August 30, 2022

CAQ Symposium 2022: Panelist Biographies


CAQ Symposium 2022: Panelist Biographies

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Consideration of Macroeconomic and Geopolitical Risks in the Audit | Overview of current trends

Ira Kalish

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.
Chief Global Economist

Dr. Ira Kalish is the Chief Global Economist of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. Ira is a specialist in global economic issues as well as the effects of economic, demographic, and social trends on the global business environment. He has written about the economies of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Mexico and South America, and has also written extensively on global consumer markets. He is the principal author and editor of Deloitte’s Weekly Global Economic Update.
Ira provides thought leadership and perspectives on economic issues, including their expected impact on business operations and trends, to Deloitte clients as well as Deloitte leadership. He has given numerous presentations to corporations and trade organizations on topics related to the global economy. Ira also serves on the Business at OECD Economic Policy Committee which advises the OECD on macroeconomic policy issues. In addition, he serves on the World Economic Forum’s Community of Chief Economists. Ira is widely traveled and has given presentations in 47 countries on six continents.

Ira has been widely quoted in the news media; his remarks have been published by the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, Reuters, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on CNN, CBS News, CNBC, PBS and BBC World Service.

Prior to his work at Deloitte, Ira was chief economist at Retail Forward, a director at PwC, vice president at Bankers Trust, corporate economist at the Eastman Kodak Company, and researcher at the Institute for International Economics.

Ira holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vassar College and a PhD in international economics from Johns Hopkins University. 


Consideration of Macroeconomic and Geopolitical Risks in the Audit | Panel Discussion

Wes Bricker

Vice Chair—US Trust Solutions Co-Leader 

Wes Bricker is Vice Chair—US Trust Solutions Co-Leader at PwC. In this role Wes oversees the largest Trust platform in the world, bringing together the firm’s combined Audit, ESG, Digital Assurance and Tax Reporting capabilities to best help clients as they seek to build trust with their stakeholders. As co-leader, Wes is responsible for the quality of service, excellence in the work performed by over 21,000 partners and staff, developing diverse teams and driving innovation. Wes brings a track record of leadership in the global capital markets and the public accounting profession. He currently also serves as the Chair of the board of directors for XBRL International, a consortium that oversees the widely-recognized standard for digital business reporting globally.

Prior to his current role, Wes was the PwC US Assurance Leader. Between 2016 and 2019, Wes served as the SEC’s Chief Accountant. As the Chief Accountant, he was the principal advisor to the Commission on accounting and auditing matters, and led the Commission’s Office of the Chief Accountant. He was also responsible for assisting the Commission with discharging its oversight of the FASB and the PCAOB. During his time at the SEC, he also served as Chair of the Monitoring Group, a group of regulatory and international financial organizations committed to advancing the public interest in international audit standard setting and audit quality. Prior to joining the SEC, Wes was an Assurance partner at PwC and member of its National Quality Organization.

Wes received a BS in accounting from Elizabethtown College and a JD from American University. He is licensed as a CPA in various states and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.


Phillip Austin  

National Managing Partner, Professional Practice and Auditing 

Phillip Austin has over 30 years of public accounting experience, including client-facing service delivery; public policy, strategy and regulation; and audit quality and professional practice oversight.
Phillip has served in a client service partner role, providing audit and other attest services to a diverse mix of privately and publicly held national and transnational clients. His experience includes auditing, ICFR attestation, IFRS and US GAAP technical accounting advisory. He has substantial experience in establishing strategy and instituting transformation programs that change the way audits are delivered, and improving the audit experience for clients and professionals executing audits.

Phillip serves as BDO’s National Managing Partner of the Professional Practice and Auditing. In this role, he oversees how BDO performs its public and private company audit and attestation services, including the technical conclusions and support functions of the assurance services function. Phillip focuses, among other things, on refreshing BDO’s audit strategy, leading transformation of its approach to audit execution, enhancing its approach consultations with the practice, and developing the reach and depth of its global and IFRS services activities.

As a member of BDO’s Assurance Services Executive Committee, Phillip is a key leader in BDO decisions around its go to market strategies, the manner in which BDO deploys resources to execute high quality audits, and how BDO advances its use of technology in its services.

