On Balance Magazine - May/June 2024

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Ryan Hanson, CPA, CGMA | 8 May | June 2024 | Vol. 20 No. 3 A publication of the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs | wicpa.org Plus: Subscription billing | 14 ChatGPT & accounting | 18 Cybersecurity | 28 Crypto attestation | 32 From Challenge to Passion

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Features Columns

6 WICPA joins AICPA to voice concerns with BOI rollout

A letter has been sent toTreasury and FinCEN voicing serious concerns regarding the enforcement of the Beneficial Ownership Information reporting requirements.

8 From Challenge to Passion Ryan Hanson, CPA, CGMA, enjoys a challenge — and when he succeeds, it becomes a passion. See how the CPA Exam compares to climbing mountains.

14 The evolution of billing: subscriptionbased models

Does the subscription billing trend in other sectors of business suggest an opportunity for innovation within accounting practices?

By Victoria Thayer, CPA, MSA and Shayla Coombs

18 ChatGPT and the accounting profession

As the adoption of generative AI becomes more prevalent, some question its role in a profession that uses spreadsheets above all else.

By Christina M. Olear, CPA and John Peatross, CPA

24 Did Barbie teach us about maintaining independence?

Buried in the storyline of the box-office hit was the subplot of Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll and co-founder of Mattel, whose story didn’t end well.


The cybersecurity framework gets a facelift

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 introduces new content and tools.

By Jeffrey Lemmermann, CPA, CISA, CITP, CEH


Crypto attestation updates and trends

As the FTX trial got underway last October, one question returned to the conversation: How exactly did this happen?

By Dr. Sean Stein-Smith, CPA, DBA, CMA, CGMA, CFE


Financial wellness: a strategic approach to employee retention and productivity

Stress over personal finance issues can significantly impact employee productivity and job satisfaction.

By Manuel Rosado, MBA


The art of listening

Gain an understanding of the importance of good listening skills, and learn some simple yet effective tools to help build them.

By Dave Molenda, TDC, TDFC, TEQC


Guide to WICPA committees and boards

& CEO’s

1 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org May | June 2024 Vol. 20 No. 3
34 18 8 Departments Leadership 3
23 Kudos
37 Welcome
new members 7 The 2024–2025 WICPA board of directors 12 The 2024–2025 WICPA Educational Foundation board of directors
Outlook | chair’s letter
| president
in the news

On Balance is published five times a year by the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA). Change of address should be sent to: Membership, W233N2080 Ridgeview Pkwy, Suite 201, Waukesha, WI 53188; Phone: 262-785-0445 or 800-772-6939; Fax: 262-785-0838; email: comments@wicpa.org. Statements and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the WICPA. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement of the product or service by On Balance or the WICPA. Articles may be reproduced with permission. © Copyright 2024 On Balance


Ryan J. Hanson, CPA, CGMA


Stacy A. Stinson, CPA, MBA

Past Chair

Matthew J. Schaefer, CPA, CGMA


Lucien A. Beaudry, CPA, JD


Christopher M. Cholka, CPA, CGMA

Michael Donahue, CPA

Jessica B. Gatzke, CPA, MST

Tori M. Morrow, CPA, CGMA, MBA

Donna R. Scaffidi, CPA

AICPA Council

Ruth A. Kallio-Mielke, CPA

Neil R. Keller, CPA/ABV


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“I encourage each of you to step into a volunteer role to share your knowledge, to network and to make contributions to ensure the WICPA continues to be this strong career partner for you and your fellow members.”

The WICPA as a Career Partner

As I begin my role as chair of the WICPA board of directors, I reflect on what the WICPA has been for me throughout my career. Earlier in my career, I participated in the Business and Industry Conference Planning Committee, which provided an opportunity to gain speaking experience. As a member of the Public Policy Committee, I gained knowledge of the legislative process, networking and advocacy experience when meeting with Wisconsin and federal legislators. The opportunity to join the board of directors and Finance Committee provided yet another experience in organizational governance. As I reflect, I realize the WICPA has been my “career partner.” By taking the initiative to get involved and contribute my time and resources, the WICPA has offered some of the most valuable opportunities of my career. Without a doubt, this organization has been a constant, reliable and valuable career partner.

The WICPA’s role in the partnership is twofold. In part, the WICPA provides resources and opportunities to individuals to level up professionally. It provides opportunities to further develop skills that typically are not offered in the work environment but are valued in the work environment. Some of these skills come from participating in continuing education, presenting at conferences, writing articles for publications or leading committees — all of which help develop networking skills, among other things.

All these development opportunities are offered by the WICPA. In addition, the organization is a guardian and advocate for the accounting and CPA profession. The WICPA monitors the legislative landscape, works closely with the AICPA and promotes the profession to improve the CPA pipeline.

Like all successful partnerships, the relationship is a twoway street. The value one partner receives is equal to the effort and resources one puts into the partnership. As accounting professionals, we also have roles in this partnership. One of our contributions is our time and knowledge. As a career partner, we must participate in events held by the WICPA, get involved in

continuing education as a participant or a presenter, or join one of the many committees as a member or a leader.

Another important contribution is providing our resources. It is incumbent on us to contribute to the success of the partnership by renewing our memberships, contributing to the WICPA Educational Foundation and CPAC/LIF, and promoting involvement in the WICPA to others. As a participant or leader in conference planning committees, you can shape the content and participate in the success of the events. Contributing to CPAC/LIF supports the WICPA in its efforts to monitor and ensure legislative actions that support the profession. All of these are our responsibilities as partners and members of our professional society — to ensure that our career partnership is successful.

You will get out of this partnership significantly more than you put into it. A great aspect of it is that there is no cap on what you can contribute. The more each of us participates, the stronger and more dynamic the WICPA partnership will become. We, as the membership community, will collectively benefit from each of our individual contributions.

I encourage each of you to step into a volunteer role to share your knowledge, to network and to make contributions to ensure the WICPA continues to be this strong career partner for you and your fellow members.

As I continue my partnership with the WICPA, I am energized and excited to contribute my time and expertise over the coming year as the chair of the board of directors. And I urge all of you to further your role in the successful career partnership you have with the WICPA.

Ryan J. Hanson, CPA, CGMA, is senior vice president and chief financial officer for Pekin Insurance and the WICPA’s 2024-2025 board of directors chair. Contact him at 309-478-2746 or rjhanson@pekininsurance.com.

3 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
“I encourage you to invest in yourself, your career and your firm or organization by making the most of



Unlock the Full Power of Your Membership

Information is power. Knowledge is power. Understanding how to get the most out of an investment leads to higher satisfaction. You joined the WICPA to invest in yourself, your career and your profession. How do you get the most out of your membership for yourself and your firm or organization?

Register for a virtual member orientation.

• Ask questions and learn more about the benefits, tools and volunteer opportunities available to you as a WICPA member.

• Take a personal tour of the website to learn how to update your profile, view members-only discounts, use the CPE & Special Event Catalog, access WICPA Connect and more.

Use the MY WICPA personal dashboard to put membership at your fingertips.

• Manage your profile and contact information.

• Update your areas of interest and volunteer opportunities.

• Find member benefits, such as discounts on credit card processing, insurance, check printing and many others.

• Renew your membership and make WICPA Educational Foundation donations in one transaction.

Easily track registrations, upcoming courses, events and meetings in MY CPE.

• See your upcoming WICPA programs, events and meetings.

• Access and download your CPE materials and certificates.

• Use the CPE Tracker to monitor your formal and informal CPE credits for the reporting period.

• Add other formal and informal CPE to the tracker to keep all your records in one place.

Explore various volunteer opportunities.

• Sustain and advance your profession by joining a committee.

• Attend legislative fundraisers and golf outings.

• Write for our publications, On Balance and CPA2b

• Present at a conference or breakfast program.

Give back to strengthen the profession.

• Educate students about CPA careers by presenting at high schools with WICPA materials (and swag) we provide to make it easy for you.

• Host an accounting presentation and tour at your organization for high school students.

• Read a book on financial literacy with students grades K-4 and discuss with WICPA-provided materials.

• Make a charitable donation to the WICPA Educational Foundation to support accounting awareness initiatives and pipeline campaigns.

• Make a contribution to CPAC or LIF to support advocacy to protect the profession and support good business legislation.

Ask questions, give advice and share information in the WICPA Connect online community.

• Read and participate in current discussions — or start a new one.

• Personalize your profile by controlling notifications and adding interests, education, experience, signatures and your photo.

• Use the Member Directory to find and connect to members across the state.

• Connect with specialized groups by joining a committee, such as Wisconsin or Federal Taxation, Business and Industry, Not-for-Profit and many others.

On Balance May | June 2024 4 wicpa.org

Designate an organization administrator to manage membership and registrations for everyone at your organization.

• Pay membership dues for your organization in one transaction.

• Register multiple individuals for programs.

• Update your organization’s roster and manage employees at multiple office locations.

• Add your organization’s information to Find a CPA. (Reach out to membership@wicpa.org or call 800-772-6939 to become an administrator.)

More resources

• Stay up to date with Frequency, our monthly member e-newsletter; our bimonthly magazine, On Balance; and CPA2b, our biannual magazine for students.

• Post your résumé or a job opening in the Career Center. I encourage you to invest in yourself, your career and your firm or organization by making the most of your membership!

Tammy J. Hofstede is president & CEO of the WICPA. Contact her at 262-785-0445, ext. 4518, or tammy@wicpa.org.

If you have not yet renewed your 2024–2025 membership, visit wicpa.org/renew for quick and easy online payment to keep your valuable member benefits coming, including On Balance magazine.

Pay your dues in the “My WICPA” section on the WICPA website. For information regarding your membership, contact Grace Hein at 800-772-6939 ext. 4517 or membership@wicpa.org.

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WICPA Joins AICPA to Voice Concerns with BOI Rollout

In a letter dated April 3 and addressed to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the WICPA and the AICPA voiced serious concerns regarding the enforcement of the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) reporting requirements.

The letter raises an alarm because of a March 1 court ruling, which finds that the Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional. This ruling only applies to National Small Business Association (NSBA) members as of March 1, meaning those NSBA members currently do not need to file a BOI report, but the filing requirement stands for all other businesses.


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The WICPA Board of Directors provides strategic governance in accordance with the WICPA strategic plan, mission and vision. The board ensures the WICPA serves the diverse needs of members, enhances professional competency, promotes the value of members and the profession, advocates on behalf of the profession and builds community among members. New members began serving after they were elected May 9, 2024, at the Member Recognition Banquet and Annual Business Meeting.

President, CFO & Treasurer, Pekin Insurance Wisconsin Dells

Accounting, Concordia University, Mequon


Lucien A. Beaudry, CPA, JD, Equity Shareholder, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Milwaukee

7 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
Christopher M. Cholka, CPA, CGMA, Controller, Cousins Subs Neil R. Keller, CPA/ABV, Partner-In-Charge, Tax Services, Sikich LLP, Brookfield Ruth A. Kallio-Mielke, CPA,
On Balance May | June 2024 8 wicpa.org
Photos provided by Ryan Hanson

From Challenge to Passion

yan J. Hanson, CPA, CGMA, chief financial officer (CFO) at Pekin Insurance and the WICPA’s incoming board of directors chair, likes a challenge. It’s what attracted him to the CPA profession, and it also drives his personal interests, such as reaching mountain peaks. One of his mantras is “One’s greatest achievements start with seeking challenges beyond their reach.”

