Innovative Practitioner Finalists

 

Voting for the Innovative Practitioner of the Year 2017 is now open. Below are our five finalists, whose names were submitted by members of the CPA community and/or the nominee. Please read below and submit your vote by August 18!
 

Innovative Practitioner 2017 Finalists
 

Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced soon.

 

Kelly Johnson, CPA, CFP

National Leader, Business Services & Outsourcing
BDO

Kelly is passionate about technology and is always looking for ways to implement it to improve accounting and financial management. That was the idea behind the creation of BDODrive, a combination of technology and resources that streamlines core accounting functions and offers mobile, real-time access to information. As the driving force behind BDODrive, Kelly is a true revolutionary, pushing the boundaries of firm operations and client services. The platform relies on technologies like Microsoft, Intuit and Bill.com to offer customizable dashboards, greater insight into business performance, continuous collaboration and access to world-class BDO advisers. Its many convenient features include online payments, auto bank feeds and reconciliation, secure document management and customized reporting. BDODrive helps companies run more effectively and make better strategic decisions, all while standardizing processes and enhancing efficiencies. With more than 25 years of experience in accounting, Kelly oversees a team of professionals who provide clients with the customized solutions and infrastructure to achieve operational success. She began her career at PwC LLP as an audit manager, then expanded her accounting skills by working in the corporate accounting division of a global financial services firm and provided advisory services for private wealth clients. Kelly, a CPA in the commonwealth of Virginia, is a member of the AICPA and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

 

Jonathan Kraftchick

Managing Director
Cherry Bekaert LLP

Jonathan has developed an overall strategic plan to prepare people today for the future changes coming in artificial intelligence and machine learning. His actions have led to the development of training programs to educate auditors on what is coming and how to change behaviors and skills through assisting the managing partner of A&A to build a vision of what the firm will look like in the future. He invited a machine learning expert to the CB audit all-hands meeting this past June and is in constant contact with several companies including Thomson Reuters, MindBridge and Tanjo to influence the innovation around integration of AI and machine learning with the knowledge worker and how it will affect today’s auditor. He is passionate about ensuring CB stays at the front end of the changes.

Jonathan is currently running two beta testing projects at CB. They are working with MindBridge directly, as well as Thomson Reuters, on improving their data analytics and machine learning to help set the pace for the future of general ledger analysis and how that will fit into the audit plan. This involves also understanding the current auditing standards and how they might need to change in response. The other project involves working with Tanjo in the development of a robot prototype using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to learn several recent accounting standards. The goal is to then apply those standards to contracts to assist in determining the appropriate accounting treatment.

 

Matthew M. Glatt, CPA, CFP

Founder and CEO
FLP Accounting and Tax, LLC

As founder & CEO, and Cheshire, CT based CPA and CFP® Matt embraces cloud based technology wholeheartedly. Easy access, secure and web-based collaborative communications allow his firm to service clients remotely without losing touch. They use Intacct and QuickBooks Online, Bill.com online payables and receivables, Citrix Sharefile, Skype for Business, Tallie, Pocketsmith, EMoney, and even their Mitel phone system is in the cloud. If a client comes on using QuickBooks Desktop, they use Cloudnine Realtime to host it in the cloud.

Another example is the use of Smartsheet at his firm. They use this fully customizable online platform to track open items with each client and as an evolving timeline for projects and implementations with multiple parties. The result is real-time team collaboration, improved and accessible communications, a reduction in emails, and increased accountability and efficiency that is crucial for forward momentum.

Matt is an avid reader and his staff often listen to audio books by Rory Vaden, Stephen Covey, Don Miguel Ruiz, The Arbinger Institute, Gary Vaynerchuk and Dave Ramsey. He has worked with mentors including the BMRG Group Advisory Program and The Table Group. All members of his firm completed Myers-Briggs personality tests which help his team build and understand the different relationships they encounter personally and professionally...

As founder & CEO, and Cheshire, CT based CPA and CFP® Matt embraces cloud based technology wholeheartedly. Easy access, secure and web-based collaborative communications allow his firm to service clients remotely without losing touch. They use Intacct and QuickBooks Online, Bill.com online payables and receivables, Citrix Sharefile, Skype for Business, Tallie, Pocketsmith, EMoney, and even their Mitel phone system is in the cloud. If a client comes on using QuickBooks Desktop, they use Cloudnine Realtime to host it in the cloud.

Another example is the use of Smartsheet at his firm. They use this fully customizable online platform to track open items with each client and as an evolving timeline for projects and implementations with multiple parties. The result is real-time team collaboration, improved and accessible communications, a reduction in emails, and increased accountability and efficiency that is crucial for forward momentum.

Matt is an avid reader and his staff often listen to audio books by Rory Vaden, Stephen Covey, Don Miguel Ruiz, The Arbinger Institute, Gary Vaynerchuk and Dave Ramsey. He has worked with mentors including the BMRG Group Advisory Program and The Table Group. All members of his firm completed Myers-Briggs personality tests which help his team build and understand the different relationships they encounter personally and professionally. Each employee created a personal commitment and are all working on something unique.

