Accounting Power 50 I-Z

Jessica Perry//July 20, 2020

Accounting Power 50 I-Z

Jessica Perry//July 20, 2020

Michael Karu

Michael Karu; member; Levine, Jacobs & Co.

Karu led Levine, Jacobs & Co. from a firm of eight and a gross of under $1 million to a total of 27 employees and a gross of over $5 million. He is also civic-minded, having served as a board member on the New Jersey Ballet Company and was a trustee, officer and audit chairman of Oheb Shalom Congregation. And Karu is an active member of the Rotary Club of West Orange.

Howard Klein

Howard Klein, partner, EisnerAmper

Alongside Travis Epp, Klein runs a major foodspace practice at EisnerAmper. If it’s a big grocery firm, Klein might be its go-to accounting guy, according to one insider. Klien is a “strong leader in a top agency with a hands on approach to developing partnerships and advising clients on new economy and impact to bottom line issues,” said NJFC President Linda Doherty. He specializes in domestic and international tax planning and compliance for closely held businesses and domestic and foreign high net worth individuals. The full-time supervision and servicing of many clients in the manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage industries falls on his shoulders.

Paul Krieger

Paul Krieger; managing partner, Parsippany; Deloitte & Touche LLP

Krieger is the managing partner for Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Parsippany practice and leads more than 2,000 employees. He also serves as lead client service partner and advisory partner for a variety of global clients. Krieger has more than 27 years of audit and advisory experience at Deloitte serving large global clients in a variety of industries, with a focus on life sciences. He has extensive experience in leading audit and advisory services related to internal controls, business combinations, strategic alliances, global acquisitions and, complex revenue recognition matters.

Evelyn A. McDowell

Evelyn A. McDowell, associate professor, Rider University

An associate professor at Rider University, McDowell as faculty liaison to the school’s Aspiring Accounting Professional Program, which helps promote diversity in the business. She also is president and founding board member of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a lineage society dedicated to preserving the memory and history of the artifacts and landmarks of slavery.

Bryan Merrigan

Bryan Merrigan, MetroPark managing partner, Grant Thornton

Everyone was already working from home for a month due to COVID-19 when Merrigan was elevated from partner of Grant Thornton’s audit practice to managing partner of its MetroPark office, but it was a natural transition. After years of servicing some of the state’s biggest industries–think pharma, life sciences, professional services, and technology–his main focus now is engaging the 120 people in the MetroPark office to be energized and therefore better at their jobs. It’s a tricky job to pick up in today’s work-from-home world. “That’s been my focus now, just engaging with our younger people, getting them out in the market, having as many touch points as i can. If you treat your people well, it translates well to client service,” Merrigan told NJBIZ. “In this virtual environment, it’s hard to find these touchpoints,” but “whether you form small advisory groups, have virtual happy hours, anything to engage with people” it can be done.

Michael Saccomanno

Michael Saccomanno; partner, Forensic Accounting, Litigation Support & Valuation Services Group; Friedman LLP

When a business needs to be valued – for buy-sell agreements, litigation or other reasons – Michael Saccomanno is often at the top of the contact list. A partner in the Forensic Accounting, Litigation Support & Valuation Services Group at Friedman LLP, Saccomanno provides expert testimony in courts throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania — mostly online now — and has been asked to speak at numerous industry events.

Thanks to COVID-19, valuing a business is even more challenging, “because at this point no one knows if the pandemic is temporary, permanent, or something else,” he said. Saccomanno’s advice: “We’re cautious and we dig, but we also tell people that for now, they’ve got to be flexible about the numbers.

Steven Schinella

Steven Schinella; managing partner, Roseland office; CohnReznick

CohnReznick has established itself as a known quantity in the state for a seemingly complex and neverending cascade of changes that businesses have been forced to adapt to amid a COVID-19, social distancing and tech-heavy workplace. And Schinella, managing partner of the Roseland office, has been part of the core of the accounting firm’s insight on the lay of the land in New Jersey. He handles the firm’s consumer industry, manufacturing and distribution and public company audit practices. His work has focused on technology in the workplace, using it to transition away from the physical office and the 9-5 mindset – a key component of the COVID-19 workplace.

