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2021 SPEAKERS

Sarah Adkisson, JD, LL.M

Sarah Adkisson, JD, LL.M

Sarah Adkisson is a Senior Tax Analyst at Corvee. Prior to joining Corvee, she worked at Bloomberg Industry Group as a tax analyst and at the Comptroller of Maryland as a Senior Tax Attorney. She received her Juris Doctorate at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and her Masters of Law in Taxation from Georgetown Law Center. She is a barred attorney in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. She resides in Greenbelt, MD, with her husband and two cats.

 

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Sona Akmakjian, CPA

Sona is a certified California CPA with 28 years of experience in transnational tax services and automation.  Experience includes working for state agency administering sales and use taxes, Big Four accounting firm, tax software company and mid-market consulting firms.  Sona has strong skills in areas such as strategic alliances, executive collaboration, M&A due diligence, project and product management with deep industry experience across multiple market segments including specific focus in enterprise segment.

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Andrew Argue, CPA
 

Andrew Argue, CPA, is the CEO and founder of Corvee, a software and solutions company serving tax and accounting firms. At Corvee, Argue works to help tax and accounting firms increase their revenue and profitability through tax planning.

Argue founded Corvee with the goal to create a road map for tax and accounting firms to make the transition from compliance to advisory services. Since then, the company has launched first-of-its-kind tax planning software to give accounting firms and tax professionals the ability to formulate a tax savings calculation, develop a proactive and strategic tax plan and be the trusted advisor clients need.

Prior to Corvee, Argue founded AccountingTax.com (now Corvee) and The Bean Counter (acquired by Roger CPA Review), and worked as an auditor at PwC.

Argue has been named twice on Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting – Ones to Watch list. He has a Master of Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in accounting from University of Tampa. He also holds Series 7, Series 66 and Certified Public Accountant licenses.

 

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Joe Ballantyne

Joe Ballantyne

Joe Ballantyne is the co-founder and Vice President of Sales at Suralink. Since 2014, Joe has been single-handedly responsible for growing Suralink from an idea that started in his brother's spare bedroom to a leader in the industry with more than 650 customers. With more than 10 years of experience selling high-tech solutions, he is a thought leader in both the sales and accounting industries. Joe has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Utah and a Master's degree in Diplomacy and International Commerce from Norwich University.

 

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Aaron Berson, CPA
 

Aaron holds roughly ten “YouTube Diplomas”. Currently, he is studying engineering and mechanics rebuilding his car’s engine. 
 

He enjoys breaking new technologies, reading product roadmaps and FASB guidelines to help him sleep at night. 
 

You will often find him chasing a squirrel or two and attending networking events enjoying nerdy conversation and a glass of Balvenie, neat. 

 

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James C. Bourke, CPA.CITP.CFF.CGMA
 

Jim is a Partner, Member of the Board of Directors and Management Committee at WithumSmith+Brown, is Director of Firm Technology and Managing Director of Advisory Services. Jim has been a frequent speaker around the globe to many Accounting Societies and International Accounting Associations, the AICPA, Industry Technology Organizations, Incubators, Co-Working Locations and others on topics specifically related to various accounting, tax and advisory services topics. 
  

In Jim’s role as Managing Director of Advisory Services, Jim heads-up the Firm’s cloud solutions, business advisory, cyber, data analytics, info-security and transactional services initiatives for the firm.

He is Past President for the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and past Board and Council Member for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Jim has been continually named by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential people in the Accounting profession and has been named by The CPA Technology Advisor as a Top Thought Leader in Public Accounting Technology year after year.

 

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Chris Brown, CPA

For the past decade plus Chris served a variety of clients in Landmark's (largest Arkansas based CPA firm) accounting and audit practice, lead college recruiting for the firm and was heavily involved in the marketing team. Building the culture at Landmark was what he looked forward to daily.  In February 2021 Chris left public accounting to replace the retiring CFO at ACHE, the new medical college at Fort Chaffee in Fort Smith. ACHE is more than just a college. ACHE is creating/developing an entire community which Chris gets to help shape. Chris is also a worship pastor and is married to his wife Magen. They have two little girls, Kinlee & Konner, and another baby on the way.

 

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Jim Buffington, CPA

Jim is a CPA and leads the ProConnect Customer Council, supports Intuit’s E-file Security initiatives, and acts as the Customer Liaison for Intuit ProConnect, where he learns best practices from leading firms to share with the profession. Before joining Intuit, he was in public practice for a dozen years as a partner in an East Texas firm preparing oil & gas tax returns. 
 

