J. Carlton Collins - Long Biography
The Accounting Software Advisor
Atlanta, Georgia 30092
(770) 734-0950 Office
(770) 734-0650 Fax  carlton@accountingsoftwareadvisor.com

Positions Held:

ASA Research, President (September 2001 to Present)

Since 2001, Mr. Collins has founded and grown a variety of businesses as follows:

ASA Research is an organization dedicated to producing professional articles and tables pertinent to the accounting system and ERP solutions industries. AdvisorCPE is dedicated to delivering continuing professional education and scheduling more than 30 professional speakers. Accounting Software Consulting is an organization consisting of many of the world's top accounting system and ERP consultants.

In conjunction with these positions, Mr. Collins primarily assumes the roles of a publisher, consultant, and lecturer. All three of these activities enrich the other activities. Consulting efforts help Collins become a better writer and lecturer. Lecturing helps Collins hone his opinions as audiences will challenge weak positions and recommendations. Writing provides a key foundation for lectures and consulting engagement recommendations. Collectively, these three roles blend together to provide a good foundation for assisting companies, consultants, vendors and resellers alike in a variety of accounting system engagements. These activities are discussed in greater depth below.    

K2 Enterprises, Atlanta, Georgia
Training and Consulting
April, 1990 to January 31, 2002

J. Carlton Collins is one of the founders of K2 Enterprises. In November 1989, Carlton ventured out on his own to start a new business. Within a few months, Carlton landed an opportunity to produce and deliver 40 seminars on behalf of Lotus Development Corporation based on a business model suggested by Val Steed. Carlton and Val brought Will Fleenor and Terry Brock on board to help deliver these 40 presentations. The Lotus seminars were a success and Lotus opted to repeat these seminars in following years. Terry Brock rotated out of the group while  Bob Radding and Jeff Knepper rotated in. In 1991, Novell asked the group to produce and deliver similar seminars on behalf of Novell, and Microsoft made a similar request in 1992. Bob and Jeff rotated out of the group and Randy Johnston was brought on board in 1992. These seminar offerings continued to be a success and the work continued to grow. In 1994, Val and Will quit their day jobs to join Carlton full time. The partnership was formalized and the name K2 Enterprises was adopted. For the next 7 years, K2 focused on the CPE market, producing a dozen or so full day courses and a 2-day conference each year and delivering them through the State CPA Society channel.  

In 2002, Carlton sold his interest in K2 Enterprises to Will, Val and Randy in order to concentrate his full efforts on publishing and lecturing on the topics of accounting software and technology.

Collins & Collins, Atlanta, Georgia
CPA Firm
November, 1989 to 1994

Carlton was the Principle and founder of Collins & Collinss, a certified public accounting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. Carlton and his wife, Mary Lou, rendered a variety of professional CPA services including traditional tax preparation, compilations, reviews, and management advisory services in addition to non-traditional services of evaluating, selecting and implementing accounting system and ERP solutions. 

Anderson, Hunt & Company, Atlanta, Georgia
Certified Public Accountants
September, 1988 to November, 1989

As a Manager with Anderson, Hunt & Company, Carlton's responsibilities were to develop new business and render accounting software implementation services. Carlton also provide training services and delivered lectures on a wide variety of technology topics including accounting systems, DOS, operating systems, spreadsheets, etc.   

Windham Brannon & Company, Atlanta, Georgia
Certified Public Accountants
May 1986, to September, 1988

As a Supervisor and Manager with Windham, Brannon & Company, Carlton's responsibilities were to develop new business, conduct accounting system needs analysis and selection engagements, implement accounting systems, prepare tax returns, and manage compilation, review and audit engagements.

May, Zima & Company CPAs, Atlanta, Georgia
Certified Public Accountants
January, 1982 to May, 1986

Headquartered out of Daytona, Florida, Carlton worked in the Buckhead, GA offices at Piedmont Center. As a staff accountant, senior accountant, and supervisor, Carlton assumed a wide variety of responsibilities including accounting, auditing and tax work in the areas of health care, construction, distribution, automobile dealerships, insurance, manufacturing, and general business. His tax experience includes corporate, individual, partnership, fiduciary, and estate tax planning work.

