Winter Conference

5th Annual Asheville Accounting and Management Conference

Friday, February 23, 2018

8:00 am - 5:00 pm


***WEBINAR OPTION (Group Internet Based) available for all of our sessions!!!


Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park
43 Town Square Boulevard
Asheville, NC 28803


Group rate available
February 22 - 24, 2018




Registration Information

Conference Registration Information:


Registration check-in begins at 8:00 a.m. and the first seminar begins at 8:30 a.m.  The last session will end just before 5:00 p.m.    Course fees are payable in advance.


All reservations must be received by Tuesday, February 20, 2018 by registering:

  • ONLINE : under the events tab and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click register now.

  • VIA PHONE:   by contacting Sheronda Fox at (828) 328-2201, ext. 3223,

  • VIA EMAIL:    by emailing Sheronda Fox at

  • VIA MAIL:      by completing the registration form below and mailing to:

                                      IMA Catawba Valley

                                      P.O. Box 2132

                                      Hickory, NC 28603


    Registration fees include continental breakfast, refreshment breaks, lunch, and course materials. 

    **Registration will be available at the door provided space is available and lunch may not be included.

Conference Location Directions

Conference Location Directions: 

From South: Follow I-26 West to Exit 37, Long Shoals Road.  Exit right and take a left at first light on Schenck Parkway.  At first intersection, turn left onto Thetford Street.  Travel ¼ mile and our hotel will be on your right.


From North: Take I-26 East to Exit 37, Long Shoals Road.  Exit left and take a left at first light on Schenck Parkway.  At first intersection, turn left onto Thetford Street.  Travel ¼ mile and our hotel will be on your right.


Prerequisites: None

Advance Preparation:  Case Study – “The Ethical CEO”

Program Level: Basic

Delivery Method: Group-live­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­



***Registration/Coffee/Continental Breakfast***

8:00 am -8:30 am


Morning Session 8:30 am-10:10 am

(CPE Credit: 2 Hours in Personal Development)


Martin Brossman presents:


“Effective Online Communication for Professionals”

 We now have more ways to communicate than any time in history, and for many people, this is making communication more challenging. We will address the current methods of communication and how to manage them including Social, LinkedIn, Slack, email and much more. what software tools exist to help a professional manage the broad spectrum of online communication tools. We will also include basic security tips related to online communication and document sharing. 

  • Understand the different options of communication today and which are right for you and your business. 
  • Techniques in effective management of all the communication methods.
  • How to make sure your message is clearly communicated.
  • Ways to verify that the message was received.
  • Understanding safety and security with communication.


Morning Session 10:25 am-12:05pm

(CPE Credit: 2 Hours in Behavioral Ethics)


Joe Lakatos Presents:


“Infiltrating Ethical Principles to Ensure an Open, Positive Culture and Integrity in the Accounting Profession”


In September 2017, the IMA issued a revised Statement of Ethical Professional Practice in response to the ever-changing global business environment.  The principles promulgated in the IMA’s Statement mirror those in the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct and Standards for Tax Services.  These sets of ethical standards require accountants to contribute to a positive ethical culture in their profession and in the organizations they serve and to place the integrity of the profession above personal interests.  These requirements recognize the need for IMA and AICPA members to take an active role in fostering the values of a strong, open, and positive ethical culture in their profession and organization.  During this seminar, we will explore various ethical principles, and dig deep into the foundation of ethics and the development of those principles.  In so doing, we will consider pertinent ethical theories that can assist members in the development of ethical cultures that result in stronger performance and sustainable growth.  After exploring these theories, attendees will have an opportunity to apply them to a case study, the center of which is a company faced with a dilemma caused by the financial difficulties of one of its major customers, with whom it has a longstanding relationship.  This seminar will challenge you to examine your moral and ethical foundation, while encouraging you to apply ethical theories to the assessment of strategic alternatives, thereby leading you to better business decisions that take into account all corporate stakeholders while reinforcing the need for a positive ethical culture within the profession and organizations.


  • Examine the development of ethical codes of conduct issued by the AICPA and IMA.

  • Explore the theories that form the foundation of ethical principles.

  • Challenge you to examine your moral and ethical foundation. 

  • Appreciate the value of ethical considerations in the business decision-making process.


***Lunch 12:05 pm – 1:00 pm***


Afternoon Session 1:00 pm – 2:40 pm

(CPE Credit: 2 Hours in Finance)


Yash Bhatia Presents:


 “Building a Data-Driven Enterprise with case studies for Operational Finance Analytics"

What sets companies such as Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Uber, etc. apart from their competitors or having no competitors? - It is data. These companies were visionary recognizing "data-driven" as a core strategy of their business model. These companies leverage the transformative power of data and analytics to understand their consumers' behaviors. They then cultivate future opportunities for value creation by creating consumers that are addicted to their products and services. Among other factors, Technology has been the driving force. The data and analytics revolution are only possible because of easily accessible, increasingly inexpensive computing power: the cloud, the Internet, and powerful, versatile software and algorithms. Building a data-driven enterprise will deliver the greatest value for stakeholders and customers. In today's highly competitive business environment, companies need more from Finance than accurate financial statements and reports. They need forward-looking, predictive insights that can help shape tomorrow's business strategy and improve day-to-day decision-making in real time. In short, they need operational finance analytics.         

  • Recipe for a successful data-driven enterprise.   
  •  Why operational finance analytics is needed.    
  •  Benefits of operation finance analytics.     
  • Case studies of operational finance analytics.

