Accounting Power 50 A-H

NJBIZ STAFF//June 28, 2021//

Accounting Power 50 A-H

NJBIZ STAFF//June 28, 2021//

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Karen Artasanchez 

Artasanchez is a “wicked smart” individual who “steps in and leads, and is also a caring mentor and role model,” according to colleagues. A partner in WilkinGuttenplan’s tax department, she’s also a valued member of the firm’s Banking and Attorney Groups, a Six Sigma Green Belt, and an integral part of the firm’s process improvement team. Artasanchez leverages her extensive expertise in tax consulting, strategic planning and compliance services to assist closely-held businesses and their owners, with clients that include emerging and established businesses in the manufacturing, life sciences and pharma, professional service, real estate, technology, and food service industries.  As part of the WilkinGuttenplan International Tax Group, Artasanchez interacts with multinational businesses in Asia, Latin America and Europe, helping clients manage the complex tax compliance requirements that stem from having a foreign affiliate. She’s also developed an expertise in mergers and acquisitions, working with clients on both the buy-side and sell-side, often assisting with structuring deals, analyzing tax implications of a transaction, and running due diligence processes. Artasanchez’s  reputation extends beyond the firm: she joined a statewide task force that helped Gov. Phil Murphy develop an alternative when strict limitations placed on SALT (State and Local Tax) deductions threatened to hammer New Jersey residents. Additionally, she shares her knowledge across a variety of topics in videos produced by organizations like NJCPA and the New Jersey chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

Glenn Bellomy  

Bellomy has worked with restaurants, food and beverage and retail businesses for nearly three decades, helping them to secure financing, maximize tax benefits, understand the continually changing regulations and code, and get their ducks in a row for mergers or acquisitions when business life cycles allow. As practice leader of Withum’s consumer products services group, he’s a go-to guy for restaurants, food and beverage companies and retail businesses to tackle challenges head-on; and he has expertise in the construction, distribution, manufacturing and professional services industries. New Jersey Food Council President Linda Doherty called him an active leader on food insecurity issues and a supporter of the food association community.

James Blake 

Mazars USA’s 2019 “yearbook” was titled “Striking the balance,” and COO James Blake certainly exemplifies that concept. This February, he was recognized in the NJBIZ 2021 Leaders in Finance awards. An accounting veteran with more than 25 years of experience, Blake is a member of the firm’s executive board and a business board member of Mazars Group and serves as chairman of the Praxity North America accounting and consulting alliance.  During his tenure, Blake has focused on the middle market with a balanced set of clients that include domestic companies and global importers and exporters. He carries that balance over to his own management style, which he touts as one that promotes a culture of open communication and collaboration.

James Bourke Jr. 

Bourke is managing director for Advisory Services at Withum. He is recognized for advances in the technological and digital space and was named to the NJBIZ 2020 Accounting Power 50. In 2019, he won an NJBIZ Digi-Tech Innovator Award for enhancing overall productivity and performance at his firm. Bourke has been an active member of the NJCPA for decades, having previously served as president, as well as the former Monmouth/Ocean Chapter president. According to Withum, he is a sought-after speaker on issues involving technology, the profession and business advice. Bourke has keynoted and presented at conferences around the world to a variety of industry groups.

Harry Carpenter 

Carpenter is a partner in the Livingston office of Citrin Cooperman where he serves as the New Jersey practice leader and co-chairman of the firm’s Cannabis Advisory Services Practice. He provides a wide variety of accounting, audit, and consulting services to private clients in a number of specialized industries, including the emerging cannabis industry, manufacturing and distribution, staffing, real estate, construction, architecture and engineering, and life sciences. Carpenter specializes in audits, reviews, compilations, and consultation on general accounting, business strategy, operations, budgeting and forecasts, and internal controls.

Anthony Castellano 

After some 20 years at the assurance, tax, and financial advisory firm BDO, Castellano’s management style is still evolving. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the traditional leadership model had to quickly change — and switching to a remote-work model meant a creating more “individual and group connection points, with more virtual events for BDO members and clients.” As Woodbridge Assurance Office Managing Partner, Castellano is responsible for overseeing the office’s audit practice development, which ranges from client satisfaction to employee recruitment and retention — and he’s helping the group to navigate technological and other changes within the profession. One big development is “continuous auditing,” which is moving auditors away from a “rear-view mirror” analysis of transactions to a real-time approach that may help clients in New Jersey and beyond to catch errors faster and, possibly, help to block fraudulent and other unauthorized transactions before they can damage a company’s finances or operations. Castellano is also leading his team into uncharted waters as the accounting profession grapples with a new addition to financial statement disclosures and estimates: ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance. Growing concern over issues like climate change and gender-and-racial equality is driving more publicly held companies — along with accounting’s standard-setting Financial Accounting Standards Board — to consider ways to measure and disclose how businesses are responding to everything from warming temperatures to minority board and other representation.

