About the CPEA Professional Staff
Thomas J. Groskopf, CPA, CVA, MBA
Tom is the Technical Director of the CPEA and a Director (owner) of Barnes, Dennig & Co. Ltd., a regional CPA firm with offices in Ohio and Kentucky. In his role at Barnes, Dennig, Tom serves clients and is the service line leader for the firm’s accounting and audit practice. He is a nationally recognized authority on accounting and auditing (A&A) topics and has served on numerous national and international standard-setting committees. Tom is a member of the Private Company Council, which works with the FASB to determine if and how U.S. GAAP should be adapted for private companies.
Tom brings to the CPEA a comprehensive list of achievements, along with his experience as a practicing CPA. His technical A&A expertise and long-time involvement in the financial issues relevant to private companies are an invaluable asset to the CPEA. Moreover, as an auditor, Tom has gained extensive experience reviewing financial statements of private and public companies.
Tom also serves on the International Financial Reporting Standards' Small- and Medium-sized Entity Implementation Group and is a member of the Xavier University Accounting Department’s Board of Executive Advisors. Tom served as a member of the FASB’s Private Company Financial Reporting Committee (PCFRC), where he led efforts to reduce costs for private entities testing goodwill for impairment. In addition, he has served on the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section Technical Issues Committee, including one year as chair of its accounting subcommittee and on the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountant’s Audit and Accounting Committee.
Robert Durak, CPA, CGMA
As Director of Private Company Financial Reporting and the CPEA, Bob is the AICPA’s lead staff person on accounting and attest matters affecting private companies. Bob led the AICPA's development of the Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-sized Entities and speaks frequently across the country about private company financial reporting. From 2007-2012 Bob staffed the Private Company Financial Reporting Committee, a joint effort by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the AICPA to improve accounting standard setting for private companies. Related to that work, Bob helped staff the Blue Ribbon Panel on Private Company Financial Reporting, which ultimately led to the formation of the Private Company Council.
Earlier in Bob’s career at the AICPA, he was the Director of the Accounting and Auditing Publications group, responsible for the development and publishing of the AICPA’s audit and accounting guides, audit risk alerts and practice aids. In that role, Bob authored numerous publications aimed at helping practitioners understand and implement accounting, auditing, attest, review, compilation and other technical standards.
Prior to joining the AICPA, Bob was a manager in the audit practice of Deloitte & Touche where he served large and small clients primarily in the manufacturing industry. He received his B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers University and holds CPA licenses in New Jersey and New York.
J. Russell Madray, CPA
With more than 30 years of professional experience, including stints at two Big 4 accounting firms, Russ Madray is a nationally-known accounting and auditing thought leader, writer, and advisor helping CPAs throughout the country understand and implement technical accounting and auditing issues.
Russ is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Accountancy at Clemson University, one of the country’s most selective public research universities. He also serves as Scholar-in-Residence at Elliott Davis, in Greenville, SC. With more than 750 professionals across the southeast, Elliott Davis ranks among the top 30 accounting firms in the U.S.
As an author, Russ is responsible for several of the profession’s best-selling books. He also authors many of the AICPA’s publications and is a frequent contributor to the Journal of Accountancy. In addition, he serves as a Senior Fellow in the AICPA’s Center for Plain English Accounting, the AICPA’s national accounting and auditing resource center.
Mike Austin, CPA
Mike Austin joined the CPEA as a Senior Technical Manager in December 2016. Previously, Mike spent 10 years at Grant Thornton in the audit practice, serving clients in a variety of industries. He is also still a Cleveland Browns fan, for some reason.
Kristy L. Illuzzi, CPA, CGMA
Kristy Illuzzi moved to North Carolina and joined the AICPA in May 2007 as a Technical Manager for the Accounting and Audit Publications team. Kristy was responsible for writing, maintaining, and updating Audit and Accounting Guides, Audit Risk Alerts, Checklists and Illustrative Financial Statements, and Financial Reporting Alerts. Kristy was also a project leader on the XBRL and FASB Codification projects, and has worked on several publications, training materials, and speeches focused on these topics. From July 2011 through November 2013, Kristy worked for the Accounting and Auditing Technical Hotline team where, in addition to answering over 100-member inquiries each week, she also worked on our Technical Practice Aids publication and spoke at AICPA national conferences.
