Telco finance professionals at all levels will find engaging content in the breakout sessions that focus on three key areas: finance, accounting and human resources. Attendees can choose to follow two complete tracks, or create your own unique combination of sessions that suit your interests and needs.

These breakout sessions provide financial decision-makers for rural telcos with the perspectives and insights they need to succeed.
Intended Audience: Telco executives and financial management staff
This track of sessions covers best practices and updated information on the day-to-day accounting functions for rural telcos.
Intended Audience: Telco executives and accounting staff
With many finance professionals also overseeing HR functions, these sessions provide invaluable perspectives on current concerns and successful practices for human resources.
Intended Audience: Any telco staff with human resources responsibility


NTCA Certificate Course codes: B102
Attending this event earns you one credit towards your Director Core Curriculum, Key Employee Certificate and the Telecom Executive Certificate.  
Learn more about NTCA certificate programs.




Monday, August 27

Noon – 5:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 2:55 p.m.

Preconference I: Telco Accounting Fundamentals*

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan, CPA, Vice President, JSI
Whether you are new to the telecom industry or you just want a refresher, this workshop will provide a review of Part 32 accounting rules, regulated and nonregulated requirements in Part 64, the NECA settlement process, and current universal service support programs.


3:05 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Preconference II: Federal Policy Impact on Telco Accounting*

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan, CPA, Vice President, JSI
As regulatory changes meet implementation within your accounting workflow, careful consideration needs to be given to matters of reporting and compliance. Intended for telco finance professionals at all levels, this workshop will cover what you need to know about the recent universal service reform and its effect on the work you do every day.


*Additional fee required to attend workshop

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.



Tuesday, August 28

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.

Cautious Optimism in the Face of Challenging Change

Shawn DuBravcac

Shawn DuBravac, PhD, President, Astra Insights
The U.S. economy is enjoying one of its longest periods of economic expansion and prosperity. We’ve seen over 90 consecutive months of employment gains. The bull market is in historic territory. Numerous metrics suggest optimism ahead. Simultaneously the economic undercurrents below the surface are concerning. What forces will sustain the economic expansion, and what forces might restrain further growth? Discover the current trends materializing today that will have an impact on your business in the near future. Now is the time to prepare for the fiscal year ahead by seizing opportunities and identifying encroaching risks.


9:20 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.

From Survival and Compliance to Profitability and Advising
Susan Alvarez, VP of Consulting Services, ITK Solutions Group
Traditionally the financial leadership at a telco was charged primarily with ensuring Part 32 accounting compliance and overseeing the financial groundwork for superior customer service. The changing environment requires telco CFOs and financial staff to work on the business from the angles of profitability and return on investment. This requires both a shift in mindset and strategy to ensure the continued health of your company. Learn methods to change the way you look at your business to improve reporting, analysis of investments and use of funds.

Basic/Business Management

10:20 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.

Building Bridges Between Finance and Human Resources
Liz Cheatham, VP of People Services, Endeavor Communications
Megan Johnson, Finance Supervisor, Home Telecom
Norm Johnson, Director of Human Resources, Giant Communications
Johnathon Tuvera, Accountant, Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative
Kimberly Nunnally, Director of Human Resources, NTCA
The human resource and financial resource functions in an organization are often placed at odds. While finance may be solely concerned with money or costs, HR regards human capital as the organization’s most valuable resource, and one of its largest expenses. Strong organizations recognize the importance of both functions and more importantly the need for the two areas to work closely together and appreciate the other’s perspective and expertise. This panel discussion will explore how to strike the right balance between two of the organization’s most valuable assets—its people and its finances.


11:10 a.m. – Noon

Integrating Cybersecurity and Business Continuity to Ensure Critical Operations Resiliency
Dennis Rose, Practice Lead, Business Continuity, Moss Adams
Troy Hawes, Senior Manager, IT Consulting, Moss Adams

The practice of monitoring and responding to cyber incidents has continued to mature within IT, but requires vigilance and a programmatic approach to proactively address vulnerabilities. One important step is to better integrate IT’s response to illicit activity with the organization’s business continuity program and structure. Cyber-incidents often extends beyond IT. An integrated cybersecurity and business continuity program is a valuable step toward organizational preparedness.

Intermediate/Specialized Knowledge

Noon – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.



