Monday, May 22  |  8:15 - 10:00

A. The Great Rewrite - Leonard Brody

We are living in a unique moment in history, when revolutionary change in all sectors is occurring at a frenzied pace. This massive scale of disruption has understandably left organizations on shaky footing, struggling to engage consumers and employees alike and stay relevant. Those that learn to adapt, those that allow themselves to be “rewritten” for the modern day, will survive and prosper. Those that do not will collapse.  Leonard Brody explains how to deal with the questions the future holds, and how organizations can harness the uncertainty they’re faced with and turn it into excitement, innovation, and success.

Leonard Brody has been called “a controversial leader of the new world order.” He is a highly respected entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best- selling author and a 2 time Emmy nominated media visionary. He has helped in raising millions of dollars for startup companies, been through one of the largest internet IPOs in history and has been involved in the building, financing and/or sale of five companies to date.  Much critical acclaim has followed him in his endeavours. At Onvia (where he was part of the initial executive), the company was voted Canada’s number one startup in 2000 and subsequently closed a $240 Million IPO on NASDAQ.

Leonard also acts as an advisor to venture capital funds in the US, Europe and Asia. Throughout his career, has also advised several companies including, the Associated Press, Alliance Atlantis and MTV Enterprises.

Monday, May 22  |  10:20 - 12:00

B1. Create Stunning Dashboards with Power BI Desktop
Thomas G. Stephens, Jr., CPA.CITP, CGMA, K2Enterprises, Woodstock, GA
Microsoft has created an alternative environment for creating user-interactive dashboards without Excel. The free Power BI Desktop application allows business professionals to create stunning dashboards using quick and easy drag-and-drop processes, similar to Power View, but without the need to invest in a premium-priced version of Microsoft Office. Power BI Desktop opens a new era in data analysis and reporting. Don't miss this opportunity to see this amazing new reporting tool in action.

B2. Tax Issues in the North Dakota LLC Statute
Mark A. Sellner, CPA, JD, LLM (Taxation) Sellner Tax Consulting, Sarasota FL
Tax Issues in the North Dakota LLC Statute Limited liability companies are business entities different from partnerships, but for tax purposes, they are the same. This session will trace provisions of the North Dakota LLC statute to the corresponding partnership tax rules, and will address the new partnership audit procedures that are effective January 1, 2018.

B3. Five Business Books in 100 Minutes
Don Minges, MBA, The Numbers Guy CFO, LLC, Charlotte, NC
You know you should read some business books, but finding time is often hard to do. Come get a 20-minute executive summary of five business books. This session makes it easy to catch up with the latest thinking in five very different topics. We change the mix all the time. Recent sessions have included Zero to One, American Icon, Slide:ology, Brain Rules and Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. Save time, learn the key lessons of five business books in just 100 minutes.

B4.Overloaded, Overwhelmed and Over it! Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Resilience
Denise Ryan, Firestar Speaking, Raleigh, NC
Unless your kids move out of the house, your boss expects less, or you win the lottery, the demands on you are not going away anytime soon.  Do you find yourself angry, tired and frustrated?  Is your life feeling more like a struggle than an adventure?  If so, this session is for you.  We’ll discuss many of the causes of stress and how to deal with them.  You’ll take a quiz to find out just how stressed you are.  Then we’ll cover everything thing from ways you can think differently to action steps you can take immediately to reduce your stress as well as help you deal with whatever comes your way.  You’ll leave with a customized action plan to help you succeed in a world of ever increasing demands.

B5. Workplace Violence Awareness
Skyler Dutton, North Dakota Safety Council, Fargo, ND
Increase your level of safety and preparedness in the event of an emergency or violent act. Learn the history of mass shootings, lessons learned from each event, and if your business is at risk for violence. The instructor will cover predator recognition and observation techniques, staff preparedness suggestions, high-risk employment considerations, identification of potentially dangerous employees, and the importance of developing an Emergency Response Plan.

Monday, May 22  |  1:00 – 2:40

C1. A New Day, A New Technology Way
Thomas G. Stephens, Jr., CPA.CITP, CGMA, K2Enterprises, Woodstock, GA
As technology continues to evolve, so too must our business practices. Failing to capitalize on new ways and techniques for completing tasks mean that we may be leaving tremendous amounts of productivity on the table. Further, not matching our business processes to today’s technologies can jeopardize the security of sensitive information. In both of these cases, the end result is that our organizations are not as competitive as they can and should be. Don’t get left behind! Join us for this session to examine how you can take full advantage of today’s technologies to advance your business practices, processes, and workflows so that you and your team are working at peak efficiency.

