All Posts By

Tim Arter

Reshaping the Future for Port of Muskegon

A recent article by John Wiegand published in MiBiz discusses the future plan for the Port of Muskegon following the closing of the Consumer’s Energy B.C. Cobb Plant in April 2016.

The closing of the plant will significantly decrease the amount of shipping activity to the Port. Economic developers, local businesses, and government officials are working towards a positive outcome from this loss.

There are currently studies being done on infrastructure development and the ability to use the Port as a center for shipping building materials and food distribution.

The goal of the various studies is to establish the Port of Muskegon as a logistic hub serving all of West Michigan.

To read the full referenced article, click here.

Developing the Next Generation of Finance Leaders

In a recent article in the Journal of Accountancy, the author, Jack Hagel interviewed Veronica McCann who conveyed her five tips on developing the next generation of leaders:

  1. Communicate the strategy to your employees

Management can often overlook communication and focus on action. Not everyone can follow the action, which may cause them to feel disillusioned or frustrated. McCann states that individuals feel more comfortable when they are well informed and are aware of what the long-term strategy for the company is.

  1. Encourage staff to develop relationships with other divisions and regions.

Exposure to other areas of the business or other regions gives staff a better understanding of the organization. This can also empower staff to learn to do things differently.

  1. Have a 360 review and learn from it.

McCann’s 360 reviews include feedback from supervisors, peers, and direct reports. She encourages future leaders to take part in such reviews, as long as the circle of correspondents is kept small and the questions are relevant to the individual’s role.

  1. Make sure you have a deputy and that your deputy wants a top job.

McCann makes it clear that you must have someone who can take over your job in your absence. This deputy must be capable, ambitious, and also have the desire to be in a leadership role.

  1. Convey to your direct reports the significance of project work as it relates to their career.

During a merger in 2008 with a lot of layoffs, McCann urged fellow employees to make the most out of the situation. “You’re probably never going to get this opportunity again to work on such a merger, so you have to think about it from a benefit perspective on your career,” McCann told them.

For more information on developing the next generation of finance leaders please, visits the referenced article by Jack Hagel, or contact Timothy Arter at or 231-726-5820.

 Business Consulting

Delegation: The Essential Leadership Skill

Roger Allred, in a recent article published in Accounting Today, discusses the importance of delegation in leadership. If a business is to grow and expand, it needs to have employees who can effectively delegate work. Delegation is of the utmost importance when trying to maximize productivity.

Roger Allred and his brother Russ Allred, list six was to effectively delegate in their book The Family Business – Power Tools for Survival, Success, and Succession:

  • Determine who should do the job and express confidence in their ability
  • Let them know what you expect
  • Establish a negotiated deadline and get a commitment to the job and deadline
  • Allow them to use their imagination and initiative
  • Train them by following up, not taking over
  • Express appreciation for actual results

Following these tips is a step in the right direction when becoming a more effective leader. As a Partner at Brickley DeLong, it is crucial to be able to delegate work to staff members. Following these steps not only will benefit the leader, but also the one being led. The leader can be satisfied with results and, the delegate will be more fulfilled and produce better results because he or she clearly understand the project, is able to use their skills and imagination towards the project, and receives gratitude for the outcome.

For more information on leadership and delegation, please the referenced article by Roger Allred in Accounting Today, or contact Timothy Arter at or (231) 726-5820.

Learn about our business consulting services.

IMF Lowers Forecast for Global Economic Growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced the lowering of its forecast to 3.5% growth for 2015 as compared to growth projections of 3.8% in October 2014. This downgrade is expected despite the fall in oil prices, which is positive for most countries.

IMF aims to help its 188 members’ government “take advantage of the opportunities – and manage the challenges – posted by globalization and economic development”.

For more information and to read the full article from BBC news, please visit this article, or contact Timothy Arter for information in regards to international auditing and tax matters.

7 Member Benefits of CPAmerica International

CPAmerica International, an association of approximately 75 U.S. CPA firms provides benefits to members in 7 major areas:

  1. Members events including 1) exclusive conferences, 2) webinars, 3) trainings and workshops, 4) member sharing calls, and 5) specialized events during which members share best practices, network, collaborate, and learn from nationally-recognized speakers.
  2. Practice Management Survey – an annual benchmarking practice management ranking survey of member firms.
  3. Expert services provided by CPAmerica’s national directors of tax and A&A who facilitate and refer matters to experts.
  4. Discussion lists via e-mail provide members with immediate access to fellow members on 30 topic areas.
  5. International connections – CPAmerica is a member of Crowe Horwath International, which is a network of 100 firms with 2,600 professionals across the globe and which provides worldwide resources to members.
  6. Visitation Improvement Program (VIP) – each member firm is visited every four years by a team of two member managing partners serving as consultants on selected topics for improvement.
  7. Crowe Horwath LLC National Tax Office (NTO) – allows members access to Crowe’s NTO and other specialized resources.

For more information on CPAmerica benefits, click here, or contact Timothy Arter at (231) 726-5820.

AICPA Standards Change

In August 2014, the AICPA Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC) approved clarified and revised standards for reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements. The standards will be issued in 2014 fourth quarter, effective for periods ending on or after December 15, 2015, with early implementation permitted.

The standards provide clarity and revision on:

  1. When the accountant is engaged to prepare financial statements, but is not engaged to perform an audit, review, or compilation on those financial statements.
  2. Guidance when an accountant is engaged to perform a compilation engagement on financial statements, including compilation report requirements.
  3. Review engagement requirements.

For a brief article by the AICPA on related topics click here or contact Timothy Arter at (231) 726-5820.

What are 5 steps for Implementing a Corporate Ethics Policy?

Recently, CGMA magazine published an article summarizing five essential steps when implementing an effective corporate ethics policy. Authors, Tanya Barman and Samantha White, attempt to help readers implement an ethics policy, which becomes embedded in the company culture and which avoids a disconnect between company intentions and behaviors.

The 5 essential steps are:

  1. Document Code of Ethics;
  2. Continuous communication and awareness campaigns;
  3. Training and reinforcement;
  4. Develop and “ethical architecture” to support the Code context and culture;
  5. Develop process and structure for monitoring and accountability.

To access the full CGMA article click here; to discuss development of code of ethics, contact Timothy Arter at (231) 726-5820.


Why are 1,100 High-Ranking Accountants Optimistic About the U.S. Economy?

The 2014 Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, released early September 2014 by the AICPA, expressed the highest optimism for the U.S. economy since 2007.

Measuring 9 areas of sentiment, respondents provided both reasons for their optimism for the next 12 months, and challenges needed to be addressed. All nine components have increased in the past year, with planned spending for training and development experiencing the highest increase.

On the other hand, survey respondents cited their top challenges, which in order were: 1) regulatory requirements, 2) domestic economic challenges, 3) availability of skilled personnel, and 4) employee and benefit costs.

For more information on this survey, please visit this article from the AICPA or contact Timothy Arter at (231) 726-5820.