicing in various service lines and industries in the vibrant Austin, Texas, economy, CPAmerica is a tremendous partner that we are fortunate to have as a resource. We lean on them primarily for best practice ideas in managing our firm and for technical knowledge and skills for our people and clients. They are a big part of our practice and a true asset to our Firm. We are glad to be part of CPAmerica!" - Kyle Parks, Leading Partner of Maxwell Locke & Ritter LLP, Austin, Texas. "Networking with peers who are not your competitors is invaluable when it comes to seeing how our firm is doing when compared to similar size firms in the association. The group discussion lists (particularly recently with all the C-19 matters) allows fairly free and open discussion on numerous topics in the areas of tax, A&A, firm administration, HR and most anything else related to what we do and how we do it. Improving through sharing is truly the motto CPAmerica member firms live by." -Don Swick, Leading Partner of Brickley DeLong, PC, Muskegon, Mich. "As a fairly new member, our firm has not been disappointed. CPAmerica is a vibrant association full of valuable resources.
See Testimonials, continued on page 4
, continued from front page CPE event starting with a “reception” on Sunday night and nearly three hours of sessions in late afternoon (Eastern Time) each day of the week. Yellow Book will be offered the following week. CPE is priced within industry norms and, with no travel or lodging, will be an economical way to get A&A technical CPE. We are working hard to make it more entertaining than just watching a video of a speaker talking through your video screen. We will be evaluating the need to take other events virtual or combine onsite with virtual as the year progresses. We’ve made other changes. The Visitation Improvement Program (VIP) has been a very popular program since its inception in 2012. Generally, two leading partners visit a host firm every four years and spend a couple of days in surveys, meals, meetings, and interviews and then share their observations with the partner group at the end of the visit. The pandemic has pretty much made VIP visits impossible in 2020. While not exactly VIPs, in an effort to enhance communications between members, the staff quickly resurrected a past program last used in 2010, the Practice Improvement Circles (PIC). Replacing conference calls with Zoom video, seven to nine leading partners shared their thoughts, best practices, and plans with each other. There are 10 different leading partner circles organized by size of firm within our five regions. The program has been extended to Firm Management and Administrators, Marketing, A&A, Tax, and IT leaders of their firms. We’ve made more changes to adapt. With potential for more merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, we’ve added Transition Advisors, an M&A firm with expertise in the accounting profession, to our stable of other retained experts including SALT, International, Legal, Tax, and IT. Quick questions are no charge to our members and engaged projects are at member rates. Those are but three adaptations made at CPAmerica on a few of our offerings to members. A major reason for the ability to change and adapt so quickly is the presence of 17 staff personnel in the association. Agendas, program content, and activities are recommended by members, but the actual production company agreements, speaker contracts, and agendas are set by staff. Members can tell the team what they want without having to do the work themselves. I personally hope you will want to explore the opportunities present in CPAmerica programs, events and offerings. Assuming the geographic consideration policy can be complied with and there is common agreement, I look forward to you as a member of the group.
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and consultants based on our members’ needs. Most recently, CPAmerica established a relationship with Transition Advisors, LLC. This new relationship will provide our members firms with a highly specialized consulting firm focused on helping CPA firms with their growth and succession strategies through mergers and acquisitions. This past May, Principal of Transition Advisors Joel Sinkin conducted a complimentary webinar titled “How the Coronavirus Economy May Impact M&A of CPA Firms.” Almost all of CPAmerica’s Preferred Providers and Consultants have quickly pivoted, offering invaluable COVID-19 resources. Together, we will continue to “Improve through Sharing.”
Some of CPAmerica's Featured Resources: CPAmerica Conferences & Meetings COVID19 Update The safety of our members and staff is the association’s top priority. After careful consideration, CPAmerica has decided to transition several of our in-person events to a virtual experience. We understand that your clients and firm need your expertise and leadership more than ever. While we’re disappointed we can’t meet in person this year for some of our events, we’re excited for the opportunity to deliver you valuable content in a virtual format. As we continue to monitor conditions throughout the rest of the year, we are preparing for the transition of any event that is unable to take place in-person to a virtual experience. Some of our meetings have already been adapted and will be presented as virtual editions, such as: • • • •
2020 A&A Conference - June 14-23 2020 Technology Roundtable - July 19-23 2020 Client Accounting Services - July 20-23 2020 Northeast/Midwest Regional - July 30-31
CPAmerica Sharing Calls and Discussion Lists
CPAmerica Sharing Calls and Discussion Lists
Sharing Calls: CPAmerica also offers quarterly technology, practice management, human resources, marketing, and tax sharing calls, allowing members to share their expertise and improve through sharing. Please note that CPE is not offered for sharing calls.