Hanson was born in La Crosse and grew up in Holmen, graduating from Holmen High School in 1995. He then headed to the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where he studied accounting and management information systems and earned his bachelor’s degree along with obtaining an internship with Clifton Gunderson (now CliftonLarsonAllen).

Educator inspirations

An accounting career was not something Hanson had even thought of when he was in high school until his accounting teacher left the class with a substitute for a few weeks.

“She knelt down for literally 10 seconds and asked me what I was going to do once I was out of high school,” Hanson said. “I told her I didn’t know yet, and she said, ‘Maybe you should consider accounting.’ That’s all she said. Then she got up and walked away.”

Obviously, this casual comment made an impact. It inspired Hanson to enroll in college with hopes of working in business. But it was another educator who sealed the deal for him where accounting was concerned.

Her name is Lucretia Mattson, CPA, and she was the first female chair of the WICPA board back in 1998–1999. She also was an educator at UW–Eau Claire who taught accounting and tax courses for many years. Mattson didn’t pull any punches where her classes were concerned, Hanson noted.

“She was easily one of the hardest teachers there,” he said. “She never made you feel comfortable in the class because she was always pushing for excellence. I took every tax course that she offered, fully knowing that I would never go into tax. I just figured if I could get through her classes, maybe there would be something I could do in this career. I respect her deeply. She was a huge influence on my life.”

So Hanson pushed through and stuck with the profession. Without the inspiration of those two educators, he may have ended up in another profession altogether. But in addition to the inspirational

9 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

experience of Mattson’s teaching, the profession also offered him the kind of challenge he enjoyed — especially when it came to the CPA Exam.

“Not everybody has the CPA credential, but it was something I could work toward just to test myself. I had just graduated from college; I got married a month later and then started studying right away. I was working as an auditor at the time and studying, and then in December 2001 I took the exam,” he said.

Professional journeys

His first job was auditing insurance companies of various types across the country and analyzing their financial statements. The work gave him the experience and desire to launch a career in the insurance industry. So, upon leaving, he went to work for a publicly traded insurer that he had been auditing. Hanson spent more than 16 years there before moving on to Palomar, a publicly traded specialty insurance company headquartered in La Jolla, California. He was hired there as VP–finance and treasurer and, in part, tasked with building a finance team, structuring transactions, managing collateral, and financial compilation.

“I was living in Wisconsin, but I’d travel out to La Jolla quite often. I was hiring people across the country, so I ended up having a person in every time zone,” Hanson noted.

Peoria, Illinois. In his role as CFO, he leads the accounting, finance, enterprise risk management (ERM), and procurement teams of about 30–35 people, many of them located around Peoria but a number working remotely, as he does when not traveling. His responsibilities include collaborating on corporate strategy and reinsurance, overseeing the company’s investment portfolio, forecasting, and rating agency relationships as well as financial compilations.

Along with his involvement with the WICPA, he has also served on several boards, including the board of directors of the national Insurance Accounting & Systems Association Inc., an organization that specializes in the insurance industry.

Recreational pursuits reach new heights

As noted earlier, Hanson likes a challenge. He has a passion for the outdoors and mountains that reach elevations of 14,000 feet or higher (“fourteeners”). He has climbed several peaks in Colorado, including Mt. Elbert, which he said is the second highest mountain in the contiguous U.S. (after Mt. Whitney). “It was tough — but a great experience on top,” he said.

On Balance May | June 2024 10 wicpa.org
Photo provided by Ryan Hanson

Another outdoor pursuit Hanson has gotten into with his son, Evan, is scuba diving. When the family is on vacation in a place where they can do that, Hanson said, they’ll get the tanks and go diving.

“We’ve gone diving in Belize, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Pensacola [Florida] and, yes, even Wisconsin. When I worked for Palomar and was in La Jolla, I would get up early and go scuba diving with the sea lions before work. They’re very interactive — they’ll nibble your fins and play around with you a little bit.”

In addition to these outdoor activities, Hanson and his wife, Amanda — an oncology social worker for Ascension Sherman Cancer Center in Brookfield — enjoy watching 18-year-old Evan competitively race go-karts and, more recently, participate in snowboard racing; he was invited to race nationally this year. They have also been taking their son on pre-college visits, as he will graduate from Brookfield East High School in June. Evan seeks to major in mechanical and agricultural engineering.

Daughter Haydan, 16, definitely has a mind for business, having already been through a couple of small business startups.

“She made charcuterie boards for a few years, cutting the boards, sanding and staining them,” Hanson said. “She does different things to them — she makes some you can write on;

At the end of the day, are you a person who wants a seat at the table, in front of the board, making decisions? It’s the accountant, the CPA — that’s the person who’s going to be in that seat.

she’s burned some to make them look a little different. She has an Instagram account and does business as Old School Boards. She is on hiatus from it right now to focus on school, but when she’s doing it, she sells them through friends, family and craft fairs. She’s pretty entrepreneurial for sure.”

A passion for the profession

Hanson is passionate about the CPA profession and believes if more people knew about all the opportunities the career has to offer, more would go into it. A speaker at a Beta Alpha Psi meeting left an impression on him as a student.

“One thing he said really stuck with me. It was this: ‘A lot of people are going into technology right now because of the Y2K [end of millennium] hysteria. But at the end of the day, are you a person who wants a seat at the table, in front of the board, making decisions? It’s the accountant, the CPA — that’s the person who’s going to be in that seat.’ It really resonated with me,” Hanson said.

The incoming board chair has been a WICPA member for 20 years and is a huge proponent of the organization, having been inspired to join by Lucretia Mattson. His involvement has included serving on the Business & Industry Conference Planning and Public Policy committees, the board of directors Finance Committee, and as a director on the board of directors. He also served on the AICPA Council for a few years, involved there in strategic planning and legislative visits.

“I’m impressed with the quality and professionalism of the WICPA, whether it’s the magazine, other written materials, the conferences or events,” he said. “I give a lot of credit to the WICPA staff and leadership. Things are put together very well, and it’s very impressive from an outside perspective — and now, to have this opportunity to serve as board chair is an honor, and I look forward to it.”

Marcia Tillett-Zinzow is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer and editor. Contact her at mtzinzow@icloud.com.

11 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

Introducing your 2024–2025 WICPA Educational Foundation Board of Directors

The WICPA Educational Foundation Board of Directors provides strategic governance in accordance with the Foundation’s mission to play a pivotal role in supporting programs to improve awareness and perceptions by educating Wisconsin students and educators about the exciting opportunities available in the accounting profession. New members begin serving in May 2024.

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On Balance May | June 2024 12 wicpa.org

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Make nancial recommendations

On Balance May | June 2024 14 wicpa.org
Subscription-Based Models

In the accounting industry, hourly billing has long been the standard, prized for its simplicity and direct link to compensating for an accountant’s time. This standard, set forth to compensate an accountant for time spent on each client separately, provides both accountants and their clients transparency in hours worked. However, the adoption of monthly subscriptions across a variety of business sectors, from Netflix to Adobe to software as a service (SaaS) platforms, suggests an opportunity for innovation within accounting practices. Why not, then, consider integrating subscription models into the realm of accounting services?

Subscription-based billing sets up a recurring monthly payment schedule instead of billing separately for time spent on individual projects. Essentially, with this billing model, you are selling services as a product. Subscription billing emerges as an innovative solution for CPA firms, promising not just enhanced profitability but also improved client satisfaction. This article explores subscription-based billing within CPA firms, discussing both its advantages and potential challenges, and showcases industry trends alongside practical examples.

Advantages of subscription-based billing

The transition to subscription-based billing comes with numerous benefits for CPA firms. Primarily, it ensures a steady revenue stream, anchoring greater financial stability. This model significantly reduces the administrative load of meticulously tracking billable hours, thereby allowing firms to pivot toward value-driven client relationships rather than purely transactional interactions. Subscription billing embodies the principle of value-based pricing, in which clients compensate CPA firms for the impact and outcome of services rather than the sheer amount of time expended. Moreover, it synchronizes the needs of clients with those of the CPA firm, moving away from the possible conflict of interest inherent in hourly billing — which can occur if “billable hours” are knowingly or unknowingly padded to provide a higher charge for services. Without the

Subscription billing emerges as an innovative solution for CPA firms, promising not just enhanced profitability but also improved client satisfaction.

transactional work, accountants are able to build stronger relationships with their clients and better understand their financial situations.

Challenges of subscription-based billing

The journey from hourly to subscription-based billing comes with its own set of hurdles. The deep-rooted tradition of hourly billing can lead both CPA firms and their clients to exhibit resistance toward this change. For example, some clients are indifferent to building a relationship with their accountant, preferring the transactional feel of hourly billing. Another challenge can be establishing scalable and tiered pricing models, potentially leading to underpricing services.

When working with transitioning intangible services to products, it can be difficult to evade “scope creep,” which occurs when clients request additional services not covered under their selected package. Clearly defining the various service packages can prevent these misunderstandings. Underbilling and overservicing are real challenges of subscription-based billing, and with no way to truly evade them, they are risks you have to be willing to overcome.

Key tips for transitioning

Firms considering a shift to subscription-based billing can benefit from adopting the following strategies:

Onboard clients gradually: Start with introducing only new clients to the subscription model. This will give you the opportunity to refine your pricing and service offerings without disrupting existing relationships.

Employ billing software: Utilizing specialized billing software, such as Ignition, can streamline the transition by automating many of the administrative tasks required to manage subscriptions. These software applications can

15 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
Shayla Coombs

also deliver proposals; giving your proposal as a deliverable already puts you one step closer to transitioning your services to products.

Consult with current clients: and incorporating client preferences into your transition strategy to ensure the new method aligns with your clients’ needs and expectations. The key to a smooth and efficient transition from hourly to subscription-based billing is communication with your clients.

Develop a flexible pricing structure: pricing tiers that accommodate a diverse range of client needs will help prevent the risk of scope creep. Being able to scale your pricing model is key. For example, Kruze Consulting, a national startup accounting and bookkeeping firm, bases its pricing tiers on services it provides in each package; while Xendoo, which provides outsourced accounting services, bases its pricing on each client’s revenue.

Conduct personalized client discovery: discovery sessions for new clients leads to deeper understanding of their unique requirements, allowing for tailored subscription offerings that maximize value. Getting to know your clients before they sign will ensure they are getting the most from their subscriptions.

Case study: InDinero’s success

Initially a software company, inDinero recognized the evolving needs of its clients two years after launch and expanded its offerings to include accounting and bookkeeping services. Embracing a subscription-based model, inDinero placed a strong emphasis on enhancing the client experience by leveraging technology to streamline services. This strategic shift allowed inDinero to focus more closely on customer needs without the constraints of hourly billing, facilitating a deeper understanding of client businesses and fostering more meaningful relationships. This approach not only optimized their services but also significantly contributed to their growth, with revenues soaring to $14.6 million over 11 years. inDinero’s success story serves as a testament to how subscription billing can drive client-centric growth and ensure sustainability in the competitive accounting industry.