Jim used Lacerte & QuickBooks software in practice and loves improving processes and technology to drive productivity and better client experiences. Jim’s passion is helping Tax & Accounting Professionals lead with planning and advisory services to help power prosperity for businesses & families. You can find him teaching Tax Pro courses or in TaxProTalk, a video series for ProConnect customers. Jim is an Aggie, he has been with Intuit ProConnect for 17 years.

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Shayna Chapman

Shayna is the sole member of Shaynaco LLC, a CPA firm whose clients are small businesses and the individual. In addition to the accounting and tax work performed, Shayna works a tremendous amount on technology so that her firm and clients may reach their goals. She also spends a lot of time volunteering on non-profit boards to make her community a better place to live and work. Shayna is a 2012 and 2014 CPA Practice Advisor Magazine Top 40 Under 40, as well as recognized by CPA Practice Advisor in 2014 as one of the twenty-seven Most Powerful Women in Accounting.

 
 
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David Cieslak - CPA. CITP, CGMA, GSEC
 

David Cieslak is a Principal with Arxis Technology, Inc., a computer consulting firm with offices in Southern California, Chicago and Phoenix. He specializes in cloud computing, mid-market ERP accounting software, information security, the Windows operating environment, systems development and project management.

Mr. Cieslak is the past Chair of the AICPA IT Executive Committee and past president of the California CPA Education Foundation. He is an active participant with the CalCPA State Technology Committee. He is past chairman of the CalCPA State Technology Committee, former member of the AICPA Information Technology Practices Sub-Committee and previously served on the Information Technology Alliance board of directors. He is a member of various other AICPA and CalCPA planning committees for courses, conferences and computer shows.

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Alexandra DeFelice

Alexandra DeFelice is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Payne & Fears LLP in Southern California. She has more than 20 years of diverse business development, coaching, and communications experience. Prior to joining Payne & Fears, Alexandra worked for a large regional law firm in Portland, Oregon, where she served as a business development manager for two of the firm’s six core industry groups. She previously served as senior manager for the North American headquarters of an international group of accounting firms. She worked as a journalist for the first decade of her career, including as an editor and reporter for Accounting Today, Accounting Tomorrow, Accounting Technology, Journal of Accountancy and Growth Strategies, a publication of the Association for Accounting Marketing.

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Sean Duncan, CPA

 

Sean founded SMD on the steadfast belief that small business owners want and need advice and strategy to minimize taxes, increase work/life balance, improve cash flow, and plan for the future. He aggressively pushes SMD forward in new and innovative ways to further add value to the lives of small business owners. That sounds like what adults do, right? However, if you get to know him, he’s also the same guy that will eat 20 cookies, wear a Storm Trooper suit of armor at a charity event, don the Mickey Mouse ears at Disney World, throw temper tantrums when the Chargers lose a game, and occasionally go on 15+ hour video game binges. Anyone that has met Sean knows that he is passionate about a lot of things. While the silly sometimes outweighs the serious, those close to him understand his enthusiasm for helping business owners succeed while still focusing on his first job as husband and dad.

 

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James M. Duggan

 

James M. Duggan is a principal of DUGGAN BERTSCH, LLC, a Chicago-based business, tax, estate and wealth planning firm comprised of attorneys and accountants.  Jim’s practice has concentrated principally on business and corporate law, tax, and estate and wealth planning, primarily as they relate to closely held business interests and high net worth families.  Jim’s experience in the structuring and implementation of Family Offices, sophisticated international planning, and asset protection planning strategies is nationally recognized, as is his role in the firm’s development of a leading multidisciplinary planning protocol. 

 

Jim’s educational background includes attaining a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Magna Cum Laude), a Masters in Business Administration in Finance from the DePaul University Graduate School of Business (Summa Cum Laude), and a Juris Doctor from the DePaul University College of Law, where he was awarded positions on both the DePaul Law Review and DePaul Business Law Journal.

 

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Andrew Hatfield - Chief Growth Officer

Andrew leads revenue growth, strategic partnerships, and defining SafeSend’s long-term priorities and
agenda. He is a recognized industry speaker and thought leader, and enthusiast for emerging
technologies that impact tax and accounting firms. Andrew focuses on market dynamics, customer
feedback and needs, and profession trends with an eye toward identifying new pathways to growth. For nearly two decades, Andrew has lent his automation technology expertise and deep domain knowledge of the profession to help create innovative software solutions – each providing exponential efficiency gains for tax and accounting professionals.

