AICPA Innovative Practitioner Award Finalist

Jason ShrenskyFamily Wealth, Stewardship

The AICPA’s CPA.com site recently announced the finalists for the 2018 Innovative Practitioner Award. Among the 6 finalists is David Butler, who was nominated in connection with his adoption of Complex Interests software. We are super proud of David and hope that you will vote for him here. (Voting is open through September 15.) You can read more about David’s practice below:

David Butler operates a small CPA firm in Rockville, Maryland. The practice primarily focuses on tax and audit work for local entrepreneurial families and small businesses.

Over the past few years, David noticed that some of the families he worked with had become quite complex on account of direct investments in various businesses and real estate, elaborate estate planning, and multi-generational issues. Further, he saw that while these wealth creators (his clients) were adept at growing their estates, they did not have the time nor interest in keeping up with the myriad of details that arise from the accompanying legal and financial complexity. David saw risk to his clients and their families because 1) mistakes can be made if the details are not properly tracked and 2) failure to memorialize the complexity in a digestible format left the family at risk should death or forgetfulness befall the wealth creator.

David concluded that for this select group of clients the way to mitigate against the risks the families faced was to establish a discipline of stewardship over complex family wealth. Thus, David launched a new practice area at his firm whereby his firm would offer to serve as stewards over the financial and legal details impacting these families.

Ultimately, David implemented Complex Interests software at his firm. The software allows David and his colleagues to take their practice of stewardship and turn it into work product for the firm’s clients. Among other things the software automatically generates diagrams of the complex entity relationships found in the families’ estates.

David’s favorite story to share is of the client, who upon seeing all his legal and financial relationships laid out clearly in Complex Interests’ software, said “I can finally sleep at night. If something were to happen to me, my wife and kids have a chance of understanding what I’ve built so that they can maintain it and protect it.”

These days, when David describes his firm’s practice he says “tax, audit, AND stewardship of family wealth.” This last component has allowed him to distinguish his practice from others and has added to his billables this year.

If asked, David will tell you that this new level of service is the future for CPA firms who want to be indispensable to their clients.

Recently, other accounting firms across the country have begun experimenting with offering stewardship a service and implementing Complex Interests. But David was the first.