Sandra Suran brings 30+ years of expertise as a CPA and Business Consultant to the field of forensic analysis. She helps lawyers and their business clients to solve and, if necessary, litigate business disputes.
Areas of Expertise
Business Consultation – Most businesses do not want to become embroiled in expensive and protracted litigation. As a currently practicing Management Consultant, I bring 30+ years experience in helping organizations to maximize their potential to now also helping them avoid or resolve legal disputes with others.
I have worked with senior management and Board members at a variety of businesses in planning, assessment and implementation of major change initiatives and supervised the hiring, evaluation and management of consultants in diverse areas including human resources, marketing, accounting, legal, information and communication systems, organization development and restructuring, mergers and other transitions.
Preliminary Claims Evaluation – With my background as both a nationally recognized auditor/CPA and a management consultant, I assist in helping to identify and evaluate viable claims and defenses and can facilitate use of expert witnesses. I can help with:
- Finding, assessment and coordination of experts
- Potential litigation – assistance in analysis and case evaluation
- Mediation assistance
- Issues analysis and case development assistance
- Expert witness opinions and testimony
Trial Arbitration and Expert Testimony – I can provide expert testimony in a variety of areas including strategic planning, organization structure and relationships, communications and information reporting (financial and non-financial), management systems, and organization assessments.
Education, Credentials and Certificates
- BBA in Accounting, University of Portland, 1968
- Certified Public Accountant (1972 to Present); Active License
- As a licensed CPA, I am subject to continuing education requirements including 40 hours per year in subjects related to my practice area of management consulting, ethics, accounting and finance.
- In 2008, attended 24 hour program “Negotiation and Dealing with Difficult People”, Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation
Background – General
- National and regional prominence in strategic planning and leading teams of professionals including CPAs, attorneys, engineers, architects, management consultants, marketing and public relations, physicians and other health care providers, educators at all levels, law enforcement, banking and insurance, and union leaders
- National and regional prominence in strategy design and leadership in finance, small and mid-size businesses
- State and local prominence in strategy and leadership of governmental teams
- Prominence in strategy and leadership in development of initiatives for small and large not-for-profit organizations including education and health care entities
- Knowledgeable in education, health care, government, professional service firms, not-for-profit institutions, construction, manufacturing and distribution, finance and insurance industries
- The Suran Group, LLC — President 1990-Present
Management Consulting firm specialized in helping to accomplish sustainable changes while building organizational resilience. Clients are small, mid-size and large for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities. Projects include organizational assistance with merging operations; assessments and strategies for linking departments and for improved effectiveness; ramping up operations and governance for organizations experiencing rapid growth and major changes; facilitating implementation of program and organizational improvements; strategic and operations planning and implementation; assessment and revision of organization structures for improved effectiveness.
- State of Oregon Small Business Advocate 1988-1989
Loaned Executive. Oregon’s first Small Business Advocate. Led development of small business strategic plan; supervised design and implementation of small business programs including business hotline, Business Assistance Officers at 26 State agencies, establishment of 1st small business department for State of Oregon. Responsibilities included development of legislation and testimony before numerous Oregon legislative committees to accomplish passage of the Small Business statute.
- KPMG Peat Marwick (Senior Partner) 1985-1988
Audit and consulting services to private companies and not-for-profit organizations. Served on KPMG’s national middle market steering committee.
- Suran & Company, CPAs (Founding Partner) 1974-1985 (largest Portland based CPA firm merged with KPMG Peat Marwick) – Responsible for Audit and Consulting services including strategic planning, systems and process planning and improvement, organization restructuring.
Forensic Financial Analysis and Expert Witness Experience
In addition to an active auditing and consulting practice, I worked closely with leading attorneys (including Thomas Tongue and Art Tarlow) on numerous cases that involved significant assessment, analysis, and forensic investigation as well as expert testimony.
- Previous expert witness experience in construction, distribution, manufacturing, general business, property and financial disputes.
Other – Highlights
The experiences and skills gained from these activities enhanced my ability to assess, analyze and form conclusions in a broad range of financial, organizational structures and performance areas, and in a wide variety of industries:
Public Board Experience:
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco:
- Portland Branch – Member, Board of Directors 1985-1990
- Vice Chair, 12th District Advisory Council on Small Business and Agriculture 1985-1990
- Co-Chair, National Conference on Small Business and Agriculture 1986, 1987, 1988. Responsibilities required Chairing National meeting of delegates from all Twelve Federal Reserve Districts, culminating in service as co-chair of meetings with Board of Governors Chairs Greenspan and Volcker.
