RLB managing partner to head state CPA group

Levin –

A CPA  from New Tripoli has been named president of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Martin Levin, a managing partner at RLB Certified Public Accountants in Allentown, was elected Monday and will serve as president of the organization for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which started May 1.

Levin leads RLB’s audit and business valuation groups. He is also an adjunct business professor at Kutztown University.

Levin told Lehigh Valley Business that, as the institute’s president, he hopes as to address a number of important issues in the accounting industry, with technology at the top of the list.

“Things are changing rapidly technologically and it’s seriously changing our profession,” he said. “Things like artificial intelligence, bloc chain and robotics are all putting pressure on the CPA profession.”

As a result, he said, the industry needs to look at what kinds of skills will be required of people entering the field over the next 10 to 15 years.

“These people may need to be more technologically focused, not just financially,” he said.

He said he is also concerned about a trend nationally – but not in Pennsylvania – in which many states are trying to roll back professional licensure requirements.

Levin said licensing in some states may be overly burdensome, but he doesn’t see it as a problem in Pennsylvania and wants to proactively keep the issue out of the state.

He said rules for professionals such as doctors, attorneys and accountants are vital and he wants to protect the standards – although he would like to see reforms that make it easier for young people to become CPAs.

Levin said about 50 percent of current CPAs are expected to retire in the next 10 years, but fewer young people are choosing to become licensed CPAs.

They may be put off by the cost and time that are involved.

He said it takes about the equivalent of a five-year college degree and 400 hours of study to be able to take the licensing test. Also it costs $200 for each section of the four-section CPA test, with many needing to retake sections several times before passing.

“That can be expensive and it can discourage a lot of young people from taking the test,” he said.

He said he wants to see what can be done to lessen the time and cost burdens to bring more students to the profession and encourage more to become licensed CPAs.

A past president of PICPA’s Lehigh Valley Chapter, Levin is a member of the statewide CPA-PAC Committee and is on the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation board.

Other CPAs elected officers at the PICPA annual meeting in Philadelphia this week are: Jill E. Gilbert, an audit partner with RKL LLP in Lancaster, president-elect; Timothy J. Gooch, partner with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP in Wellsboro, vice president; Aaron R. Risden, CFO and treasurer of Vision Benefits of America in Carnegie, vice president; and Frances A. Aitken, senior vice president for finance and operations with Berks County Community Foundation in Reading, treasurer.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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