Industry trends

The adoption of subscription models in the tech industry highlights their potential applicability in the CPA sector. Pioneers like Xendoo, inDinero and Kruze Consulting have embraced subscription billing, marking a significant trend toward innovation in billing practices within the accounting field. Such models highlight flexibility and emphasize the industry’s readiness to adapt to evolving business landscapes.

During the 2023 AICPA Leadership Academy, AICPA CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, stated that this

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ChatGPT and the Accounting Profession: A Transformation in the Early Stages

Christina M. Olear, CPA, and John

While often considered a traditional profession, accounting has really always evolved and embraced innovative technologies to remain competitive and enhance efficiencies. One such advancement that has garnered significant attention in the past year is the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI), with ChatGPT leading the way. The technology has the potential to transform many industries, including the accounting field.

As adoption of generative AI becomes more prevalent, so too have the questions surrounding its role in a profession that uses spreadsheets above all else. This article takes a step into the world of ChatGPT and generative AI and explains how ChatGPT and programs like it will impact the accounting profession.

ChatGPT vs. generative AI: Is there a difference?

AI tools have been around for decades, so why has there been a lot of hype around ChatGPT (a form of AI) this year? We will first review AI and consider specific AI examples before we dive into ChatGPT.

As described on Investopedia.com, artificial intelligence refers to machines that are programmed to simulate human intelligence and actions. Often, the term is applied to machines that exhibit learning and problem-solving traits.1 AI examples include the virtual assistants Alexa and Siri, chatbots and self-driving cars.

Essentially, AI uses logic and algorithms to identify patterns and efficiently solve problems. Its integration into mainstream consumer products and services (Alexa, Siri), along with advances in machine learning and algorithms, have led to explosive growth in this technology.

Generative AI is a subset of AI that focuses on generating content based on patterns it picks up from existing data. It involves large datasets and training a model through the process of machine learning to generate content that is both contextually relevant and coherent.

ChatGPT is one of many generative AI tools. What makes it different is its ability to generate humanlike text

“ While often considered a traditional profession, accounting has really always evolved and embraced innovative technologies to remain competitive and enhance efficiencies.

responses in a conversational manner. While many other AI applications have the ability to process text inputs, ChatGPT’s design allows it to do so in a way that is accessible to a wider population while maintaining its efficacy. Currently, there are two versions of ChatGPT available: ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT Plus. Access to ChatGPT-3.5 is free when creating an account with OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. You will need to pay a monthly subscription for ChatGPT Plus, which includes ChatGPT-4. The latter version opens the door to many more uses and produces better results.

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Jake Frankenfield, “Artificial Intelligence: What It Is and How It Is Used,” Investopedia.com (April 24, 2023 update).

These tools facilitate efficiency and automation, and the possible uses are endless. Some general examples include the following:

• ChatGPT can generate letters and emails with only a sentence or two of input.

• ChatGPT can summarize a 20-page report into one page of main points in seconds.

• ChatGPT can dramatically reduce the time needed to produce PowerPoint slides.

We’ll discuss more accounting-related use cases later in the feature.

The humanlike, text-based platform mentioned above offers users an interaction that feels as if you are communicating with another person. Asking ChatGPT to perform a task is known as “prompting.” As society gets better at asking questions (prompt engineering), the technology will produce better results.

ChatGPT Features

PerformanceAccuracy/Pattern Recognition

Ability to provide precise and relevant responses along with pattern recognition.


No or low cost and no coding skills required.

Mimics Human Interaction

Ability to engage in "human-like" interactions.


Automates repetitive or routine tasks.

Expansion Capability

Extends functionality, which allows for customization.

While the main focus of this article is ChatGPT, it is important to note that there are numerous generative AI tools available to explore. Google’s Gemini (formerly Bard) and Microsoft’s Bing function similarly to ChatGPT, and there are various other generative AIs that focus on image and audio generation, among other specializations. Specifically for CPAs, AICPA’s CPA.com recently released a suite of tools to help accounting professionals enhance their knowledge of generative AI.2

Why is everyone talking about ChatGPT?

ChatGPT sure seems to have everyone excited (in both positive and negative ways). This is because of the huge value proposition ChatGPT has going for itself. The program in its latest version significantly increased its accuracy, performance and capabilities while still maintaining accessibility. The table below highlights five ChatGPT features and compares the performance of GPT-3.5 versus GPT-4.

2 www.cpa.com/Gen-AI

Good level of accuracy and pattern recognition, but may sometimes produce irrelevant or incorrect responses.

Highly accessible: free and no coding skills required.

Can mimic human interaction to a certain extent, but may lack in understanding nuanced or complex queries.

Can automate simple tasks; may struggle with more complex tasks.

Lacks strong expansion capabilities.

Significantly improved accuracy and pattern recognition, leading to more precise and relevant responses.

Highly accessible: $20 per month and no coding skills required.

Excels in mimicking human interaction, with a better understanding of nuanced and complex queries, providing a more natural conversational experience.

Enhanced automation capabilities; able to handle more complex tasks efficiently.

Lacks strong expansion capabilities.

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Feature GPT-3.5 GPT-4

ChatGPT is a powerful tool with impressive capabilities. ChatGPT-3.5 is free and is good at many tasks. ChatGPT-4 is $20 per month, and its improved quality is noticeable. ChatGPT-4 produces more accurate results, provides better interaction, and offers a higher degree of customization compared with ChatGPT-3.5. ChatGPT-4 allows the user access to real-time data via plug-ins and beta settings. The plug-ins that are available help you easily create charts and slides, summarize PDFs or websites, and even order groceries or book flights. The numerous plug-ins significantly expand how you can use ChatGPT-4.

Identifying risks

The potential benefits that ChatGPT can bring to the accounting profession boggle the mind, so it is critical to understand the relevant risks of this controversial technology. Following are some of the more current and pragmatic risks accountants will encounter with the current iterations of ChatGPT and similar programs.

Misinformation/inaccuracy/quality control: ChatGPT can create fabulously flawed content because it has a remarkable ability to produce information that is incorrect but sounds accurate. The content product is based on the data it was trained on; and, as a machine, it lacks true understanding and context. It’s also not uncommon for the software to misunderstand prompts created by its users.

ChatGPT can impressively “make up” information that is wrong or misleading in the process of creating the coherent response that it has been designed to make. We have witnessed many examples of overgeneralizations and the creation of examples or quotes that make no sense. There have even been cases where it fabricated references and attributed facts to improper or nonexistent sources.

Because most users opt for the free version of the software, some of these drawbacks should be expected. However, a lack of quality control around content inaccuracies has gotten many users into trouble.

Bias and inappropriate content: ChatGPT is trained on enormous sets of data so that it can perform its conversational functions, but there are limitations to this method. For one, the data used for training only goes through September 2021. In addition to the historical time limitation, data has been pulled from a wide range of internet sources, which could lead to unintended biases in the software’s responses to prompts. If a user asks ChatGPT for information that is based on biased training data, they could end up with a biased, harmful or inappropriate response.

Privacy: To further develop the software, ChatGPT collects data about the prompts and conversations that users have within the software. As is the case for every social media platform, it is important to consider the content we want to

The potential benefits that ChatGPT can bring to the accounting profession boggle the mind, so it is critical to understand the relevant risks of this controversial technology.

disclose. Since working with ChatGPT feels like you are texting a friend, you could easily be lulled into a false sense of security or safety. Inadvertent inclusion of private or sensitive information about yourself, others or employers is a real risk as prompts are created and your focus is on the tasks ChatGPT is being used to complete.

Some organizations have been communicating to their employees to not put sensitive or proprietary information into ChatGPT for fear they will inadvertently leak information. Many others have remained silent on the issue. Ideally, more organizations would come out with guidelines for their employees on how to use the software in a professional environment to enlist the efficiencies of the tool without adding unnecessary levels of exposure.

Plagiarism: If writing reports that you purport to be your own work product, there is a chance that plagiarism or copyright issues could rear their ugly heads. Because generative AI is trained on massive amounts of accumulated data, there is a chance that the resulting text could be generated exactly the same as the input or too closely paraphrased that a notation would be required. To use

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another’s thoughts, observations or conclusions without proper acknowledgement is plagiarism. In addition, data used to build the generative AI often come from sources that are copyrighted and used without permission. If this material surfaces in a recognizable form, it could be a potential copyright violation.3

Responsible use of this technology requires careful consideration of the risks. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be essential for users to understand how they can best leverage the software while mitigating risks.

Common use cases for accountants

Accountants are finding numerous practical and innovative use cases for integrating ChatGPT into their daily workflows. AI-driven conversational tools are becoming valuable at streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency and delivering more comprehensive service packages. For all accountants, ChatGPT can be a useful tool for creating content such as articles, reports, emails and internal process documents. The table below offers more specialized uses.

Specialized ChatGPT Uses for Accountants


• Automated Tax Calculations

• Tax Law Interpretation

• Tax Planning Advice


• Automated Audit Procedures

• Audit Documentation

• Fraud Detection


• Code Generation

• Code Review

• Automated Testing

Technical Accounting

• Financial Reporting Automation

• Accounting Standards Interpretation

• Technical Research

3 Wes Cowley, “Why I Don’t Use LLMs in My Work,” Words by Wes (May 5, 2023).

“ For all accountants, ChatGPT can be a useful tool for creating content such as articles, reports, emails and internal process documents.

Impact on accounting professionals

Much like Excel has been, ChatGPT will be a tool professionals use as they perform their work, but it has the power to revolutionize the way accountants perform certain tasks. Historically, new tools allow skilled accountants to spend less time on simple yet time-consuming tasks and more time on higher-level work. Is the current version of ChatGPT going to be as revolutionary for accountants as Excel? That is to be determined. We can certainly say, however, the technology is going to be transformative and has the potential to support accountants in areas that Excel cannot. Following are some of the high-level impacts that we believe ChatGPT will have on accounting professionals.

21 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
With the massive potential that ChatGPT brings to the table, CPAs need to update their skills to leverage the technology.

Skill sets will adapt to the new technology: A tool is only as good as the person using it. With the massive potential that ChatGPT brings to the table, CPAs need to update their skills to leverage the technology. In fact, a few surveys indicate a majority of business leaders are looking to hire candidates with some ChatGPT skills.4 One such skill is prompt engineering, which is the practice of carefully designing prompts to guide AI models. Better prompts equate to better results. Skilled users can create prompts that provide better content in less time. One day, entry-level employees may regard prompt-engineering to be just as essential as proficiency in Microsoft Excel. On top of the specific skills to use the software, continuous tech learning will be essential. Additionally, improvement in our emotional intelligence skills will be necessary as we become more involved in cross-department collaboration, since we will have more high-level responsibilities and AI will take on more of the task work. An increase in technology skills, along with growth in emotional intelligence, will enable effective collaboration with departments such as IT, operations, risk management, legal, etc.

