PCPS Members - We are Grateful for You!
The PCPS team is grateful for our relationship with PCPS members across the country. As the holiday of gratitude approaches, we’ve reflected on our paths that led us to PCPS and the opportunity to serve you. We thought we’d share our backgrounds so that you could know our various frames of reference in our work with you and your firm.
We hope this gives you a little insight into who we are and how much we appreciate the privilege of making a difference for CPAs and the profession! We are here to help, in small ways from finding a resource or tool on the website to big ways like solving recruiting or succession challenges. Reach out by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
- What are you most grateful for related to your work with PCPS and its members?
Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA: I am most grateful for the incredible team I get to work alongside. It is a team that’s passionate about the success of our members and their firms and it makes me proud to work with each of them every day. I am also thankful for the opportunity to get out and meet practitioners, listen to their issues, and hear stories about how we’ve helped them in their practice.
Natasha Schamberger, CPA: I enjoy being part of a high-performing team who is passionate and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of CPAs in public accounting. We have a common mission and something bigger than ourselves that brings us together every day. I am grateful to work with CPAs on our volunteer committees, at conferences and in everyday conversations about issues in the profession and then helping address the pain-points they raise.
Yasmine El-Ramly, CPA, CGMA, CITP: I enjoy making a difference in the lives of our members by helping firm owners run their practices with PCPS, helping the profession close the gender gap at leadership levels, and helping women navigate the challenges in their lives to aspire to be all they want to be.
Lindsey Ferguson, CPA: I love to give back to the accounting profession by being a part of the PCPS team and easing the burden of firm leaders by providing customizable tools that they can easily implement in their firms.
Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA: I’m very grateful for the opportunity to meet so many smart, driven, forward-thinking professionals from all across the country. They inspire me and motivate me to continue to develop tools that can help CPAs.
Cindy Frey, CPA, CGMA: I am grateful that I have the opportunity to lead members to resources that can have a direct impact on improving their jobs. I hope that the work I do helps to relieve some of the stress and pressures felt by CPA firm owners and staff.
Laurie Tilley, CPA/CFF, CGMA, CFE: I enjoy helping firms with items that matter most to me – increased firm performance and having more time to cultivate relationships. I am proud to be a part of a team that makes life easier for practitioners.
Mitch Ligotino: I am grateful for the relationships I have formed with the members of the PCPS Networking Groups. I find it very rewarding when I hear that a member resolved an age-old practice management issue they’ve struggled with for years based on something they took away from one of the networking group meetings. I am also grateful to be part of a team where at the end of the day, no matter what we’ve been working on, we all have the same goal of helping our members and their firms be the best that they can be.
Karen Regis: I believe we have an outstanding group of PCPS firm members and I enjoy meeting and interacting with them. I am extremely grateful to be able to provide tools and resources that help them solve daily firm management challenges and prepare for future ones as well.
Nytisha “Shay” Vinson: I am grateful for the interaction our team has with our members. Whether through our conferences, networking group meetings or our day-to-day conversations with members, it’s really great to connect and help them. I am also grateful that I can feed my creative side by working on the website and multimedia projects.
Ashleigh Lambert: I’m grateful for the passion my teammates and our members have for the profession. It’s refreshing to be in the company of people who care so much about the work that they do.
- What is your professional background and why did you choose to pursue a career with PCPS?
Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA: I majored in accounting in college because I thought I wanted to get into the FBI. I didn’t know anything about public accounting or being a CPA until my junior year and that changed my perspective and path. Spending 12 years in public accounting in various roles from auditor to a consultant has helped me understand how firms work and prepared me for what I do today at PCPS.
Natasha Schamberger, CPA: I was in public accounting for ten years, first in tax and then switching to audits and reviews. I have always loved the profession and actually liked the “buzz” of busy season, the camaraderie and excitement with my colleagues and all the client contact. After I had my first baby girl, I was at a stagnant point in my career and wanted to renew my mojo for the profession. I got that spark back and a new excitement for the profession when I joined the PCPS team, which has been the perfect fit for my life and career goals.
Yasmine El-Ramly, CPA, CGMA, CITP: I worked for three different CPA firms of different sizes: a local firm, a national firm and a “big four” firm. Despite their different structures and sizes, they all had common challenges of attracting, retaining and advancing top talent. It was a great opportunity for me to join the PCPS team to help firms tackle their staffing challenges, provide support to HR professionals working in firms and help firms better leverage the nearly half of the talent pool that is comprised of women.
Lindsey Ferguson, CPA: Before coming to PCPS, I worked as a CPA with a small tax firm completing tax returns and preparing financial projections. In high school and college, I also worked for two sole practices and spent one summer editing documents and helping companies meet compliance requirements for the SOX Act. Joining PCPS has allowed me to give the small firm perspective while working on behalf of fellow CPA peers to help them run their practice and best serve their clients.
Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA: I joined Ernst & Young after college where I spent four years on the audit side and two years in tax. I then spent five years with a local CPA firm serving small business and individual clients. I became the third CPA in the firm when I joined (and the other two had their names on the door.) To round out my experience, I spent several years in financial/operational roles in non-profits and a small business. I bring those first hand experiences and challenges of both public accounting and running a small business day-to-day to the resources PCPS develops to help CPA firm leaders run their practices.
Cindy Frey, CPA, CGMA: In 1993, I became a CPA licensed in North Carolina. In the past 20+ years, I have spent seven years in public accounting and I have worked in business and industry and not-for-profit segments. I chose to work for PCPS because it took me outside my comfort zone of working with numbers and into a world of creative thinking and personal interactions serving our members.
Laurie Tilley, CPA/CFF, CGMA, CFE: I have worked in the accounting profession for over 20 years in both the public and private sectors. Public accounting afforded me a view inside various companies to see their challenges and identify opportunities. As I progressed in my career to partner, I also had the opportunity to see more of the intricacies of a CPA firm. A career with PCPS provided a venue for me to utilize my talents and expertise while helping provide CPA firms with valuable resources and information.
Mitch Ligotino: My professional background consists of working in communications roles with other professional associations as well as customer support/relations roles in the telephony and IT industries. I chose to pursue a career with PCPS because it provided opportunities to learn more about the public accounting profession and work with AICPA members in public practice to help them better their practices.
Karen Regis: I formerly worked at a federal health benefit plan, a global telecom company, a landscaping association and a biotech lab. I am a database and member information ‘geek’ who loves the challenges that come with maintaining accurate member records. Joining the PCPS team eight years ago when the AICPA moved to Durham, NC has been the best career choice I’ve made.
Nytisha “Shay” Vinson: I have a background in project management and art working for a graphic design and production company and illustrator’s rep company. I went to school for interactive media and web design and development. Before joining the PCPS team, I was with the AICPA Peer Review team. I thought a move to the PCPS team would allow me to learn about new areas of the CPA profession, interface with members directly and also allow me to strengthen my project management skills.
Ashleigh Lambert: Before coming to the AICPA, I worked in banking. I loved the interactions and relationships I was able to build with clients (but I didn’t love the sales quotas!). Working with PCPS allows me to do what I enjoy most - helping our members succeed by developing tools and resources they need.
- What one thing personally or professionally are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving season?
Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA: My wife has maintained a Thanksgiving “Thankful” book since 2003 that includes a picture of who we shared Thanksgiving with each year and what each person was thankful for. I went back to see what I’ve been thankful for over these last 11 years and can say I am truly the luckiest guy with such a great job in a great profession, great friends and wonderful family.
Natasha Schamberger, CPA: I am grateful to be able to relocate to be closer to my family in Kansas and still work remotely with a company that I enjoy and am truly passionate about.
Yasmine El-Ramly, CPA, CGMA, CITP: Professionally, I am grateful for doing work that I am very passionate about by helping to build a full-service, robust profession. Personally, I am happy to have one more holiday and tradition to celebrate with family and friends that I did not have growing up in France.
Lindsey Ferguson, CPA: Since this will be my last Thanksgiving as a Ferguson, I’m grateful for my fiancé! He’s my better half and the biggest supporter of my career.
Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA: I’m most grateful for the health of my friends and family. Life is good!
Cindy Frey, CPA, CGMA: I most grateful for my family and friends and their ever-present love and support.
Laurie Tilley, CPA/CFF, CGMA, CFE: I am grateful for the love and support of my family. They have always supported me in all aspects of my life.
Mitch Ligotino: I’m grateful for all the great things and happy, rewarding, peaceful times life brings and for God’s grace as I continue to learn, push forward and grow.
Karen Regis: I have had many blessings this year and am most thankful for my family.
Nytisha “Shay” Vinson: I’m thankful for my health, my family and a wonderful new beginning in Washington state while still having the opportunity to be part of the PCPS team.
Ashleigh Lambert: I’m most grateful for friends who are like family, family who are like friends, and teammates that make coming to work fun.
We truly want to know you, too and we’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this holiday season. Email us at email@example.com! We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!
~ The PCPS Team, your go-to resource. Power Up with PCPS.
