The Profession's Only Conference on Practice Management

November 7-8, 2024 • Chicago, IL

The Modern Accounting Firm Navigating the Culture Shift

As leaders, one of the biggest impacts in a post-pandemic world is how culture is shaping the way we do business, go to market, and attract and retain great talent. Strategic decisions made in the near-term will be the difference between thriving and surviving in the long-term.

Sponsors

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What Previous Attendees Have To Say Testimonials

"Winning Ways '22 was a unique conference for high-caliber accounting firm owners and execs to come together and discuss some of the industry's biggest problems. If you want to be in the room with people who are making it happen, I highly recommend attending"

- Brandon Hall, Managing Partner at Hall CPA PLLC

"I thought the Winning Ways was a great conference to attend and well worth the time and money. Many of the thought leaders of the profession were there and it provided a great opportunity to network with many of them. The content of the conference was very timely as well as it was focused on resource management and outsourcing solutions etc., which are some of the biggest issues in the profession at this time."

- Jeff Call, Managing Partner at Bennett Thrasher

Keynote Richard Kopelman

Inside the firm, I work with Aprio’s board and leadership teams to ensure we are continuously advancing our people, diverse culture, capabilities, clients and communities. I look forward to speaking about how we integrate culture during M&A activities. 

keynote

Reasons to attend this year's conference Establish a Firm Culture That Sets People Up for Success

If you are a progressive, forward-thinking firm, you are most likely putting every effort into creating a magnetic culture. Accounting talent is at such a premium today that firms need a culture that clearly demonstrates collaboration, innovation, and inclusion to attract and retain the strongest, best talent in the profession.

Fostering a sense of loyalty and commitment leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction, and creates a positive, nurturing environment. Winning Ways 2023 will help you to refine your culture. With a clear set of values and a sense of purpose, employees can easily connect with and feel proud to be a part of your firm. Learn from experts who can change yours for the better!

As accounting professionals, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and practices. Networking and collaboration with peers is an excellent way to expand our knowledge and skill sets. Winning Ways brings together leaders from the top accounting firms in the country. You'll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in the field and engage in meaningful discussions about the opportunities creating a great culture provides to your firm. 

Attendance is capped at 100 leaders providing you the chance to share your experiences, learn from others, and gain new perspectives on creating culture best practices. Join us for an intimate reception November 14th for an evening of networking, discussion and libations!

Industry insights reveal that creating a healthy work culture in accounting firms can increase productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention. With the rise of remote work and a more diverse workforce, firms need to be intentional about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion to foster a welcoming and inclusive culture.

Additionally, emphasizing open communication, encouraging professional development opportunities, 

and recognizing employee achievements are essential building blocks in creating a thriving and sustainable culture in the accounting profession. 

Join us at Winning Ways to explore with Allan Koltin, Gary Shamis, and Richard Kopelman how to build a positive culture in the accounting industry and gain valuable insights from these industry experts.

Stay up-to-date on announcements and leadership insights. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

 

Speakers & Panelists

Allan Koltin
CEO, Koltin Consulting
Allan Koltin
CEO, Koltin Consulting

Allan Koltin is a seasoned business advisor and consultant with over 30 years of experience in the accounting and consulting industries. As CEO of the Koltin Consulting Group, he leads a team of professionals who provide strategic guidance and support to accounting firms and their leaders.

Throughout his career, Allan has worked with hundreds of accounting firms, ranging from small local firms to large international organizations. He has helped these firms navigate complex business challenges, develop growth strategies, and improve operational efficiency.

An esteemed thought leader in the industry, Allan is a frequent speaker at industry events and has authored numerous articles and publications on topics related to accounting firm management and leadership. He is passionate about helping firms grow and succeed, and his insights and expertise have proven invaluable to countless clients throughout his career.

Prior to founding the Koltin Consulting Group, Allan was the CEO of PDI Global, a leading provider of consulting and training services to accounting firms. He also spent several years as a Partner with Deloitte, providing strategic consulting services to clients in a variety of industries.

Allan holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.

With his extensive knowledge and experience, Allan has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and mentor to accounting firm leaders across the country. He works closely with his clients to understand their unique challenges and goals, and develops customized solutions that drive growth and success.

