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Day in the Life: Donna Niesen, CPA

Mar 3, 2021

Partner – State and Local Tax (SALT) Group
Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP (KSM)


Donna Niesen, CPA

Alice the Cat6 A.M.: Wake up, start the coffee and feed my cat, Alice. Did I mention she is a lazy, spoiled cat who meows until I feed her? No wonder she is a bit chubby …

6:10 A.M.: Turn on the TV and drink coffee while reading emails and catching up on local news.  Today there is a riveting article about marketplace facilitators in Checkpoint’s Daily State Updates that I find intriguing. (I guess that makes me a true SALT (state and local tax) nerd.) I also toss in a few belly rubs for Alice.

7:30 A.M.: Start my official workday—which many days is often just a 15-foot walk to my home office—by looking at any Microsoft Teams messages and creating my to-do list for the day.

A.M.: My first meeting is a staff meeting with the SALT team to discuss ongoing sales tax projects and workload. Bills moving through the current Indiana legislative session, due diligence projects, outstanding voluntary disclosures and an ongoing Indiana audit defense project dominate the discussion.

10:30 A.M.: Call a client to discuss the sales tax settlement proposal we have been working on. We have negotiated most of the terms of the agreement already, so this is a call to confirm we are all on the same page and can move forward with finalizing the agreement with the state.  

1 P.M.: Attend the Indiana Department of Revenue Advisory Council meeting. We discuss a variety of topics, including continued rollout of INTIME, various Indiana compliance issues and items currently in the department’s agency bill, or proposed budget bill, including a possible new tax on social media companies. I really enjoy the candid conversation among council members and the openness of Commissioner Grennes and his team.

3 P.M.: Have a call with a prospective client to discuss services provided by our SALT team and ways we can assist with their various sales tax needs. The company was recently acquired, so the management team is new to dealing with sales tax nexus, taxability and compliance issues. 

4 P.M.: Meet with members of Katz, Sapper & Miller’s core federal tax team to discuss what is happening in their world. We meet every other week to brainstorm and keep each other informed on the latest federal and multistate issues.

6:30 P.M.: Wednesday night is typically “girls’ night” when I get together with four good friends. Each friend works in a different profession. It’s both fun and interesting to bring the perspectives of five successful women together. We make dinner, drink wine and solve all of the world’s problems! 

10 P.M.: Climb into bed and grab my Kindle. My book club is reading “The Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See this month and I need to get started! 

About Me

NAME: Donna Niesen, CPA

JOB TITLE: 
Partner – State and Local Tax (SALT) Group

COMPANY:
Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP (KSM)

COMPANY SIZE:
300+

JOB DESCRIPTION/MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT WHAT YOU DO:

My official title is “partner-in-charge of Katz, Sapper & Miller’s State and Local Tax Group.” This means I manage the team at KSM that keeps clients on top of the ever-changing income and sales tax rules in all 50 states.

The state and local tax world is never static. Laws and rules change by what seems like the minute. Our clients are constantly expanding across state lines, which means they need help navigating the state and local tax laws that come with that expansion. Each day brings a new opportunity. One of my favorite sayings about our group is, “We get smarter every year.” Despite specializing in state and local tax for 24 years, I am still learning new things. 

ALMA MATER: Marian University

INCPAS INVOLVEMENT: Indiana CPA Society Tax Resource Advisory Council (TRAC); CPA Advocates
  

When I'm Not at Work

PETS: Alice, a 9-year-old, 11-lb. lazy, spoiled cat

HOBBIES:
Traveling, cooking, reading, spinning

OTHER MEMBERSHIPS/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Indiana Chamber of Commerce Tax Committee, Indiana Manufacturers Association Tax Committee, Indiana Department of Revenue Advisory Council

Advice for Students Considering the Profession

Communication is one of the most important aspects of public accounting. Those who do it well succeed at a more rapid pace than those who hide behind devices for all of their “personal” touches. 

Best Advice You’ve Ever Received

Find a mentor you want to emulate, both professionally and personally. Also, don’t be afraid to take a risk. Risks lead to personal growth and reward. 

Do you think a day in your life would make a good addition to our series? Contact Katie Kirkton at kkirkton@incpas.org to find out how you can share your story.


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