Kyle Sell

Kyle Sell, partner, Deloitte

Sell has been a partner at the Parsippany office of global accounting giant Deloitte for more than 25 years, and his focus has been on life science and industrial companies: all key industries in a world racing to find a vaccine, or effective therapeutic, against the COVID-19 virus. Deloitte has produced several figures that have made their way into previous NJBIZ power lists. He’s also the outgoing president at the New Jersey Society of CPAs – the state’s trade group for 14,000 accountants – where he’s been active since 2004. With a heavy focus on the health care sector, they could play a key part in advising businesses on how to navigate and respond to the pandemic and stay afloat, and the race for biotechnology companies to in some way treat the virus and return New Jersey to some semblance of normalcy.

Alex Serrano

Alex Serrano; office managing partner, Livingston, Citrin Cooperman

Serrano is the office managing partner of Citrin Cooperman’s Livingston office where he oversees office operations, promoting operational excellence and managing the culture and organizational effectiveness. Serrano is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is a strategic business consultant and tax advisor, and works with a wide range of industry clients to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Serrano has spent more than 30 years solving the tax planning and strategic problems of both closely held businesses and individuals, including representing their interests before the IRS and the state. As a business consultant, Serrano provides innovative advisory solutions for a range of strategic issues relating to structuring, growth, profitability, and tax planning.

Anthony Sgammato

Anthony Sgammato; managing partner, MetroPark office, Ernst & Young

Sgammato, managing partner at Ernst & Young’s MetroPark office, is no stranger to NJBIZ. He became a partner at the Iselin office in 2013 – one of EY’s youngest in the state. The next year, Sgammato was named to the 2014 NJBIZ Forty Under 40 award list for his work at EY. And he co-directs EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey Program, which identifies up and coming businesses across the state. He also serves on the board of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business and industry trade groups in the state, which advocates on behalf of employers – and the accountants they use – as the state’s economy evolves and grows more complex.

Alan Sobel

Alan Sobel, managing partner, SobelCo

Sobel’s ascension to head the New Jersey Society of CPA’s board of trustees is the latest role he’s held with the trade group since joining in 1987. He became managing partner at SobelCo nearly a decade later, where he’s been ever since. Most recently, Sobel and NJCPA helped craft a law, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in January, that allows business owners to bypass the $10,000 federal cap on state and local property tax deductions. Given his experience handling the bookkeeping and finances for mom and pop shops, his insight will no doubt be sought by business owners unsure of how they’ll navigate a once-in-a-century global pandemic, and some of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith, partner, Friedman LLP

Most people wouldn’t associate CPAs with outer space, but those folks don’t know Friedman LLP partner Chris Smith. He helped a satellite wireless communications company structure a half-billion-dollar debt offering — and a subsequent $2 billion-dollar capital raise — to get its satellite launched. As co-leader of Friedman’s Public Company Services and Technology and Telecommunications practices, Smith provides audit, compliance and advisory services to publicly traded companies, working with and advising clients on matters like initial and secondary public offerings, reverse mergers, private investments in public equity and private placements. He still finds time to be heavily involved with the firm’s China practice and serves on the AICPA’s National Professional Liability Insurance program committee.

Bernard Stubofsky

Bernard Stubofsky, partner, Buchbinder

Stubobsky, a partner at Buchbinder, has five decades of experience dealing with client accounting and auditing issues in such diverse industries as manufacturing, employee benefit plans, government, nonprofits and SEC engagements. In addition, he is a qualified team captain for peer reviews of other accounting firms.

Corey Temple

Corey Temple, managing partner, KPMG

KPMG has established itself as one of the must-have firms for businesses on a whirlwind of highly complex financial transactions – like the federal COVID-19 relief loans and the federal opportunity zone tax breaks. Temple, took over as managing partner of the Short Hills office in July 2015, managing more than 1,000 people. The work includes helping clients apply for federal loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, meant to offer a lifeline to businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the federal opportunity zone tax breaks, and what the post-COVID-19 workplace can look like once more workers transition from telecommuting and back to their physical offices.

