2023 Schedule

Accounting Summit Program- 2023

Program level content for all sessions is deemed Basic.  No prerequisites or advanced preparation needed.  

7:30am-8:00am Seating, Lite Breakfast, and Refreshments

8:00am-8:15am Welcome and Introductory Remarks

8:15am-9:05am "Today's Accounting Workforce: Challenge or Opportunity?" (1.0 CPE Accounting) Tara Fenner, CPA CMFO (Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, PLC)

Description: An overview of the changes in the accounting workforce today and a CPA exam update.

Learning Objectives: To gain an understanding of the trends in recruiting, benefit offerings, and remote work options in the accounting profession.

9:05am-9:15am Break

9:15am-10:05am "The Public Trust of a CPA and Quality Control Considerations" (1.0 CPE - Audit) Kevin Peters, CPA (Blackburn, Childers, & Steagall, PLC)

In this course, we will discuss AICPA initiatives at work to continue to place quality and public trust at the heart of the CPA profession.  We will discuss the elements of the “Four Pillars” of a CPA, red flags a CPA should look out for and we will also discuss quality control considerations for various levels of assurance and attest services.

10:05am-10:15am Break

10:15am-11:05am "Sustainability/ESG Update" (1.0 CPE – Specialized Knowledge) Tammy Kowalczyk, PhD. (Appalachian State University)

Summary:  In this session, you will learn about important updates and current events relevant to accounting professionals in managing sustainability-related issues for clients and employers.  This includes accounting, reporting, and tax policy considerations for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.  There will be special emphasis on small to medium-size organizations and implications for accounting practitioners who serve them.

11:05am-11:15am Break

11:15-12:05 pm "2023 Energy Tax Credit Update" (1.0 CPE- Tax) Jake Hutchison, CPA (Blackburn, Childers, & Steagall, PLC)


The federal tax landscape in the United States is ever-changing. This session will provide an overview of energy tax credits, especially focusing on the key federal tax provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop better understanding of Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit and Residential Clean Energy Credit
  • Develop better understanding of Clean Vehicle Credit and Previously-Owned Clean Vehicle Credit
  • Discuss tax planning opportunities for 2024 and Beyond

12:05-1:00pm Lunch

1:00pm-1:50pm "Motorcycles, helicopters and sports cars: What 80's action adventure taught us about technology, AI and ChatGPT." (1.0 CPE- Personal Development) Shawn Bergman, PhD. (Appalachian State University)


Humans' use of tools is nothing new. People have been using tools and technology to increase their performance for centuries. The speed at which technology is changing the tools we have access to and what those tools can help us accomplish is new. These enhanced features, however, come with some notable drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is the increased chance of people using the wrong tool for the wrong job, which can have harmful or disastrous consequences.

This interactive session will dispel the mystique around artificial intelligence (AI) and address some misconceptions around AI-power interactive platforms. Participants will learn how to incorporate emerging AI tools into the work process and learn how asking the right questions can help find the right balance between professional expertise, others’ viewpoints, and AI-powered insights. 

Humans use of tools is nothing new, but the tools that AI is creating are a bit novel. This session will help cut through the hype and determine the best way to maximize the benefits and minimize the downside of using technology to improve performance and keep people safe on the job. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain a better understanding of machine learning and how it is used in artificial intelligence.
  2. Learn how to better leverage technology, such as ChatGPT, to improve your workplace performance. 
  3. Learn how to blend information from A.I. technology into your work process.


1:50pm-2:00pm Break

2:00pm-2:50pm "IRAs and the Secure Act” (1.0 CPE- Tax) Wade Farmer, CPA (Blackburn, Childers & Steagall, PLC)

Program Description – IRA tax planning fundamentals and the impact of the SECURE Act of 2019 and 2022

Learning Objectives – To understand the fundamentals of taxation related to IRAs and how the SECURE Acts impacted planning related to IRAs and to identify tax opportunities and strategies.

2:50-3:00pm Break

3:00pm-3:50pm "Holy CRUT Batman! Estate Planning Tools in the CPA's Utility Belt." (1.0 CPE Trust & Estate) David Green JD, CPA/PFS (First Covenant Trust & Advisors)

Summary - This presentation covers different “tools” that CPAs should be aware of in the Estate Planning field. It should enable a CPA to recognize issues where certain estate planning tools could benefit a client, and to know the circumstances in which various trusts and estate planning provisions are appropriate. 

 3:50-4:00pm Break

4:00pm-4:50pm "Feeding our Future-How to Get Rich (and go to jail Quickly)" (1.0 CPE Behavioral Ethics) - David Babb, CPA (Blackburn, Childers & Steagall, PLC)

In this course, we will explore the massive $250 million dollar fraud that diverted money earmarked for hungry children and fed a life of luxury and excess for those that took advantage of a global crisis. We will examine the facts and circumstances, as well as examine the factors that allowed such a fraud to occur, and brainstorm as a group to create internal controls to prevent this.

 Learning Objectives:

  •  Learn from a case study in COVID fraud
  • Gain an understanding of fraud warning signs
  • Reexamine the fraud triangle
  • Learn what to do when fraud is discovered

Appalachian State University – Department of Accounting is a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.  State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:  www. NASBARegistry.org.