The tools will evolve with AI: One remarkable thing about ChatGPT is its adaptability to new information and situations. In recent years, accountants have been using a variety of tools to help read documents and process information in an effort to make their lives easier. ChatGPT can identify key information and summarize documents in a matter of minutes. In addition to improving on existing tools, ChatGPT can act as a virtual collaborator, offering real-time assistance and guidance. Accountants will rely on

4 Aaron Mok, “ChatGPT Experience May Be Able to Get You That Job – More than 90% of Potential Employers Are Looking for Workers Who Use the Chatbot,” Insider (April 27, 2023).

AI systems to automate repetitive tasks, flag potential errors and provide instant access to relevant information.

Job responsibilities will change: With the increased capabilities of AI-powered tools and the efficiency they bring, the role of accounting professionals will change. Time that was previously spent crunching numbers or reading through extensive contracts will be used to perform higher-level tasks, such as strategic planning and company innovation. This shift in responsibility could have a cascading effect on all levels of accounting, and someday even entrylevel personnel may find themselves doing today’s managerlevel tasks. While there may be some roles in which AI tools act as more of a replacement, most accountants will adopt ChatGPT as a supplement to their current roles and see their day-to-day responsibilities change as a result.

In closing, this rapidly changing technology has the potential to be transformative for businesses. While some embrace it with excitement, others fear it will have a negative impact on the future of our society. One thing is for sure, we will continue to hear about this technology — whether we like it or not.

Christina M. Olear, CPA, is an accounting professor in media at Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine. Contact her at cmo16@psu.edu. John Peatross, CPA, is a financial advisory services manager at Siegfried Advisory and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland. Contact him at jpeatross@siegfriedgroup.com.

Reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania CPA Journal, a publication of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Christopher Cholka, CPA, has been promoted to controller at Cousins Submarines Inc., which is headquartered in Menomonee Falls.

Sam Dettmann, CPA, was elected by Whitefish Bay voters in the spring election to serve on the village’s board of trustees.

Jennifer Engroff, CPA, has joined Heartland Business Systems in Pewaukee as a senior ERP consultant. She was previously finance director for the city of Mequon.

Andrew Gutierrez, CFO of ProHealth Care Inc., has been named to the Waukesha State Bank’s board of directors.

Jay McKenna, CPA, president and CEO of North Shore Bank, has been appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to the Banking Review Board. He will advise the banking division of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Russ Plewa, CPA, senior vice president of commercial banking at Johnson Financial Group, was named to BizTimes Milwaukee’s list of 2024 Notable Commercial Banking Leaders.

Daniel J. Walsh, CPA, JD, has been selected by “The Best Lawyers in America” (Wisconsin) in the Elder Law category. Walsh is an attorney with One Law Group in Green Bay.

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Did Barbie Teach Us About Maintaining Independence?

The Barbie movie was the box office winner of 2023, grossing almost $1.5 billion worldwide. This movie demonstrated some wonderful life lessons for everyone. But (spoiler alert) buried in the storyline was the subplot of Ruth Handler, played by Rhea Perlman. Ruth Handler was the inventor of the Barbie doll, co-founder of Mattel and the company’s first president. Barbie meets Ruth while running away from executives at Mattel, but the audience knows her only as Ruth. Later in

the movie, she reappears, and Barbie says, “You’re Ruth from Mattel.” Perlman (as Handler) states, “Baby, I am Mattel — until the IRS got to me, but that’s another movie.”

What happened to Mattel?

The truth is in February 1978, Mattel’s vice president, its controller, a toy supervisor on the company’s toy division’s accounting team, and Handler were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and making false financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The indictment alleged that the group falsified internal business records concerning earnings and sales in 1971, 1972 and 1973 so they could influence the market price of Mattel stock. The indictment alleged that

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Mattel also created fake documents that showed it was making over $10 million more in sales than it actually was and that Handler and a co-conspirator concealed false financial statements from its external auditors. Handler later pleaded no contest to the charges.

At some point in the conspiracy, the controller and accounting team made the unethical decision to step outside the lines of independence and objectivity by assisting Ruth Handler and her vice president to falsify financial statements. The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct states that “regardless of service or capacity, members should protect the integrity of their work, maintain objectivity and avoid any subordination of their judgment.”

While the government inferred the main purpose of altering the financial statements was to influence the stock market, we do not know exactly what caused the controller and the supervising accountant to participate in the scheme. Were they pressured by others to participate? Did they receive additional compensation for their actions? Or were they just so ingratiated with their superiors that they did it just to please them?

Independence isn’t a buzz word

Accountants can get into trouble when they bend to the will of their employer or their client. CPAs are entrusted with a profound responsibility in ensuring the integrity of financial information. Central to their profession is the principle of independence, which serves as the bedrock of trust between clients, stakeholders and the broader public.

Independence for CPAs goes beyond a mere buzzword — it is the cornerstone of the profession. It encapsulates the idea that CPAs must remain free from any bias, conflict of interest, or undue influence that could compromise their objectivity and integrity in performing their duties. Whether a CPA is auditing financial statements, providing advisory services or preparing tax returns, independence is nonnegotiable.

Independence is the linchpin of financial transparency. By remaining impartial and free from external pressures, CPAs can objectively assess and report on the financial health and performance of organizations. This transparency is vital for investors, creditors, regulators and other stakeholders who rely on financial information to gauge the viability and sustainability of businesses. Any compromise in independence jeopardizes this transparency, casting doubt on the accuracy of financial disclosures and undermining market efficiency. CPAs must be constantly aware of the following seven threats to independence.

The seven threats


Self-review threat

An audit firm provides accounting services to a client, including preparing financial statements. Later,

By remaining impartial and free from external pressures, CPAs can objectively assess and report on the financial health and performance of organizations.

the same audit firm is responsible for auditing those financial statements. The self-review threat arises because the audit firm is essentially reviewing its own work.

2 Advocacy threat

An auditor actively promotes the client’s interests during an audit. For instance, the auditor may overlook material misstatements or provide favorable interpretations of accounting standards to benefit the client.

3 Adverse interest threat

Imagine a situation in which an auditor is investigating a company’s financial fraud. The company’s management, aware of the investigation, tries to influence the auditor to downplay the fraud’s severity. The adversarial relationship between the auditor and the client creates an adverse interest threat.

4 Familiarity threat

An auditor has been auditing the same company for many years and has developed close personal relationships with key executives. This familiarity can

25 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
In the ever-evolving landscape of accounting and finance, the importance of independence for CPAs cannot be overstated.

compromise objectivity, as the auditor may be hesitant to challenge management decisions.

5 Undue influence threat

Client management pressures the auditor to issue a favorable opinion on financial statements, even when there are significant issues. The undue influence threat occurs when the auditor succumbs to this pressure and compromises their independence.

6 Financial self-interest threat

An auditor owns shares in the client company or has a financial interest tied to the company’s success. This direct financial relationship creates a threat to independence, as the auditor may prioritize their own financial gain over objectivity.

7 Management participation threat

During an audit, the auditor takes on management responsibilities, such as making operational decisions or signing off on financial transactions. This blurring of roles undermines independence, as the auditor should remain an objective third party.

Independence is nonnegotiable

CPAs must be vigilant in identifying and mitigating potential threats. Implementing robust policies and procedures, maintaining professional skepticism, and adhering to ethical standards are essential steps in safeguarding against conflicts of interest and upholding independence.

The AICPA, as well as regulatory bodies such as the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board imposes stringent requirements on CPAs to maintain independence, particularly in the context of auditing public companies. These

standards are designed to enhance the reliability and accuracy of financial reporting, protect investors and promote confidence in the capital markets. Noncompliance with independence regulations can lead to severe penalties, legal repercussions and reputational damage for both the CPA firm and its practitioners.

This article began with a story of Mattel executives who conspired to falsify financial records in the 1970s. Unfortunately, in October 2022 Mattel was in the news again for misstatements on its 2017 third- and fourth-quarter financial statements. Mattel agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle charges relating to the misstatements. At the same time, the SEC moved forward on litigation against a former external audit partner to determine whether they engaged in improper professional conduct and violated auditor independence rules.

In the ever-evolving landscape of accounting and finance, the importance of independence for CPAs cannot be overstated. It is the bedrock of trust, the cornerstone of ethical practice, and the foundation upon which the profession stands. By upholding independence, CPAs reaffirm their commitment to integrity, transparency and professionalism, thereby safeguarding the interests of clients, stakeholders and the public at large. In a world where financial information is paramount, independence remains nonnegotiable for CPAs striving to uphold the highest standards of excellence and trustworthiness.

Kathy Enstrom, MBA, EA, is director of investigations at Moore Tax Law Group, a boutique tax controversy law firm based in Chicago and New York. She has 27 years of federal law enforcement experience in tax and financial investigations. Contact her at 312-549-9990 or Kathy.Enstrom@mooretaxlawgroup.com.

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The Cybersecurity Framework

Gets a Facelift

NIST CSF 2.0 brings new content to broaden its audience and new tools to help ease implementation.

In 2013, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began development on a program to help private-sector businesses better understand, manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. That effort, geared for organizations that were part of the United States’ critical infrastructure, resulted in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). In February of this year, version 2.0 of that framework was released.

The NIST CSF wasn’t the first framework targeting information systems, not even within the NIST itself. NIST SP 800-53 has been around far longer, and it’s designed to help organizations establish security controls for federal information systems. But for small and medium-sized organizations, 800-53 can be intimidating because of its complexity and sheer size. This is where the CSF fits in. The main focus of the CSF now is to help businesses of any size, any sector and any level of complexity manage and reduce risk.

On Balance May | June 2024 28 wicpa.org { Technology | Cybersecurity }

Here is how version 2.0 has been changed to help put the CSF into practice — for all organizations:

The sixth function: Govern

There were five functions prior to the update, representing the key pillars that make up a complete cybersecurity program. All functions relate to each other, and each function has specific categories and subcategories that describe the specific controls or actions to implement.

The sixth function, Govern, addresses the need to establish and maintain processes that support the overall information security program’s development and enforce its requirements. Notice in the charts how NIST depicts this function as a ring inside the other five. This portrays how all other functions rely on governance for their continued support and development:

Govern (GV) looks at how an organization assesses cybersecurity risk, assigns roles, provides oversight and develops cybersecurity related policy. It is divided into the following six categories, each of which has a variety of subcategories:

1. Organizational Context (GV.OC): Five subcategories addressing risk management

“ All functions relate to each other, and each function has specific categories and subcategories that describe the specific controls or actions to implement.

2. Risk Management Strategy (GV.RM): Seven subcategories measuring how risk is measured and applied to decisions made by the organization

3. Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities (GV.RR): Four subcategories addressing what positions are implementing and enforcing various controls

4. Policy (GV.PO): Two subcategories about how policy is established, communicated and enforced

5. Oversight (GV.OV): Three subcategories addressing how the risk management strategy is updated and adjusted

6. Cybersecurity Supply Chain Risk Management (GV.SC): Ten subcategories on risk management in the cybersecurity supply chain

29 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

Controls are identified under their functions and categories. For example, the subcategory “Cybersecurity is included in human resources practices” is the fourth item under Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities. It would have the designation GV.RR-04. In total, there are 31 new controls to consider as part of the Govern function.