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Tate Henshaw
 

Tate has always been obsessed with problem-solving.  It led him to major in mathematics at the University of Georgia, which led him to Polay+Clark.  Whether it's helping design a proprietary royalty database, integrating a cloud-based merchandise fulfillment system for a Grammy-Winner, or running a Net Present Value calculation on a contract proposal for a NBA All-Star, he's yet to come across a problem he can't solve.  He brings this love of efficiency to the cloud accounting landscape via custom-curated ecosystem's for his clients.  This results in additional free time for his passion in music and quality time with his wife and two young daughters.

 
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Roman Kepczyk

Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA is Director of Firm Consulting for Right Networks. Roman is responsible for helping firms throughout North America effectively use information technology and accounting applications by optimizing their tax, audit and administrative production workflows. Roman was named by INSIDE Public Accounting as one of the profession’s Most Recommended Consultants for each of the years from 2005 through 2017, CPA Practice Advisors Top 25 Thought Leaders from 2011 through 2019, and Accounting Today’s Most Influential People in Accounting thirteen times.

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Ed Kless

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting including the Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops. He also facilitated the Sage Leadership Academy, a year-long program designed to assist Sage Software partners develop a continuous process of improvement in their organizations and serves as liaison to the Strategic Leadership Association.

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Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA

Mark Koziel is Vice President – Firm Services & Global Alliances at the AICPA.  He oversees the development, ongoing improvement and delivery of services to members in PCPS/Firm Practice Management as well as International relations with various CPA related groups.  He frequently speaks on CPA issues around the country.

 

Prior to joining the AICPA, Mark Koziel served three years as  Director of Media Planning for a political consulting firm after finishing his twelve year public accounting career in a variety of accounting, auditing and consulting roles at a large local accounting firm in Buffalo, NY. 

 

Mark was an active member of the Buffalo Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs.  Mark was one of the founding members of the Young CPAs committee and served as Chair for two years before being appointed to the Buffalo Chapter Board and serving as President for the 2003-2004 Fiscal Year, one of the youngest President’s in the history of the Buffalo Chapter.  

 

Mark was named one to the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today in 2008 through 2013 and ranked in the top 10 of that list in 2011 and 2013.

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Marty McCutchen, CPA

As a CPA and a Certified Tax Coach, Marty provides proactive tax and financial planning for businesses and their owners. Being an entrepreneur like most of his clients, he understands the issues and difficulties of running a business. Combining his experience as a business owner and almost 20 years of public accounting experience, Marty is able to help business owners achieve their business and personal goals.

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Eric D McMillen


Eric is the CEO and Chief Security Architect with The McMillen Group, LLC in Plano, Texas. He has been providing consulting services for clients in a wide variety of industries for over 25 years. Eric’s primary responsibilities are leading risk assessments, IT control reviews, information security assessments, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments using both cutting-edge technologies and old school techniques for clients in various industries. Prior to forming The McMillen Group, he was a Manager in both the Network Security and Infrastructure practice and the National Information Systems Assurance practice for BDO, LLP, an international accounting and consulting practice; previously, he was the Chief Technology Officer for an international consulting firm, specializing in the Accounting and Professional Services sector.

 

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Jackie Meyer, CPA

Jackie Meyer, CPA is President and Founder of Meyer Tax Consulting LLC in Southlake, Texas, specializing in tax strategy for Execs that provides a high return on investment. As a Certified Tax Coach, she offers concierge tax and accounting services to assist clients with anything from income shifting strategies to managing a family business in QBO. Her virtual team operates from Texas to Hawaii and the firm stays on the cutting edge of technology working closely with industry leaders like Intuit while also being an international Firm of the Future runner up for 2017. Jackie is a proud participant of the prestigious Intuit ProConnect Tax Council for the 2016-2019 years, while also being a top-rated speaker on tax and technology. Jackie's passionate about growing charitable legacies, while spending free time with her two small children, her husband and their two dogs.

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Breanne Murphy


Breanne Murphy is Director of Marketing for the Accountant and Broker Channels at ADP, with specific focus on the small business market. Through a close pulse on the evolving world at work and updates in legislation nationwide, Breanne creates strategic, integrated marketing programs to educate and bring awareness to the accounting community on the many ways ADP can support the success of their firm and clients. She has been in the Human Capital Management (HCM) industry for almost 10 years. Breanne lives in New York City with her husband. 

