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Day in the Life: Michael Barton, CPA

Feb 1, 2020

Partner - Petrow Kane Leemhuis, PC

Michael Barton, CPA

5:30 A.M.
My alarm goes off. For some reason I signed up for the Half Monumental Marathon, so I have to get a quick run in or the upcoming Saturday run will be even more of a struggle!

6:45 A.M.
Back at home after the run, I shave, shower and help with anything kid-related.

7:30 A.M.
Head to a breakfast meeting. My drive time is always my chance to catch up on any local current events or sporting news I may have missed overnight.

8 A.M.
Arrive at First Watch. At this particular appointment I’m meeting a sole-proprietor CPA for breakfast to see how we can start a joint venture with our assurance practice. I always love talking with other CPAs I have never met before, so even if nothing happens down the line, my network has expanded.

9 A.M.
Walk into the office and spend a few minutes scrolling though emails to make sure there aren’t any fires that need to be put out immediately.

9:30 A.M.
As chairman for the Board of Accountancy, it’s my job to respond to emails from the Board’s staff and attorney regarding matters that come up throughout the day. We happen to have a meeting tomorrow, so there are a few issues that need resolved prior to the meeting.

Michael Barton at Boad of Accountancy meeting

9:50 A.M.
Every night before I leave the office, I make a to-do list for the next day. I finally get a chance to look at the list I made yesterday and conquer the first task on it. A few of our clients are finally ready to issue their audit reports, so I spend the next hour or so communicating and working with our engagement team to formally issue those reports.

11 A.M.
I cross a couple more items off my list by tackling a few interim testing procedures for one of our biggest audit clients. The more work I get done now, the less work I have in January. With the new revenue recognition and lease standards out there, the more our team plans for implementation the easier our busy season is later.

12:15 P.M.
It’s time for lunch. Lately I have been out of the office pretty frequently to visit clients both in and out of the state, so lunch is the best time for me to catch up with folks from our firm, particularly those who work on other service lines. More often than not, you will find us at a Sahm’s restaurant on the north side of Indianapolis.

1:15 P.M.
I arrive back at the office and check emails. I have the great pleasure of serving as treasurer for the Dropping Dimes Foundation. The foundation focuses on the well-being and betterment of former players of the American Basketball Association and their families, who are experiencing financial or medical difficulties and have encountered significant financial hardship or sickness. Without the ABA, Indianapolis would not be what it is today! There happens to be a situation where we are buying a former player a used car as he has no other means of getting to and from work in the Atlanta area. This requires my attention, as I have to wire money for the auto purchase to Atlanta. There’s no better feeling than helping those in need!

2 P.M.
A client calls with an accounting question. We both determine it’s easier if I look over his shoulder instead of talking through it on the phone. So off I go to his office.

"I would recommend every young person get involved early and often…it will grow your soft skills, professional network and it might even lead to potential business down the line."
2:15 P.M. Arrive at client’s office where we walk through how to reconcile his monthly investment statements so he can show his board accurate monthly reports. He recently switched accounting software—we expected a few issues with the transition.

3 P.M.
I arrive back at the office and clear out my email inbox. Admittedly I take a scroll through my Twitter feed to see what news I missed. We have a pretty competitive fantasy football league at the firm, so I have to make sure my lineup is solid this week!

3:30 P.M.
I have a Zoom meeting with a potential client. This prospect happens to be a few thousand miles away so our firm utilizes technology to leverage this relationship.

4:30 P.M.
I dive back into an engagement to grind through an audit area before I head home for the evening.

5:45 P.M.
Outside of busy season, my goal, like many, is to leave the office somewhere between 5 and 6 p.m. Time for the drive home!

6:15 P.M.
My wife has made an awesome dinner. I catch up with her and the kids about how everyone’s days went and if anything exciting happened. This particular day happened to be soccer day for my oldest (praying for a college scholarship).

7 P.M.
Like many parents with young children, we are pretty tied down to our house most evenings. Evenings are now our time of the day to hang out with one another and watch whatever sporting event is on TV, or perhaps my favorite, we get to watch "Toy Story" for the fourth time this week!

9 P.M.
After my wife and I put the kids down to bed, I prep for the Board of Accountancy meeting in the morning. As the chair, it’s my duty to familiarize myself with the agenda, read through case files and think of any questions our Board might have for the meeting that lies ahead tomorrow.

10 P.M.
Finished my notes. My wife and I normally watch something on TV to wind down for the night.

11:30 P.M.
My goal is to turn off the TV and fall asleep before “Two and a Half Men” comes on.



Michael Barton, CPA

Petrow Kane Leemhuis, PC


Michael Barton & ColleaguesJOB DESCRIPTION:
I am a partner in our assurance/audit practice. I also serve as the chairman of the Board of Accountancy. One of my favorite things about working with the Board is being at the forefront of issues affecting our profession, more importantly on the state level in Indiana. Getting to work with NASBA and the AICPA has been fascinating!

PREVIOUS POSITIONS: Manager, Senior Associate, Staff Accountant – Petrow Kane Leemhuis; Internships at BKD (Indianapolis), London Witte & Company, and Celadon Trucking
Marian University

INCPAS INVOLVEMENT: Past Emerging Leaders Alliance member, current member of the Young Professional Leadership Academy, 2019 INCPAS Advocacy Award Recipient

NASBA INVOLVEMENT: CPE Committee member, Past Education Committee member

AICPA INVOLVEMENT: State Board Committee member


Michael Barton & FamilyFAMILY:
My wife, Liz, is a nurse at Riley Children’s Hospital. We have two children: Chris (3), Charlie (1). My brother Dan (Bradley and Associates) and Uncle Greg (Marian University) are both CPAs and INCPAS members.

PETS: 2 Golden Retrievers (Chloe and Remy)

I enjoy spending time with my family. I’m also a retired college athlete. It’s hard to keep me off a basketball court if there is one around, although it’s more difficult now that I have kids. I’m also a huge Pacers and Colts fan.

Treasurer for the Dropping Dimes Foundation


Find a mentor either at your place of work or at least someone in the profession. That person will be crucial in your development as a professional. Secondly, take and pass the CPA Exam as soon as possible!


I would recommend every young person get involved early and often. Whether it’s with the Indiana CPA Society, or maybe even industry specific group or some other volunteer role, it will grow your soft skills, professional network and it might even lead to potential business down the line. Don’t be afraid to say yes and don’t let the details get in the way of a good idea!

Michael Barton feature in 2014We featured Michael in the Winter 2014 CPA IN Perspective magazine when he was an accounting student at Marian University.

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