Reference tool

One very useful tool that doesn’t look like much at first glance is the NIST CSF 2.0 Reference Tool, located online at https://csrc.nist.gov/Projects/cybersecurity-framework/ Filters#/csf/filters.

In prior versions, NIST provided a spreadsheet version of the entire framework. With this new tool, you can modify the framework before exporting a spreadsheet version. For example, if you want to cross-reference the controls with the Center for Internet Security’s guidance or just want CSF items that apply to a specific NIST family, both can be accomplished with this tool.

One of the most useful for organizations that have not yet adopted a framework (or are just beginning the process) is the Small Business Quick-Start Guide.

Whether you are an auditor looking for an audit program or an implementor of the framework controls, this tool puts the framework at your fingertips.

Quick-start guides

There are a number of guides that can help organizations adopt or improve their adoption of the framework. One of

On Balance May | June 2024 30 wicpa.org
{ Technology | Cybersecurity }

the most useful for organizations that have not yet adopted a framework (or are just beginning the process) is the Small Business Quick-Start Guide. This guide helps organizations move from having unorganized policies and procedures to developing cybersecurity efforts that will support the formal adoption of the NIST CSF 2.0. This guide can assist organizations of any size as an onramp to the NIST CSF. It can be accessed directly at https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.1300.

Community profiles and implementation examples

If you are looking for examples of how other organizations are utilizing the CSF, NIST provides two great resources:

Community profiles: These profiles detail how the CSF is utilized by multiple organizations in a community. The NIST National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence has worked with communities to develop community profiles for a variety of use cases. The goal is to help organizations understand how their peers are leveraging the framework. These profiles are available for versions 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 of the CSF and can be viewed at https://www.nccoe.nist.gov/ examples-community-profiles.

Developing your own organizational profile will help define the current state and the ultimate target state of your cybersecurity posture. In a profile, you can define, tailor, assess, prioritize and communicate outcomes by considering an organization’s mission objectives, stakeholder expectations, threat landscape and requirements. This will allow you to prioritize actions and better utilize resources. Guidance for developing this profile is available at https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.1301.

Implementation examples: If you are looking for more detail than the profiles offer, these examples can give more of a step-by-step look at how other organizations have implemented the CSF. Many organizations with different needs, different sizes and different goals use the framework. These examples can help organizations find a similar use case, and they provide the early adoption steps that can help overcome the initial hurdle in adopting a framework.

Continuing support

This update to the CSF represents a major milestone in NIST’s support of the framework. After its initial publication in 2014, the CSF was updated in 2018 to version 1.1; version 2.0 makes the framework much more adoptable to

Ultimately, the CSF framework should be viewed as a flexible resource that can help organizations enhance their overall cybersecurity maturity.

organizations of many sizes and technical complexity. More importantly, it signals the importance of the framework to NIST and indicates that the tools developed to assist in implementing the CSF will continue to improve.

Ultimately, the CSF framework should be viewed as a flexible resource that can help organizations enhance their overall cybersecurity maturity. Version 2.0 adds depth and, more importantly, tools that can help organizations in their mission to better protect their information assets.

Jeffrey T. Lemmermann, CPA, CISA, CITP, CEH, is an information assurance auditor and consultant at SynerComm Inc. in Brookfield. Contact him at 262-373-7100 or jeffrey.lemmermann@synercomm.com.

31 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

Crypto Attestation

Updates and Trends

As the FTX trial got underway in October 2023, with all of the headlines and stories that it pushed to the front page, one question also returned to the conversation: How exactly did this happen? And because FTX had audit engagements with two firms — Armanino and Prager Metis — as well as employed two of the Big 4 to perform various accounting and tax services, the question becomes even more pointed. The fallout for both audit firms has been severe, with Armanino having exited the blockchain audit business altogether and Prager Metis currently being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) due to

involvement with the FTX audit. In addition, the Office of the Chief Accountant at the SEC issued what has been construed by some practitioners as a warning against offering audit and attest services to crypto firms.

Coupled with the decline in market prices for cryptoassets at large, including recent opinions that 95% of the non-fungible token market is worthless, the outlook for crypto attestation might seem bleak. On the other hand, there are multiple stories and trends that offer a more optimistic outlook, both for the space at large and for more consistent and applicable auditing standards. Several of the largest financial institutions in the world, including Blackrock, JP Morgan and Citi, have all recently filed for certain crypto products to be approved, expanded existing blockchain and tokenization offerings, or launched tokenized payment options for clients. In addition to these developments, there has been beneficial news on the accounting front as well with the Financial Accounting

On Balance May | June 2024 32 wicpa.org
{ Accounting & Auditing | Crypto attestation }

Standards Board preparing to pass the first crypto-specific accounting codification by the end of 2023.

With all of that in the marketplace, there are two specific things that practitioners seeking to provide audit and attestation services to clients in the crypto space, now or in the future, need to keep in mind as the conversation continues to progress.

Stablecoins will drive attestation improvement

As noted above, there are multiple large financial institutions investing heavily in developing and launching blockchain and cryptoassets, so this clearly means that the market expectation will be for more transparent and real-time accounting data. This is not to mention the developments at PayPal, namely the creation and issuance of a stablecoin (PYUSD on the stock exchange) that is available to more than 400 million customers worldwide. A stablecoin issued and backed by a payment processor that has household name recognition is almost guaranteed to increase the ubiquity of stablecoin transactions in the marketplace.

Additionally, stablecoin transaction volume exceeded that of Mastercard and PayPal in 2022, which also is a clear sign that crypto transactions are here to stay. Lastly, with the Gen Z cohort expressing substantial interest in receiving at least a portion of salary in crypto, the volume of crypto transactions (even if Bitcoin remains relatively subdued) looks set to continuously increase over the coming years.

With this increase in transactions, the need and expectation for real-time and accurate attestation will also grow; practitioners are well situated to take advantage of these trends.

Controls will play a large role in attestation

Although the distinction between audits and attestation engagements are important to keep in mind, internal controls and the control environment are crucial to all work related to establishing the accuracy of accounting data. As cryptoasset transactions continue to increase in both volume and number of potential users, here are a few things that practitioners should keep in mind:

4 Wallet management: Hot wallets and cold wallets might seem like rudimentary areas to focus on for experienced users, but with new users, these are topics worth revisiting both in terms of client education as well as cybersecurity considerations.

4 Multi-signature access: One control that can help prevent misappropriation of assets is a multi-sig wallet, requiring multiple individuals within a firm to mutually authorize large crypto payments.

“ There are multiple large financial institutions investing heavily in developing and launching blockchain and cryptoassets, so this clearly means that the market expectation will be for more transparent and real-time accounting data.

4 Exchange to payment mapping: One common pain point in the crypto accounting space is the mapping of exchange balances and transactions into existing accounting ERP systems. This is often where errors, mislabeling and the potential for theft are highest.

Practitioners would be well advised to keep all of these factors in mind when either educating themselves about crypto attestation or seeking to engage with clients on these issues.

Dr. Sean Stein-Smith, CPA, DBA, CMA, CGMA, CFE, is a professor at the City University of New York – Lehman College. Contact him at sean.steinsmith@lehman.cuny.edu.

Reprinted from the Winter 2023–24 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine and used with permission.

33 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

Financial Wellness:

A Strategic Approach to Employee Retention and Productivity

On Balance May | June 2024 34 wicpa.org { Human Resources | Employee benefit plans }

As a retirement plan specialist, I have seen firsthand the impact of financial stress on employees. The anxiety and worry stemming from personal finance issues can significantly lower productivity and even cause workers to delay retirement. This issue creates a dual challenge: Not only can it negatively impact employees’ quality of life, but it also imposes higher costs on companies for salaries, health insurance premiums, and attracting top talent.

Nearly eight out of 10 (78%) employees say it’s important for their employers to offer financial wellness resources, and an overwhelming 82% believe that access to these resources helps reduce their financial stress. Furthermore, 78% would be more likely to stay with an employer who offers financial wellness programs, and 70% say access to financial wellness resources increases their productivity at work.

Given these statistics, it’s clear that providing financial wellness resources is not just an add-on employee benefit — it’s a strategic necessity for any organization looking to retain talent and boost productivity.

Launching a financial wellness program

Financial stress can have far-reaching implications for both employees and employers. But with the right resources and support, it’s a challenge that can be effectively managed. To establish a comprehensive financial wellness program for employees, consider the following steps:

Define objectives: Identify the program’s goals, taking both organizational needs and employee preferences into consideration. This may involve addressing specific financial challenges, such as retirement planning for baby boomers, student loan relief for millennials and Gen Xers, or enhancing overall financial literacy. Conduct anonymous surveys to gather employee input and ensure their needs guide program development.

Understand demographics: Analyze workforce demographics to tailor the program effectively. Whether your employees consist predominantly of baby boomers or millennials will influence the selection of financial topics and strategies.

It’s clear that providing financial wellness resources is not just an add-on employee benefit — it’s a strategic necessity for any organization looking to retain talent and boost productivity.

Choose a provider: Engage a reputable vendor to deliver the program. Selecting an impartial vendor ensures employees receive unbiased financial education while maintaining confidentiality. Conduct thorough research to identify a vendor that aligns with your fiduciary responsibilities and organizational goals.

Develop a communication strategy: Implement a robust communication plan to promote the program. Inform employees about the initiative well in advance, emphasizing its benefits and purpose. Handle communication sensitively, acknowledging that financial matters can be delicate for many individuals.

1 John Hancock. “Financial Stress Survey.” 2023.

35 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

Additionally, monitor shifts in attitudes toward money and potential improvements in productivity, recognizing that these changes may take longer to manifest.

By following these steps, you can establish a comprehensive financial wellness program that addresses the diverse needs of your workforce and promotes overall financial well-being.

Not all programs are created equal

When comparing programs, it is important to look for a partner that can offer four key elements:

Fiduciary advice: Seek partners that offer impartial advice on financial matters. Whether it’s retirement planning or investment strategies, choose services that prioritize your employees’ best interests.

Personalized attention: Financial wellness is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Look for support services that can be personalized to suit individual needs and circumstances. Customized advice and ongoing support can make a significant difference when empowering employees to make their own informed financial decisions.

One-on-one experience: Emphasize the importance of personal interaction in any support program. Ensuring employees have access to one-on-one guidance fosters trust and engagement. This personalized approach can greatly enhance participation and overall program effectiveness.

“ Investing in your employees’ financial wellness is an investment in the health and success of your organization.

Comprehensive resources: Access to a diverse range of financial education and resources is key. From budgeting to estate planning, providing employees with a broad spectrum of tools and information empowers them to navigate various financial challenges confidently.

Investing in your employees’ financial wellness is an investment in the health and success of your organization. By prioritizing the principles outlined here, employers can effectively support their employees in managing financial stress and building a more secure financial future.

Manuel Rosado, MBA, is president of Spectrum Investment Advisors in Mequon. He has been in the investment management and retirement plan industry since 1999 and is a member of the firm’s investment committee. Contact him at 800-242-4735 or mrosado@spectruminvestor.com.

