Simko brings national perspective as chair of Ohio Society Executive Board.
How would you describe your position with Ernst and Young? What kind of responsibilities does it involve?
I am a partner in the firm's Professional Practice group, specializing in matters related to auditing standards and methodology. In general terms, I am part of a team that monitors auditing developments, primarily the activities of the:
* Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)
* Auditing Standards Board (ASB)
* International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)
I also develop appropriate guidance for Ernst and Young audits, serving as the Americas Methodology Implementation Leader. As part of this role, I support the Americas Area of E & Y (Canada, the United States, Central and South America) in understanding and executing E & Y audit methodology. This includes:
* Responding to questions from audit teams
* Helping identify and develop appropriate enablers for executing audits
* Supporting the development, review and delivery of learning on auditing matters
You mentioned that part of your role involves monitoring the activities of the PCAOB. How do you see this board evolving in the future?
It is easy to forget that the PCAOB has been operating less than four years. Like any relatively new organization, it continues to grow and evolve. I think its next steps will be significantly influenced by the appointment of Mark W. Olson as a "permanent chair." He will have the opportunity to put his stamp on the organization, to create and build upon the organization's culture, and to define its key activities and focus for the next few years.
Why do you think peer review has become such a key issue for both the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)?
The well-known business failures and financial frauds a few years ago and the resulting Sarbanes-Oxley legislation was a wake-up call for everyone in business. Those involved in or with the accounting profession were especially attentive to the challenge and necessity of restoring public confidence in the financial markets.
As part of this renewed attention, many state boards of accountancy began evaluating the processes they had in place to monitor the quality of CPAs in their states. For most states, the focus quickly turned to peer review and the ability for state boards of accountancy to accelerate and expand access to the results of peer review.
In many cases the needs of the state boards of accountancy conflicted with the peer review standards, which define how the peer review program operates. I think it is this inherent conflict that is driving the attention on peer review today. Regulators are trying to carry out their fiduciary responsibility as best they can. I think the profession, led by the AICPA, understands this and is trying to respond in a way that will help the regulators, while retaining the value of the peer review process for the CPA firms involved.
What do you think is the biggest issue confronting members of The Ohio Society of CPAs?
This is a difficult question to answer. Our membership is very diverse. From almost any perspective (age, family status, experience, employment), we have members with varying needs and interests, and for most, those needs and interests vary throughout their membership. If I had to select one issue, the most consistent topic that I come across is the need to more effectively manage time and knowledge. This includes everything from "how do I keep up with all of the changes and requirements" to "how can I make my son's baseball game and still get my work done?"
I think we have all individually found our own solutions to these challenges; some are more effective than others. However, business and accounting seems to grow more complex each year, and our desire to prioritize home and family life is also increasing. Being able to find a way to effectively manage both challenges may become the "holy grail" of the 21st century.
What are your goals as chair of the Society?
Although I think we have made great progress in recent years, I plan to focus on promoting activities that will continue to improve the image of the CPA profession. I think we can do this by focusing our time and energies on the following key themes:
* Quality -- commitment to getting the right answer
* Integrity -- commitment to doing the right thing
* Community -- commitment to giving back to others
What did you think when you found out you had been nominated as chair-elect?
I initially had two reactions: disbelief and honor. Initially, I found it hard to believe that I had been nominated. Although I have been active in The Ohio Society for years, including having served on the Executive Board once before, I saw my "Big Four" employment as a detractor. After all, CPAs from the largest firms make up only a small portion of the Society's membership.
However, the Society does a great job of maintaining an appropriate balance on the Executive Board. As it worked out, this may be a good time for my role as chair. A retired partner from my firm is currently the past chair of the Accountancy Board of Ohio, and another partner from my firm is on the Board of the AICPA, two key constituents for The Ohio Society.
After the initial disbelief came a genuine feeling of honor for having been selected by the nominating committee to serve in this role. I look forward to serving the members over the next year.
How did you first get involved in volunteering with The Ohio Society?
My early involvement in the Society was through various committees of the Dayton Chapter. My involvement was triggered by two key variables:
1. Support from my employer to get involved in leadership roles with professional and civic organizations.
2. Being asked.
Sandy Spieker is editor of Catalyst: The Leading Edge of Ohio Business. She can be reached at email@example.com or 800.686.2727, ext. 321.