November 2016 elections that put all the levers of power in the hands of Republicans in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., should lead to policy changes that create opportunities for business and thus demand for accounting expertise and advice, in the view of Kentucky CPA firms. A relatively healthy economy and a demographic changing of the guard from baby boomer retirements already has been generating demand for CPA services. But the regulatory reform and especially tax reform are expected to drive increased need for the expert guidance that the firms also specialize in providing. The bullish business climate is increasing demand for new accounting talent, which could well include some mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
“I anticipate continued organic growth and expansion of services to existing clients in 2017. Clients are responding in a positive manner and reaping the rewards of an economic environment that continues to show increased optimism from consumers of goods and services. Regardless of your politics, 2017 promises to bring change at both the federal and Kentucky level due to the full Republican control elected in both places. The potential changes promise to bring more planning opportunities for our clients, and I expect to continue to see them participate in larger transactions. Overall, I am excited to see what this year brings from a legislation standpoint, and I am bullish on our own prospects for a successful 2017.” — Christopher A. Ward President, Deming Malone Livesay & Ostroff
“There is much optimism among CPAs, who are seeing corporate revenues at the highest levels since the recession. The environment is perfect for organic growth, but also growth through a myriad of mergers and acquisitions. With new administrations in both Washington and Frankfort, Kentucky CPAs are in for a busy year. They will be on the front lines as their clients and firms navigate pending changes in taxation, the Affordable Care Act, and a host of regulatory and reporting standard changes.” — Penny Gold CEO, Kentucky Society of CPAs
“Although the recovery has been slow and uneven, the national and Kentucky economies appear reasonably healthy. We are optimistic about 2017, with new leadership in Washington and Frankfort, and a Republican-controlled Congress and legislature. Expect easing of regulations, changes in tax laws, healthcare reform and increased funding for infrastructure projects. Though the exact nature and magnitude of these changes remain uncertain, many are pro-business and can boost the national and Kentucky economies and our clients. In addition to regulatory change, companies need to continue to adapt to improving technologies that create opportunities to enhance their bottom line; clients have outsourced functions such as accounting, efficiently and effectively. As a large regional firm offering traditional CPA services with industry-specific expertise and niche consulting, we are excited about helping clients navigate these challenges and changes.” — David Bundy President/ CEO, Dean Dorton Allen Ford PLLC
“In 2017, we expect the accounting industry to remain focused on talent acquisition and the retention of team members. A shortage of those seeking CPA and similar career designations has been facing the sector for several years, and the competition for talent is fierce. With that in mind, retaining that talent becomes a regular, beneficial exercise in ensuring our firm is a place where people want to work and develop their careers. For our clients, we continue to see an urgent need for succession planning for leadership, as the majority of the boomer generation eyes retirement across industries. These changes and transitions will likely have an economic impact over the next several years, and our firm is working to provide our clients with the counsel and services they need to manage the transition successfully.” — Diane Medley Managing Partner, MCM CPAs & Advisors
“The Kentucky economy will continue to reflect what happens nationally. With a new U.S. president, and the recent election results in Kentucky, we know there will be changes in how business is conducted. The expectation is that regulations will be fewer and that significant tax reform could take place. The new administration’s wave of populism could be a net benefit for Kentucky as a state that stands to increase manufacturing. We anticipate continued overall growth in our accounting, tax, consulting and technology practices. We use our deep industry expertise to help our clients, people and the profession make smart decisions today to build lasting value tomorrow.” — Steve Jennings Local Office Managing Partner, Lexington, Crowe Horwath LLP
“2017 is shaping up to be a good year for public accounting firms. In my travels across the state and country, there is a very upbeat attitude about the economy. Firms I’ve spoken with are experiencing more demand for services, which is indicative of the economy improving. The connectivity of the world is driving business to seek opportunities not only locally but in the global market. CPA firms are well positioned to help businesses to expand with these services. The largest obstacle facing the firms is the labor market and finding talent. Succession planning is driving a considerable amount of merger and acquisition activity in CPA firms as the “boomer” generation is retiring. Demographics are changing within firms as more of leadership is retiring. New younger leaders are moving into the C suites of firms, which is driving innovation and growth.” — Alan Long Managing Member, Baldwin CPAs