On Balance May | June 2024 36 wicpa.org
{ Human Resources | Employee benefit plans }

Adam H. Acker UW–Madison

Shannon I. Adams

Matthew J. Arend

James M. Baldwin Lincoln High School

Donna Barrette U.S. Bancorp Fund Services LLC

Ethan F. Blomquist Western Governors University

David E. Braden Landmark Credit Union

Ashley Brown

Robert W. Baird

Jessica Caldwell Seeq Corp.

Bryant B. Carlson CLA

Virgeen M. Carlson GEM Ventures Ltd.

Matthew Diorio UW–Milwaukee

Madison T. Dzioba Tushaus & Associates LLC

Kylie M. Ellis

Jacob H. Farness Schumacher Sama LLP

Peter A. Floryance

Alicia Fosbinder Gordon J. Maier & Co. LLP

Tracy A. Foster Maranatha Baptist University

Beth M. Frazer Kerber Eck & Braeckel LLP

Christopher Fredrickson Ernst & Young LLP


February 1, 2024 – March 31, 2024

Jacob D. Frey Wipfli LLP

Laney K. Fuchs Lincoln High School

Ronan L. Garrett Holmen High School

Emma C. Germain

Stephanie M. Gnadt Scribner Cohen and Co. S.C.

Keaton J. Gomoll UW–Stevens Point

Mira C. Growel Slinger High School

Derrick Hahn KPMG LLP

Michael Hannon CLA

Samuel J. Harmer

Eric J. Hermsen BDO USA P.A.

Grant E. Jakubowski

Peter Johnson BDO USA P.A.

Keri A. Jones Marquette University

James M. Kattner

Nathanial Kerr Batteries Plus

Madison S. Khang Lincoln High School

Ntsaaab S. Khang Lincoln High School

Andjela Kresanovic

Lorin M. Kuester Chippewa Valley Technical College

Jason Kumpula

Brandon Lange Microsoft Corp.

Lucy Lee-Yang Waukesha County Technical College

Zlata Lekic

Eugene Marshall Magnolia Tax Services

Ann Martinek CLA

Steven Mason Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Madeleine I. Mayer CLA

Madeline McDonald KPMG LLP

Alaina E. Miller Lincoln High School

Rebecca A. Minz Chortek LLP

Jamie M. Moe Wipfli LLP

Aaron Natvig CLA

Brandi R. Neidlein Lincoln High School

Nathan W. O’Connell Scribner Cohen and Co. S.C.

Cameron E. Packwood Engelson & Associates Ltd.

Andrew Portale

Carrie L. Racine

Mckenna M. Radtke Lincoln High School

Alexandra A. ReadingBrown KPMG LLP

Benjamin Revie KPMG LLP

Sean M. Roenius Lincoln High School

Noah Schmidt KPMG LLP

Jamie Schmitz

Tomah High School

Elisa Shoemaker Clinton High School

Lemlem H. Sima

Wisconsin Department of Revenue

Jaspreet Singh

Natalee L. Sparhawk Lincoln High School

Shaylin Stemper UW–Stevens Point

Brittany C. Sterling

Rachel L. Swanson CLA

Anthony C. Tinder Jr. Tinder Financial Services LLC

Brock A. Titus Hayward High School

Haruki Toben RitzHolman CPAs

Alex J. Tordoff Kerber Eck & Braeckel LLP

Jasmine M. Vang Lincoln High School

Anberlin H. Vick Beaver Dam High School

Kayla Viney Shared Medical Services

Brandon J. Wagner CLA

Michael P. Wasmund KPMG LLP

Abe B. Wegner McFarland High School

Mackenzie Zambon CLA

Maya L. Zeman Lincoln High School

Tyler J. Zenisek KPMG LLP

37 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
Get to know the newest members of the WICPA.


Did you know that the average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during a 24-hour period? That is a lot of information to absorb. Fortunately, there is a difference between hearing and listening

Hearing is a biological function like breathing or blinking, and it happens whether you are consciously telling yourself to do it or not. Listening is a mental process that requires thought, effort and practice. Most of us have the ability to hear, but far fewer have the ability to listen and listen successfully. This article will give you an understanding of the importance of good listening skills and provide some simple yet effective tools to help you build them.

Most of us have the ability to hear, but far fewer have the ability to listen and listen successfully.

Listen to understand

For many of us, the weakness in our listening skills is that we do not listen with the intent to understand — we listen with the intent to reply. When we listen with the intent to reply, we generally are not listening; we are formulating our response while the other person is still speaking. And it is difficult for us to listen and think of our response at the same time.

On Balance May | June 2024 38 wicpa.org { Professional Development | Communication skills }

Listening takes practice, and from my experience, not much attention is being paid to listening skills in the workplace today.

We talk at about 125-150 words per minute. Our brains, which can process much more than that, get bored and start to fill in the gaps. But we can train our brains to focus and listen instead of daydreaming and allowing our minds to wander.

Keep an open mind

In addition to focusing, keeping an open mind is a helpful tool when we are listening. If someone says something we don’t agree with, we tend to shut down or, again, to formulate our response while the other person is still speaking.

If your client or a co-worker says something you don’t agree with, what do you do? Do you allow them to finish, or do you stop listening and start to list the rebuttals in your head?

In your next communication exchange with someone, check yourself multiple times throughout the conversation to make sure you are not closing your mind to their comments.

Be considerate

Interrupting is another major issue in today’s communication. More often than not, I see people interrupting each other, not allowing the person they’re speaking with to finish their thoughts. What are you really telling someone when you interrupt? First of all, you are telling them that what you have to say is more important than what they are saying.

Additionally, you are telling them that you really don’t care what they think. How tragic this is if you are communicating with your client. Please — don’t ever let your clients think that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say!

Clarify with questions

Another tool you can use to improve your understanding is to ask questions. For example, if a client is telling you about something that is pertinent to your business together, make sure to ask them to go into more detail. My favorite three words are “Tell me more.” Most people enjoy talking about themselves, and asking questions gives you an opportunity to dig deep and listen to what they are saying.

Repeat to understand

If you really struggle with your listening skills, one of the best tools you can use is to repeat back to the person what they just said. For example, “If I understand what you just said, it was …” This does two things for you:

1. It gives the person speaking the feeling that you respect them and really care about what they are saying.

2. It forces you to listen so well that you must repeat their words back to them, which almost always gives you a better understanding of what they are saying.

In case you think listening is not important, consider this: The U.S. Department of Labor revealed that 46% of those who quit their jobs did so because they felt they were not listened to and, therefore, not appreciated. Employee turnover can be very costly to an organization.

At the end of the day, we are in control of our listening skills. I know that, for me, the more time I invest in practicing my listening skills, the more successful my communications are. I hope that you will try at least one of the tools mentioned in this article — and notice the difference it makes in your life and your relationships.

Dave Molenda, TDC, TDFC, TEQC, is the owner of Positive Polarity LLC in Milwaukee. Contact him at 414-322-2358 or dave@positivepolarity.com.

39 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org


Joining a WICPA committee or serving on a board is a great way to network with like-minded individuals, sharpen communication abilities, gain leadership skills, form business relationships and friendships and strengthen your brand. They are also ways to “give back” to the profession that has given you so much. Sharing your talents as a volunteer enhances the CPA profession while helping others achieve ambitious goals. You can receive CPE credit when you attend a meeting — and you can attend in person or by video conferencing, so you can be involved wherever you are and whatever your schedule. For more information about committees and to join one, contact Tammy Hofstede, WICPA president & CEO, at tammy@wicpa.org.


Chair: Ryan Hanson, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Pekin Insurance

The WICPA board of directors provides strategic governance in accordance with the WICPA strategic plan, mission and vision. The board ensures the WICPA serves the diverse needs of members, enhances professional competency, promotes the value of members and the profession, advocates on behalf of the profession and builds community among members.


President: Paul Frantz, Partner, Baker Tilly LLP

The WICPA Educational Foundation plays a pivotal role in supporting programs to improve awareness and perceptions by educating students and educators about the exciting opportunities available to accounting professionals.



Gary Schmid, Retired, F.I.R.E. New Market Tax


The Accounting & Auditing Conference Planning Committee provides CPAs and financial professionals in public accounting, industry and government — and their staff — with information on current changes and timely issues in auditing standards, FASB, GASB, governmental managing, improving data and document workflow, and accounting and financial reporting. Training in technology and soft skills is also offered at the conference. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.


The Accounting Careers Committee promotes, educates and excites students about the changing roles of a CPA and the unlimited career opportunities.


Chair: David Schlichting

The Accounting Higher Education Committee consists of educator representatives of Wisconsin colleges and universities that have accounting programs intended to qualify graduates to take the CPA Exam and obtain a CPA license. The committee has provided a forum for educators to network; share information; learn about each other’s institutions and programs; and serve as a resource to Wisconsin legislators, regulators and other policy makers.


Chair: Carver Smith, Managing Partner, Truity Partners

The Business & Industry Fall Conference provides CPAs, CEOs, CFOs, controllers and accounting staff in industry, public accounting, government, education and nonprofits updates on current issues and tax implications affecting various areas of business and operations, human resources and IT, as well as new and improved ways to manage a changing workplace. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.


Chair: Christopher Cholka, Controller, Cousins Subs

The Business & Industry Spring Conference provides CPAs, CFOs, CEOs, controllers and accounting staff in industry, public accounting, government, education and nonprofits updates on current accounting and tax implications affecting various areas of business and operations, human resources, IT, as well as new and improved ways to manage a changing workplace. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.

On Balance May | June 2024 40 wicpa.org { Member Benefits | Committees }


Chair: Marcia Tillett-Zinzow

The annual On Balance Editorial Advisory Committee meeting is an opportunity for members to critique content published in the magazine and contribute ideas for article topics. Members are encouraged to share issues and trends affecting their businesses, clients and the accounting profession. Feedback is used to help plan the editorial calendar. The meeting sometimes results in committee members being asked to write articles on specific topics in which they have expertise. During the year, members may be called upon to contribute topic ideas for specific issues of the magazine.


Chair: Barry Sattell

The Ethics Committee oversees the effective regulation and enforcement of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.


Chair: Lucas Petzold, Tax Leader, Kollath CPA

The Federal Taxation Committee regularly engages in dialogue with the IRS, discusses new developments in federal taxation matters and keeps WICPA members informed of new developments in tax authority, practice and procedures.


Chair: Lucien Beaudry, Equity Shareholder, ReinhartBoerner Van Deuren s.c.

The Finance Committee oversees the financial activity of the WICPA, including the annual budget, audit, investments and net assets.


Chair: Wendy Peters, Retired, Kohler Credit Union

The Financial Institutions Conference covers a variety of specialized topics that include regulatory and legislative updates, compliance issues and the latest economic conditions that challenge both larger and community-based financial institutions. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.


Chair: Mark Bichler, Business Education Teacher, Port Washington High School

The High School Educator Committee is relatively new. It was formed in 2020 to provide a forum for high school educators to discuss accounting in the classroom and engage WICPA members to promote the profession at their schools through career fairs, speaking in the classrooms and providing input on topics for the Educator Accounting Symposium. The committee consists of educator representatives from Wisconsin high schools that have accounting and/or business programs.


Chair: Jessica Horning, CFO, Milwaukee Catholic Home

The Not-for-Profit Accounting Conference provides all levels of financial professionals in nonprofit and health care organizations with the knowledge, insight and strategies to use when facing accounting and financial challenges specific to their organizations with topics including tax-exempt issues, fundraising and risk management. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.


