Name: Kriste Naples-DeAngelo
Firm Name: EisnerAmper LLP
Title: Partner, Pension Services Group
Accomplishments : 30+ years in public accounting. Worked two jobs while raising two kids and passed the CPA exam on first attempt. Frequent speaker on employee benefit plan issues for national webcasts, regional teleconferences and continuing professional educations courses. Instructor of financial services for the Small Business Development Center at Raritan Valley Community College and adjunct professor at Centenary College. Member of the AICPA employee benefit plan expert panel.
As a partner in the pension services group, what are you hearing from clients about their greatest needs and how is your firm helping them?
Clients frequently tell us how important it is for their engagement to be staffed with partners and other professionals with an extensive understanding of the employee benefit plan (EBP) market. In response, EisnerAmper has developed a team of audit professionals who dedicate 100% of their time to the benefit plan industry. The partners and directors in EisnerAmper’s Pension Services Group are fully versed in the intricacies of these entities and can train the staff and managers who they work with to help them become “experts” in this field and develop a true passion for what they do. Learning, reengineering and educating are ongoing processes for the team.
Do you expect your practice area to grow in the next 12 to 18 months?
Yes, absolutely. Our group has a formal marketing and business development plan that anticipates and develops a road map to achieve a regular rate of growth in both number of clients and dollars earned each year.
Any one development or innovation in the employee benefits plan arena that you’re watching closely?
I’m watching two new Accounting Standards Updates (2015-07 and 2015-12). Both are part of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s initiative for simplification and an attempt to reduce the complexity in employee benefit plan accounting. We are monitoring how the industry responds to these new communications and are advising our clients on best practices for implementation. I think these were very much needed and I am hoping that others will follow.
I’m really excited about the opportunities that come from my involvement with the expert panel. Specifically, I look forward to being made aware of employee benefit plan industry issues at the outset and helping the accounting profession address these concerns in an effective manner. Similarly, I see the amazing benefit that my clients and staff will receive with the knowledge I can share about impending regulations and the ability to address them on a proactive basis.
Which leadership qualities best ensure success at EisnerAmper?
One of my favorite leadership quotes is “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others,” by John Maxwell. No one person can handle everything and do it well, so it’s important to build up those around you – by educating them and working together toward a common goal. People who embody a passion for their work and instill that passion in their coworkers have amazing leadership potential. My goal and objective is and has always been to make the people who work with me better and more knowledgeable. And if I haven’t done that…then I have not done my job!
Advice for new CPAs joining the profession?
Take on a variety of engagements so you can determine the work that makes you happy. I began my career doing a number of different things (audits, taxes, reviews, compilations) and I found myself drawn toward employee benefit plans. That magnetism made me want to learn everything I could about the industry. I went to seminars, read articles and talked to referral sources, much of which happened after the rest of my work was complete. If you find a service line that you believe in and enjoy, the hours spent working and learning about what you’re doing will be that much easier.
My profession is accounting and the AICPA is my professional home. The work done by the AICPA volunteer expert panels, such as employee benefit plans, is invaluable to our goal of continuous improvement and the adherence to the highest standards of performance. Serving on the panel is also my way of giving back in time and effort some of what I’ve gained in knowledge over many years.
Know someone else who’d make a good spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.