Knope of the Week: Tiffany Couch, Acuity Group

After a long holiday break including a brief jump off the fiscal cliff, the Knope of the Week is rested and ready to anoint the standouts in the local government arena for 2013. This year recipients will not only the incredible fame and glory associated with the award, but they will be recognized with a token of appreciation that will only be known by the recipients.

Before we move forward, take a look back at the 52 recipients from 2012. Each recipient will tell you that life has changed dramatically with the recognition, similar to a lottery winner minus the money and notoriety. ELGL proudly notes that before awarding a Knope of the Week we test the potential recipient for performance enhancing drugs. We also proudly note that those individuals have no idea that they’ve ever been tested.

Now onto the beginning of a new year, the 7th recipient for 2013 is …

Tiffany Couch, Acuity Group Founder

Tiffany Couch gave an insightful presentation on her work with the CRC, City of Oakridge, City of Molalla, and Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership, perhaps, most importantly, she provided tips on how we can avoid her showing up in our organization investigating potential wrongdoing. However, if she was to show up at your organization, Tiffany relayed advice for managing the situation.

Tiffany Couch was poised, able to speak in the fly, passionate about public work during the ELGL forum.

So, here’s is what we learned:

  • She is a self described “non traditional CPA.”
  • Tiffany Couch is the daughter of a mayor! Early ties to local government.
  • Accounting degree from Central Washington University and background with aerospace and lumber Interesting background brought her to forensic accounting.
  • Majority of work was in governmental accounting.
  • Started Acuity Group because of her interest in running her own business. Had grown exponentially in last six years.
  • CRC project was her first high profile project. Hired by a private citizen, now elected official.

 

  • 10,000 page public records response prompted that initial CRC work
  • Perceived lack of CRC helpfulness with data analysis resulted in hiring,
  • CPA credentials are important and help her “stick to the facts and not get too far out there.”
  • CRC could be Portland’s version of the Boston’s “Big Dig.”
  • New CRC tolling projections are next area of inquiry
  • “Your job is to provide facts and information to everyone in the room.”
  • Major engineering firms “feeding at the trough of public money” is driving the CRC project
  • Federal “push” for CRC adds another level of complexity
  • CRC offices are “the nicest offices in Vancouver. Can’t tell who is a private or a public sector employee.”
  • YouTube video of her CRC work resulted in Acuity Group hiring by Oakridge city council.

  • Oakridge was three years behind in audits. Former Finance Director had no accounting experience.
  • “Unraveling and cleaning up the books” was part of her work in Oakridge.
  • Reality show in Oakridge was impetus for her departure after her work was completed.

  • “Credit to Bob DeLong” for Oakridge not needing a tax anticipation loan this year bc of good budgeting.
  • Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership is Tiffany’s most recent project. Identified “mathematical errors” with debt payments and interest rates.
  • Important to sit down with public and elected officials and fully explain financial matters.
  • “My job is to be nice even when other people are not.”
  • Tiffany agrees that state shared revenues for cities should be contingent on completing annual audit.

Previous Recipient: Dan Bauer, Deborah Scroggins, Kevin Campbell, Mary Beth Henry