Board of Directors

FICPA leadership consists of the Board of Directors, Council, and Chapter leaders. The Board of Directors includes the FICPA chair, chair-elect, nine directors, and the FICPA's President & CEO, who serves as the Secretary-Treasurer (non-voting). Together, the Board implements the Council’s policies and oversees the Institute’s activities. Each officer, with the exception of the CEO, serves a two-year term that runs from July 1 to June 30.


Kristin Bivona, CPA (Chair)
KristinBivona NEW

 

Kristin Bivona is the 2021-22 chair of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

“I am honored to serve the FICPA and its members during a time of transition and opportunity. Advocacy is at the heart of the Institute. We work day and night to advance our industry’s interests, advocate on our member’s behalf and protect CPA licenses,” said Bivona, managing partner of GellerRagans.

A Fort Lauderdale native and a lifelong Floridian, she first joined the FICPA in 2005, having earned both her bachelor’s degree in accounting and MBA from her beloved alma mater, the University of Central Florida. She has since served on the Central Florida Chapter, various state committees, the Florida CPA/PAC, the AICPA Governing Council, the FICPA Council and the Board of Directors.

“I can think of no better leader than Kristin during this time of tremendous opportunity and transformation for the FICPA,” said outgoing Chair W.G. Spoor, partner at the St. Petersburg-based accounting firm Spoor Bunch Franz. “I have had the pleasure to work alongside Kristin for over five years, and I am proud to say that both the future of the FICPA and our profession are bright with leaders such as her at the helm.”


Julian Dozier, CPA, ABV, CFF, CFE (Chair-Elect)
Julian Dozier

 

Julian, is a shareholder and the director of the assurance services department with Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs.

A thriving, exciting FICPA

“I firmly believe the accounting profession is exciting! It is in a constant state of evolution due to rapid changes in technology, external market forces, industry competition, and client expectations. The FICPA is exciting, too, for all the same reasons. Over its 116 years the Institute has learned how to serve CPAs in Florida. By adopting the energy and fresh perspective of our new President and CEO, Shelly Weir, the FICPA’s future is ours to define. The FICPA is committed to engaging with our members – in person, when and where it is convenient for you. As always, the FICPA needs members at all career stages to help newer practitioners see the value of our profession. Being a CPA can and should be electrifying. Through our enthusiastic and engaged membership, we can make sure our profession and association thrive.”

 

Directors


Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., CPA
Valrie Chamber

 

Valrie is an associate professor at Stetson University in Deland. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the University of Houston (Ph.D.)

Preparing for CPA Evolution

“We are looking at a big curriculum redesign in response to CPA Evolution, which will have a three-part common core with at least one of three specializations (financial/audit, tax, and data analytics). While we are awaiting more details on the composition of the new exam, some have suggested that the knowledge to pass the core may be found in undergraduate courses and the knowledge for specialization found in graduate courses. Basic technology skills - often including use of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PowerBI, Tableau, and searches in research data bases like the Accounting Standards Codification and RIA Checkpoint and/or CCH - have been increasingly integrated into the accounting curriculum for years. With CPA Evolution, technological integration is likely to accelerate. As the profession evolves, so does the CPA exam, and so does our curriculum.”


Lydia Desnoyers, CPA, CFE
Image: Lydia Desnoyers, CPA, CFE
 

Lydia is based in Miami and owns and operates her own firm, Desnoyers CPA, LLC. She provides educational workshops and courses to small business owners.

FICPA's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force

“Our members have spoken, and we hear them. We’re working to provide them with resources and tools that they can take back and begin to implement at their own firms. It’s a combination of downloadable content, webinars and curriculum you’ll encounter during conferences. It’s very exciting.”

Why DE&I Matters

“We have to understand the communities that we serve, and our communities are diverse. Our needs are diverse. The way we communicate with one another is diverse. That’s why having diversity within your organization is important. We have to be aware of the unconscious biases that we have, biases that can hinder our growth. We’re a member-based organization. We want to make sure that we let our members know that we hear them, and that we’re providing the resources and tools that they need to support their employees and their clients.”


Jennifer Gunter, CPA, CISA, CISSP
Image: Jennifer Gunter
 

Jennifer is the contracts, grants and funds manager for the Florida Department of Transportation in Tallahassee.

Connecting solo CPAs to colleagues

“One of the unique challenges CPAs in industry face is the reality of working alone. In addition to connecting members, the FICPA provides a multitude of resources in the form of pertinent articles and relevant CPE for those in industry.”