Investment Workshop: Part I
Maximizing Returns. Getting More Bang for your Buck.
Zar Toolan, Managing Director, Head of Advice & Securities Guidance, Wells Fargo Advisors
When you go to the golf course, you don’t just bring a putter. Same with investing for your future, having a portfolio where you put all your eggs in one basket doesn’t make you prepared, in fact, it may hurt you more than you realize. Different investment models are mixed with different sets of assets in order to be best positioned to help achieve goals. It is very similar to a full golf set- all the different irons have different strengths and weaknesses but having them all together in one bag gives you the best chance of being prepared. Learn to build a diversified investment portfolio that uses methods of balancing risk and return that can help you achieve your goals sooner with the right amount of risk tolerance specifically designed for your portfolio and catered toward your individual investment needs.

Understanding the Investment Policy Statement
Kurt Kuhn, Portfolio Strategy & Alignment Specialist, Wells Fargo Advisors
The session will provide an in depth discussion of the benefits of having a well-defined Investment Policy Statement for your organization’s idle funds. Furthermore, the session will help illustrate how to use the Investment Policy Statement as a living business plan for your organization’s investment program. Additionally, we will provide some examples of the “correct way” and the “incorrect way” to create your organization’s Investment Policy document.



Preparing for Revenue Recognition Changes
Camille Christiansen, Senior Manager, Moss Adams
The new accounting standard on revenue recognition is one of the most significant changes issued by the FASB in the last 10 years and will be implemented in 2019. Not only will this impact your financial statements, it may also impact how you manage your operations. We will highlight the most significant changes and steps you should be taking now to be ready for 2019.



The Costs of Recruiting and Retention

Ben Eubanks, Founder, upstartHR
Managing turnover is increasingly difficult in a world when dealing with younger applicant pools who may represent short average tenures. Learn some best practices in streamlining recruiting, hiring and on-boarding processes to limit expenses associated with staff turnover even in an increasingly fluid workforce.


3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.



Investment Workshop: Part II
Fixed Income Management in a Low Yield/Spread Market
Douglas J. Fry, CFA, Principal, Senior Portfolio Manager – Fixed Income, Reinhart Partners, Inc.
I. Sources of Risk and Return in the Credit Markets
II. Interest Rate Risk: Where are interest rates heading
III. Credit Risk: Are credit spreads too tight
IV. Structure Risk: Outlook for the Mortgage and Asset Backed Market
V. Liquidity Risk: What happens when the next crisis occurs

Equity Market Views and Suggestions on Where to Invest
Joe Buffa, Equity Sector Analyst, Wells Fargo Advisors
Wells Fargo Advisor’s Telecommunications Analyst will discuss WFA’s market views; highlighting where we may be in the current economic cycle, recommended sector positioning and potential investment strategies.



Preparing for Revenue Recognition Changes (repeat)



The Costs of Recruiting and Retention (repeat)


4:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.



Wednesday, August 29

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.

Leveraging AI and Machine Learning
Chad Conklin, Senior Manager, Moss Adams
Join us for a high-level overview of how accounting and finance professionals can use machine learning and artificial intelligence to gain efficiency in existing work and increase the value of data generated and used by the telco.

Basic/Specialized Knowledge

9:20 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.

Designing a Modern Benefits Package
Dennis Renowski, Member Relations Manager, NTCA
With benefit costs increasing and employees and applicants demanding increased choices, flexibility and automation, it is essential to review your benefits package and ensure it aligns with the organization’s strategic objectives. This session will explore benefit trends and provide tips for creating cost-containment and flexibility for today’s diverse workforce.

Basic/Business Management

10:20 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.

Back-to-School With Excel University
Jeff Lenning, CPA, CITP, President, Excel University
Don’t think of Excel as just a fast calculator; it is a platform that can be used to automate virtually any data-driven, recurring task on the regular to-do list for every telco financial professional. Learn relevant and practical methods to improve your productivity and get mechanical tasks done faster.

Intermediate/Computer Science

11:10 a.m. – Noon

Recap and Analysis of the FCC's 2018 USF Order and NPRM
Brian Sullivan, CPA, Vice President, JSI
Just when you thought the FCC was finished with reforming USF, the commission released another significant rulemaking in March 2018. This new order included changes to the current “legacy” USF mechanisms, a potential expansion of the A-CAM, and an exclusion of certain expenses from USF filings. This session will review changes to existing USF requirements, allowable expenses for USF and cost study inclusion, and potential future changes to USF based on the FCC’s NPRM.

Update/Specialized Knowledge

Noon – 1:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.



