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Don Scholl, a Well-Liked and Respected Consultant to the CPA Profession, Has Died

Scholl, who retired about 15 years ago after serving as president of his own consulting firm for four decades, passed away March 27.

Photo of Donald Scholl courtesy of the Facebook page of Jonathan Scholl.

Donald Scholl, who provided management consulting and training services to hundreds of public accounting firms during the course of his more than 40-year career and created many development programs for CPAs, including the popular Management for Results, has passed away. He was 88 years old.

Scholl’s son, Jonathan, posted the news on Facebook (below) this morning, saying his dad died the morning of March 27 in his sleep at home. “We will miss him dearly,” he wrote.

Despite retiring about 15 years ago, Scholl is still remembered as one of the top consultants in the accounting profession, said Allan Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group.

“He advised and transformed many of today’s great CPA firms in the 1980s and 1990s and early 2000s,” Koltin wrote in a post on LinkedIn today. “His ability to articulate the difficult, challenge the status quo, and see the greatness and potential of what CPA firms could be will always be remembered.”

After hearing the news of his passing this morning, thought leaders from around the accounting profession described Scholl as:

  • “A pivotal person in the profession.”
  • “A class act.”
  • “A perfect gentleman.”
  • “An icon.”
  • “The dean of consulting in the CPA arena.”
  • “A funny guy.”
  • “A straight shooter and wonderful man.”
  • “A bright mind.”
  • “An asset to our profession.”

“Truly a historic and huge name in our profession,” said Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA.

According to his website, which is no longer active but has been archived, Scholl was founder and president of D.B. Scholl Inc., based in West Chester, PA.

“Since 1967 more than six hundred local, regional, and national firms have engaged Donald B. Scholl as consultant to their professional practices,” the website says. “His exposure to professional organizations, particularly those in the field of public accounting, is unique. Don’s work in forty-six states (at last count)—as consultant, as trainer, as seminar leader, as speaker—has made him known to thousands of CPAs and other professionals. And the years of hands-on experience have given him uncommon insight into the tough issues of practice management, administration, and growth.”

His consulting services ranged from management audits and firm reviews to partner retreats and staff training programs.

Some of the development programs for CPAs that Scholl designed include Management for Results, The Senior Seminar, Discussion Leader Workshop, and Strategic Planning for CPA Firms.

“This morning’s news caused me to look into the archives and review the agenda for one of his [MFR] programs. Most of the issues are still relevant in today’s environment,” said L. Gary Boomer, visionary and strategist at Boomer Consulting and the firm’s founder.

“My MFR group used Don as an outside facilitator for many years. He knew how to bond the group to find solutions,” added Carl George, owner and CEO of Carl George Advisory and former CEO of public accounting firm Clifton Gunderson (now CliftonLarsonAllen).

Through the years, Scholl served the AICPA, state CPA societies, and many local, regional, and national accounting firms as a discussion leader, lecturer, and advisor.

Scholl, along with Cliff Brownstein and Gene Cohen, launched the Association of Accounting Administrators, now called the CPA Firm Management Association, in 1984 and served as the group’s first president from 1984 to 1986.

He is also credited for bringing the Predictive Index—an in-house management tool used by companies in recruiting, counseling, and promotion decisions—to the accounting profession in North America.

Scholl had been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Accounting” by Accounting Today and had articles published in the Pennsylvania CPA Spokesman (now Pennsylvania CPA Journal), Colorado CPA Report, the AICPA’s The Practicing CPA newsletter, and Accounting Today

Scholl graduated from Haverford College in Haverford, PA, and also studied at Temple University and the Barnes Foundation.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Margaret “Peg” Scholl, a philanthropist who served as board president for Meals on Wheels of Chester County in Pennsylvania from 2015 to 2017. Peg passed away in November 2022 at the age of 83.