Phillip also participates on BDO’s US Assurance Committee, which sets US Firm policy governing the delivery of audit and attestation services, chairs the firm’s Audit Quality Committee which assesses audit quality events, and is a member of the firm’s Audit Quality Advisory Council which provides oversight to the Audit Quality process. Phillip is part of the BDO USA, LLP Environmental, Social and Governance Strategy and Services Leadership Team where he participates in the firm’s response to service and internal matters related to ESG.

Phillip serves as co-chair for the BDO USA LLP National Women’s Inclusion activities.

In the global arena, Phillip chairs the BDO Global Audit Steering and Audit Approach Group in setting and deploying policy and methodology responses for the 165 member firms of the BDO Network.

Phillip is affiliated with AICPA, Illinois Association of Certified Public Accountants, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, and has CPA licenses in Illinois and Connecticut. He has honors and bachelor degrees in Accounting Science at the University of South Africa.


Jennifer Cavanaugh 

Grant Thornton LLP
Partner-Chief Auditor, Audit Methodology & Standards

Jennifer Cavanaugh is an Audit Partner and Chief Auditor at Grant Thornton. In her role as Chief Auditor, Jennifer leads the Audit Methodology and Standards group within the Audit Quality and Risk group. In that capacity, she is responsible for the adoption, interpretation, and application of United States and global auditing and attest standards.

Prior to assuming the Chief Auditor role, Jennifer served as the National Professional Practice Director (NPPD) for the Central-North region. In her capacity as the NPPD, she provided support and collaborated with local engagement teams and their clients on matters relating to accounting, auditing, and rules and regulations of applicable regulatory agencies. She has worked extensively with multi-national public and privately held companies in her role as NPPD and as a lead engagement partner.

Jennifer has 30+ years’ experience serving clients in manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. She has worked with a broad range of public and private clients, including large and mid-size companies and has advised clients on mergers and acquisitions.

Jennifer is a CPA in Illinois and Florida. She is a Board Member of the Illinois CPA Society and a member of the Chicago Finance Exchange. Jennifer is a Governing Board Member and the Treasurer of Gilda’s Club Chicago, a free cancer support organization. She is also a member of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Dean’s Council.

Jennifer graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with a BS in Business Administration.


Jim Estes

US Vice Chair – Professional Practice

Jim has spent 36 years of professional experience with Ernst & Young devoted to serving global companies and their audit committees around the world and has extensive history collaborating with the majority of Ernst & Young International member firms on global account matters.

Prior to becoming the US Vice Chair – Professional Practice, effective July 1, 2019, Jim served as Assurance Managing Partner for the Southeast Region. Jim also led the Assurance Practice for EY’s Florida market in 2013 and served in a similar role in Georgia prior to relocating to Florida.

Jim began his career with EY in the firm’s Cleveland National office as an Accounting & Auditing Researcher. Jim is a former member of the Southeast Area’s Professional Practice Director Group, responsible for consultations with other EY partners located in 15 offices throughout seven states on complex accounting, auditing, and financial reporting matters.

Jim has significant experience coordinating global services for SEC registrants including: financial statement auditing, consultations regarding The Sarbanes-Oxley Act – Section 404, periodic SEC filings, registration statements, technical consultations, and public offerings. He completed his term in a significant leadership and firm governance role on EY’s Americas Advisory Council.

Jim has an extensive history assisting companies with debt and equity transactions, business combinations and divestitures, as well as various financing alternatives and business-related issues. He has extensive experience assisting companies in their finance transformation efforts including corporate restructuring and shared services implementation; as well as enhancing audit processes to augment EY’s service delivery throughout the transformation process.

Jim is highly proficient with key technical areas, including GAAP, GAAS, SEC regulations, PCAOB matters, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as dealing with the SEC staff in resolving complex and challenging technical matters.


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Climate Related Risks: Impact on Business Strategy and Corporate Disclosures | Panel Discussion

Lara Abrash

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.
CEO, US Audit & Assurance

Lara Abrash is the Chief Executive Officer of the Deloitte US Audit & Assurance (A&A) practice, where she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization, including execution of the quality, innovation, growth, and talent strategies.

Prior to her current role, Lara served in a number of leadership roles during her career at Deloitte: chief operating officer, national A&A transformation leader, and deputy CEO of the A&A practice. While serving in each of these leadership roles, Lara also maintained significant client responsibilities for the firm’s largest and most complex clients.

