With federal and state tax deadlines looming, April is one of the busiest months for certified public accountants in the country. That’s why you need to meet Alabama’s top talent CPAs.
But the men and women who have the designation CPA after their names do more than just file paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service.
Accountants perform a myriad of financial transactions for businesses and individuals throughout the year. From helping start small businesses to organizing the largest corporations’ financials, accountants are vital to keeping the marketplace functioning.
These individuals also balance work and life, contributing to their families and communities in various ways — from serving as coaches and mentors in youth programs to volunteering with charitable organizations.
The Alabama Society of CPAs and Business Alabama salute the inaugural listing of some of Alabama’s best and brightest CPAs.
Andrew Bailey is tax and consulting manager for Crow Shields Bailey PC in Mobile. A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Bailey is accredited in business valuation by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPAs). He has been awarded the AICPA Standing Ovation, which recognizes professionals under 40 for professional achievement in forensic and valuation services, and he also is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs Leadership Class VII. In his community, Bailey serves as past president and current board member of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, current treasurer and board member of the Estate Planning Council of Mobile and is the Junior Achievement Classroom Volunteer at Fairhope High School.
Aaron Bell is a partner at Tucker, Scott & Wates CPAs in Decatur. With 11 years of experience specializing in accounting, tax and consulting for small businesses and individuals, Bell holds professional membeship in the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs. “Aaron is an outstanding accountant,” says David Scott, a partner at Tucker, Scott & Wates. “All clients that work with Aaron have nothing but good things to say about him both personally and professionally.” Bell is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the Rainmaker Academy, where he received multiple awards and recognition. Active in his community. He is past president of the Decatur Jaycees and current treasurer of the Rotary Club of Decatur.
Roger Boatner is managing member of Boatner & Pugh LLC in Gadsden. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and his master’s from the University of Alabama, Boatner worked for KPMG before starting his own firm in 1992. His firm helps businesses, organizations and individuals with a variety of services including bookkeeping, payroll, tax, retirement planning and attest services. He is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and on the board of directors of the University of Alabama’s Federal Tax Clinic.
Joella Bogle is a manager with MDA Professional Group PC in Gadsden. She has been with the firm for almost eight years. Bogle is a graduate of Jacksonville State University and specializes in the areas of auditing and attestation of governmental entities, non-profit organizations, small businesses, financial institutions and individual and corporate taxation. She is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.
John Boles is managing partner of the Auburn office of Himmelwright, Huguley & Boles LLC, managing the firm’s assurance services. With more than 20 years of experience, Boles is most passionate about providing strategic tax and financial planning to small businesses and families, and also offers auditing, tax and consulting services to government, nonprofit, industry and health care clients. An Auburn University graduate, he is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs, a board member of the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation and an advisory board member for BBVA. He also is a past member of the Auburn University Accounting Advisory Committee and just completed a term on the Auburn Chamber of Commerce board. Boles recently was featured on the Economics for Entrepreneurs podcast where he discussed the firm’s implementation of value billing and its impact on client relationships.
April Boudreaux joined Smith, Dukes & Buckalew in Mobile in 1989 and provides a wide range of business services to clients. As a partner with the firm, Boudreaux has extensive industry experience in working with medical practices, professional service firms, nonprofit organizations, employee benefit plans, educational and financial institutions and more. A graduate of Spring Hill College, she is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, Governmental Audit Quality Center, Not-For-Profit Section and the
Alabama Society of CPAs, where she serves on the executive committee for the Mobile Chapter and as chair of the peer review committee. She is very active in her community, serving with the Junior League of Mobile, Ronald McDonald House of Mobile, Providence Hospital Foundation Festival of Flowers and on the Mobile Mayor’s Financial Advisory Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Mobile.
Wesley Brown Jr. is owner of Brown and Brown Accountants PC in Athens. He started working in his father’s business in 1965 as a boy but didn’t officially join the company until he had obtained his CPA in 1983. A graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Brown often goes above and beyond the normal scope of business for his clients. For instance, he recently helped one of his nonprofit clients, Athens-Limestone County Tourism, with filing for COVID-19 relief funding. Teresa Todd, president of Athens-Limestone County Tourism, says, “Wes contacted me to say he had already started the ball rolling on getting us applied for the SBA PPP package. That really touched me, I didn’t ask for his help and wasn’t sure if that was part of his service. However, he contacted the bank and filled out the paperwork. All I had to do was sign the forms.”