Gary Shamis
CEO, Winding River Consulting
Gary Shamis
CEO, Winding River Consulting

Gary Shamis is a highly experienced and accomplished business advisor, entrepreneur, and Certified Public Accountant with over 40 years of experience in the accounting and consulting industries. As the Managing Director of Winding River Consulting, Gary provides strategic guidance and support to accounting firms, helping them navigate the complex challenges of the modern business landscape.

Throughout his career, Gary has worked with hundreds of accounting firms across the United States, ranging from small local practices to large international organizations. He has a deep understanding of the challenges facing the industry, and has helped countless firms overcome those challenges and achieve long-term success.

Gary is a recognized thought leader in the industry and a frequent speaker at industry events. He has authored numerous articles and publications on topics related to accounting firm management, leadership, and growth. He is passionate about helping accounting firms achieve their full potential and has dedicated his career to this mission.

Prior to founding Winding River Consulting, Gary was a co-founder of SS&G, a top 50 accounting and consulting firm, where he served as Managing Partner for over 30 years. Under his leadership, the firm grew from a small local practice to a regional powerhouse with multiple offices and a diverse portfolio of clients.

Gary is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Akron.

With his extensive knowledge, experience, and passion for the industry, Gary has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and mentor to accounting firm leaders across the country. He works closely with his clients to develop customized strategies that drive growth and profitability, and he is committed to helping accounting firms thrive in the face of the challenges and opportunities of the modern business world.

David Toth
CGO, Winding River Consulting
David Toth
CGO, Winding River Consulting

David Toth built his marketing expertise around a strong digital comprehension. Understanding the importance of data, he reasoned, should guide each step of the process, using informed decision making to adapt when and where necessary. Armed with the evidence, David challenges the status quo to drive results.

He is a strategic-thinker and believes the path to successful outcomes includes integrating technology with tried-and-true practices. As David sees it, when it comes to digital transformation there will always be new dots to connect. The challenge is having the discipline to make the connections that close the gap between marketing dollars and sales revenue.

David has served as an outsourced CMO, agency executive, and change agent for organizations in sectors from fast-growing start-ups to well established Fortune 500 companies. He has a knack for building meaningful relationships. David has found that while each business and industry is unique, the foundation to success is always the same — know your audience.

Bill Kaiser
Senior VP, CultureWise
Bill Kaiser
Senior VP, CultureWise

Prior to joining CultureWise, Bill worked for 20+ years in the employee benefits industry. 13 years at RSI (with CultureWise Founder & CEO, David Friedman) followed by 7 years with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG). Bill started in direct selling and later moved into leadership positions as Area President of Gallagher’s Mt. Laurel, NJ office and then MidAtlantic Region VP of Sales & Marketing.

Having lived and breathed the Fundamentals at RSI and championing the Gallagher Way at AJG, Bill can speak experientially to the impact a high performing culture delivers. Bill has worked with nearly 100 organizations helping them to build high-performing cultures.

Richard Kopelman
CEO and Managing Partner, Aprio
Richard Kopelman
CEO and Managing Partner, Aprio

Richard Kopelman is the CEO & Managing Partner of Aprio. He leads a team of over 1,800 professionals that serve clients in all 50 states and 50+ countries, speaking more than 60 languages. He drives the firm's strategic vision powered by Aprio's people-first and client-focused culture. In his tenure, Aprio has experienced significant growth, including securing more than 25 strategic mergers & acquisitions and increased Aprio's footprint to 21 U.S. offices and offices in the Philippines and Colombia.

Josh Beck
Managing Partner, MarksNelson Advisory
Josh Beck
Managing Partner, MarksNelson Advisory

Prior to assuming the role of Managing Partner in 2020, Josh Beck served as a Partner in MarksNelson’s advisory services area, member of the firm’s Executive Committee, and leader of the Real Estate industry niche. He joined MarksNelson as leader of the Location Strategies practice after merging-in the St. Louis-based corporate site selection and economic development consulting firm he founded.

In addition to his responsibilities as Managing Partner, Josh regularly provides site selection, credits and incentives, and economic development counsel to companies and communities of all sizes. His experience, holding key positions for economic development organizations at both the state and local level, along with private-sector sales and marketing, provides Josh with the unique experience to help his clients shape and implement plans for growth.

Martin Clapson
Managing Director, Price Bailey Chartered Accountants
Martin Clapson
Managing Director, Price Bailey Chartered Accountants

Martin is the Managing Director of Price Bailey, taking responsibility for the strategic development of the firm.