Jeffrey C. Thomson

Jeffrey Thomson, CEO, Institute of Management Accountants Inc.

Thomson is a mainstay on accounting power lists nationwide, including 11 years on Accounting Today’s annual Top 100 Most Influential People list, eight years on Trust Across America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior list, and International Accounting Bulletin’s Global Accountancy Power 50 list. Thomson is the CEO of Montvale-based Institute of Management Accountants Inc., which has additional offices in China, the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He’s been at the post since 2008 and has built IMA into one of the fastest growing accounting associations in the world, with over 100,000 members, a mark it crossed for the first time in the organization’s history in 2018.

June Toth

June Toth, managing member, ZBT Certified Public Accounting & Consulting LLC

Toth is the managing member at ZBT Certified Public Accounting & Consulting LLC in Clark. In addition to auditing, financial statement analysis, and reporting and consulting for her clients, she’s provided expert reports related to economic damages and litigation matters in her more than 25 years of practice. According to one insider, June has become a resource for many New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants members, who “consider her a sounding board on topics from accounting to overall life decision-making. Her involvement in various NJCPA committees and groups, and her ability to encourage others to be involved (and have fun while doing it), is a quality that everyone should aspire to have.

Stacey Udell

Stacey Udell; director of valuation, litigation and forensics, mid-Atlantic region; HBK Valuation Group

Udell is the director of valuation, litigation and forensics for the mid-Atlantic region of HBK Valuation Group, based in Cherry Hill. She’s a core member of HBK’s cannabis group, helping cannabis businesses develop strategies to maximize value. “She’s very competent and very talented,” said one cannabis industry insider who noted her publishing successes. Most notably, she’s the co-author of “The Cannabis Industry Accounting and Appraisal Guide” (July 2018) and the primary author of “Cannabis: A Budding Opportunity, Valuation Strategies” (March 2016). In addition, Udell has been qualified as an expert in the State of New Jersey and has received extensive training on providing expert witness testimony and litigation support for business valuations.

Diane Wasser

Diane Wasser, partner-in-charge for New Jersey, EisnerAmper LLP.

Growing up in Haddonfield, Wasser was an only child—but having 28 first cousins meant she was never lonely. It also helped her to develop the confidence to be assertive, since otherwise she would have been drowned out by her crowded relatives. “I was the first woman appointed to the EisnerAmper executive committee, back in 2014,” she said. “Very early on I had to gently but firmly remind other committee members that, ‘you need to let me finish my sentence.’” Wasser is now the partner in charge of the firm’s New Jersey region and she still doesn’t hesitate to carve out a space for herself. Wasser has been a repeat instructor at the AICPA’s national conferences; and she frequently presents through conference calls and other remote methods during the COVID-19 pandemic on employee benefit plan audit issues for CPA and ERISA conferences, and for plan sponsors. EisnerAmper didn’t even have a benefit plans audit practice until Wasser launched the firm’s pension services group around 1992 — today it’s about a $12 million practice.

Jay Weinstein

Jay Weinstein, vice chair, EisnerAmper

Until recently, Weinstein served as EisnerAmper’s New Jersey partner-in-charge – but in February he was promoted to vice chair – Industries and Markets. The newly created position gives him responsibility for executing business strategies in existing markets and segments, and identifying emerging opportunities.a He also leads the firm’s innovation and technology initiatives. “I used to be responsible for growing our New Jersey activities, but now I’m covering the entire firm,” he said, noting it’s active in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Florida, California Pennsylvania and Texas, and internationally. Of course, just as he was getting settled into the new position, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “As a firm, we’ve been introducing new services almost every month, including a software platform that helps banks to process PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans,” he said. “As businesses began to reopen, we were helping clients with a workplace-based social distancing program.” With some 30 years of experience under the belt, Weinstein’s prepared to continue expanding EisnerAmper through just about anything.