By Natasha V. Schamberger, CPA
Busy CPA practitioners are feeling the time crunch. I feel it too. The business world is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. In the midst of this changing and complex profession, there is one constant – the need for intensified focus on client relationships. This ties to the vision I have for PCPS and what we strive to be known for. PCPS is a team of CPAs and other dedicated staff supporting CPAs in public practice by providing turn-key tools and solutions that save time in running a CPA practice. We work to help you keep up with the fast pace of change in our profession. This enables you to shift your time and energy to focusing on enhancing client relationships and developing team members – two key ingredients to a successful firm future. Success for me would be that our members say, “The PCPS team gets it. They understand my needs and my firm. The PCPS tools and resources make a difference in my life and the success and future of my practice.”
A big part of attaining this vision is keeping up with our members, what they need, what they want and how they want it. Not only does the PCPS team’s broad experience and backgrounds help us serve the different firm sizes and make-ups of our members firms, we also have the pleasure of working closely with practicing CPAs. PCPS team members engage in conversations to really understand the challenges you are facing “in the trenches.” We continue to be energized by these conversations, exploring new ideas to figure out what resources or connections we can develop to help you unleash your firm’s potential.
Some examples of time-saving tools members repeatedly say they appreciate include the resources in the Human Capital Center like the Sample Team Member Handbook. Small firm owners can tailor and customize the handbook as their firm starts to grow to document consistent employee policies and procedures. The template saves CPAs time so they don’t need to research employee handbook best practices or hire someone to create one from scratch. Some technical resources our member firms value include our technical toolkits where we analyze and wade through a new standard or tax law, summarize in plain English what has changed and give you an idea of how the work on your desk might change. We create simple, straight-forward tools to implement the new standard and communicate changes to firm team members (and clients, if appropriate). We continually update the technical toolkits (like the Keeping Up With the Accounting and Auditing Standards), release new toolkits (like the COSO Toolkit) and work on brand new standards or tax law changes (like the compilation standards toolkit and the PCC toolkit our team is currently developing). Check out our newest and most popular resources regularly to see what tools you can use in your firm.
We are inspired by the dedication and work our member CPAs do every day. PCPS wants to WOW our members by being innovative and exploring new ideas to push our firms ahead of the change curve so you can be more proactive in addressing challenges that arise or exploiting new growth opportunities. We want to serve you in a personal way and any opportunity we have to talk to you is welcome. I challenge you to tell us your current top concern in your practice. PCPS likely has a solution to help you address it. If not, we will get working on one right away!
Natasha V. Schamberger, CPA is a Senior Technical Manager for PCPS/Firm Services at the AICPA. Contact Natasha directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 919-402-4088.
CPAs Making a Difference for CPAs
By Lindsey M. Ferguson, CPA
When I became a member of the PCPS team, I knew that I wasn’t leaving public accounting and that I was simply transitioning into an advocacy role to help other CPA peers in public practice. As someone who is passionate about third world mission work, having the opportunity to also give back in my own profession is so rewarding for me and I love being a part of the PCPS team. The depth of our team’s accounting knowledge and camaraderie coupled with the unique experiences, backgrounds and perspectives of each individual leads to high quality dialogue and innovative ideas always geared toward member needs.
I always knew that I wanted to work in the accounting profession as a CPA, however I quickly became frustrated by the hourly time model. While I understood the basic principles behind hourly pricing, I truly wanted to help clients and it was difficult for me to rationalize how we could charge clients for simple calls and questions while also embracing the ideas of excellent client service. After joining PCPS, I was assigned as the lead on the Trusted Business Advisor Workshop which encourages value pricing. This idea was revolutionary for me. I honestly had never even considered this being a possibility and was so energized by realizing that there were more pricing options available and being used throughout the profession. It is ideas like this that PCPS provides to firms to help manage their practices effectively and grow their practices through improved client service. But PCPS doesn’t stop at the idea. We provide information and customizable tools and templates to make new ideas (and technical rules and regulations) incredibly easy to implement and we offer guidance on how to train staff and communicate with clients along the way. In a profession that seems to get increasingly more complex, PCPS cuts to the core of simplicity. We even have a hotline! If you have a practice management question, you just pick up the phone and call 1-800-CPA-FIRM. Seriously, it’s that easy.
If I were to define personal success at PCPS, it would be for members to know that we get it. In this crazy, constantly changing world, we’re right there with you and we’re consistently working behind the scenes to stay on top of laws and regulations, present new ideas for practice growth and staff development, reduce your stress and make life easier. Being actively involved in and advocating for the CPA profession through PCPS gives me the feeling that I’m connected to something greater than myself and investing my time in something that is truly worthwhile. It is exciting to be part of the PCPS team, comprised of CPAs and dedicated staff, that are passionate about making a difference for other CPAs and our profession as a whole. We take our mission seriously and we’re here to help you and your firm succeed in whatever way we can. Just give us a call!
Lindsey M. Ferguson, CPA is a Technical Manager for PCPS/Firm Services at the AICPA. Lindsey can be reached directly at email@example.com or 919-402-4658.