Martin has been with Price Bailey since 1987 when he joined as a 19-year-old trainee, and in 2013 was elected Managing Director. Martin was made a partner in 2001 and headed the firm’s Compliance and Risk Management function from 2001 to 2013. He was elected to the Executive Board in 2004 and chaired the Board from 2007 until his election as Managing Director.

Martin’s client portfolio primarily involves working with the firm’s larger corporate and non-corporate clients, many of whom are part of international groups. He advises many professional services firms and has been engaged in the flotation of several companies on both UK and international stock markets.

As the firm’s Head of International Services, Martin was instrumental in opening the first Price Bailey international office in Guernsey in 2009, and the firms most recent international office in Dubai at the start of 2020.

Following roles as EMEA and Global Chairman at IAPA, (International Association of Professional Advisors), Martin is now the CEO of IAPA. IAPA is a leading global association of independent accounting, audit, tax, advisory, financial, immigration and technology services firms.

Martin is frequently asked to speak at conferences, often overseas, covering a broad range of topics from business strategy, to client servicing and technical updates.

Martin is a CBI East of England Regional Council member, a Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce Director, Treasurer and Trustee for over 20 years at Camsight (a local charity who support people with low vision and blindness) and a Governor of Cambridge Regional College. Previously, Martin was a Governor at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture until the college was merged in 1998 with the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology, creating the College of West Anglia.

Martin loves watching live sport and theatre. He is regularly seen at Cambridge rugby, Cambridge football, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Newmarket Racecourses and is a season ticket holder at West Ham United and Club Wembley. He is married to Janice, and between them, they have five adult children and a wayward black Labrador.

Jessica Freiburg
Managing Partner, Sassetti, LLC
Jessica Freiburg
Managing Partner, Sassetti, LLC
Jessica is the Managing Partner at Sassetti LLC, and brings nearly 20 years of experience to the firm. She provides tax, audit, advisory, and accounting services to a diversified client base including publicly-traded and privately-held businesses, non-profit organizations, employee benefit plans sponsored by those entities, and family offices. In each client relationship, Jessica takes the time to understand every client’s goal and designs uniquely tailored strategies to ensure their organization thrives. She is a former winner of the Chicago Sky #RedefinePossible Women’s Leadership Award and the 2017 Influential Women in Business Award from The Daily Herald.
Arianna Ehmer
COO, CBIZ
Arianna Ehmer
COO, CBIZ
Experienced strategy and operations professional with extensive C-suite advisory experience. Trusted partner that consistently delivers clearly communicated results addressing complex business and organizational challenges. Proven ability to drive projects from concept to implementation that provide impact and growth across the organization. Collaborative leader with a deep foundation of analytical problem solving expertise developed across strategy, operation, and finance roles across the professional services, finance, and entertainment industries.
Tom Barry
Managing Partner, GHJ
Tom Barry
Managing Partner, GHJ

Tom Barry, CPA, believes in building a successful life one day at a time. He does that by leveraging technology to create a flexible schedule that allows him to be a father and husband in addition to fully committing to his career at GHJ, where he has worked since 1997. Tom’s role as GHJ’s Managing Partner is a combination of entrepreneur, partner, consultant, coach and business advisor.

Additionally, with more than 25 years of public accounting experience, Tom provides audit and accounting, tax and general business advisory services to clients in a variety of industries including waste and recycling.

Tom is the current chairman of HLB North America and sits on the Executive Committee of HLB International. Tom is an active member of YPO - Santa Monica Bay and is currently Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee. He is also Chairman of the Accounting Advisory Board for Loyola Marymount University. Tom serves as Treasurer for GHJ Foundation, GHJ’s vehicle for purposeful and proactive giving to the community.

When Tom is not working, you will find him spending time with his wife and four children. He is an avid fisherman and sports fan. He has launched the Firm’s concept of #BeMore, which encourages members of the firm to live their best lives, professionally and personally.

Due to his leadership both at GHJ and the community at large, Tom was recognized in 2018-2022 as one of “LA’s 500 Most Influential People in Business,” in 2017-2019 as one of the “Top 40 in Their 40s” and in 2021-2022 for "Thriving in Their 40s" by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Tom is a graduate of Villanova University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. He has received a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of CPAs.