Allen Carroll is managing partner of Wilkins Miller in Mobile. A graduate of the University of South Alabama, Carroll has been with the firm for 34 years and holds specialty credentials in business valuation, financial forensics and valuation. Carroll is also active in his community, serving on the boards of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of South Alabama Foundation and the executive advisory council of USA’s Mitchell College of Business, which has honored him as an IMPACT person. He also serves as chairman and treasurer of the board of trustees for St. Luke’s Episcopal School, where he helped the school expand after purchasing the former campus of the Wright School for Girls. Carroll also serves as an airport support network volunteer with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, is a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight Southeast and is on the board of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Bill Curtis is partner-in-charge with Mauldin & Jenkins LLC’s Birmingham office. With more than 20 years of auditing and consulting experience, he joined Mauldin & Jenkins in 2004 after working for AmSouth Bank and Cade, Crenshaw and Associates. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Curtis is a partner in the firm’s Financial Institutions practice and specializes in opinion audits and tax services for private and SEC registered companies, internal control opinion audits, internal audits and benefit plan audits. He also helps audit 401(k) and Employee Stock Ownership Plans. Licensed in Alabama and Georgia, Curtis serves on the firm’s leadership and career development committee and LEAP Conference committee. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Alabama Society of CPAs, the Georgia Society of CPAs, Birmingham Young CPAs, Alabama Banking School faculty and is a past board member and treasurer of Community Kitchens of Birmingham.
Bryan Hall is a partner and health care industry line leader for Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors in Enterprise. Unlike most people, he enjoys going to hospitals, providing accounting solutions to health systems, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and working with state Medicaid agencies. With nearly two decades of experience serving not-for-profit, for-profit, publicly traded, academic and governmental health care providers across the South, Hall offers expertise in accounting, consulting, cost reporting and auditing, as well as employee benefit plans. Hall has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University and is active in the Enterprise community.
Angela Hamiter is a shareholder with JamisonMoneyFarmer PC, where she started her accounting career in 1991. A Tuscaloosa native, Hamiter is a University of Alabama graduate and a Leadership Tuscaloosa graduate. She leads the firm’s recruiting program and helped establish the timber practice group and Women in Motion, a women’s leadership initiative group. “I love meeting with clients to hear their stories and needs,” says Hamiter. Her expertise is in the areas of individual and small business tax planning, including business succession, retirement and estate planning. She also is very active in the community, serving on the boards of the Alabama Society of CPAs, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and its finance committee, The Salvation Army, Presbyterian Apartments of Northport and UPerk LLC, where she serves as treasurer.
Colby Lakas serves as Auburn University’s School of Accountancy director of recruiting and professional development, helping undergraduates with their recruiting and professional development activities. As the Beta Alpha Psi and Rising Accountant and Analyst Program faculty adviser, she coordinates employer relations and the bi-annual Meet the Firms accounting career fair. She is an instructor of record for the ACCT 3810 Professional Development in Accountancy and the ACCT 4920 Accounting Internship courses. Prior to joining academia, she worked for seven years in public accounting, including at Deloitte in Atlanta. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University and is licensed in Georgia and Alabama. Lakas also is a board member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and has worked with the ASCPA Educational Foundation board.
Don McCleod is owner and founder of Don McCleod CPA PC in Dothan. A native of North Carolina, McCleod earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham and his master’s from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He is licensed in Georgia and Alabama and is a member of those state’s societies of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs, where he serves on the minority initiative committee. McCleod is also involved in the National Association of Black Accountants and the National Black MBA Association. Closer to home, he serves as chairman of the Dothan Community Development Advisory Board and is a board member of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southeast Regional Planning and Development Commission. He recently served as the 94th chairman and the first African American to lead the Alabama Society of CPAs and has been voted by his peers as the Most Outstanding Young CPA.
