New York (Aug. 5, 2003) -- Noted CPA consultant James Metzler was hired Monday as the new face of small CPA firm interests at an evolving American Institute of CPAs.

Metzler, who most recently served as co-founder of CPA consulting firm Convergence Coaching, joined the Institute as vice president - small CPA firm interests and will report to the AICPA's head of member and public interests, Alan Anderson.

In his new role, Metzler will supervise the Institute's firm practice management initiatives, including Partnering for CPA Practice Success (PCPS) and the Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Committee.

"I've been talking with the AICPA about this since last November," Metzler told WebCPA. "As time went on, it became so attractive and such an important position, that I decided it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference at the Institute."

"In small firms, the challenges vary, but they include succession planning, partner unity, new leader preparation and service mix issues where firms are working to focus only on those initiatives that make business sense," Metzler added. He said that the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley may negatively impact smaller firms, an impact he hopes to soften. "It will be the charge of this new initiative at the AICPA to develop programs that guide and support firms on these matters."

The creation of this new position signals the AICPA's shift to serving smaller firms, now that its oversight role of firms that audit public companies has been sharply redrawn by the SOX legislation.

Prior to founding Convergence Coaching in 2000 with partner Jennifer Wilson, Metzler served for 24 years at the Buffalo, N.Y. firm of Gaines Metzler Kriner & Co. He also founded and chaired the firm's GEMKO Information Group, an information technology consulting company.

"We're really proud of Jim and sad to see him go," Wilson said of Metzler's departure from Convergence Coaching. On the flip side, Wilson said she was confident Metzler has the background to succeed in his new post. "We'd love to see the AICPA take a more active role in helping small and mid-sized firms, and Jim has such a great perspective on what those firms need," she said.

Metzler said he has a long-term contract with the AICPA and plans to stick around until he accomplishes all he needs to.

"This is not a temporary thing," he said. "At age 80 when I retire, this is the place I hope to retire from. I'm here for the long haul."

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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