C2. Making a Tax Efficient Business Transfer to the Next Generation
Mark A. Sellner, CPA, JD, LLM (Taxation) Sellner Tax Consulting, Sarasota FL
Keeping a business in the family, rather than selling to outsiders, is a goal of many owners. This session will cover tax efficient business transfers to the next generation, including gifts and inheritances, redemptions, and intra-family installment sales.

C3. Introvert Power: Why Quiet Leaders are Successful
Don Minges, MBA, The Numbers Guy CFO, LLC, Charlotte, NC
Leaders were once chosen for their character but today we live in an age where loudmouthed extroverts seem to take center stage in everything, including business, politics and entertainment. While the talkative, charismatic leader makes the front page of business magazines, recent research shows that successful business leaders tend to be more reserved, pensive and sometimes outright shy. Learn why your desire to spend significant time inside your own head may be your greatest asset.

C4. Survival Skills for Managers, Supervisors and Other Leaders
Denise Ryan, Firestar Speaking, Raleigh, NC
If you aren’t delegating and coaching, you’re not leading.  These are two of the most difficult leadership skills to develop.  This session will help you with those as well as how to listen to your employees and how to hold an effective meeting. This is how real teams are built, by leaders who know how to use these skills. Whether it’s getting an expedition up a mountain or getting your people to respond to their e-mail, this session will help!

C5. Better Business Writing
Jo Cavins, NDSU English Senior Lecturer, Fargo, ND
It’s no secret that the convenience of email and texting have had a negative impact on business communications.  This session will focus on ways to improve your everyday writing at work by eliminating errors, clarifying information, and analyzing your target audience.

Monday, May 22  |  3:00 – 3:50

D1. Securing the Perimeter – A Management View
Thomas G. Stephens, Jr., CPA.CITP, CGMA, K2Enterprises, Woodstock, GA
Security is, and should be, on everyone's radar. Whether you control security choices or not, you can raise your awareness and ask the right questions by attending this session. Understand the changes in firewalls, anti-virus, encryption and other tools so you can ask the right questions of your team or contractors. This session will also help you understand the risks you currently have and provide ideas on how to mitigate and minimize your exposure.

D2. The President's Tax Agenda
Mark A. Sellner, CPA, JD, LLM (Taxation) Sellner Tax Consulting, Sarasota FL
The President's tax agenda includes reducing rates for both business and individual taxpayers. This session will cover the Republican blueprint for tax reform, "A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America" released by the GOP Tax Reform Task Force, plus current developments affecting the prospects for fundamental tax reform.

D3. Profit Improvement: Ten Tips
Don Minges, MBA, The Numbers Guy CFO, LLC, Charlotte, NC
When a company experiences poor financial performance, the financial person is often the first to go. Whether times are good or bad, asking the tough questions and making sure the organization is efficient and stays efficient are part of the financial manager’s job. Proactive efforts by financial management can prevent the need to “catch up.” This session provides 10 techniques for improving your company’s bottom line.

D4. How to Be an Effective Board Member
Denise Ryan, Firestar Speaking, Raleigh, NC
Some people want not only to climb mountains themselves, but also to help others do so.  Many business people serve on the boards of nonprofits, but don’t receive adequate training. They want to serve well, but often don’t know exactly what is expected of them. In this session, you’ll learn why nonprofit boards exist, the ten basic responsibilities of board members, the difference in the roles of board and staff, and the legal aspects of board service.  You’ll also get tips on how to be the board member everyone dreams of having!

D5. Data Analytics: Discover the Value of Data in your Business Systems
Jon Ault, EideBailly, LLP, Fargo, ND
The answers to many questions about your business’ performance is in the data “locked up” in your business applications.  During this session, review how modern business intelligence solutions can enable better and more timely decision making for your organization. Learn how to unlock the value of your data to help your management team to focus on the right areas of your business and improve profitability.

Monday, May 22  |  3:55 – 4:45

E1. PivotTable Refresher
Thomas G. Stephens, Jr., CPA.CITP, CGMA, K2Enterprises, Woodstock, GA
PivotTables remain Excel’s most powerful feature, yet, many business professionals continue to avoid using them. In this session, learn why you should work with PivotTables and how you can create simple, yet powerful PivotTables with ease. And perhaps best of all, once you master fundamental PivotTables, you will set the stage for even greater productivity by continuing to leverage their usefulness!

E2. Positioning Your Company for a Tax Efficient Sale
Mark A. Sellner, CPA, JD, LLM (Taxation) Sellner Tax Consulting, Sarasota, FL
Cashing out the investment in a business, rather than keeping it in the family, is a goal of many owners. This session covers tax efficient business sale transaction structures, including opportunities for S corporation, partnerships, and LLC sales.

