Michael Kalifeh, CPA, CFST
Shareholder, Tax Services
Thomas Howell Ferguson, P.A. CPAs
- Aside from the accounting websites, which blog/website do you consider a must-read? Aside from accounting websites, www.foxnews.com, www.bleacherreport.com, and www.realclearpolitics.com are on my must-read list.
- In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
In my 13 years of being a member of the firm, I’ve served on a number of internal committees, task force groups, etc. A few examples include participating in a group to develop incentive compensation plans and leading a growth task force as part of a recent strategic planning meeting. Most recently, I have served as the chair of the THF recruiting committee where I am responsible for coordinating recruiting efforts with Florida State University, Valdosta State University, and University of South Florida. Being head of the recruiting committee has allowed me to help recruit talented individuals that will be the future of our firm. Additionally, I authored a formal training program for the tax department that provides timelines and training materials/procedures on a week-by-week basis which is provided to all new hires. This program has allowed us to successfully integrate new employees into the tax department. I also lead our firm’s commercial-focused industry team comprised of fourteen professionals whose primary focus is on successfully serving private companies. Within this team, I spend a lot of time mentoring the younger CPAs and helping them become more engaged in the local business community.
- In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession? In the professional community, I have written articles for the Tallahassee Democrat on tax credits and income tax matters along with performing joint presentations with Brown & Brown Insurance Agency on the Affordable Care Act. To our firm, I have presented subject matters such as Roth IRA Conversion and other tax subject areas as part of continuing professional education (CPE). The external events generated audiences of executives with 50+ attendees. Our firm stands at approximately 85 members so the internal presentations provide training to a large audience in that respect. I am also an active member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
I currently serve on the board of Lee’s Place. Lee’s Place is a local non-profit entity that provides counseling therapy to adults, children, and families coping with loss, trauma, grief, or other life changing experiences. Lee’s Place serves those in need on a sliding fee scale to offer affordable, quality counseling. Serving on the board and offering financial expertise as a CPA helps Lee’s Place have the ability to do its important and much needed work in our community. I also serve as chairman of the sponsorship committee for their annual fundraising event, increasing their support by 33% in the past year.
- What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)? The changes I foresee happening in the accounting profession are already in progress: outsourcing of traditional insourced accounting functions such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliations, etc. I believe more and more companies will follow suit and begin to outsource these services which will create a new revenue source for CPA firms. Advances in technology are allowing CPA firms to offer these services in an efficient and cost effective manner. Companies are beginning to realize that some of these services can be contracted out at a lower cost than maintaining a full-time employee along with incurring the related costs of payroll taxes, benefits, etc.
- How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession? My hope is that I will influence future accountants that we hire and others that I get the chance to meet at campus recruiting events. I hope that they will take away that being a CPA is an exciting career and a privilege. The profession needs talented candidates coming into its ranks.
- What is your career philosophy? I believe individuals should find something they enjoy and work very hard to be the best at what they do. I truly believe if you work hard, learn from the success of others, and do things for the right reason, good things will come to you and those you serve.
- Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life. I would say my parents. I know you asked for one, but I must say both. My dad is always there for me to provide great advice both in my personal and professional life. My dad is also a CPA, which makes it very easy to relate and nice to talk professional issues with. My mom has always pushed me to be the very best and has held me to the highest standard of excellence growing up in academics and athletics. They have both helped shape me into the professional that I am today.