Kristy joined the Center for Plain English Accounting in November 2013 and, in this role, she assisted in answering member questions, prepared monthly reports on hot topics and emerging issues, and spoke at quarterly webcasts and conferences on top compilation, review, audit, and accounting issues. In October 2016, Kristy took over as the AICPA’s staff liaison to the Technical Issues Committee where she assists with preparing comment letters related to exposure drafts from the AICPA, GASB, and FASB and meets with the standards setters to discuss potential implementation issues.
Prior to joining the AICPA, Kristy was the Controller for EngenderHealth, an international not-for-profit organization focused on women’s reproductive health. In addition to overall financial management of the organization, she traveled to Ghana and Kenya to assist field staff in implementation of Quickbooks software. Kristy was an Experienced Manager for Grant Thornton, LLP in the Non-Profit Practice. During Kristy’s tenure with Grant Thornton, she worked in the New York City office, serving a variety of non-profit clients, including SDTC, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk, the National Episcopal Church, and Bide-A-Wee. Kristy started her career with Arthur Andersen in 1997, where she worked on audits of a variety of Fortune 500 clients, including the Omnicom Group, Inc.
Kristy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from SUNY- University at Albany in May 1998. She holds CPA licenses in North Carolina and New York, and is a member of the AICPA and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants.
Susanne C. Richards - CPEA Senior Advisor
As Senior Advisor of the CPEA, Susanne has a strong member service mindset that enables her to manage the member services of the CPEA and to offer members the quality service they have grown to expect. She has many years of customer service experience and is the “go to” person for questions related to any, and all, CPEA services and benefits.
Susanne also was the “right-hand” to the founder of the CPEA, Tom Ratcliffe. She worked with Tom for many years before his passing in 2014. So, she has the experience and knowledge related to the foundation of the CPEA. And, she continues with Tom’s efforts in striving to meet the needs of the smaller-medium size CPA firms.
Thomas A. Ratcliffe Ph.D., CPA, CGMA (May 20, 1952 - March 23, 2014)
Dr. Tom’s spirit and legacy lives on at CPEA. The CPEA continues to build upon the foundation that he built with great member service, quality you can trust, communicating complicated principles in clear and concise terms , and a spirit of innovation. Tom Ratcliffe was Technical Director of the Center for Plain English Accounting and an accounting and auditing thought leader, writer, and advisor helping CPAs throughout the country understand and appropriately-implement the accounting and attest engagement technical literature.
In 2012 and 2013, Tom worked with the AICPA staff in drafting the new Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities, and he served on the Task Force that worked toward finalizing that Framework. He served as a member of the Auditing Standards Board [ASB], the AICPA senior technical committee responsible for developing auditing, attestation, and quality control standards, during the development of the clarified and converged auditing and quality control standards. During his tenure with the ASB, Tom also served as a member of the Audit Issues Task Force [AITF].
Prior to joining the ASB, Tom served as Chair and as a member of the AICPA Accounting and Review Services Committee [ARSC], and he served on the AICPA Council. He also was the primary contributing author to the original AICPA Guide for Compilation and Review Engagements. He served as a founding member of the Private Company Financial Reporting Committee [PCFRC].
Tom served as an accounting and auditing technical advisor to six different associations of CPA firms. For 25 years, he authored the Bisk Education monthly Accounting and Auditing Report, the widely-used monthly update of accounting and auditing issues that is distributed nationally to CPAs in public practice and industry. Also, Tom was a regularly-featured speaker through web-based programs, including those offered through the Center for Plain English Accounting.
Tom earned his Ph.D. at The University of Alabama. He published more than 100 technical works in accounting and auditing, including several books and other documents that are widely-utilized in practice. In 2004, based on both the quality and the quantity of his publications, Tom was recognized as one of the most prolific authors in the accounting profession.
Tom received numerous research and teaching awards throughout his career, including the Alabama Society of CPAs Outstanding Professional Educator award. After winning that award for seven consecutive years, the Alabama Society of CPAs renamed the award in his honor.
Tom was Director Emeritus of the School of Accountancy at Troy University, and he was the Senior Accounting and Auditing Technical Advisor for Warren Averett, LLC.