E3. Leaders Eat Last
Don Minges, MBA, The Numbers Guy CFO, LLC, Charlotte, NC
If a great leader is someone we are willing to sacrifice for – what do those leaders do that makes us want to do more? Many of us work in dysfunctional organizations that want followers, but have no leaders that lead. What makes a leader effective? True leaders sacrifice, they are trustworthy and they empathize. We discuss the steps to take so you can become a true leader: including, integrity, humility, communication, self-control and self-awareness. With diligence, you can become a better leader and we will discuss how."

E4. Optimizing Your Organization with the Right ERP Strategy
Shelley Earsley, CPA, PMP, EideBailly, Fargo, ND
An effective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) strategy will support your organization’s short and long term goals. In your role you are integral to the development and implementation of this strategy. Whether your goals include transitioning from manual, paper-driven processes to automation, integrating across various business functions, gaining real-time access to critical data for decision making, or improving processes to streamline operations, your ERP solution will be a core element to success.
Learning Objectives

  • Understand key elements to consider when developing an effective ERP strategy
  • Recognize common triggers that signal the need to implement a new, or optimize your existing, ERP solution
  • Explore common reasons why your organization would consider an ERP solution change
  • Identify critical success factors to incorporate in your ERP strategy to enable operational efficiency   

E5. Beyond Bookkeeping: Utilizing Your Data to Become More Strategic
Carol Rogne, DFC Consultants, Fargo, ND
To stay competitive, your business needs to become more strategic by understanding real-time data and improving management functions. Carol Rogne, CPA, will show you best practices for going beyond debits and credits and understanding what your information really means.

During this presentation you’ll learn:

  • How to make informed business decisions with your information
  • Information that should be included in your reports and how often they should be run
  • How to identify where your business could operate more effectively, where there is potential to grow revenue, and how you can predict future trends

Tuesday, May 23  |  8:00 - 9:40

F1. Excel Tips & Tools for Better Budgets & Forecasts
Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, K2Enterprises, Farragut, TN
Excel is the de facto budgeting and forecasting tool for most professionals, yet many who use Excel for these tasks do not take advantage of the numerous built-in tools available.  Among other topics in this session, you will learn how to work with Excel features such as FORECAST, FORECAST.ETS, TREND, Forecast Sheets, XNPV, and XIRR. Additionally, you will learn better ways to manage what-if analysis using Scenario Manager, Solver, and the value of performing Monte Carlo simulations. In short, if you use Excel for budgeting and forecasting, you can’t afford to miss this session!

Upon completing this session, you should be able to:

  • List key budgeting and forecasting-centric features in Excel
  • Differentiate between Excel's capital budgeting functions
  • Utilize Scenario Manager to manage different sets of budget assumptions
  • Solve complex, multi-variable equations with Excel's Solver add-in
  • Create Monte Carlo simulations to model risk in budgets and forecasts

 F2. Lease Accounting: a Whole New Ballgame
Michael Ussery, CPA, Candela Solutions LLC, Las Vegas, NV
The FASB’s simplification initiative seems to have been put on hold with the adoption of ASC 842- Leases.  The new standard has revised and changed the scope of lease accounting and added varying levels of complexity along the way.  Agreements that we previously thought were leases are no longer leases, like oil and gas leases, and other contracts that were previously only service contracts may contain embedded leases.  A variation of capital leases (now called finance leases) and operating leases have carried over to the new standard, but both are now capitalized.  This session provides an introductory overview of the new leasing standard and explores some of the implementation issues that have surfaced for those companies that are currently working their way through the standard.  Topics include:

  1. What is a lease?
  2. Embedded leases
  3. Segregating contract elements
  4. Lessee accounting (finance lease, operating lease)
  5. Lessor accounting (sales-type, direct financing or operating lease)
  6. Practical expedients and optional elections

F3. Ethics for the Industry Accountant
Matthew Ryan, CPA, MBA, CFE, Business Learning Institute, Towson, MD
The true value of the CPA license is in understanding how critically important ethical behavior is to one another, our customers, and the public. This course explores the basic tenets of ethical behavior and uses case studies to explore ethical dilemmas in various companies and organizations with a focus on dilemmas that may face CPAs in industry.

 F4. HR Compliance Update
Larry Morgan, MA, SPHR, GPHR Orion HR Group, LLC, Apple Valley, MN
This update covers navigating the new human resource, National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor Laws including union elections, social media, required handbook edits and discrimination training issues.  Topics will include FLSA, FLMA, ADAAA, fiduciary role changes, NLRB decisions and changes to the Affordable Care Act that affect employers.