Chair: Jeff Dewane, Controller, Vinton Construction Co.

The Public Policy Committee is vigilant in monitoring public policy issues that impact the profession and in recommending and implementing appropriate actions and responses to our state’s elected representatives and other policy-making bodies.


Chair: Wendi Unger, Partner, Baker Tilly

The School District Audit Conference, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, provides the only training for auditors of Wisconsin public school districts and private school choice program schools. This includes the latest auditing updates, developments and tools they can use to better serve school districts and their communities. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.

41 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org


Chair: Bradley Kalscheur, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

The Tax Conference is the must-attend event of the year for accountants, lawyers and business professionals who want to broaden their knowledge with the latest Wisconsin and federal tax laws and issues. This two-day conference appeals to professionals with all levels of experience, including CPAs in industry and public practice, as well as practicing attorneys, corporate counsel and business and financial managers. Those who attend the planning meeting, find a presenter or introduce a speaker at the conference receive complimentary conference registration.

Chair: Holly Hoffman, Owner, Sales & Income Tax Advisory Network LLC

The Wisconsin Taxation Committee regularly engages in dialogue with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, discusses new developments in Wisconsin taxation matters and keeps WICPA members informed of new developments in Wisconsin tax authority, practice and procedures.


Chair: Victoria Thayer, Founder, Novii CPA LLC

The Young Professionals Committee is focused on inspiring students to enter the accounting profession by promoting engagement, networking, attending events and speaking to students in high schools and colleges. Through their involvement in these activities, committee members contribute to maintaining the talent pipeline for the future. TAX CONFERENCE PLANNING COMMITTEE


Educate lawmakers about the issues impacting Wisconsin CPAs.

Strengthen the voice and visibility of the WICPA and its members.

Ensure a healthy business climate for CPAs and the clients you serve.

Support the election campaigns of candidates who support our issues.

On Balance May | June 2024 42 wicpa.org
{ Member Benefits | Committees }
Learn more
a contribution
and make
at wicpa.org/cpaclif
Contributions to the WICPA Political Action Committee (CPAC) and Legislative Involvement Fund (LIF) allows the WICPA to:
, we have the power to make a difference.

Accounting Career Awareness in the Classroom

Wisconsin high school accounting and business teachers were eligible again this school year to apply for an Accounting Career Awareness grant from the WICPA Educational Foundation.

The foundation awarded grants to 16 high school accounting and business teachers for classroom projects in 2024. The WICPA Educational Foundation congratulates these educators and thanks them for cultivating the accounting profession in their classrooms. The following are the grant recipients and their projects:

William Boehm, Middleton High School — To bring in the forensic accounting instructor from Madison College to speak about forensic accounting, internal auditing and accounting software tools; and for a post-tax season tour of BDO USA P.A. in Madison.

Sara Burling, Menomonee Falls High School — For 40 junior students in financial accounting to tour KPMG in Milwaukee and hear a panel presentation; and for 30 senior students in managerial accounting to visit Deloitte, where they will participate in handson workshops, tour the office and interact with CPA professionals.

Sandy Davies, Mauston Schools — For accounting and personal finance students to travel to Plymouth to compete in the forensic accounting competition at Lakeland University.

“Once the students were able to get together to discuss the case and look at it together, the thoughts started flowing, and the students were captivated with the task! It was enjoyable for me to watch them “figuring” it out. At the competition, they blew me away with their presentation! Thank you for giving us this opportunity.”

Tina Dilley, River Ridge High School (Patch Grove) — For a field trip to La Crosse to tour the University of Wisconsin campus and meet with accounting professors, to visit Wipfli’s La Crosse office and meet with staff to learn about public accounting, and to tour Kwik Trip corporate headquarters and meet with staff there.

“Our trip to La Crosse made a lasting impact on my students, and I came back to the classroom feeling very energized! The students had many questions, and we had good discussions both during and after the trip. The funds made available enabled us to provide a great experience for our students. Thank you for this grant!”

Stacey Gardiner, Iowa-Grant High School — For a field trip to visit three prominent museums in Wisconsin: the Harley-Davidson Museum (Milwaukee), the Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee) and the National Mustard Museum (Madison), where students will have guided tours of the museums and hear presentations by accountants or financial advisors at each museum. While staying at the Ingleside Hotel, students will also have a presentation by and Q/A discussion with the hotel’s controller.

Stacy Gebhard, Oconomowoc High School — For the accounting class to travel to Milwaukee to tour American Family Field and speak with the Milwaukee Brewers’ finance manager; then to visit Deloitte’s Milwaukee office to learn about the firm’s Deloitte Academy workshops.

“The students had amazing discussions with the business professionals, and I believe they learned a lot from this field trip. Thank you to everyone involved in making this trip happen for these students!”

43 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org
Oconomowoc High School’s accounting class went to American Family Field for a tour and to speak with the accounting/finance department. Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School students visited Wipfli in Wausau to hear from CPAs. Students from Fennimore High School enjoyed a tour at Vortex Optics and had the opportunity to speak the Director of Finance and Accounting with a detailed insight into how the company operates.


Samantha Goss, Fennimore High School — For a field trip to visit several businesses, including Vortex Optics (Barneveld), Epic Systems (Verona), Vitense Golfland (Madison), and the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, where students will speak with representatives of various departments in those businesses, including HR, Sales, Accounting, Finance and Marketing; then to visit MBE CPAs in Baraboo and meet with professionals to learn more about public accounting.

“This trip was a unique opportunity for students in my Accounting I and II courses to gain insight into the vast opportunities in accounting and business-related fields. They had the opportunity to discuss career opportunities with over 20 professionals.”

David Haas, Deforest High School — For a field trip to Milwaukee to visit with Milwaukee Brewers’ accounting staff and then to the Milwaukee offices of Baker Tilly LLP.

“The students learned about careers in accounting and how accounting is used by a professional baseball team. They were impressed to learn that one of the Baker Tilly partners was a Deforest High School graduate.”

Mary Helgemoe, Beaver Dam High School — For a field trip to Milwaukee so students could tour American Family Field and meet with a Milwaukee Brewers CPA to have them discuss with the students their role in the organization, what a typical day looks like, and what type of schooling they needed to get the position.

Angela Ketter, Monona Grove High School — To enable students to experience a digital accounting software used in the accounting industry; and to introduce students to the content of recording transactions, journalizing and ledgering, and creating financial statements using a Monopoly game.

Zachary Lynn, Potosi High School — For a field trip to Madison to tour Wipfli and meet with professionals to learn about careers in accounting and forensic accounting; then tour The Bodgery (maker and development space) to learn how the business is run and details about its business model.

Becky Marquardt, New London High School — For a field trip to Stevens Point to visit and meet with CPA professionals at KerberRose and Sentry Insurance; and to enable students to complete the Brooke’s Books “Intro to Accounting” simulation to learn more real-world accounting tasks and objectives.

Christina Mitchell, Lincoln High School (Wisconsin Rapids) — For two separate trips: one to Lakeland University to compete in the forensic accounting competition and tour the university; the other to visit Kwik Trip corporate headquarters in La Crosse.

“Representatives of the FBI, the IRS, Wipfli and Sheboygan County were the speakers for the day. Students also heard from former and

like outside the classroom and about Lakeland University’s accounting different perspectives.”

Cheryl Muscha, Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School — For a field trip to Wausau to visit the Wipfli office and speak with professionals there as well as tour Great Lakes Cheese headquarters and hear from their accounting staff.

“I would like to extend a huge thank you to the WICPA for giving students these opportunities to learn about careers in the accounting field. Students heard from three accountants of various education levels, two of whom were CPAs. They all worked with clients in different industries, so it was pretty cool for students to hear that. We also toured Great Lakes Cheese in Wausau and learned about private accounting opportunities there.”

Jacob Richards, Northland Pines High School — For two teams of students to compete in the forensic accounting competition at Lakeland University; and for a textbook to supplement a collegelevel accounting class (through Nicolet College) to be used this school year and next.

Chad Roehl, Big Foot High School — For the following field trips throughout the school year: 1) a February trip to Milwaukee to participate in the FBLA Day with the Milwaukee Bucks, during which students toured Fiserv Forum and heard breakout speakers in several locations, including personnel from the Accounting and Finance Department; 2) a March trip to Lakeland University for two teams of students in the college-level accounting course to compete in the forensic accounting competition; 3) a future field trip for accounting and FBLA students to visit SVA Certified Public Accountants in Madison and other local businesses.

On Balance May | June 2024 44 wicpa.org { Educational Foundation | Accounting Career Awareness }
Students from Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School attended the Forensic Accounting Competition at Lakeland University and heard from former and current accounting students about the profession outside of the classroom.



Amanda A. Adams

Julie J. Ager

Charles F. Albers

Michael Anger

Thomas R. Auer

Jacob R. Babcock

Carrie T. Baumann

Daniel B. Becker

Brian R. Begalke

Robert D. Belter

Leif E. Bergquist

Danielle Berndt

Michael T. Bier

Rachel E. Blumenshine

Katie J. Bolen-Irwin

Stephanie Brinker

Nicole E. Brown

Cory Brummeyer

Jason Bruner

Hayley Bruss

Kevin A. Buchholz

Alexandra Campen

Shannon R. Campy

Ann M. Cekosh

Jack Clapham

Ryan Coon

Margaret Corlett

Jonathan G. Covek

Matthew D. Curtis

John M. D’Angelo II

Dee L. De Bauche

Caitlin M. De Bruin

Jessica L. DeBack

Taylor Debs

Zachary D. Degeneffe

Dominic J. Demerath

Kimberly D. Dickinson

Sophia Diederich

Aaron Dixon

Sandra L. Dobeck

Krisztina M. Dommer

Kevin Doro

Paul D. Dozier

Amber M. Drewieske

Matthew Durtsche

Matthew Eckert

Tyler Fallahi

Matthew Flasher

Daniel Q. Fochs

Lauren N. Folstad

Kelly A. Friedrichsen

Sydney S. Fritzel

Emily L. Gapinski

Nicole Garcia

Abby L. George

Rebecca M. Goetz

Terri A. Gohlke

David Golden

Todd W. Gray, PhD

Tara M. Greenwood

Brittany R. Greuel

Robert R. Grey

Sara Gross

Kelli Grossman

Adam Guernsey

Derek J. Hammen

Alex M. Hanneman

Adam J. Hanson

Chelsie C. Hardy

Matthew R. Harlowe

Jennifer Hebson

Amanda M. Hein

Mary Helgemoe

Michelle L. Herro

Jason J. Hiatt

Cassidy J. Hickman

Rachel N. Huben

Todd M. Jacoby

Swati Jain

Chad R. Janke

William C. Jolly

Monica L. Jung

Vanessa J. Kane

Ryan Karow

Thomas M. Kegel

Jeremy Keil

Michael A. Kelash

Katherine Kennedy

Kim Kiesow

Angela King

John Kinsella

Bill D. Kocha

Christine Kong

Craig W. Koprowski

Jordan C. Krainer

Andrew P. Krueger

Jaimie Krueger

Kyle J. Kryszak

Sarah LaBerge

Bailey Lambie

Jonathan S. Lapworth

Jay M. Laurila

Kelly J. LaVallee

Brooke Leiterman

Ashley Lemanski

Michael C. Lenzie

Ben Liebmann

David W. Luken

Dana Lutton

Jeffrey A. Mahnke

Tom E. Malone

Melody A. Mansfield

Zachary Mayer

Shannon F. McCarthy

Patrick M. McCarville

Michelle M. McClelland

Jenni L. McIntosh

Emily E. McKillip

Donna M. Mendyke

Derek Merten

Derek W. Meyer

Ryan J. Michalski

Morgan L. Mielke

Rebecca M. Miller

Kristie L. Mineard

Melissa L. Mischler

Sheila E. Moran

Jeremy D. Moritz

Katherine C. Morris

Melanie T. Myhre

Chad Naidl

Keren Nass

*Membership milestones are based on years of membership as of calendar year 2023.