Jeffrey Christakos 

Christakos chairs the Accounting Department at Monmouth University, makes frequent media appearances and has won several awards for his work as an educator. Most recently, the NJCPA presented him with the Exceptional Educator Award for his work in advancing the profession. As a college professor, he encourages students to be their best and works to continually make improvements to the school’s accounting program. He created a Financial Planning Club and started the school on the path to having a Certified Financial Planning Board-approved program. Christakos also was selected to be the first non-Ph.D. department chair in recent history of the Leon Hess Business School.

Joseph Damiano 

Under Damiano’s tenure as managing partner, Sax LLP has been adding to its roster of practice areas to maintain and enhance its client-centered services and add value as overall business advisors. Moving beyond compliance-related activities, the firm has added investment banking advisory, outsourced CFO, HR consulting, cannabis, technology and cybersecurity practices – many within the last 12 months. Under Joe’s leadership, Sax’s wealth management arm, Sax Wealth Advisors, has also exceeded over $1.5 billion in assets under management and was recently ranked in the top 50 CPA Firms by AUM nationally. But even as the firm grows — Sax was recently ranked as the 95th-largest U.S. accounting firm by one industry publication but their goal is to be a Top 75 firm — Damiano has maintained a focus on family owned and closely held businesses while striving to provide exemplary service that keeps clients excited to work with Sax. And while he’s committed to growth, Damiano also seeks a careful balance between organic expansion and M&A. The idea, he has said, is to ensure that any M&A partner reflects Sax’s culture, understanding clients’ vision and providing solutions that exceed their expectations while helping to assure their success.

Carolyn D’Anna

In 2020, when she was a partner at one of New Jersey’s largest CPA firms, D’Anna decided it was a time to retire. It must’ve been one of the shortest retirements on record, because a week or so later she was talking to SobelCo Managing Member Alan D. Sobel about joining the firm. Soon after that she came on board as its first
COO. D’Anna “sets the right tone as a valuable member of the NJCPA, of the 175-person firm, and as a role model and mentor for women and minorities,” says a colleague.  The COVID-19 pandemic was still raging when D’Anna joined SobelCo, but she quickly swung into action, building and reinforcing internal and external relationships virtually via Teams videoconferencing and bolstering firm morale.

Her formal responsibilities include overseeing Finance, Marketing, IT, HR and administrative functions — “she’s quickly made a positive impact as an influential executive in the firm providing critical leadership,” said one observer. D’Anna has enabled SobelCo to operate even more effectively, adhering to the firm’s short-term plans while successfully executing long-term strategies, and freeing up resources to concentrate on the firm’s top priorities, delivering a higher degree of transparency and accelerating the evolution of its existing systems and protocols.

Scott Derco

Derco, construction industry practice co-leader at Citrin Cooperman, serves as president and currently on the board of one of the largest and most recognized construction organizations in the U.S. He has spoken in front of various industry associations, written articles, and is well-known in construction and real estate circles.  As an advisor, Derco has made an impact on a diverse client base consisting of closely held companies and high net worth individuals. His expertise crosses over various industries, including manufacturing/distribution, and technology, as well as other specialized industries. Derco specializes in strategic planning for companies and their stockholders, designed to minimize taxable income, reduce exposure to risk, and maximize profitability and future growth.

Nicole M. DeRosa

A senior tax manager at Wiss & Co., DeRosa has more than 12 years of public accounting experience, specializing in tax issues for individuals and closely held businesses. In addition to working with clients in a variety of industries, she also teaches various continuing education courses for Surgent CPE and the AICPA. Because of DeRosa’s extensive tax knowledge, she is a valuable resource for “all things tax” and regularly assists clients with federal and state tax controversy matters. In 2015, she was named to NJCPA’s “30 Under 30” list and In 2019 she won a “Women to Watch” Ovation Award which recognizes the growth and success of female members for their leadership commitment to fostering the success of fellow professionals.