F5.  How to WOW Leadership
Rob Bell, CSP Rob Speakes Lancaster, WI
Most people don’t stay with companies; they stay with supervisors.  To realize remarkable service that results in long term business success, we must treat our team members as our very best customers.  Learn how to be a ring master of even the most challenging circus!

 With this presentation attendees will learn:

  • The difference between management and leadership
  • 4 characteristics of excellent leaders
  • The importance of developing & communication your non-negotiables
  • Techniques to energize your team to use their discretionary effort to go the extra mile
  • How to involve everyone on your team to identify opportunities to add sparkle and polish to your customers’ experiences
  • Average happens by accident.  Excellence happens on purpose.

Tuesday, May 23  |  10:00 – 11:45

G1. Working Effectively From Anywhere
Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, K2Enterprises, Farragut, TN
The Internet and mobile technologies have revolutionized the way businesses operate. We're no longer constrained by having to operate in a specific location or during specific business hours. Organizations can, now, effectively communicate and do business with customers and staff based anywhere in the world. One of the most important aspects of this changing workplace is the virtual office, which allows a user to work anywhere in the world. This session is an in-depth look at how an organization can improve collaboration, communication, and operations by implementing virtual office technology. We'll look at solutions to simplify and streamline communications, business process management, going paperless, and more. We'll also cover the benefits and risks of implementing a virtual workplace and discuss innovative technologies to revolutionize your organization.

G2. Key Challenges of ASC 606- Revenue from Contracts with Customers
Michael Ussery, CPA, Candela Solutions LLC, Las Vegas, NV
Mandatory adoption of the new revenue recognition standard is less than a year away for most publicly traded companies and less than 2 years away for private companies.  Many early adopters are finding that the financial statement disclosure requirements and identification of contract elements the most challenging.  For most companies, as expected, the adoption of the standard requires a significant amount of effort with little change in reported revenues.  One early adopter reported no changes in reported revenues, but an increase in earnings per share.  In this session we will review the key elements of the new standard and explore the common pitfalls facing companies as they undertake the arduous task of early adoption.  Topics include:

  • The 5 step assessment
  • Implied deliverables
  • Variable consideration
  • Which adoption method should I choose?
  • Level: intermediate.  a general understanding of ASC 606 is helpful, but not required

 G3. Enterprise Risk Management and Forecasting
Matthew Ryan, CPA, MBA, CFE, Business Learning Institute, Towson, MD
While nearly 8 years have passed since the Great Recession, economic and political uncertainty have continued to plague business decision-making.  The roles and responsibilities of CPAs and finance professionals, meanwhile, has continued to expand.  This course will explore key elements of the COSO standards and risk that will have a substantial impact on financial and accounting decisions for years to come. In this session, examine and walk-through key examples of Enterprise Risk Management successes and failures, and the importance of a strong ERM program. Special focus will be given to the role of the financial professional in analyzing and forecasting risk for an organization.

 G4. Recruitment and Retention in a Tight Labor Market
Larry Morgan, MA, SPHR, GPHR Orion HR Group, LLC, Apple Valley, MN
With a strong economy and shortage of employees, the labor market is tighter than it has been in decades.  Add to this the retirement of baby boomers, changing expectations of the work experience, changing values, knowledge transfer and changes in employee recruitment and selection and the recruitment / retention process is more challenging than ever.  Learn about new methods to recruit, become an employer of choice, selection for organization fit and how to retain valuable talent in your market.

G5. How to WOW Service Excellence
Rob Bell, CSP Rob Speakes Lancaster, WI
Every team member has the opportunity to enhance your company’s or department’s reputation.  As some companies choose to outsource their accounting functions, it is as important to impress your customers AND your coworkers.  The key is to make sure each interaction earns a ringing endorsement.

With this presentation attendees will learn:

  • 5 levels of listening
  • Choosing positive words…Our success comes in cans, not cannots
  • The importance of body language – reading our customers’ actions and taking responsibility for our own
  • 5 steps to turn service breakdowns into loyalty building opportunities
  • Remarkable customer service requires that every person in your organization understands the Fundamentals of Consistent Unsurpassed Service (FOCUS).

Tuesday, May 23  |  12:45 - 2:25 

H1. Hot Tech Tools, Apps & Services
Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, K2Enterprises, Farragut, TN
Technology is changing at an incredible pace and new apps, services, and tools constantly emerge. These tools can have an incredible impact on our business and personal lives. This session identifies some of the latest tools, apps and services available and why you should consider utilizing them. The main topics of this session include the best useful products for business, major business productivity platforms, tools for automation, plugins for your Internet browser, today’s best mobile Apps, how to utilize virtual staff, and more. Attend this session and you will receive a bundle of new technology ideas to consider implementing.

