The Center for Accounting Transformation’s Advisory Board for Public Accounting serves to inspire and prioritize our efforts to transform accounting firms.
The purpose of the Advisory Board for Public Accounting is to offer insight on the transformation needs of accounting firms and guide us toward “blue ocean” opportunities and needs.
The guidance provided by this advisory board helps:
- Inform small and mid-sized accounting firms on strategic initiatives to consider for modernizing their practices.
- Identify resources that are already in the market that can help to drive transformation.
- Identify areas where content/guidance is needed.
- Identify new vendors or innovators that help to optimize or transform public accounting practice.
- Help public accounting firms prioritize initiatives to help fill the gaps within their practices.
- Identify key considerations when adapting techniques into the digital world.
- Identify ethical and independence considerations with the adoption of accounting innovations.
- Align the efforts of the Center to complement and elevate the work being done by other industry associations and consultants.
Included in the advisory board’s mission is also the identification of content, courses, consultants, and communities that help to drive the discussion of the topics and identification of leading practices associated with the above topics.
Advisory Board members consist of representatives from various segments of the public accounting community: accounting firms, accounting firm associations, professional associations, local and state CPA associations, and consultants to accounting firms.
The blend of expertise and perspective of this Advisory Board enables us to ensure our solutions are holistic and aligned with the future of the accounting profession.
Sona Akmakjian, CPA
Senior Director, Global Accounting Strategic Partnerships, Avalara
Sona Akmakjian, CPA, is Avalara’s executive leading global accountant partnerships and programs. A CPA with 29 years of transactional tax services and automation experience, Sona is recognized for her deep industry expertise. Her vision is to offer innovative solutions that enable firms to support clients with end-to-end scalable, global solutions. She advocates global, strategic, mutually beneficial relationships with all accounting firms.
Sona has experience in multiple tax segments including Big Four, state agency administering sales and use taxes, tax software, and mid-sized firm consulting.
Victor A. Amaya, CPA
Customer Success Team Lead, AuditMiner
Victor Amaya, CPA, is the Customer Success Team Lead at AuditMiner. Prior to joining AuditMiner, Victor served as the Director of Partner Fulfillment at Botkeeper. Victor also previously owned and ran ClearPath Advisors, an accounting firm geared toward providing small business advisory and tax services, and financial interpretation to drive strategy and growth for their business. Victor’s passion is to advocate for the profession to see technology as an enhancer of services and will help CPAs focus on being trusted advisors.
Victor has served as Chair of the Board for the Colorado State Society of CPAs, as member of the PCPS Executive Committee with the AICPA and a current Member of AICPA’s council. Aside from volunteering within the CPA profession, Victor has served in various non-profit boards, currently serving as Treasurer for Vega Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in Aurora Colorado that helps provide a school of choice to a very diverse population of students.
Jessica Cormier, CPA
Regional Director, North America, Allinial Global
As Vice President of Talent Development, Jessica addresses member needs relating to both human resources and learning and development. A 2014 graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy, Jessica has more than 17 years of experience in business leadership, financial management, and public accounting. She is a 2017 recipient of the Louisiana Society of CPAs’ Women to Watch Emerging Leader Award.
Before her most recent role as director of finance for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, Jessica served as a fraud, forensic, and litigation services manager at Horne LLP, where she led fraud investigations and assisted in litigation support engagements.
Sarah Elliott, CPA, PCC
Co-founder and Principal, Intend2Lead
Sarah’s personal mission is to cultivate more conscious, evolved leaders, which is critical to the future of the accounting profession. Through one-to-one coaching, group learning and consulting with organizations to create coaching cultures, she helps accountants access the Dimension of Possible: the place where fear is no longer the enemy, and love reigns. She is an author, speaker and instructor on coaching and leadership development and an advocate for women in the accounting profession. Sarah also founded the Ellivate Alliance to provide women entrepreneurs the inspiration, practical know-how and like-minded community to accelerate their growth.
Prior to founding Intend2Lead and the Ellivate Alliance, Sarah consistently balanced client service, firm management and industry leadership throughout her career as a practicing CPA. She spent 10 years at PwC, where she performed a two-year rotation in their national office, and retired from her CPA career as the national audit partner-in-charge of a high-growth, regional CPA firm.
Sarah has been recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting by AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor for the past 4 years and one of the Top 50 Women in Accounting by Practice Ignition.
Kari Hipsak, CPA, CGMA
Senior Manager, Firm Services Team, AICPA
Kari Hipsak, CPA, CGMA, is a Senior Manager with the Firm Services team at the AICPA. Prior to joining the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) in North Carolina, Kari started her public accounting career in South Dakota and later worked for a firm in New York City where she focused on A&A clients in an array of industries. She has been an active advocate of the CPA profession since her time as a student at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD and is currently a member of the NC Association of CPA’s Young Professionals Cabinet. In 2020 and 2021, Kari was a Practice Advisor’s “40 Under 40” honoree.
Kari leads PCPS resource creation for accounting and auditing emerging issues, manages PCPS IT resources, including cybersecurity, oversees the G400 initiative, and maintains the AICPA alliance with firm associations and networks. Most recently, Kari has been committed to resource development surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Mike Maksymiw, CPA, CGMA, MSA
Executive Director, Firm Foundation, Aprio
Mike Maksymiw, CPA, CGMA, MSA, is passionate about the accounting profession, especially the sustainability of local firms. Leader of Aprio’s Alliance – Firm Foundation, Mike helps connect small and midsize accounting firms with the resources they need to advance client relationships, including practice management coaching / groups, breadth of services to complement their depth of client knowledge, peer benchmarking, etc. Mike has served as a national leader of a CARES Act team that kept firms, clients and the public informed on changes in guidance to maximize program benefits, keep employees, and strengthen businesses.
Growing up in a sole practitioner household, Mike worked for 16 years at 3-5 partner firms, and knows firsthand the knowledge and wisdom gained from working in an environment where you see everything about a client, from the shoebox through the financial statements.
Founder, CEO and Chief People Officer, HireEffect
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, payroll, and HR, 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 100% virtual team serving the entire US.