- Oregon Mutual Insurance Company – Past Member, Board of Directors
- Business Banking Corporation – Past Organizing Director (Subsequently acquired by Valley National Bank, later acquired by U.S. National Bank)
- Oregon FAIR Plan (State Insurance Regulatory Board), Past Chair (1st non-Insurance industry Chair)
- Professional Boards and Activities (Highlights):
- National Boards
- National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
- President/Chair 1984 -1985 (54 States and US jurisdictions)
- Past Chair Advisory Council 2001 – Present
- Communications Committee 2009 – Present
- Awards Committee 2011 – Present
- Relevance & Effectiveness of State Boards Committee 2009- 2011
- Disciplinary Enforcement Committee 2008 – 2009
- American Institute of CPAs (AICPA):
- Board of Directors 1989 -1992
- Foundation Board of Trustees 1997 – 2000
- Special Committee on Assurance Services 1994 – 1996
- Audit Committee 1989 -1992
- Private Companies Technical Issues Committee, Founder/Chair 1980 – 1983
- Private Companies Practice Section Board 1978-1984 (established national Peer Review process for CPAs)
- Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) – Small Business Advisory Council
- National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
- National Boards
Regional and Local Boards
- Oregon State Board of Accountancy, Chair 1981-1984 (1st Woman Chair)
- In this position, served as Administrative Judge on licensing issues; established Oregon’s 1st CPA/PA Quality Review program. As Chair, responsibility required frequent testimony before legislative committees.
- Oregon Society of CPAs, Current Member (Past Chair of numerous committees)
Recent Civic and Community Activity (Highlights):
- Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Portland, Advisory Board 2008- 2013
- Brain Institute Advisory Council, Providence Health System of Oregon 2009 – 2014
- Archdiocese of Portland – Finance Council and Audit Committee 2010 – 2014
- Washington County Museum – Steward 1987 – Present
- Oregon Paleo Lands Institute – Vice Chair and Board Member 2007 – 2010
- University Club of Oregon Foundation – Board of Trustees 2000 – 2003
- Professional Services Council of Oregon – Founding Chair and Executive Committee 1994 – 2003
- Portland State University Walk of the Heroines – Founding Board of Directors 1999 – 2002
- Oregon Symphony – Board of Directors 1994- 1999
- Japan-America Society of Oregon – Board of Directors and Executive Committee 1987-1998
- Better Business Bureau of Oregon – Vice Chair, Board of Directors 1990-1996
Recent Honors and Awards:
- Van Rensselaer Award for Public Service – ‘Excellence in leadership, accomplishments and contributions to the CPA profession’, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy October, 2011
- University of Portland, Distinguished Alumni 2010
- Distinguished Service to the City of Portland 1998
- Honorary Life Member, Beta Gamma Sigma (International Business Honor Society), 1989
Book, Articles, Reports and Presentations:
- BOOK: “The DNA of the Resilient Organization – How One Collective Heartbeat Creates Continuous Competitive Advantage”. Published 2014, Stargazer Publishing.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES (Selected Recent):
- “How to Implement Change Effectively” – The Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, Wiley Publications, January, 2002.
- “Professional Services – New Net Export” – The Legislative Review, AOI, September 1997
- “Change Or Die” – Tennessee CPA, Magazine, June 1996, p.14
- “The Next Plateau”, The Business Journal, October 1995
- “Thinking Like An Entrepreneur – To Accomplish Constant Change”, CPA Management Consultant, Summer 1995
AUTHOR/COORDINATOR OF PUBLISHED REPORTS (Recent):
- Business Survey of Oregon Professional Services Firms, published June, 2000 by the Professional Services Coordinating Council of Oregon
- Business Survey of Oregon Companies, published 1993 by Oregon Business Research, a division of Oregon Business Media
PRESENTATIONS (Selected Recent):
- “Achieve Organizational Resilience with a Collective Heartbeat” – Portland, Oregon, October 17, 2012
- “Challenge to the CPA Profession” – Conference of National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, October 25, 2011
- “Current Status and Future for Business – Economic Update” – Portland, Oregon, April 28, 2011
- “How to Identify the Right Change Approach” – January 5, 2011
- “New Venture Management” – University of Portland, November 18, 2010
- “Status of Today’s Economic Situation & Strategies for Succeeding in the Near Future” – North Portland Business Roundtable, November 9, 2010
- “Macro Communications for Increased Visibility” – NASBA Panel, Seattle, WA, June 11, 2010
- “Critical Information & Approaches for Decision Making” – Building Your Nonprofit In Rural Oregon Conference, BIZ Oregon, John Day, Oregon May 21, 2010
- “Gaining Strength…Preparing for the Future” – North Portland Entrepreneurs Forum, March 16, 2010
- “Charting a Course to Master the Wave” – LCEDC Business Fair, Wahkiakum, WA, April 18, 2009
- “Information is the Most Powerful Tool for Influencing Change” – Financial Executives Institute, Portland, Oregon May 15, 2003
- “How to Accomplish Change in a Bureaucratic Environment” – Dean’s Institute (Schools of Dentistry of the US & Canada), Jackson Hole, WY, August 4, 2002
- “The Enron Implosion – Auditors: Victims or Accomplices” – Enron Symposium, Oregon State University, April 15, 2002