Jennifer Warawa
President, QuickFee
Jennifer Warawa
President, QuickFee
Experienced technology executive with demonstrated experience and success in Partner Management and Programs, Channel Sales, Product Marketing, Business Transformation, Strategic Alliances, Sales, Go-to-Market, Executive Leadership and Management. With a strong accounting and consulting background, I effectively lead the development of overall business strategy and driving it through to execution, delivering strong commercial results and successful outcomes. In addition, I am a frequent top-rated keynote speaker at industry events and business conferences around the globe.
Alex Loewenstein
Paro
Alex Loewenstein
Paro
Tom Hopkins
Senior Vice President of HR, Sherwin-Williams
Tom Hopkins
Senior Vice President of HR, Sherwin-Williams

Thomas E. Hopkins was Corporate Officer and Senior Vice President, Human Resources for The Sherwin-Williams Company. He held that position from 1997 to his retirement at the end of 2016.

In that role, Tom was primarily responsible for the development, implementation, and transformation of the enterprise-wide Human Resources Strategy to drive superior performance of Sherwin-Williams’ business objectives. Tom’s scope of responsibility included: Global Talent Management, Compensation, Benefits, Employee Engagement and Culture Building, EH&S, Diversity, and Community Engagement.

Prior to assuming the senior HR Leadership role in 1997, Tom held various HR and Training positions of increasing responsibility within the Paint Stores Group, including VP-Human Resources from 1990-1997. Tom joined The Sherwin-Williams Company in 1981 as an intern in the Training Department for the Paint Stores Group. Early in his career he created and implemented a Management Trainee Program. The innovative program became institutionalized and has long been the talent development engine for the company, resulting in deep leadership bench strength and high levels of employee retention. Later, he supported the development and roll out of SW’s Culture of Excellence, that has become the cornerstone of continuous improvement for Sherwin Williams with a particular emphasis on supply chain and innovation.

Tom has been actively involved with several Northeast Ohio based organizations and agencies. He has a strong interest in talent and workforce development supporting the economic growth and vitality of the region. He is the former Chair of the Cleveland Leadership Center and Vocational Guidance Services and was on the Cleveland Commission on Economic Inclusion. Tom became a Trustee for Cleveland State University’s Foundation in 2014 and became Chair of the Foundation in 2019, while also serving on the CSU Board of Trustees. Finally, Tom is a Vice Chair for JumpStart.

Originally from Wooster, Ohio, Tom graduated from Malone College in 1978 (magna cum laude), earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religion. He holds a Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University (1982) where he studied Organizational Psychology. In 2012, Tom was recognized with the Archer Lifetime Achievement Award in Human Resources, and was also named as one of Cleveland State University’s Distinguished Alumni. In 2018, Tom was recognized as the George B. Davis Award for service to the University. Tom and his wife Marsha have three adult children, seven grandchildren and reside in the Chagrin Falls area. His hobbies include golf, biking, fishing, music and reading.

Allan Fisher
President, Premier Financial Search
Allan Fisher
President, Premier Financial Search

Founder and President Allan Fisher has been the recruiter of choice to elite local, regional, and national accounting firms for 24 years. Leveraging his extensive industry expertise, Allan is driven to facilitate transformative change for organizations and candidates, alike. With a mission to further client strategic visions and goals, Allan has keen insight into accounting talent market trends and forces, enabling him to make placements that surpass industry averages for engagement and retention.

Allan originally began his career in accounting, spending two years with a professional services firm. From there, he moved to a division of a $500 million publicly traded software manufacturer. In January 1998, seeking to utilize his accounting background in service to others, Allan made the jump to recruiting, joining Accounting Principals, a national staffing firm. In his three and a half years with Accounting Principals, he was ranked as one of the top executive recruiters nationwide, winning the “Consultant Of The Year” award by the California Staffing Professionals Association (CSP) in 2000.

Knowing his unparalleled integrity could deliver an elevated client experience and his industry-specific insight could provide more effective talent solutions, Allan decided to strike out on his own, founding Premier Financial Search in June of 2001. In the 20 years since PFS’ inception, Allan has cultivated lasting relationships with many of the industry’s most innovative and respected firms. With a reputation for unqualified integrity and the climate of candor and unmitigated confidentiality Allan brings to each engagement, many of his clients now call on his decades’ worth of industry expertise to function in a capacity as strategic advisor for his talent recruitment, engagement, and retention expertise – a role he considers his greatest success.

