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The Tech Take

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Executive appointments, new arrivals and one unannounced departure from a major tax and accounting vendor were on tap this past week, plus we're getting ready for conference season; where will you be going and why?

First off Deltek finally filled its CFO role which had been vacant since former CFO Mike Corkery took on the CEO position late last year, this of course was following the departure of Kevin Parker. Consequently, he is also named Mike -- Michael Krone, and he's no stranger to the finance role as he's been Deltek's controller since he joined in 2008. Now that the key executive ducks are in a row over at Deltek, perhaps we'll be seening more significant product news.

It seems C-level moves tend to come in waves, and not always with much explanation, as is the case with one we found out about over at CCH. Apparently last Tuesday Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting head Kevin Robert issued a letter to all staff announcing the resignation of CCH Small Firm Services president Jeff Gramlich, and his subsequent replacement by former Wolters Kluwer Financial & Compliance Services vice president and general manager Jason Marx. As with last year's departure of CCH president Mike Sabbatis, there really wasn't much explanation of the move. Gramlich's departure was however not long after he had publically addressed some issues with its ATX tax product just a few weeks ago. The company had also explained it was addressing the problems with the product, but it may very well have been an impetus for his resignation.

Meanwhile, more executive hiring continues over at Cleveland-based Skoda Minotti Technology Partners, who appears to be seeing a fair amount of demand for its managed services and felt the need to beef up experienced tech staff to help handle the work. I definitely see more firms looking into this level of service offering, as clients are looking more to their trusted advisors for things beyond tax and accounting services and advice. They want to know about moving to the cloud and if a firm can actually help take them there, as with Skoda Minotti and a growing number of firms who are able to offer vitualization services or even their own data centers, they will likely be ahead of the game. This is not to say that the battle between public and private cloud won't wage on for another several years, but at the end of the day it's about servicing clients and the firms that do it before or even better than their competitors will have an edge.

As I mentioned, technology conference season is nearly upon us -- a time when channel partners and, once the major tax season ends, more accounting firms will send staff out to learn about where vendors and technology in general are moving. And in the process if they get to earn some CPE, well all the better. My main question here is, what exactly do technology-minded accountants, consultants, and resellers go to these converences for? Surely its not just for the rubber chicken and a bit of continued education -- or is that just part of it? My view is that everyone who bothers spending the time and money to -- in some cases -- fly across the country to be at these events, be it a partner conference or major industry meet up like AICPA Practioners + Tech Symposium, they are looking for more. It stands to reason, if you didn't want to learn or plan to evolve your practice why bother going to a conference or -- perish the thought -- read a publication like this. I guess I'd like to believe that stagnation is not an option any longer, nor is being pushed in a direction you don't want to go and therefor taking a more active role in how your firm addresses its future is more the tone of the day. I'm looking forward to finding out if this is the case over the rest of this year.

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