H2. What Has The FASB Been Up To Lately?
Michael Ussery, CPA, Candela Solutions LLC, Las Vegas, NV
After the adoption of revenue recognition and lease accounting standards, the FASB has gone into full swing covering other topics.  This session will cover the latest in new standards (excluding revenue recognition and lease accounting, which are covered in detail in other sessions).    Topics may vary depending on time constraints and the latest FASB issuances, but it is expected to include:

  • Breakage of stored value cards
  • Consolidation guidance on related parties
  • Accounting for credit losses
  • Simplifying the equity method
  • Share based payments
  • Cash flow classification
  • Elimination of step 2 of the goodwill impairment test
  • Changes to the definition of a business
  • Employee benefit plans
  • Derecognition and partial sales of non-financial assets

 H3. Critical Performance Measures - Useful Tools for Gauging Success
Matthew Ryan, CPA, MBA, CFE, Business Learning Institute, Towson, MD
Focusing time and energy for corporate leaders is essential in today’s business climate. As organizations go lean in processes and people, it is critical to have the tools you need to meet the needs of your customers and to allow you to manage the
performance of your company. This course examines those performance measures and other critical elements of success for today’s busy financial executive and CPA including growth models, product concept, target costing, operational planning and
strategic planning.

 H4. Aligning Compensation with Workplace Strategy
Larry Morgan, MA, SPHR, GPHR Orion HR Group, LLC, Apple Valley, MN
Are your compensation programs effective and doing what you think and want them to do?  How do you know?  Understanding the new dynamics of compensation and how to align programs with your business operations to drive and reward the proper behaviors.  Understand shifts in the labor market, create a compensation philosophy statement to assist with direct and indirect compensation decision making, competition for talent, differentiating reward programs, integration of employer values and targeted compensation levels. 

H5.  How to WOW Leadership (repeat)
Rob Bell, CSP Rob Speakes Lancaster, WI
Most people don’t stay with companies; they stay with supervisors.  To realize remarkable service that results in long term business success, we must treat our team members as our very best customers.  Learn how to be a ring master of even the most challenging circus!

 With this presentation attendees will learn:

  • The difference between management and leadership
  • 4 characteristics of excellent leaders
  • The importance of developing & communication your non-negotiables
  • Techniques to energize your team to use their discretionary effort to go the extra mile
  • How to involve everyone on your team to identify opportunities to add sparkle and polish to your customers’ experiences
  • Average happens by accident.  Excellence happens on purpose.

Tuesday, May 23  |  2:45 - 4:20

I. Learning to Fly: Lessons from the Air - Steph Davis, Moab, UT

Embracing Change, Managing Risk and Fear – In today’s ever changing world, businesses and individuals are faced with a constant stream of information, choices and change. The traditional pathways to success are also changing, as are perceptions of risk, sustainability and achievement. Extreme experiences are a compelling metaphor for life and work. Steph speaks on the lessons she’s learned in the mountains and in the air as a professional climber and wingsuit pilot, and in choosing a highly nontraditional career path. You will take away Steph’s tools for: Managing change, Embracing failure, Understanding risk and fear, Cultivating adaptability, Preparing for opportunity. Audiences are encouraged to view their own challenges through a new lens, recognizing the power of adversity and evolution, and the value of crafting an uncommon life.

Steph’s resume of climbing achievements spans 25 years.  She was the first woman to free climb the Salathe Wall on El Capitan, and the second woman to free climb El Cap in under 24 hours.  She has established first ascents around the world, of difficult rock climbs and high altitude mountains from Yosemite to the Karakorum. 

Few climbers practice the high risk style of free solo climbing, using no ropes or protective gear.  Steph is the most accomplished female free soloist in the world and is also one of world’s top wingsuit base jumpers.  She is one of just a few people in the world, and the only woman, combining free solo climbing with base jumping.

From an unusual start as a classically trained pianist with a Master’s degree in literature, Steph chose to leave law school in order to pursue climbing full time.  She has become one of the most successful professional climbers in the world.  Steph has written two memoirs, High Infatuation and Learning to Fly, and curates a blog at with a focus on community, health and wellness, simple living and travel.  She owns and operates Climb2Fly Productions in Moab, Utah, a climbing and base jumping stunt company.

North Dakota CPA Society
2701 South Columbia Road, Ste D
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone: (701) 775-7100 or (877) 637-2727

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