Lisa McKinney is a senior lecturer in the University of Alabama Culverhouse School of Accountancy and the Culverhouse LIFT director. Holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA, McKinney practiced full-time as a CPA before joining the university 18 years ago. She teaches individual taxation, entity taxation and financial accounting courses, plus continuing education courses in taxation at Alabama public accounting firms. McKinney is also the founder and director of the Culverhouse LIFT program, a community outreach program where students tutor under-represented groups in computer, financial, accounting and other subjects. An expert in partnership taxation, corporate taxation, acquisition and disposition planning and federal tax legislative developments, McKinney is a frequent speaker and CPE teacher for the Alabama Society of CPAs, the Federal Tax Clinic and other accounting organizations. Her most recent honors include the lecturer in the University of Alabama Culverhouse School of Accountancy and the Culverhouse LIFT director. Holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA, McKinney practiced full-time as a CPA before joining the university 18 years ago. She teaches individual taxation, entity taxation and financial accounting courses, plus continuing education courses in taxation at Alabama public accounting firms. McKinney is also the founder and director of the Culverhouse LIFT program, a community outreach program where students tutor under-represented groups in computer, financial, accounting and other subjects. An expert in partnership taxation, corporate taxation, acquisition and disposition
planning and federal tax legislative developments,
McKinney is a frequent speaker and CPE teacher for the Alabama Society of CPAs, the Federal Tax Clinic and other accounting organizations. Her most recent honors include the Walter R. Guyton Student Service Award and the ASCPA CPE Speaker of the Year, both presented in 2018.
Jason Miller is a partner in the Audit and Assurance Group of Anglin Reichmann Armstrong PC in Huntsville. With more than 14 years of experience, Miller is a leader of the firm’s peer review practice, supporting and enhancing the audit quality and efficiency for Anglin and audit practice of other firms around the country. To provide the firm and his clients with the most up to date information, he researches the latest audit and assurance guidelines. He also plays a pivotal role in the firm’s research into technology, software packages and data analytics. His industry focus includes biotechnology, employee benefit plans, government contracting, information technology, manufacturing and not-for-profit agencies. A University of Alabama in Huntsville graduate, Miller is active with the university alumni association. He is also a member of the Partners in Peer Review Committee and Report Acceptance Body chair for the Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas state societies of CPAs.
James Moody is a partner in Dent Moses, where he has worked since 2006. He provides accounting, audit, business consulting and tax services to privately held businesses in many industries including wholesale distribution, professional service firms and not-for-profit organizations. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Samford University, Moody is currently president-elect of the Alabama Society of CPAs and earlier served as president of the Birmingham chapter. He is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs. Moody enjoys staying connected with the accounting programs at several local universities, often serving as a guest speaker. In addition, he serves on the Accounting Advisory Board of the Brock School of Business at Samford University, where he was honored in 2014 as Distinguished Accounting Alumnus. He and his family still live in his hometown of Moody.
Karen Moore is senior tax manager with Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore PC in Birmingham. She joined the firm in 2002 after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University. She is active in the Alabama Society of CPAs, holding various positions within the organization, and also is serving on the board of the ASCPA Educational Foundation. She also has served as president of the Alabama State Society Young CPA board, as well as the local chapter for Birmingham. In 2010, Moore was honored with the Outstanding Young CPA Award from the Alabama State Society and in 2011, she was presented the ASCPA Women to Watch Emerging Leader Award. Moore is active within her community, serving with Junior Achievement, Exceptional Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation, where she is a past president. She is also treasurer of the Camp Winnataska board of directors.
Ebony O’Brien is a senior manager with Banks, Finley, White & Co. She started with the firm in 2015 and has quickly risen through the ranks. O’Brien often takes point in audits of nonprofit, government, broker-dealer and for-profit entities, and has participated in performance audits of large governmental clients. Earlier, she worked in management of nonprofit organizations, serving in human resources and finance. Drawing on that background, she serves in Banks Finley’s annual training on industry and IT related topics and is a member of the firm’s HR recruiting team. Licensed in Alabama and Tennessee, O’Brien has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jacksonville State University and is involved in a number of civic organizations, including Make-a-Wish Alabama Trailblaze Challenge, Phi Theta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma, as well as the Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.