Our advocacy efforts in Tallahassee

“The CPA profession is highly respected, and it’s not by accident. The FICPA protects the profession. In addition to promoting our own interests (such as the recent change to CPE requirements), the FICPA’s legislative team works to educate lawmakers on the implications and potential effects of their legislation. There have been numerous times our FICPA Governmental Affairs team has successfully intervened when well a well-meaning legislator drafted language for a proposed law that conflicted with professional standards or was otherwise not in the best interest of our profession.”


Kathryn K. Horton, CPA, CMA, CIDA, CFE

 

As president of Kathryn K. Horton CPA PA, Kathryn provides audit, accounting and data analytic services for nonpublic and nonprofit entities in Fort Lauderdale.

The importance of our Young CPAs

“With a focus on leadership development and community involvement, the YCPA committee provides immense value by facilitating the unity of like-minded professionals through active engagement. The YCPA committee is pivotal for creating a strong pipeline of leaders within the profession, and provides our young CPAs the intangible tools necessary in becoming effective leaders.”

Attracting students to accounting

“Creating connectivity between current and future CPAs through mentorship is pivotal in fostering the development of new accounting professionals and bridging the gap between learned skill sets and opportunities. It’s important we actively engage with students and communicate the value of accounting as a career choice, in high school, in college, and into the professional workforce.”


K. Alan Jowers, CPA

 

A partner with Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, based in Miramar Beach, Alan enjoys entertaining his wife and five children by playing Beatles and Metallica tunes on piano and guitar.

On the essential role of CPAs

“CPAs have been instrumental in assisting their clients through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have kept our clients informed of the constant changes to the CARES Act and PPP loans; helped file PPP loan and forgiveness applications; strategized how to maximize financial assistance with Employee Retention Credits (ERC), PPP loans and other types of government assistance; and performed countless other tasks. Our clients have looked to us as their trusted business advisors in a time unlike any other.”

How we can best serve our members

“We advocate for our members in Tallahassee. We educate our members through our conferences and seminars. We’re adapting to a world that is increasingly virtual and returning to in-person events. The key is to communicate our strengths and to transition our resources in order to meet our members where they are.”


Key G. O'Keefe, CPA
Image: Key G. O’Keefe, CPA
 

Key provides tax and accounting services to small businesses, individuals, and estates and trusts. A managing member of O'Keefe, Somerville & Associates PLLC in Melbourne, she is passionate about financial literacy education and has volunteered with Junior Achievement for nearly 20 years.

Evolving with the times

“As the leading voice for the profession in the state, the FICPA works to protect our licenses and develop a strong network of professionals. This network challenges us all to maintain the highest standards, as we grow with rapid development in technology and changes in the profession.”

The importance of financial literacy

“Financial literacy is a key pillar of success, not only in business but also in life. It is unfortunate that it’s often not an educational requirement. Without a basic understanding of finances, individuals are unprepared to make sound decisions with respect to both the current and long-term planning necessary for success.”


Hector Aguililla, CPA
Hector Aguililla

 

Hector provides auditing, accounting and assurance services, litigation support and business consulting services at Berkowitz Pollack Brant. He is past president of the Miami-Downtown Chapter of the FICPA and the Cuban American CPA Association.

Advancing the CPA profession

“The days of the number-cruncher are gone. Technology has provided us with an opportunity to advise our clients in ways we could not have done before. We need to rely less on compliance services and more on being a trusted advisor. The world has become a very small place and business has become much more sophisticated. Clients need answers to complicated questions that search engines will never be able to provide. We need to invest in education and technology. We need to educate ourselves and our employees in both technical and social matters. Our profession is in need of technology experts, as artificial intelligence will play a big role in the future. Soft skills will become more critical as clients’ expectations change with the times.”


Brion Sharpe, CPA
Brion Sharpe

 

Brion is a director in PwC’s trust solutions practice in Central Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida, where he obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. He is an avid Gators fan and can’t wait to get back to attending events in person.

Supporting our members through change

“The incoming Board is energized, and we encourage our members to contribute to the profession through increased engagement. All CPAs, whether at the Big 4 or in a small firm, are facing the same question: What does the future of our profession look like? The FICPA is in an excellent position to support our members - new, advancing, and veteran CPAs - for success in a rapidly changing environment.”

The important role CPAs played during COVID-19

“Having served on the FICPA State Legislative Policy Committee during the pandemic, I was proud to work together with the Governmental Affairs team to identify strategies that would impact our clients. As the state and local economies continue to rebound, I look forward to working with the Board to support the recovery of our business community.”