Getting to Know Kyle Sell
When a former partner told Kyle Sell, CPA, MBA, a Deloitte & Touche LLP audit partner, who was then an audit manager, that he needed to get more involved and carry the torch for his organization and other Big Fours at the NJCPA, he took that to heart and did just that. More than 15 years later, after serving on numerous committees as chair, vice chair and president, Kyle will become the 2019/20 president of the NJCPA on June 1.
He remembers meeting NJCPA CEO and executive director Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, for the first time in 2008, noting “one of the first questions Ralph had asked me when I had lunch with him was ‘what can the NJCPA do for you?’” At that time, Kyle didn’t have a good answer, but he does now. “I have taken it upon myself to continually ask that question and see what the Society can do for its members, and what it can do for young professionals,” he explains.
Kyle has made assisting the next generation of CPAs a focal point of his service at NJCPA, and he plans to continue that effort as president. “I know at times it can be a challenge to get representation and really good involvement from the Big Four” he explains, which is why he has actively served on NJCPA Student Programs & Scholarships Committee and the Scholarship Fund.
“I try to find good opportunities to get our younger members involved,” he says, noting that he is very open minded in his thinking. The Society and other accounting associations “provide a great environment in which to learn and become broader business professionals,” he explains. “We spend so much time internally focused on serving clients and developing our skillsets, but sometimes we don’t spend as much time with our young professionals thinking about community, networking, leadership or how to open our eyes to other things.”
As president, he aims to change all that. As he explains, more seasoned accounting executives should help to inform younger professionals about choosing this career path and how to enhance that experience. “Having the opportunity to interview high school seniors for college scholarships is probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done at the NJCPA,” explains Kyle. “To sit across from a high school student and find a way to financially help them but also give them some guidance and direction is a great and rewarding experience.”
Kyle also gives back to his alma mater, Lafayette College, where he obtained his B.A. in economics and business with a concentration in accounting. He goes back once a year to teach a session on corporate governance and to explain the ins and the outs of an accounting career. “I do a two-hour seminar once a year and talk about the impact we as CPAs have in the boardroom and with our clients,” he says.
Kyle continues to notice some challenges in the profession, however, which he will look to focus on. Diversity and inclusion, he says, is one area that needs more attention. Accounting professionals are increasingly asked by clients, “why don’t we see a more diverse and well-represented team?” The Deloitte Women’s Leadership Initiative, for example, is a huge part of the Deloitte culture, which he says should be duplicated elsewhere with other inclusion councils. He believes we should foster a culture built around inclusiveness. He also has constant reminders about gender equity as he and his wife, Jocelyn, raise four daughters, ages 12 to 18.
This article appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.