Tony Nitti’s 11-year-old yellow lab, Maci, is a big fan of Tony for different reasons than most. When asked about her owner, Maci said, “My human? Every year on my birthday he takes me skiing, cooks me a steak and buys me a vanilla ice cream cone. Solid guy, right there.” Tony has two beautiful children, but the screen saver on his phone is reserved for an adorable picture of Maci. If you are a dog lover like me, your heart is melting.
Tony is a partner at Withum, a well-known contributor of tax content to Forbes and a frequent speaker for webcasts and conferences. He’s a member of the AICPA Tax Reform Resource Task Force and helps to develop timely webcasts and resources like the Sec. 199A flowchart. We’re delighted to have him present the AICPA Tax Section’s upcoming Tax Practice Quarterly: Annual Tax Update & Busy Season Readiness webcast on January 10.
Tony’s tax career started out in the pretty usual way. Although a self-proclaimed apathetic, back-of-the-class college student, he landed a job with a large accounting firm after graduation. He was promoted to tax manager, a powerful moment that served as a wake-up call for Tony rather than a reward. Why, you ask? Tony didn’t believe he knew nearly enough about tax law to justify the new title on his resume. It was hard to determine where that knowledge was going to come from, until Tony pursued a Masters of Tax degree from the University of Denver. This time, he was fully invested and eager to learn in school.
The pivot in Tony’s career provided an important lesson that can be true for anyone — even for those of us who don’t aspire to write articles and speak in front of large crowds. It’s important to invest in yourself rather than focusing on developing a good resume. Continuous learning and an unrelenting desire for professional growth are what inspires Tony. He happens to be exceptionally good at digging deep and grasping the details of difficult concepts and then converting that knowledge into tangible digestible nuggets that he can share via articles or continuing education.
You might be surprised to learn that Tony is not brimming with confidence nor is he particularly gregarious. He shared that his greatest motivator is fear. Fear that the audience will think he doesn’t know enough. Fear that the crowd will find his presentation lackluster. And, of course, the natural fear a lot of us have: speaking before a crowd of people. Tony battles this fear with preparation — he would call it “over preparation” — both for the presentation itself and in his effort to learn as much as he possibly can about the tax law before he ever steps behind a podium.
New tax legislation has certainly given Tony lots of opportunities for learning. Here at the AICPA, we’re grateful that Tony is willing to share his time and talents to better the profession. You won’t want to miss the tax update on January 10 with Tony. There might even be a Simpsons reference thrown in there.