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Members Who Are Going Above and Beyond the “CPA” Job Description

Nov 29, 2021

Advocacy Award 

Shelley Johnson, CPA 
Tax Strategist – Allman Johnson Company, LLC 

This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Society’s legislative and/or regulatory initiatives. 

Shelley is a prolific advocate for the CPA profession. Nationally, she served as president of the American Society of Women Accountants. In Indiana, she served as president of the Indiana State Board of Accountancy for six years. At INCPAS, she has been a volunteer since 1991. She is a past chair of the Accounting & Auditing Committee and was a member on the Audit & Attest Issues Task Force, Board of Accountancy Task Force, Government Relations Advisory Council, Leadership Cabinet, Peer Review Oversight Committee, and Taxation Committee. She continues to serve the profession now in her role as volunteer CPA Advocate. 

Her thoughts on how INCPAS members can get involved in advocacy: 
“Sometimes advocacy is just keeping your eyes and ears open to notice ways where even small changes could make a difference—make things easier overall for the profession. Advocacy can be as simple or involved as you want it to be. There’s space for anybody to serve.” 

Building Bridges to the Profession Award

Justin Rumer, CPA, JD
Tax Manager – Dauby O’Connor & Zaleski, LLC

This award is given to an individual or firm committed to building and diversifying the talent pipeline. Examples include innovative recruitment techniques, diversity promotion, mentorship programs, educational initiatives, staff training and/or being an advocate for career change professionals.

Justin helps build the talent pipeline of future, new and experienced CPAs. Each year, he is a career mentor for three student-interns from Providence Cristo Rey High School, through a partnership that provides education and career exposure to economically disadvantaged students. Within DOZ, he collaborates with tax staff to determine ongoing learning needs; helps identify prospective talent through recruitment efforts; and coordinates the internal annual training topics and curriculum.

He also chairs the DOZ Charitable Foundation, Inc., an elected role that guides monetary and volunteer support to other charitable community organizations. Further, he assists CPAs across the country as an instructor and panelist by sharing his expertise in Opportunity Zones, IRC and other tax reform issues.

His observations on what the next generation expects from their employers:
“Younger people are looking for more transparency and open communication, more so than previous generations or my generation. They want to know what’s going on. Another big thing we’re seeing— especially now, coming out of the pandemic—is a desire and need for flexibility.” 

Community Service Award

Daisy Pham, CPA, PMP
Senior Manager – Embark

Since winning this award, Daisy moved from her position at IU Heath to work at Embark in Colorado, where “expertise meets empathy” for their clients. While in Indianapolis, she dedicated much of her free time to giving back to the community. She frequently worked with Second Helpings and taught reading and writing at the Exodus Refugee Center. With friends, she also revived the IUPUI’s “United Students” philanthropic organization, renamed it “Kelley Indianapolis Cares,” and generated 400 volunteer hours in its first year. She was part of the founding team for The Halo App tech start up, a community-based, peer-to-peer micro-lending app. She still serves as a board member of The Startup Ladies, which aims to assist women entrepreneurs in starting and scaling their businesses.

Her thoughts on why it’s important for CPAs to make time for community service:
“I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of others. As CPAs, generally we are in a fortunate position, so I think it’s a personal and professional responsibility to pay it forward as much as possible—whether that’s getting involved in your community or servant leadership where you work.”

Innovation Award

Zach Richards, CPA, CFE
Director – DWD CPAs & Advisors

At the time of his award, Zach was a senior manager who had been leading the charge for new technologies. He took the initiative to research options and calculate ultimate cost savings for the firm, then presented his recommendations to the director group. He served as the main point of contact for all providers and helped implement paperless document management and digital workflow software; a new staff scheduling system; and enhanced use of client portals and e-signatures. As the current chair of DWD’s Innovation Committee, he continues to monitor new technologies and ways to make the most of the ones they have.

His advice on questions firms can ask to get started on new ideas:
“Identify your pain points and where they are—whether they’re for you internally or for your clients. Then ask, ‘How can I fix that?’ If everyone else in the industry is already making these advances and taking the pain points away, and you’re not, how does that position you going forward?”

2022 INCPAS Awards Nominations are Due December 8

  • Building Bridges to the Profession
  • Community Service
  • Emerging Leaders
  • Innovation

Nominate your outstanding colleagues today.

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