Amanda Paul is an assistant professor of accountancy in the Sorrell College of Business of Troy University. Her primary teaching focus has been on financial and governmental accounting and auditing. She also serves as the internship coordinator for the School of Accountancy. Prior to joining the faculty at Troy, she worked for Gibson and Carden LLC in Troy. A Troy native, Paul earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Troy University. She is active with the Alabama Society of CPAs and served as president of the ASCPA South Central Chapter. She is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs and was selected as an AICPA Woman to Watch and Emerging Leader in 2012. She also has received the Troy University Outstanding Accounting Professor award in 2012, 2016 and 2018.
Karen Poist is director of the State and Local Tax Practice Area for Stambaugh Ness in Hoover. She applies her 30-plus years of taxation expertise to guide clients through the increasingly complex SALT environment, including tax consulting, compliance and resolution. Prior to joining SN, she spent 20 years at Birmingham-based BMSS LLC, where she served as a member of the firm. Passionate about providing clients with solutions to meet their goals, Poist specializes in state and local sales and use tax, state and local income tax, audit representation, tax planning, consulting, due diligence and mergers and acquisitions. A graduate of State University of New York College at Fredonia, Poist is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs, the Alabama Society of CPAs and the Irondale Chamber of Commerce. She chairs the Alabama State Tax Committee and is a contributor to Modern Contractor Solutions.
Connie Sheppard-Harris is president of Sheppard-Harris & Associates PC in Birmingham. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and began her career with Dozier & Tanker, where she became a partner. She later established her own firm, the first Black female CPA firm in Alabama. She has 35 years of experience in public accounting and has been president of her firm for 23 years. Active in her community, she is a member of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Water Works H2O Foundation and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Trinity Advisory Committee, the Miles College Advisory Board, the Birmingham City Wide Local Development Co., the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and vice chair of the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy. She is a former member of the UAB Mental Health Board. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Women Society of CPAs.
Van Trefethen is a member within Warren Averett’s Tax Division, serving as the Birmingham office tax service area leader. Joining the firm in 2011, Trefethen specializes in tax planning and compliance for closely held and private equity-owned businesses. Trefethen served as co-leader of Warren Averett’s Paycheck Protection Program Group, as well as serving on the firm’s COVID-19 Taskforce. In addition to helping the firm’s clients, Trefethen hosted internal training webinars to help educate his co-workers on the latest PPP guidance. Trefethen received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and his master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs and has been recognized as a Rising Star in Accounting by the Birmingham Business Journal.
Jason Wells is a principal with Jackson Thornton in Montgomery and leads the firm’s Valuation and Litigation Consulting group. He is also the consulting line of business leader for the firm and guides the group in large data cases. Prior to joining Jackson Thornton, Wells worked for Arthur Andersen’s Birmingham office. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and earned his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to being a CPA, Wells is accredited in business valuation, certified in both valuation analyst and financial forensics and a master analyst in financial forensics. He has been recognized by CPA Practice Advisor as a Top 40 Under 40. Outside of the office, Wells currently serves as president of Paseo, is past president of the Montgomery Lions Club and a member of the Montgomery Estate Planning Council.
Kami West is a supervising senior accountant in Kassouf’s Healthcare Services Group in Birmingham. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama, she is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Alabama Society of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs-Birmingham chapter. West also serves on Kassouf’s recruiting team, working closely with the University of Alabama to attract top talent for the company’s internship program. She has brought a strategic vision to the team, helping to showcase the firm’s unique culture and develop thoughtful discussions for the students. She also mentors younger staff members and recently helped develop Kassouf’s first virtual recruiting event. In addition to her professional endeavors, West is an active member of
the Junior League.
Trae Zeblan is a senior manager at BMSS Advisors & CPAs, where he primarily focuses on assurance and transaction advisory engagements. He joined BMSS in 2017 and has been working in public accounting for eight years. “Trae is a gifted motivator and has earned the respect of his BMSS team members,” said Laura Watkins, marketing manager at BMSS. “He patiently coaches and he displays a servant attitude in helping others.” Zeblan is a graduate of Shorter University and holds the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. Zeblan has served on the board of the Birmingham Chapter of Young CPAs and is a current member of the Birmingham Venture Club.