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Accounting & Audit

Michael Felland – 2016 20 Under 40 Superstar Honoree

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Michael Felland

Product Manager

Sageworks

Raleigh, NC

 

Q&A:

  1. Aside from the accounting websites, which blog/website do you consider a must-read?

I read the New York Times’ website (nytimes.com) regularly. In a world with an increasing number of news outlets, I have found that I can always rely on the Times for news that is both important and objective. I find them to be one of the most trustworthy news providers there is.

  1. In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

I have worked with some great people to develop the Sageworks Electronic Tax Return Reader. The recently-patented technology has removed the data-entry process for accountants and financial institutions who rely on their clients’ tax return data. This is a huge time savings for our customers. I hope to continue to help build industry-changing products for financial professionals.

  1. In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

At Sageworks, we provide many free resources for accounting firms through our accounting blog, webinars, whitepapers and other practice aids, the majority of which seek to provide advice to accountants on how to enhance their advisory practices and analytical procedures.

  1. In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

I enjoy working with my hands so I volunteer with Habitat for Humanity whenever I can.

  1. What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

I foresee accountants spending more time helping clients as they reduce the time they spend on things like data entry and calculations, which are increasingly being automated.

I think the accounting industry will become more advising and consulting-focused. No one is better equipped than U.S. CPAs to provide accurate advice to U.S. businesses.

  1. How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

There are many processes between public accounting firms and financial institutions that can be improved. I hope to have the chance to build new software products that enhance these processes and ultimately improve relationships between accounting firms and financial institutions.

  1. What is your career philosophy?

Before pursuing a career in product management, I used to be a First Officer with a regional airline headquartered in Wisconsin. After finding out that the airline industry was not for me, I decided to go back to school at North Carolina State University and, upon graduation, I was lucky enough to secure a great position with Sageworks. While finding my true calling, I have always had the mentality that nothing is hard, just different. With this mindset, I have found myself thinking without limits, always asking why and making sure I never stop learning.

  1. Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

My uncle has been an inspiration to me. When I was younger, my uncle owned a beautiful airplane called a Cessna 172. One time, he took me on a flight and let me handle the controls the whole time. I was ecstatic and this particular instance is what made me so passionate about flying. During the flight, I remember saying that this was really hard and that’s when he said “nothing is hard, just different.” From that point in my life, that quote has always stuck with me and has become a key part of my career philosophy today.

 

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Learn more about this year’s 20 Under 40 Superstars, and 40 Under 40 Honorees.