Olin Nelson

William G. Nolan

Chris M. Novoa

Matthew B. Nowak

Alex L. Nysven

Tom M. O’Brien

Ryan G. O’Desky

Nicole J. Olesen

Zachary E. Olson

Brian Palm

Nicole M. Parise

Joseph R. Peterson

Jalissa A. Pier

Noelle M. Poppe

Matthew Prentice

Jennyfer R. Primeau

Michael J. Ratto

Nathaniel R. Redig

Katherine Rieger

Curtis J. Rowe

Katie A. Sam

Jason T. Sands

Leslie A. Sauer

Sara E. Schaefer

Abigail Schmidt

Trenton D. Schmidt

Brett Schneider

Craig Schommer

Phil M. Schultz

Elizabeth Schuman

Preston Schwalenberg

Laura A. Schweitzer

Joshua Seider

Julia D. Sennes

M John B. Silseth

Lindsay Spielman

Erin M. Stanek

Matthew J. Stephanie

Earl John M. Stevens

Alex G. Stewart

Laura Stinski

Jeffrey C. Stoub

Kaitlin E. Teich

Allison Thiemer

45 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org { Member Benefits | Milestones }



Josh A. Thompson

David J. Towne

Katie L. Trzebiatowski

Brandon C. Upton

Kristy Vang

Nicholas P. Vargosko

Andrew T. Wall

Randy Warnke

Rose M. Warren

Bonnie J. Watson

Andrea Weber

Molly Weil

Derek E. Wilber

Austin Willborn

Elle Wolf

Barbara Jo Wolff

HaLeigh Zipperer

Elise R. Zuleger



Julie A. Acker

James A. Antony

Bruce C. Arensmeier

Austin J. Ayers

Eric D. Babler

Stacy L. Baker

Karen A. Behl

Kevin J. Behm

Kathryn Belz

Mark Bichler

Melanie A. Bosar

Joseph W. Boucher III

Jonathan K. Brunette

Matthew R. Buening

Austin P. Burby

Sara J. Burling

Patrick E. Burr

John Calewarts

Amber C. Castro

Michel J. Danahar

Mitch E. Davis

Amanda J. Degenhardt

Kyle R. Dieringer

Geoffrey J. Edwards

James D. Emmerich III

Gregory Eul

Monica Falkenstein

Tiffany L. Faust

Christopher M. Fearn

Ann Fillion

Melissa Fochs

Anthony G. Franda

Douglas C. Freidag

Eric G. Freund

Shaun A. Geracie

Nicholas J. Goeman

Michael J. Gordon

Bradley J. Gratz

Chad J. Hable

Nate L. Hansen

Nicholas J. Heckenkamp

Jared J. Heimerl

Allyson J. Hofstede

Craig A. Huisman

Joseph P. Imhoff

Victoria M. Jacques

Kari Jensen

Anamarie Jezo

Rebecca A. Jordan

Jamie Kernan

Lisa R. Kiefer

Sara E. Kissling

Jacob Kneusel

Leif E. Knudsen

Adam J. Kuczynski

Alexander J. Lackore

Steven P. Lacy

Bryan J. Lehner

Kelcey R. Leitl

Travis R. Lemke

Karryn L. Leong

Erin Lewis

Lisa R. Long

Christopher Malicki

Patrick Malloy

Morgan L. Melka

Christopher M. Morrissey

Kalisa K. Mortag

Rebecca A. Muehl

Krystle R. Nelson

Matthew J. Nitka

Ryan J. O’Donnell

Melanie A. Ott

Anthony H. Palmen

Jennifer J. Porath

Leeann M. Prochaska

James P. Purko

Rhett M. Reuter

John P. Ristow

Kenneth E. Robertson

Kenneth R. Rojas

Alexandra L. Rose

Emily Sager

Erika K. Sawvell

Jared L. Scheunemann

Cassandra A. Schmitz

Lauren R. Schmitz

Miranda L. Schultz

Kristi L. Schwanebeck

Chad E. Shafer

Himanshu Sharma

Philip J. Smith

Brian D. Spielmann

Carolyn J. Thompson

Scott J. Thompson

Ramona Thornton

Eric Tischer

Holly M. Triplett

John Van Den Plas

Andrea M. Virsnieks

Robert R. Weber

Claudia S. Weinberger

Thomas D. Weller

Sara S. Wiegel

Kyle S. Wierzba

Amanda M. Wondra

Robert Zuengler


Heather S. Acker

Inga M. Arendt

Sheila S. Bartol

*Membership milestones are based on years of membership as of calendar year 2023.

Jennifer R. Baumann

Eric D. Bay

Karelyn J. Beck

Kevin Behnke

D. Robin Benson

Donald N. Bernards

Stephen A. Bjork

Andrew D. Brannon

Tammy L. Bues

Troy L. Campbell

Mark D. Carrick

Andrew D. Chmiel

Renise Lori Cohen

Shannon J. Davis

Michele L. DeWitt

Joseph C. Di Giacinto

Cheryl A. Dordel

Jenna M. Dunker

Tammy Earl

Jens D. Emerson

Kathryn Erickson

Jeffrey J. Ersig

William J. Fleming

John M. Folsom Jr.

Lyn M. Gamerdinger

Andrew M. Gigure

Scott R. Gokey

Dustine M. Guillermo

Laura M. Gullickson

Kelly K. Gustafson

Sherry R. Haakenson

Jason J. Haen

James J. Hansen

Phil R. Harrington

Edward W. Hastreiter

Judith A. Haven

Katherine M. Hendricks

Amy L. Henselin

Stephanie K. Imhoff

Elizabeth R. Johnson

Steven C. Johnson

Brenda L. Jones

Robert G. Kapitz

John C. Karsen

On Balance May | June 2024 46 wicpa.org { Member Benefits | Milestones }


Jon J. Kieckhafer

Dawn M. Kirby

Sarah J. Kitsembel

Daniel J. Klun

Laura A. Knight

Todd W. Kostman

Jeffrey T. Ladwig

Wendy L. Landrum

Joseph R. Laur

Debra L. Lenz

Olga E. Lesinski

Evan Y. Lin

James J. Mackey

Linda Malek

Melissa S. Mangan

Pamela A. Meissner

James M. Mortonson

Timothy B. Moy

Patrick J. Ness

Tom J. Neumann

Victoria L. Olsen

Scott T. Olson

Jeff Oonk

Gary J. Opichka

Faith A. Opsteen

Christopher J. Pahl

Brian M. Palicka

Craig D. Peotter

Dawn Peterson

Glendon O. Peterson

Kimberly J. Peterson

Russ Plewa

Jennifer Powers

Gregory K. Ramirez

Susan M. Rammer

Dawn M. Reichert

Karen J. Renner

Matthew S. Rios

Kathy S. Rotta

Keith A. Sadowski

Lisa M. Salo

James A. San Fillippo

Vincent P. Schamber

Jennifer L. Schilling

Mary Kay E. Slattery

Joel Stadler

Jerod J. Steigenberger

David J. Stini

Joan Ann Stuessy

William E. Suttner

Jennifer A. Tebon

Amy M. Thomas

Richard M. Totzke

Mary R. Van Dyke

Lisa J. Van Landeghem

Peter D. Vander Werff

John P. VanderBloemen

Mato Veber

Lucy A. Voell

Robert C. Watson

Mary J. Welch

Amy L. Westfahl

Kirk W. Westfahl

Sarah R. Whyte

Leigh M. Wilkens

Dana J. Wilkerson

Shannon M. Zur


Todd G. Argall

F. Michael Arnow

John A. Bizub

Richard B. Blankenship

Richard M. Bottoni

Gary L. Brochtrup

James T. Budyak

Vicki L. Chappell

Timothy R. Colombe

Gary S. Coyne

Paul G. Denis

Rick E. Dreher

Randall R. Endries

Robert E. Evered

Joseph E. Ferraro

Randall J. Garrity

Robert J. Godin

Linda Gorens-Levey

Scott R. Haumersen

Timothy C. Itzin

Mark C. Johannsen

Jane C. Johnson

Wendy L. Johnson

Kenneth J. Jungwirth

Jay B. Kaun

Claude A. Keshemberg

Kevin J. Klagos

Jay M. Kramer

Michael L. Krentz

Kenneth J. Lardinois

Larry E. Lind

Scott H. Luber

Thomas P. Luken

William G. Martin

Rosalie J. Mendelsohn Leib

James R. Michels

Marie L. Millard

Randall L. Miller

Daniel R. Moriarty

Jeffry A. Neuenschwander

Thomas J. Nichols

Jeffrey N. Nielsen

Timothy L. Olson

Randall J. Pachal

Robert R. Porter

Craig A. Rakowski

Thomas M. Rettler

Theresa M. Ritchay

Torri R. Rockford

Thomas B. Sabol

Karl R. Schmidt

Elaine B. Schmitt

Darlene C. Schnuck

Alan M. Schulman

James G. Slatky

Donald J. Slowik

Marcia J. Slowinski

Carl R. Sorensen

Richard K. Strege

Linda J. Sullivan

Tara L. Sumpter

Rick J. Taylor

Sandra L. Thomas

*Membership milestones are based on years of membership as of calendar year 2023.

Jeffrey A. Tyczkowski

Richard L. Vander Heiden

Larry K. Weiss

Richard M. Whalen


Thomas J. Adamski

James E. Ansay

Virginia L. Baeten

Thomas I. Baker

Robert H. Ball II

Paul C. Bina

Dennis B. Bowen

Richard A. Donkle

David J. Drury

David C. Finkbiner

Byron L. Frenz

Lawrence S. Freschl

Douglas W. Haag

Daniel J. Heerey

William M. Jensen

Dennis A. Kaminski

Arthur E. Kronenberg Jr.

David W. Kuesel

DeLoss F. Main

Dale G. Martin

William O’Loughlin

Wayne E. Olsen

James Piwowarczyk

James D. Potter

Thomas J. Rhoda

Ronald E. Roder

John R. Rottier

Thomas J. Schoenecker

William P. Streicher

Stephen VanderBloemen

Ronald F. Van Dyck

David A. Weinberg

47 On Balance May | June 2024 wicpa.org

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On Balance May | June 2024 48 wicpa.org
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