 

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Jason Parr

Jason Parr

"Parr" has dedicated his career to helping companies find peace of mind when it comes to state and local tax (SALT), especially sales tax. He has been with Peisner Johsnon for 25 years. He currently serves as its President and CEO, and has deep experience with all services offered by Peisner Johsnon. Having "grown up" in the SALT arena, he has gained an expertise on how to navigate the sales tax issues and processes that keep owners, tax professionals, accountants, and CPAs up at night. Peisner Johnson focuses its efforts on helping companies manage sales tax compliance, including sales tax return services, nexus studies/risk assessments, and getting registered properly, as well as, due diligence, audit defense, research, automation, and tax recovery services. Parr lives in Dallas, and he and his wife of 30 years have 6 married children and 10 grandchildren. He enjoys golf, racquetball, ultimate frisbee, and a new favorite - pickleball.

 
 
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Byron Patrick, CPA

Byron Patrick, CPA, is vice president of growth and success at Botkeeper where he works with organizations to bridge the knowledge gap between accounting and technology. As co-writer, Patrick has contributed to the Journal of Accountancy Tech. He is a member of AICPA Council and PCPS Executive Committee and was previously a member of the Information Management and Technology Assurance Executive Committee, the Future of Peer Review task force and the CPA Ambassador program.

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Gail Perry, CPA

Gail Perry is a CPA and the editor-in-chief of CPA Practice Advisor magazine. She has been advising the profession for almost 20 years as an accounting journalist in addition to being a well-known public speaker, trainer, and the author of more than 30 books (including Mint.com For Dummies; Surviving Financial Downsizing: A Practical Guide to Living Well on Less Money; and, most recently, The Idiot’s Guide to Introductory Accounting). Gail facilitates two think tanks for the accounting profession – the Accounting Thought Leader Symposium and the Young Leaders Accounting Think Tank. She is also the creator of Ensuring Success, a unique annual conference that brings leaders of the profession together to offer continuing professional education to thousands of accountants from the comfort of their own offices or homes. Gail is a member of the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee and the creator of a workshop for CPA.com designed to help tax accountants advance their practices to include personal financial planning services. Gail also maintains a small tax practice where she serves real estate agents and performing artists, and she has taught an online financial planning course for more than 10 years. Gail is a graduate of Indiana University where she earned her bachelor's degree in journalism. After returning to school to study accounting at Illinois State University, Gail earned her CPA and worked for Deloitte's Chicago office as a state and local tax specialist. She is a former tax columnist for the Indianapolis Star newspaper, has been a community college adjunct accounting professor, and was on staff for 10 years at the Indiana CPA Society as a computer applications instructor. Gail was the publisher and editor-in-chief of AccountingWEB before joining the CPA Practice Advisor team.

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Carl Peterson, CPA

Carl Peterson, CPA, is Vice President of Small Firms at the American Institute of CPAs. In this role, he serves as the small firm advocate and representative for the profession. In this capacity, he meets with small CPA firms regularly to understand their issues and represent these firms from an advocacy and firm development perspective.

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Keela Ross

Keela Ross

Keela Ross is a director within the state and local tax group and has over 17 years of experience in providing tax consulting and compliance services. She began her career in personal property tax compliance and valuation and quickly expanded her expertise into the areas of unclaimed property and sales and use tax consulting and compliance.

Keela serves the tax needs of various types of organizations within multiple industries including retail, media, information services, financial services and manufacturing companies. She understands the uniqueness of each client and is committed to customizing specific business solutions to help companies overcome challenges and meet their goals.

 

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Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott leads the team at HireEffect™ as Founder, CEO, and Chief People Officer. Moving from corporate roles in Human Resources to becoming a self-employed solopreneur, to owning and running a growing multi-state consulting firm, Jennifer brings a unique view to small business leadership.

Jennifer founded HireEffect™ in 2007 to support small and mid-sized companies in all areas of talent acquisition, including hiring and onboarding. In 2018, after an unexpected curve on the road to success, she expanded HireEffect’s business consulting suite to include outsourced bookkeeping as well as accounting and human resources technology advisory and implementation services.

With more than 25 years of experience working with leaders, Jennifer runs her business with a "People First – Technology Forward" approach. Her specialties include employing Conscious Business and Positive Leadership tools to improve employee engagement and retention and helping companies create and sustain the kind of culture that attracts top talent.

Jennifer leads a virtual team serving the entire US with employees in Texas, New York, Connecticut, and Florida.

