CS Professional Suite/
Business By Design
For more than 18 years, Paul has been building his firm with a focus on meeting client needs beyond compliance work, and with a business consultancy mindset.
When he became self-employed in 1993, Paul found resources for tax planning, business structure/entity optimization and overall business coaching difficult to find. After founding Business By Design in Edina, MN, his goal was to help other entrepreneurs and small businesses be more tax-efficient and make smarter business decisions, in addition to providing traditional accounting firm services.
Today, Paul has developed a firm that provides high-margin business coaching, tax planning and asset protection services for small businesses, employing many of the same tax planning strategies that larger firms offer. This creates a trusted advisor relationship with his clients, builds multiple income streams for his firm and establishes the firm’s unique value proposition. Whether it’s tax savings, business transition guidance or equity building strategies, clients see the value Business by Design delivers—thereby virtually eliminating the client fee pressure situations many accounting firm find themselves in today.
The firm employs a unique “team” approach with a highly trained, diverse staff, including accountants, CPAs, enrolled agents, para-legal and administrative staff, paired with Paul’s own entrepreneurial expertise to provide high-level, results-oriented services to clients. Paul’s focus on progressive use of technology to drive firm efficiency and better serve clients, coupled with his consultative approach to helping business clients, has positioned Business by Design as a firm of the future.
Andrew McCracken, CPA, MAcc
Andrew is the Lead of External Delivery with the Training, Consulting & Implementation Services team at Thomson Reuters. He continues to provide onsite and web-based consulting to firms regarding the implementation and adoption of workflow and document management software. Andrew also serves as an instructor at the Thomson Reuters SYNERGY Users’ Conference. This is Andrew’s fourth year as a lead presenter at Partner Summits, our most exclusive thought leadership event.
Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Andrew worked in public accounting for a regional firm with offices in Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Andrew’s main focus was on taxation and business consulting, including the adoption of best practices and internal controls. He was tasked with the implementation of various Thomson Reuters solutions while at the firm, including GoFileRoom, FirmFlow and NetClient CS portals for document delivery and web payroll offerings. He also offered support and training on these products while at the firm. Andrew’s practice experience gives him unique insight into the ways technology and workflow tools can transform firm efficiency and elevate client service.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Brigham Young University – Idaho, and a Master of Accountancy degree from Southern Utah University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Therese M. Witherow
A senior technical trainer with Thomson Reuters, Therese uses her 16 years of experience to provide onsite and web-based UltraTax CS, Fixed Assets CS, FileCabinet CS, Practice CS, Planner CS, ToolBox CS and GoSystem Tax RS training across the country and overseas. She joined Thomson Reuters in 1999 as a product support representative for UltraTax CS, Fixed Assets CS and FileCabinet CS, and was also the product lead for Ultra Tax/1040 and e-filing. In 2005, Therese joined the Training, Consulting & Implementation Services team.
This is Therese’s sixth year as a lead presenter at Partner Summits, our most exclusive thought leadership event. Therese has presented at many Thomson Reuters SYNERGY Users’ Conferences, and at various profession events and firm-sponsored events. Over the years she has helped thousands of practitioners and hundreds of firms across the country better leverage technology and take advantage of integrated solutions. She has also been involved in product validation testing, On-Demand training development and sales seminar content creation.
Therese holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in management from Western Michigan University, and is a CompTIA CTT+ Certified Professional Trainer.
Brent C. Cyr, MSA
Brent, a technical trainer with Thomson Reuters, provides firms with onsite and web-based training for Practice CS and Accounting CS, and implementation consulting for Accounting CS. He joined Thomson Reuters in 2010 as a support representative, and shortly after became part of the Training, Consulting & Implementation Services team, helping hundreds of practitioners along the way.
Brent has served as an instructor at the Thomson Reuters SYNERGY Users’ Conference for the last few years, teaching a variety of practice management- and accounting-related courses. This is Brent’s first year contributing as a presenter at Partner Summits.
Brent holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a focus on accounting and a Master of Science degree in accountancy from Western Michigan University.
Brienne Okkerse, MBA
As Manager of Content, Brie is responsible for the strategy, creation and maintenance of content for internal and client-facing training and e-learning, including the Help & How-To Center. In her roles, she’s been tasked with building new services from the ground up, transforming custom solutions for firms, developing process and resource allocation.
Brie joined Thomson Reuters in 2007 as a product support representative for UltraTax CS. She served as the conversion lead, was involved in product testing and also served as an instructor for web-based sessions and the annual SYNERGY users’ conference. She joined the Training, Consulting & Implementation Services team in 2010, and since then she’s held several roles, including lead of Professional Services. This is Brie’s first year contributing as a presenter at the Partner Summits. Her experience in leadership, process improvement, working with small to large firms and change management gives her the vital big-picture perspective.
Brie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University.