A Closer Look at Valuations

Robbie Wallace, Associate VP – Communications Banking Group, CoBank
Determining what your company is worth can mean different things depending on who is doing the determining. This look at valuations will consider the lending and M&A perspectives to give you a more complete picture of the value of your business.



Affiliate Transactions—FCC Rules and Valuation Technique

Mark Ellmer, CPA, Staff Director, JSI
As rural ILECS further diversify their business offerings, they rely on affiliated corporate entities and many complex interaffiliate transactions. As the number and types of these transactions continue to rise, the FCC and other regulatory bodies are increasing their scrutiny of the affiliate transactions to the degree that they impact the level of interstate and or state universal service or access funding. We will review the types of affiliates and inter-company transactions, the rules governing these transactions, and suggested documentation needed for external USAC audits or other regulatory reviews.



Planning for the Next Generation of Leadership

Kimberly Nunnally, Director of Human Resources, NTCA
Developing tomorrow’s leaders within your organization or planning for an external hiring process is critical to long-term stability. Succession planning can help you identify, develop and retain the next generation of leaders and ensure you continue to have the right people in the right jobs at the right time. This session will take you through a process of succession planning from evaluating current leadership roles, identifying current talent and potential leaders in your organization, and creating steps for growth into future leadership positions.


2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.


3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.



Margins and Budgets and Planning—Oh My!

Kristy Szabo, Director of Consulting, Vantage Point Solutions
As margins continue to get tighter and companies seek ways to diversify service offerings, business planning and financial forecasting are critical tools each company should be prepared to implement. If you are in the early planning stages or you have been dabbling in budgets and forecasts for a while now, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and how to invest your time, energy and resources. Learn some of the key steps to developing a successful business plan and implementing financial forecasting that will help you be prepared for the road ahead.



Lease Standard Updates

Paul Koster, Partner, BKD LLP
This session will focus on real life examples that communications companies may deal with. Fiber lease considerations to be covered include dark vs. lit contracts, maintenance components and contact terms with terms of control. This session is expected to be interactive, and we hope you bring your own examples to discuss during the session.



Workplace Violence, Sexual Harassment and The Realities of Employment Law
Robert Kaiser, Partner, Armstrong Teasdale
With serious topics like violence and harassment at the forefront of national discussions, it is more important than ever for workplace leaders to understand how to create a safe and respectable work environment. This session will explore the current employment law landscape and review successful practices for policies and procedures in your organization that will ensure both legal compliance and employee peace of mind.

Update/Business Law

4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.


Thursday, August 30

7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.


7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.

Making the Most of Compensation and Benefit Data
Kimberly Nunnally, Director of Human Resources, NTCA
Sally Wlasuk, Member Relations Manager, NTCA

As telco financial professionals evaluate one of their largest expenditures, access to good compensation and benefits data, as well as an understanding of how to apply it, is critical. Learn how benchmarking these costs in strategic ways can provide an ability to remain competitive and help control expenditures.

Basic/Business Management

8:50 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.

Review of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Todd Thorson, CPA, Partner, BKD LLP
The recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) contained numerous provisions for individuals and businesses. Hear about the impact on communications companies, including depreciation deductions, interest expense limitations, net operating loss carryforwards, meals & entertainment, and pass-through entity deductions. Also, learn ways to plan expenditures to limit exposure to taxable income and manage required tax estimates.


9:50 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

The Anatomy of a Loan Request
Ian Flanders, Associate Vice President, RTFC
Irina Tumanova, Associate Vice President, RTFC
Hear from a lender as they provide an in-depth review of financial and nonfinancial data necessary to evaluate and underwrite credit products. From details of the underwriting process to overall timelines of the request and approval process, this insider’s look at the other side of the lending table will help you be better prepared for your next credit-seeking process.


10:40 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Sameer Samana, CFA

Economic and Market Outlook
Sameer Samana, CFA, Global Equity and Technical Strategist, Wells Fargo Investment Institute
In this session, Investment opportunities and risks that Wells Fargo Investment Institute are expecting into 2019, and the recommendations on how to position investment portfolios.


11:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Wells Fargo Advisors: A Trading Floor Tour
Bonds, equities and options—the Wells Fargo Advisors trading floor does it all. Join us at the Wells Fargo headquarters in Downtown St. Louis for a light lunch and an informative tour to experience where the action happens. Transportation provided.

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC

Sponsored by Riazzi, Rhyne & Swaim Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors and Reinhart Partners