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Dr. Sean Stein Smith

 

Sean is a professor at the City University of New York – Lehman College. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, where he chairs the Accounting Work Group. Sean sits on the Advisory Board of Gilded, a TechStars ’19 company and AICPA-CPA.com startup accelerator participant and serves as a Strategic Advisor to the Central Bank Digital Currency Think Tank. He has a weekly column with Forbes, in the Crypto & Blockchain vertical. Sean is also the immediate past chairperson of the NJCPA's Emerging Technologies Interest Group (#NJCPATech), where he hosts the NJCPA TechTalk Podcast, and is the President-Elect of the NYSSCPA Manhattan-Bronx Chapter.  He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, with a book due out in Q4 2021. Sean is a sought-after speaker on the topic of crypto and blockchain and is an award-winning researcher.

Gustavo Suarez

Gustavo Suarez

 

Gustavo Suarez is JPG’s visionary and innovated founder and President. Under his leadership

and risk-taker approach, the company has successfully grown to a BPO (Business Process

Outsourcing) providing Accounting & Finance Outsourcing services to the small business

community in the United States. JPG currently has a presence in the U.S., and Latin America.

 

Gustavo is a committed civic leader actively involved in the Hispanic Small Business community

sharing his story and empowering the next generation of Latino entrepreneurs. He proudly

collaborates with BarkerRipley & PeopleFund (non-profit) with small business accounting & tax

workshops. In 2019, JPG proudly made it to #4 out of 100 fastest-growing companies in the

University of Houston Alumni Cougar100. In 2014, he was selected as an Emerging Leader in

the City of Houston by Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gustavo participated in

the Goldman Sachs 10k small business program, The Small Business Administration (SBA)

emerging leaders, and the prestigious SLEI at Stanford University - Graduate School of

Business. Gustavo is a former Chairman of the board of directors of Graduate Growth

Group (3G). Recently, Gustavo was nominated for Small Business Person of the Year and

Financial Champion of the Year (SBA 2019 Awards).

 

Gustavo’s vision has led him to pursue academic achievements & continue to grow his business

exposure. Gustavo earned a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering at the University of

Houston. His engineering background and project management exposure have been key

components to the operations, processes, efficiencies & construction of business models.

Today, Gustavo holds a portfolio of businesses in accounting & finance, BPO support, real

estate, and construction development.

 

Gustavo is a proud husband of Dasha and father of his 11-year-old Nico for which he works

hard to balance the demands of his businesses, career development, and community

involvement to spend time with his family playing golf, music, and exploring the world.

 

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Lindsay Stevenson


Lindsay is vice president of finance & tax at 1st Financial Bank USA in South Dakota, and the CEO/Founder of Origin Evolution. She is involved in several committees at the AICPA, South Dakota CPA Society, and Arizona Society of CPAs in addition to joining the AICPA General Council in 2018. 

 

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Garrett Wagner - CPA, CITP

As an emerging leader in the CPA landscape and an expert at understanding the new millennial generation, Garrett focuses on monitoring the evolving technologies and best practices in the industry to achieve the highest degree of success without being afraid to break free from traditional methods.

Garrett works with CPA firms across the country helping them to implement lasting change by understanding the unique needs of each organization.

Garrett specializes in corporate taxation and can successfully implement ideas and change by using his communication style to get support from key members of the Firm. With his ability to think outside the box, develop procedures, and train staff it has allowed Garrett to have tremendous success in bringing about lasting change.

Garrett believes that the public accounting landscape is undergoing a tremendous change and that by focusing on developing the next generation of leaders and understanding the shift in the profession to providing value added consulting services, that Firms can obtain long lasting success.

Started the LinkedIn group Innovating Trailblazers to provide support for the next generation of leaders by allowing them to share ideas, frustrations, and support each others growth.

Specialties: CPA, CITP specializing in helping business owners achieve personal and professional success.

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Geni Whitehouse - CPA, CITP

 

Geni Whitehouse divides her time between working as a winery consultant at Brotemarkle, Davis & Co in the Napa Valley and writing, speaking, and tweeting. She believes everyone has something interesting to say and wants to help them say it. She is regular speaker at CPA and Technology conferences around the country and has been named a Top 100 Influencer by Accounting Today, one of 25 Thought Leaders in Accounting, and one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor. But her favorite award was being listed as one of “10 Tweeters worth following” by an accounting publication. She is a member of the TEDxNapaValley organizing committee and was the first speaker at their first even in 2012.

 

She is a co-founder of Solve Services, a remote bookkeeping business for the wine industry and is the author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 ways even a nerd can be heard” which is available on Amazon.com.

 

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