Discussion Lists: Another valued member resource are our discussion lists. CPAmerica’s discussion lists cover a wide variety of topic areas including job functions and practice areas. These discussion lists provide a platform for members to request help and assistance from fellow members, request a second opinion, troubleshoot a client matter, compare professional strategies and offer support to their colleagues. Discussion lists provide another opportunity for members to share best practices and strategies.
CPAmerica Webinars CPAmerica offers new and relevant webinars throughout the year to meet the training needs of members. We also partner with top-of-the-line training providers to expand your member access to CPE at significant member discounts and we will be making some revisions to our pricing due to the recent happenings and members working from home. CPAmerica offers various webinar series throughout the year such as our A&A Webinar Series presented by Rich Daisley and Charlie Blanton (both from Surgent CPE) and Marci Thomas from Surgent McCoy CPE. Our Tax Webinar Series features industry-leading presenters such as Arthur Werner (Werner-Rocca seminars, Ltd.); James Hamill (Reynolds Hix & Co., P.A.); Steven Siegel (The Siegel Group); and Sean King (McGuire Sponsel). We also offer a Crowe NTO Webinar Series. This additional free tax resource is for CPAmerica member firms that are members of the Crowe National Tax Office Alliance.
CPAmerica Practice Improvement Circles (PIC) We have been exploring how we might repurpose some of the content of meetings (and possible new initiatives) in a virtual manner. This includes something called the Practice Improvement Circle (PIC). PIC is a program CPAmerica used in the past. It was a conference call of 8-12 firms that shared best practices. We are now implimenting PIC to facilitate conversations among smaller groups of members in the virtual conference rooms of Zoom. The 85 member firms were divided into 10 circles, considering both geography and firm size. One-hour meetings for all the leading partners of all 10 circles were conducted over a week with ongoing focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business.
President's Corner: CPAmerica's Quick Pivot Thanks for getting to page four and the President’s Corner of this special edition of CPAmerica’s Advantage newsletter. This column is normally a chance for me, Alan Deichler; our Vice President of Alan Deichler Services, Grace Horvath; President our Consultant/Director of A&A, Art Winstead; or our Director of Services/CPAConnect, D’Yãn Davis, to share some thoughts, observations, or musings on a rotating basis. In this time of coronavirus and COVID-19, I caught myself a bit down in the dumps, reflecting on my “lost” year and working from home in Gainesville. Generally, starting in May, I am on the road. With 17 events, 15-20 Visitation Improvement Program meetings at host firms, trips to meet prospective member firms, our board meetings, Crowe Global board meetings (David Mellor, CEO of Crowe Global, is a visitor at our board meetings and I am a visitor at Crowe Global board meetings), and a number of other related trips, it’s a lot
of travel. At times, all the travel is tiring, but I really do love the job and the opportunity to visit with so many members and other fine people. It is a disappointment that these opportunities are probably lost for the year. I suspect you may have an aspect of your job that you especially enjoyed and won’t have in 2020.
order to better get to know each other and explore the possibilities of you joining our association. Good luck and stay safe!
As I examined my disappointment, I began to realize that with technology, I would still be able to stay in touch and meet with many people that I was scheduled to see during the year. If you’re old enough to remember a time before cell phones, dial-up internet, or video meetings – if this had to happen, then I’m glad it happened with our current access to technology. I also started to see that I have a great job, we have a wonderful staff that is busy and employed, and that during this difficult time, our lives are pretty good. We don’t know what is in store for us in the coming months, but it is good to be in a position where we can help our members help their clients. I hope our paths cross soon, either in person or on a video chat, in
Testimonials, continued from page 2 Aside from the obvious value-add, the fellowship of members, one of the things that really stands out and explains why CPAmerica delivers on its promises to members, is its internal infrastructure. In order to follow-through on all promises and commitments, it takes a strong internal team to ensure promises and deliverables can be met. CPAmerica has just this – a phenomenal internal infrastructure. Every member on the team seems to serve a very specific role. They do this in such a positive, enthusiastic, and engaged manner. The results speak for themselves. Having spent 20 years in another association, I can genuinely attest there is no comparison to CPAmerica. We wish we would have made this move long ago. Thank you CPAmerica for being by our side." - Richard Crabtree, CPA, PFS, CoManaging Partner with Whalen & Company CPAs, Worthington, Ohio.
"Our alignment in CPAmerica has been invaluable in providing guidance in interpretation of audit standards, in supplying vital audit expertise when proposing on engagements in specific industries where we would have a need for knowledge, and in overall firm management best practices. We have completely updated our IT practices as a result of our membership, and we would have been at a disadvantage in working from home during the COVID-19 crisis had we not been introduced to CPAmerica. It has been so much better for our firm to have been associated with CPAmerica than before we came to them for membership." - Lisa Shuneson, CPA, PFS, Co-Managing Partner with Whalen & Company CPAs, Worthington, Ohio.
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