Today, Allan has established himself as an industry thought leader having spoken at meetings of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, the California State Board of Accountancy, The Westside Firm Administrators Group, and ProVisors. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Allan has been nominated twice as one of the San Fernando Valley’s Top Human Resource Consultants by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal (2009, 2010).

Trisha Daho
Culture & DEI Consultant, Winding River Consulting
Trisha Daho
Culture & DEI Consultant, Winding River Consulting

Trisha spent most of her career leading large, diverse teams toward the delivery of value for her clients at a Big 4 Accounting and Advisory firm, wherein she served as a partner. She has been pivotal in the discovery and sustainability of value in the billions of dollars for her clients. She has worked with executives and their teams in dozens of Fortune 500 companies in the majority of states. She has also created enormous value for entrepreneurs, high-growth companies, and aspiring start-ups.

Having made partner in a Big 4 accounting firm in 9 years, Trisha was charged with building thriving practices from scratch in 4 different regions of the country. Through laser-focused strategies and the ability to scale talent and service delivery quickly, she was able to create growth businesses that have expanded exponentially. The leaders she’s cultivated have gone on to be partners, CFOs, CEOs, and much more.

With her own company, Empowered Leadership Cultivation, Trisha partners with C-suites and managing partners to think, plan, and execute strategically for the purpose of accelerated and sustainable growth, primarily in professional service firms. She also partners with larger firms to create success for women and diverse people who are entering leadership positions through a diversity and inclusion peer advisory experience focused on strategy, high-performing teams, and advocacy in leadership.

With a law degree from Case Western Reserve University and a business degree from Miami University, Trisha brings practical results-driven insights as well as leadership acumen. She regularly writes and speaks on a variety of topics, including authenticity in leadership, high-impact teams, creating growth cultures, diversity and inclusion, and many more.

Trisha is married to a Frenchman named Bachir, whom she met while on vacation in Paris. They plan to travel the world together as soon as he is permanently stateside. In her spare time, Trisha fosters Labrador Retrievers, travels to faraway places, and watches lots of foreign films.

Christina Ricke, CPA, CGMA
Principal and People Leader, Pinion LLC
Christina Ricke, CPA, CGMA
Principal and People Leader, Pinion LLC

As Pinion’s people strategy leader, Christina Ricke creates a legacy of talent. She champions change in the areas of recruiting, retention, human resources, employee engagement, internal communications, learning and talent development, and human resources consulting.

Christina discovers people’s distinct abilities–what a person is best at and loves to do–leveraging one-of-a-kind systems the firm has built and employing tools and resources such as KOLBE and DISC. Then, she helps each person harness his or her passion to boost their career and the firm’s results.

In Pinion’s brick and mortar and virtual offices from coast to coast, Christina fosters a firm culture of entrepreneurship, continual improvement, and creative destruction that breeds out-of-the-box ideas, innovation, and forward progress.

Originally from an ag community in rural southwestern Kansas, she grew up family farming and custom harvesting. To this day, she lives with farmer’s values and loves her continuing involvement with the food and ag industry.

Christina joined Pinion 27 years ago, and eventually led the firm’s community banking practice. At that time, she performed tax work, strategic planning, and business development, building the firm’s bank-industry presence in the Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado markets. But devoted to people issues throughout her career, she became driven to transition to her current role, where she now creates career opportunities for the firm’s team members. As a member of the firm’s executive leadership team, she focuses on understanding and cultivating the distinct abilities that enable each unique team member to flourish. Additionally, she continually builds and supports an environment that makes it enjoyable for people to stay and grow as satisfied professionals who continually expand their talents.

David Wurtzbacher
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ascend
David Wurtzbacher
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ascend

David Wurtzbacher is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ascend, a platform that empowers entrepreneurial CPAs to reach their goals with an innovative growth model that brings their firms into the new age. Ascend is backed by Alpine Investors, a people-driven private equity firm that previously backed David as President and CFO of Lightwave Dental which he helped grow from scratch to $300 million in revenue over five years. He spent the early years of his career at J.P. Morgan in New York, identifying, researching, and executing investments for its Asset & Wealth Management division. David earned an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and a BS in Finance, magna cum laude, from Wake Forest University. David is proud to be from Colorado but he lives in northern Virginia with his wife and two young kids.

venue

Venue Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel

Nov. 14 – 15

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