As national A&A transformation leader, Lara was instrumental in pioneering Deloitte’s leading position to transform the audit profession through technology and innovation. Her leadership philosophy is based on her deep understanding of multinational clients in various industries, her leadership roles and experiences, and her passion for advancing innovation and inclusion in the profession. Lara frequently speaks on topics focused on advancing the profession including diversity, equity, and inclusion, the future of work, and ESG.

Lara’s leadership extends to her community and other important causes. She is involved with the New Jersey Battered Women’s Service, where she previously served as the treasurer. In addition, Lara’s passions for inclusion and diversity as well as innovation and technology come together through her involvement with the Girls Who Code organization, whose mission is focused on closing the gender gap in technology. Finally, Lara is on the Board of Trustees of the SEC Historical Society and a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, which advises the FASB.

Lara is a licensed CPA in New York and New Jersey and is a member of the AICPA. She holds a BA in economics from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and an MBA from Baruch College.


Anthony DeCandido


As a Partner at RSM, Anthony DeCandido has over 15 years of experience serving companies across numerous industries, including consumer products, manufacturing, health care, technology, financial services and real estate.

Anthony is a leading business voice in environmental, social and governance (ESG) related matters and has prepared research around this critical business theme. He has played a prominent role in researching and authoring thought leadership on the importance of developing and implementing an ESG strategy along with collecting, measuring and communicating the results.

As a lead advisor within RSM’s ESG Advisory practice, Anthony guides companies and boards of directors through ESG strategy development, data collection, and reporting and communications. Additionally, Anthony has worked with dozens of firms to develop ESG policies and procedures and has developed RSM’s proprietary Rapid Assessment Methodology which caters to companies beginning their ESG mandate, as well as supporting the firm’s Total Return on Investment Methodology which is a deeply quantitative analysis that correlates changes in ESG behaviors to improved financial and nonfinancial business results. He has led numerous ESG due diligence reviews across many industries as well as monitoring and reporting strategies for clients.

Anthony is a licensed CPA in New York and Connecticut and is a member of the AICPA. He is also a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Credential Holder, has a Principles for Responsible Investment Credential, and has a Certificate in Corporate Sustainability from New York University Stern Business School. He has a BS in accounting with concentrations in finance and leadership from the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University of Maryland. He also has an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation, Digital Transformation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Julie Santoro


Julie Santoro is a partner in KPMG US Department of Professional Practice. Julie has specialized in the interpretation of accounting standards and the development of related guidance for over 25 years, including experience in South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, Russia and the UK. Julie’s areas of expertise include both US GAAP and IFRS.

Throughout her career, Julie has maintained an interest in ESG reporting and now leads the ESG-related professional practice activities of the US firm. She is also a Vice Chair of the KPMG Global Corporate and Sustainability Reporting Topic Team.

Before joining KPMG in the US, Julie was a partner in the UK firm of KPMG, and COO of the KPMG International Standards Group (based in London). Before that, she was a partner in the Russian firm of KPMG. Having also worked for KPMG in South Africa and New Zealand, Julie has considerable experience in dealing with diverse perspectives on financial reporting.

Julie specializes in ESG- and accounting-based communications. For a number of years, she was responsible for KPMG’s flagship publication, Insights into IFRS; was co-author of KPMG publication, IFRS compared to US GAAP; and led the development of the US GAAP handbooks on the impairment of nonfinancial assets, and accounting changes and error corrections.

Julie led the development of KPMG’s US firm’s Audit Quality Report in 2020 and 2021, and the firm’s inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion report in 2021.


Mark Shannon  

Crowe LLP
Partner, National Office 

Mark Shannon is a partner in Crowe LLP’s national office. Mark supports Crowe’s audit practice on accounting and disclosure matters related to the rules and regulations of the SEC and environmental, social, and governance matters. He also works for the benefit of the profession in various capacities, including as a member of the CAQ’s SEC Regulations Committee. Prior to joining Crowe, Mark served as an Associate Chief Accountant in the SEC Division of Corporation Finance’s Office of the Chief Accountant.

Mark graduated from the University of Houston. He is a licensed CPA in Texas and the District of Columbia and is a member of the AICPA.