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Brian Steinert — 36

Director of Product Management – Workflow Solutions, CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

Wichita, KS

Education: BA in Business Education and BA in Accounting, Bethany College

Professional Associations/Memberships: Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA); Association for Computers and Taxation (ACT); KSCPA – Associate Member; XBRL-US (CCH Tax and Accounting member delegate)

Civic Involvement: Various local fundraisers and charity events through my church.

Hobbies: Spending time with my four children, home improvement projects, golf, skiing, mountain climbing, watching all sports, learning about and playing with new technology.

Cell phone: As I write this, a Blackberry 8800. By the time this article is printed, I’ll have an iPhone 4.

Favorite app: Microsoft OneNote. It allows me to organize notes and To Dos from customer calls, conferences, internal and external meetings, email, IM, etc., as well as plan for future events. It’s my dashboard for keeping track of what I’ve done and where I’m going.


How many hours of the day are you plugged in and responsive to client needs? And what tools/products make it possible for you to have flexibility? During the week, I’m “connected” every hour I’m awake either via working on my laptop and being online using a USB cellular card or a WiFi connection, or via my smartphone.

What is an “old school” business practice or process you’d like to see changed in the next five years and why? Instead of continuing to receive client originals or provide client deliverables in printed form, portals should be adopted even quicker than they are now. They save time, provide better customer service, are safer for sharing sensitive materials, and they save resources by not having all that printed paper floating around.

What are some ways your firm/business has gone “paperless” and/or “green” in the last two years? For most day-to-day meetings, instead of printing handouts we distribute electronically. Not only does this save on time and waste of printing, but it’s easier to retrieve later. Notes can be taken directly on the electronic version in the office. CCH no longer makes Styrofoam cups available for coffee, but instead bought everyone a stainless steel mug. At external meetings and even our user conference, we’ve been providing a refillable water bottle at the beginning and encourage attendees to use it instead of plastic, throw-away water bottles.

Do you embrace cloud computing? Absolutely, and with no hesitation. I embrace it in my personal life by utilizing online banking and bill pay, doing much of my shopping (music, movies, books, sport equipment, gifts, some clothing, etc.), booking all my travel, backing up personal files off-site, and the list goes on. If it weren’t for cloud computing, most of the business-related work I do would be impossible since I travel or work from home 90 percent of the time. As a vendor and strategic partner with the firms who use our software, it’s imperative that I embrace cloud computing as it is the future of computing. We currently have a suite of products available in the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, which allows firms to adopt cloud computing at their own pace and maintains integration with other server and/or desktop based products.

How is cloud computing changing the accounting profession, and how concerned are you with the security issues related to cloud computing? Cloud computing will support the continued merger and acquisition trends because it helps overcome the physical hardware implementation hurdle and allows firms being acquired to immediately gain access to a centralized set of tools and database of clients. It will also support the trend of staff working from home. Cloud computing will influence hiring activities as it will no longer be a requirement for a staff accountant to be located in the same geographical location. IT will shake the burden of keeping servers up and running or rolling out the latest update and spend more time on strategic activities. It’s a game changer. With regard to security, I truly believe most firms are realizing that their data is more secure in a datacenter managed and guarded 24×7 than in the server room in their office.

Do you foresee the majority of firms still implementing servers for the majority of their computing in their offices five years from now or do you think they will be outsourcing this component to vendors who specialize in this area? I foresee in the next five years most small and medium firms adopting cloud computing either by moving to all SaaS type products, outsourcing the server component of their business, or a combination of the two. Most large firms have implemented a form of cloud computing, though they are hosting themselves by making their programs available via Citrix/Terminal Services. These firms will continue to do much of their own hosting of remaining server-based applications while moving to the available cloud-based applications served up by vendors.

Do you subscribe to a magazine and/or local newspaper? Since my two sons have a paper route, I receive the McPherson Daily Sentinel, which allows me to keep up on local news. And Golf Digest so I can have all those great tips floating through my mind if I ever get to make it back out on the course.

What ONE piece of technology could you absolutely not live without? If I had to pick one piece of technology, it would have to be my BlackBerry (soon to be iPhone 4). It’s a necessity for worktravel to keep on top of the latest demands, and it provides comfort and peace of mind that I can communicate with my family at any timeany place.

NOT including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? I admire companies such as Google who are innovative and agile in development and allow their employees to “think outside the box”…and then reward them for successful ideas.

Do you use online resources like webcasts for CPE training? I’ve used online resources for learning (and teaching) for 10 years.

Do you listen to podcasts? Yes. In addition to podcasts available within our profession, I listen to various podcasts available on NPR (National Public Radio).

Are you using social networking (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook) as a marketing tool for your practice/business … or do you use such sites for personal use only? Have you gained any clients or seen other demonstrable benefits from the use of social networking? While it’s definitely not the primary marketing tool, we do have a presence there and are seeing more and more adoption of people visiting on their own or responding to a posting as firms begin opening up the use of these sites internally.

What pitfalls or what unwritten rules of social networking etiquette exist, which are frequently missed by others in the profession? There are times I, personally, want to keep some boundaries between my business life and personal life. I continue to be amazed at how many Facebook requests I receive from those I just met. Typically, I ignore those requests until I know people on a more personal level and add them to LinkedIn, which is a more appropriate means of connecting with others in the business world.

What sports team/championship event do you absolutely refuse to miss? Other than my kids’ games, I try not to miss seeing the Kansas City Chiefs play. The Super Bowl and World Series are the two championship games/series I always watch.

What are some of your favorite books, movies, music, websites, and TV shows?

Business Books: “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, “True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership” by Bill George.

Books for fun: “Black/Red/White – The Circle Trilogy” by Ted Dekker; “Harry Potter” Series by J.K. Rowling; “Eragon”, “Eldest” and “Brisingr” by Christopher Paolini.

Movies: “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, “Oceans 11”, “India Jones” series, “Bourne” trilogy

Music: Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock

TV Shows: “Lost”, “Heroes”, “Cheers”, “Seinfeld”

How many monitors do you have on your desk? Two, both at home and at the office.

What operating system and version of Microsoft Office is installed on your work computer? Windows 7 64-Bit, Office 2010