‘More Listening, Less Talking’ And Other Advice, Challenges, Observations from Top MPs

As we begin 2024, IPA Monthly looks back on the MPs we’ve profiled in 2023 and selected some of the most insightful comments on the state of the profession today, best advice they’ve received, book recommendations and more.

What is the biggest and sometimes missed opportunity for the profession?

Determining the actual needs of clients and answering those instead of offering a pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all solution. – Lisa Shuneson, president and CEO, Whalen & Company

Getting back to basics by protecting and building capacity. I have never met a CPA who wasn’t busy enough and we all complain about not being able to find staff; however, as a profession we continue to accept and retain low-realization work. – Steve Ritchie, MP, Kernutt Stokes LLP

I always say that you must fix first and build later. What this means is that to support growth, you must first identify and address inefficiencies within the organization. – Pritpal Kalsi CEO, SC&H Group

What was the best advice you received as a young up-and-comer in the profession?

Never hesitate to ask for an opportunity. ­– Aileen Eskildsen, CEO, Ellin & Tucker

I think the very best advice I got was to have fun in this profession – to enjoy it. Working with clients can bring a lot of satisfaction, which is why it’s so important to take care of those relationships. – Seth McDaniel, MP, Frazier & Deeter

What advice would you offer to someone entering the accounting profession today?

People move around too much in our profession, always seeking an easy way out and a place where the grass is greener. But we’re often our own worst enemies when we don’t realize that most of our troubles are self-created and will follow us wherever we go. – Lisa Shuneson, president and CEO, Whalen & Company

What book would you recommend to other leaders?

True Professionalism by David Maister – John Kirsch, CEO, Kirsch CPA Group

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear – ­David Levine, MP, Topel Forman LLC

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. – Seth McDaniel, MP, Frazier & Deeter

What is the single biggest challenge facing your firm right now?

We’ve been working on technology solutions and creating new KPIs to measure output so that at some point we don’t have to live and die by the billable hour. – Carla McCall, MP, AAFCPAs

Where do you see the accounting profession in five years? How do you see it changing/developing and/or how would you like it to change?

I think it will be interesting to see the role that AI ultimately plays in this profession – I have mixed feelings about how successful that will ultimately be. – Seth McDaniel, MP, Frazier & Deeter

What I’d like to see is for people to stop talking about the things that have given this profession a less-than-impressive reputation – the hours, the busy season, etc. – and start talking instead about all the cool stuff we do. – Carla McCall, MP, AAFCPAs

How has your role as MP changed since you first stepped into the position?

It has evolved from mostly an administrative role to being the face of the organization to our associates. It also involves more listening and less talking. – Dan Wicker, MP, Cain Watters & Associates

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