Afternoon Session 3:00 pm – 4:40 pm

(CPE Credit: 2 Hours in Business Law)


Jeffrey D. Penley, J.D. Presents:


“Hot Coffee—Is Justice Being Served?”


All of us have heard of the concept of the runaway jury—twelve angry men and women with preconceived notions of justice who are more than willing to “open the purse strings” of the defendant (especially when the defendant is a large corporation) and award a plaintiff a multi-million-dollar verdict for a “frivolous” lawsuit. But does that really describe the ordinary jury? Are there really that many baseless lawsuits in our judicial system, and if so, do they typically proceed to a jury trial? Our Founding Fathers established the constitutional right to a jury trial in both civil and criminal cases. In satisfaction of their civic responsibility of jury service, are members of a trial jury qualified, capable and dedicated to listen to the evidence presented by the plaintiff and the defendant in an objective, rational way in order to determine the actual facts of the case and correctly apply the law to the facts in order to achieve ultimate justice for the litigants?


This session will use the famous (infamous?) McDonald’s “hot coffee” case in order to determine whether our justice system (more particularly, our trial-by-jury system) works appropriately, or whether there is a need for “tort reform” in the United States that would cap the maximum amount of damages a jury could award a plaintiff in a civil case. In this interactive seminar, the presenter and attendees will:


  • Define critical thinking.

  • Survey preconceived notions about the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case.

  • Define what a “tort” is.

  • Discuss the legal definition of negligence.

  • Address common defenses to negligence liability, including contributory negligence, comparative negligence, and assumption of the risk.

  • Watch a video segment that describes the actual facts of the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case.

  • Address the most common proposal for tort reform.

  • Discuss the procedural safeguards against “frivolous” lawsuits in the judicial system (particularly, the North Carolina court system).

  • Formulate conclusions regarding whether tort reform in the United States justice system is necessary and/or appropriate.



Guest Speaker Biographies

Martin Brossman


Martin Brossman is a leading authority on social media and online marketing. He is a business coach, consultant and a dynamic trainer known for his insight and humor. A member of the National Speakers Bureau, Martin is a popular speaker on social media topics and web related topics for business professionals.  He teaches at North Carolina community college Small Business Centers throughout the state since 2006. Currently, he teaches a Social Media Management Certificate program at NC State University TTS.  His published books include Social Media for Business, Linking Into Sales (professional use of LinkedIn) and How to use Hashtags. He has been self-employed since he left IBM in 1995 and has over 10 years experience with the business use of Social Media.



Joseph P. Lakatos

 Joseph P. Lakatos, LL.M, JD, MBA, CFE, CPA, is the Elingburg Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation at Western Carolina University.  He has more than 26 years of experience as an attorney, accountant, fraud examiner, risk manager, business consultant and/or professor.  Joe teaches courses in International Business Law, Commercial Law, Corporate and International Taxation, Corporate Finance, Estate Planning, Financial and Managerial Accounting, Forensic Accounting, Entrepreneurial Finance & Strategy, Valuations, Securities Regulation, and Strategic Management.  


Joe serves as an adviser to entrepreneurs, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations, providing seminars and consulting services related to risk management, internal controls, fraud detection and prevention, corporate governance, cost analysis, strategic management, organizational change, capital funding, and leadership training.  Joe has also conducted extensive research in these areas, resulting in numerous articles published in, among others, the Harvard Business Review, CPA Journal, China Business Review, and the International Journal of Management Cases. Joe has been honored with the North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence and the Last Lecture Award for Inspirational Teaching.  In addition to teaching and consulting, Joe enjoys coaching little league and volunteering for several charities.


Yash Bhatia

Yash Bhatia is President of Datos Consulting, a data science and analytics consulting firm that provides process improvements and integrated analytical soluctions for end-to-end optimization and decision-making. He has over 15 years of strategic business consulting experience with Fortune 500 companies. He is currently on the board of the APICS Inductrial Crescent Chapter in Greenville, SC and, Co-Chair of the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC) of South Carolina. Yash has been a speaker at APICS PDM in Greenville, SC; IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) at BMW Zentrum; Clemson University; and was on a panel at the Supply Chain and Quality Conference in CHarleston on August 2017 speaking on "Data-Driven Automotive Supply Chain Management."

Jeffrey D. Penley, J.D.

A native of Burke County, North Carolina, Penley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He practiced insurance defense law for a large law firm in Charlotte before joining the faculty at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina.


Penley teaches Business Law and Ethics and serves as a lecturer for CVCC’s Continuing Education Department. He has served in numerous leadership roles at the college, including Faculty Senate president, cooperative education faculty coordinator and Southern Association of Colleges re-accreditation team member. He has served as a course developer for the North Carolina Community College System “Virtual Learning Community,” as well as a presenter for CVCC’s Student Leadership Institute and a number of faculty and staff professional development lectures.  In 2007, Penley received the Catawba Valley Community College Excellence in Teaching (EIT) Award, and in 1995 and 2013, he was a finalist for the EIT Award.


Penley served as a faculty fellow for CVCC’s Students in Free Enterprise team from 1996 to 2013. During that time, he coached the team to five regional championships. Since 2012, Penley has served as an extemporaneous speaking and prepared speech coach for the CVCC SkillsUSA team, with his students winning seven state championships.


A member of the North Carolina State Bar, he serves as an adjunct faculty member for Gardner-Webb University’s Degree Completion Program and Masters of Business Administration Program.  He received the Gardner-Webb University Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award in 2002.  Penley and his wife Patricia live in Hickory.  His son Benjamin is in his first year of pharmacy school at UNC-Chapel Hill, and his daughter Katherine, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, is an English teacher in Hillsborough.