At FLP it’s People + Technology + Process = Systems. The COO states “Providing custom and collaborative solutions really helps to set us apart. We are proactive and entirely scalable by utilizing the newest and best in automation and integration, by eliminating waste in our process flow, monitoring and systematizing. By working hard to stream line the thousands of transactional details we are able to get to the in-depth analysis most small businesses are missing.”

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Michael Lynch

Principal
SC&H

With more than 16 years of experience, Mike specializes in managing strategic and financial leadership tasks, allowing client finance departments to focus on growth, cost cutting, project completion and other strategic tasks. He has grown SC&H’s outsourced account practice from the ground up, starting with the business model, servicing clients firsthand, leading business development efforts and managing a team to support clients’ needs. Mike saw the accounting need for emerging companies in the life sciences and software-as-a-service (SAAS) space and developed a repeatable model that can service multiple clients. The backbone of the model focuses on using technology to automate workflow and transactional processing.

Mike partners with startups and middle-market companies to develop clear financial strategies and lift the finance and technical accounting duties off the shoulders of founders and CEOs. To find these clients and establish this niche, he partnered with various technology incubator programs such as John Hopkins Technology Ventures and referrals from his clients.

 

Adam Hale

Co-founder & CFO
Summit CPA Group

Jody Grunden, CPA

 

Jody and Adam have led Summit CPA Group to not only be a disrupter in the CPA industry by changing the way people think about accounting, but they are also a proponent of Innovation -- the company won the Indiana Society of CPAs' Innovation Award in May 2017. The duo thinks differently, allowing them to successfully lead and be an early adopter of the Distributed/Remote Business Model. 100% of their team of full-time employees are remote and utilize innovative communication platforms such as Sococo and Slack to stay connected. Sococo is a virtual workplace that adds the magic of being on-site to virtual teams by creating the personal proximity and functionality of a physical office in an online experience. It allows for instantaneous video chat and screen sharing. The team does not allow internal communication to go through email; what cannot be addressed in Sococo, is addressed in Slack. Slack has taken over and combined the functionality of email and text, allowing for instant messaging in groups as well as direct messaging. Summit’s use of...

Jody and Adam have led Summit CPA Group to not only be a disrupter in the CPA industry by changing the way people think about accounting, but they are also a proponent of Innovation -- the company won the Indiana Society of CPAs' Innovation Award in May 2017. The duo thinks differently, allowing them to successfully lead and be an early adopter of the Distributed/Remote Business Model. 100% of their team of full-time employees are remote and utilize innovative communication platforms such as Sococo and Slack to stay connected. Sococo is a virtual workplace that adds the magic of being on-site to virtual teams by creating the personal proximity and functionality of a physical office in an online experience. It allows for instantaneous video chat and screen sharing. The team does not allow internal communication to go through email; what cannot be addressed in Sococo, is addressed in Slack. Slack has taken over and combined the functionality of email and text, allowing for instant messaging in groups as well as direct messaging. Summit’s use of technology, arguably, allows Summit’s team members to communicate even better than if they were in a brick-and-mortar office setting.

The team has grown from just two people in 2002 to currently over 40 full-time team members (over half are CPAs) all across the United States and Canada. With the high growth, Summit is looking to potentially add three more to the team during the remainder of the year. This would be on top of the seven team members who have already been added to the team in 2017. The high-quality talent at this point seems endless. Summit receives between 5 and ten resumes a day from extremely talented accounting professionals looking for remote work.In a recent polling of the team, the ability to work from home was the number one benefit Summit offers.

Now let’s talk about the Virtual CFO Services. Virtual CFO Services currently make up about 80% of total revenue. When forming the organization in 2002, they wanted to take a non-traditional approach to accounting. They wanted to be a valued team member to their clients, not just a vendor. They wanted their clients to feel comfortable asking questions without the fear of getting a bill for a 15-minute phone call. To combat this, Summit implemented a bundled approach from the start. Fees for business and personal tax returns, tax projections, tax planning, financial statements, forecasting, weekly CFO meetings, weekly cash flow meeting, back-end accounting services along with anything else the client wanted were bundled into one price and charged to the client on a weekly basis. The fee was perpetual and agreed upon in advance. This process completely eliminated their need to extend credit to their clients –- no accounts receivable. And, more importantly, 100% of the revenue is recurring.

They did not stop at Virtual CFO Services. In 2012, Jody and Adam wanted to test their processes on the audit side. By the end of 2017, they will be on target for performing over 125 401(k) audits all across the United States. Audits have grown from zero to approximately 20% of overall revenue in a period of five years. The audits are performed virtually from a distributed team spread across the United States. Utilizing technology, the Summit team performs the entire audit without ever stepping foot at the client’s location. This was nearly impossible five years ago — why do most CPA firms have to spend countless hours interrupting the day-to-day activity of their clients? The answer is simple; they don’t. Most are simply stuck in the past. With the use of web portals, email and video conferencing, Summit CPA Group can perform the audits any time from anywhere.

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Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced soon.