Small State, Big Impact

aicpaRhode Islanders Standing on the National Stage of the Profession

We may be the nation’s tiniest state, but the Rhode Island Society of CPAs has a big presence within the AICPA. We presently have members serving on a dozen committees, subcommittees and task forces, and one who is a member of the Board of Directors. They help shape everything from standards on personal financial planning, to Women’s Initiatives, to cybersecurity, to ABV mentoring, to auditing and attestation. Our look at the Rhode Islanders who are putting their imprint on the profession’s national stage is timely as many were in attendance at the national Executive Committee Meeting of the AICPA held this fall in San Antonio.

Jacquelyn Tracy. We are most fortunate at the RI Society to have someone as dynamic, productive, and willing to both lead and collaborate on numerous initiatives and events as Jacquelyn Tracy, Partner, Mandel & Tracy, LLP. In addition to serving as Co-Chair of the RI Society’s Women’s Council, and Co-Chair of our Public Communications Committee, Jackie is very involved in the profession at the national level. She currently serves as Vice-Chair on the AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC) which supports and promotes women in the profession. The mission of the WIEC is to advocate for the creation of inclusive environments, increase talent engagement and expand leadership opportunities for women. Members oversee the creation of events, conferences and speaking engagements across the country centered on the topic. “It’s very important to give visibility and leadership to women’s initiatives because unfortunately there is still a very low percentage of women in our profession at leadership levels in firms. The WIEC aims to provide strategies and support to improve that.”

Jackie’s other national involvements include participation in the WIEC ‘s Women’s Global Leadership Summit, which is being held in Chicago this month. She served on the planning committee for a Summit roundtable on work-life balance, and says there is a great line-up of presenters and topics for the 6th annual event.

William R. Pirolli. DiSanto Priest & Co. Partner William “Bill” Pirolli serves on the AICPA Board of Directors as well as the Personal Financial Planning Services Standards Review Task Force. Bill has a national profile in the profession and is a dynamic and in-demand speaker on multiple topics and challenges facing today’s CPA industry. See more on Bill’s perspectives on where things are headed in our It Pays to Know Your Profession article in this issue.

Steven J. Ursillo, Jr. Partner, Risk Assurance & Advisory Services, Cherry Bekaert, LLP, and National Leader, Information Assurance & Cybersecurity for Cherry Bekaert. Steve serves onseveral committees and task forces of the AICPA, specifically relating to technology. Steve is on the Council of Elected Members, the IMTA Cybersecurity Task Force, the Information Management and Technology Assurance Executive Committee, and Service Organization Control (SOC) Reporting Task Force.

A nationally recognized writer, speaker and presenter on issues of cybersecurity and risk, Steve says technological advancements to software and the expanding need to counter cybersecurity threats have made tech expertise a centerpiece issue for the profession. “There has been an increased focus on cybersecurity and information assurance initiatives within the AICPA,” Steve says. “The impact of evolving technologies on the profession makes national awareness and involvement paramount.  Practitioners and firms need to be extremely proactive to sustain the rapid changes affecting our profession going forward.” Steve specializes in risk management, internal control over financial reporting, information system security, privacy, cyber fraud prevention and detection, security and privacy governance, and IT assurance services.

John Barrett. In the area of accredited business value, the AICPA runs two key efforts which include the ABV Credential Committee and the ABV Mentor Task Force, and RISCPA has representation on both of them. John Barrett, of Barrett Valuation Services, Inc., (who chairs our own Committee on Business Valuation) has served on the Accreditation in Business Value (ABV) Credential Committee for the past three years. “The Committee’s focus is to promote the ABV Credential, to set the requirements to obtain it, and develop exam content,” John explains. Task forces help guide the work of the Committee, in particular the ABV Mentor Task Force which he chairs. “I have been on the Mentor Task Force since 2007 and it is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding activities I have been involved in,” says John.

Kevin Papa. In addition to John, Kevin Papa of Piccerelli Gilstein LLP also serves on the AICPA Mentor Task Force and is very engaged with the program. “We help new and prospective ABV’s find answers to their ABV related questions, and that means in some cases I act as a mentor, and in other cases I help place a mentor with a protégé,” he explains. He adds that being engaged with the program requires dedication to a regularly scheduled conference call discussion where the status of each mentor/protégé connection is tracked so that the needed mentoring can occur.

Kevin, who also serves on our own BV Committee, finds the mentoring work rewarding. “I enjoy helping new ABV’s who are eager to develop valuation skills.”

Patricia A. Thompson. Patricia, ofPiccerelli Gilstein LLP, serves on the Relations with the Bar Committee of the AICPA. She says one of the key objectives of the Committee is to collaborate with the American Bar Association (ABA) on issues of shared concern. “We discuss and consider current developments and topics of mutual importance with the objectives of reporting to the ABA and the AICPA on findings and recommendations to promote understanding, improving both professions for the public good and producing educational material for broader dissemination, where appropriate,” explains Pat. The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and the rising role it could play in the profession is on the docket for the Committee in days to come. “Our Committee’s December meeting will cover artificial intelligence and its impact on the professions,” she says. “We will then assemble a report to provide to both organizations to further the discussions on the topic of AI. Future topics will include cybersecurity, digital currencies, blockchain and other topics that may develop before our next meeting.”

Robert A. Mancini. Our own Bob Mancini, President of RISCPA, is very active at the national level too, serving on the AICPA’s Uniform Accountancy Act Committee. Its focus is to monitor regulatory issues including educational certifications and other credentials associated with the profession. “We at the RI Society are most fortunate to have such an impressive group of professionals representing our state within the AICPA,” Bob says. “It’s been a hallmark of the RI Society to have talented and accomplished professionals operating at the national level for our profession, including our own nationally prominent Ernie Almonte, a past AICPA Chair.”


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