Andrea Diaz

Diaz became a partner at SKC & Co. CPAs in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was peaking — and immediately immersed herself in a time-critical task: ensuring that everyone at the firm had appropriate remote access to tax files and other data. She implemented a paperless process for the firm so all information could be accessed remotely, without a need for paper files; created a server folder to centralize files and helped allocate assignments to ensure an uninterrupted workflow. Diaz and her partners also pored through hundreds of pages of new tax laws and immediately disseminated the information to clients so that they were not in the dark. Diaz’s colleagues say she brings “energy” to the firm, and her knowledge, insight and professionalism raise the bar for everyone there. She continues to keep clients and firm members close, maintaining lines of communication through the online SKC Week in Review, and by making herself available as a coach on a variety of development, technical and other issues for clients and for firm members. Internally, Diaz aligns with the majority-women firm’s culture, acting as a mentor, and embracing flextime arrangements, in-house daycare, unlimited PTO — during busy season — and other programs that enable employees to get work done without sacrificing time with family and other loved ones.

Howard Dorman

Dorman has led the food and beverage practice at Mazars since his small firm merged into the company several years ago. With expertise built from 40-plus years of practice, he leads a team of 20 professionals providing tax and accounting services to around 250 clients in all corners of the food and beverage space, including importers, manufacturers, distributors, exporters, food service, retail and restaurants, including franchisors and franchisees. He told NJBIZ last year that his passion is cultivating talent from below and that his legacy is the young accountants he brought into the practice. “It’s the seeds you sow,” Dorman said. “It was never about me.” His Food For Talk podcast, started mid-pandemic, is going strong, now more than 30 episodes in featuring food business gurus like Marc Oshims of AeroFarms and Michelle Retik of B.A.D. Food Co.

Tracey Early and David Untracht

The pair founded Florham Park’s Untracht Early when they were both in their early 30s and have expanded it to 150 people in three locations, serving high-profile clients – high net worth individuals and those in the alternative investment space (competing with firms much larger than their own for this work, and often winning it). The firm says it focuses on emphasize the consulting functions of its engagements and its professionals act as general business and financial advisors. Its clients rely on Untracht Early not only for accounting advice but also for input on general business matters, tax strategies and strategic planning.

Travis Epp

According to one insider, Epp is a “skilled collaborator and engaged marketer at all levels for food businesses.” He co-manages the food business practice at EisnerAmper. Epp is an audit partner and the partner-in-charge of EisnerAmper’s manufacturing and distribution group, where he focuses on private companies in the middle market. In a previous role, Epp was a senior financial officer at a family enterprise where he was the certifying financial officer for two publicly traded companies. Epp is an active member on the Financial Executive International network, a Morristown-based organization for senior-level financial executives, where he previously served on the Board of Directors and was past president of the New Jersey Chapter.

Marge Filippelli

Filippelli is a managing partner at Marcum’s Roseland office and a member of the Real Estate Group. She boasts years of experience in the real estate industry, having done work on financial statement audits, reviews, compilations for office, residential, retail, hotel, industrial properties and investment companies. Filippelli also handles acquisition due diligence, special-purpose audits including operating expenses and agreed-upon procedures reports. Before joining Marcum, Filippelli was a partner with Cornerstone Accounting Group LLP when the two firms merged in 2013. She is an active member of both the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is also a member of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).

Phillip Goldstein

Early on during the COVID pandemic, a North Jersey county executive wanted to shut down all businesses, including CPA firms. Fortunately for the practitioners, CEO Goldstein sits on an NJCPA political action committee and he, along with other key members, soon huddled with Gov. Phil Murphy, who ultimately included CPAs as essential businesses. That’s typical of Goldstein’s hands-on leadership approach, which leverages his audit, accounting and business expertise in such industries as construction, manufacturing, real estate, professional organizations, medical, retail, wholesale, publishing, advertising and banking.

Goldstein heads the firm’s Construction Services Group, and he’s a member of the firm’s Law Firm Services Group, responsible for the planning and coordination of financial reporting services for lawyers and law firms. His articles that appear regularly in international, national and local publications. Goldstein Lieberman & Co. today employs more than 100 professionals, but Goldstein still remembers his roots, “when we were first starting out and had to scramble to meet payroll.” That kind of background makes him a natural when it comes to working with the firm’s many family owned and closely held business clients, where he has to be a psychologist as well as an accountant to help them work out issues.

Michael Hochman

Hochman is the New Jersey office market co-leader and executive committee member at Grassi. He brings more than 30 years of experience to the firm in tax planning and return preparation for corporations, individuals, and partnerships and represents clients before both federal and state taxing authorities. Hochman maintains a vast client base reflecting a wide spectrum of industries, including construction, manufacturing and distribution, and real estate. Working closely with the construction practice at Grassi, Hochman is said to have a clear understanding of the in-depth knowledge required for the unique accounting and tax requirements of the construction industry.