From 1983 to 1985 Carlton was heavily involved in the other areas of financial forecasts, bond issues, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, conventional financing, pension and profit sharing plans, and business planning. Specifically, Carlton worked on the financing of approximately two billion dollars worth of bond issues. The majority of these bond issues were floated to finance the construction of nursing home and retirement centers. However, other projects included the financing of a kidney dialysis facilities, hotels, restaurants, and a gun manufacturer, to name a few. Carlton's role was to conduct the field work across the United States by physically inspecting the site of each proposed project, conducting various demographic procedures in order to determine the need for the proposed project, gathering competitive information, and evaluating the political climate or any local opposition for conditions that might adversely affect the success of the project. Back at the office, Carlton prepared the five year forecast financial statements based on the most likely assumptions (as determined in the field work). These forecast financial statements were included in the IPO for each financing. Carlton also conducted audits, reviews and compilations of various companies including several automobile dealerships, construction companies, and manufacturing concerns. May Zima was purchased by Arthur Young in 1985 (now Ernst & Young).

Prior to 1981
Carlton has worked many jobs beginning with a paper route for The Brunswick News in 1968 (5 years), mowing lawns and washing windows, bagging groceries at Winn Dixie, errand boy for a Brunswick law Firm, bus boy and waiter at the Sea Island Cloister and Blanche's Courtyard, working shut downs at the Brunswick Pulp Mill as a pipe fitter, and building houses for Mr. Brooks. Altogether our crew of approximately five guys built more than 10 expensive houses on Sea Island from the ground up - including the week in which we started construction on a house on the wrong piece of property. In 1980 Carlton worked for ITT Rayonier as an intern in the internal auditing department - most of which was spent in the tourist destination of Jesup, Georgia. 

One of Carlton's most unique jobs was with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLTEC) located in Brunswick, Georgia where for two years, Carlton was an actor who played the role of a criminal in a training exercise. Law enforcement agents from around the country (police officers, border patrol guards, FBI agents, etc.) would practice pursuing and capturing Carlton and his fellow actors for practice. These scenarios featured real guns and equipment (loaded with blanks of course) and were staged in a small city - which was converted from the old Brunswick naval base. After this experience, Carlton recommends that if you are ever stopped by a police officer for speeding, keep your hands in clear sight and don't make any sudden moves, some of the law enforcement officers Carlton encountered tended to get carried away.


University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia Class of 1981 
Carlton attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia and received a BBA degree in accounting. As a freshman, Carlton was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society - an organization open only to Freshman men who make Dean's List. Carlton was then elected President of Phi Eta Sigma and served the following year as the University of Georgia hosted the National Phi Eta Sigma convention in Athens, Georgia. Carlton became the first President in the History of Phi Eta Sigma to induct a female into the Society (Mrs. Nuwantny who had served the organization for many years). Carlton memorized the entire lengthy ceremony for the special occasion.

As a Sophomore, Carlton was inducted into the BIFTAD Honor Society, considered by the Society to be the highest honor a sophomore student can achieve at the University of Georgia. Carlton joined the Pandora Year Book Staff as a photographer. Carlton served for three years in the Defender/Advocate Society - the University of Georgia judicial system for prosecuting and defending students who have violated University rules. For three years Carlton both defended and prosecuted students who were accused of cheating on tests, stealing, damaging University property, drinking under age, using drugs, or breaking the law. One case included the death of another student.

Carlton is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. For three years, Carlton served as social chairman where it was his responsibility to plan social gatherings, meeting with the sororities to schedule the locations, times, and themes for each event. Carlton was responsible for various details such as securing bands, providing refreshments, and ensuring that the social gatherings were successful. Sad note: The ATO fraternity on the UGA campus was closed down in the Spring of 2000 due to hazing violations which resulted in the death of a student (Ben Grantham of Saint Simons Island). Ben was from my home town. 

Glynn Academy High School, Brunswick, Georgia - Class of 1977  
In high school, Carlton distinguished himself as Senior Class President and class valedictorian (one of five) in a school which had 2,200 students. Carlton served as a member of the student council for six  consecutive years (beginning with seventh  grade). Carlton presided as the masters of ceremony in the 1977 talent show. Carlton represented his high school at student council camps in Rock Eagle and Berry College in both his junior and senior year during the annual student council workshops. Because of his artistic ability, Carlton was almost always responsible for creating posters for school events, designing some of the floats used at homecoming, and preparing handouts for various events. Carlton represented the high school club "Future Business leaders of America" in an artistic competition in 1976 and won second in the State of Georgia. Today, six giant murals which Carlton helped paint can be seen in the lobby of the Glynn Academy main building.

Carlton applied to, and was accepted into the United States Naval Academy, in 1976 as one of only two nominees accepted from the State of Georgia each year. Unfortunately, Carlton was a year younger than his classmates. He was only sixteen years old when he earned the Navel Academy nomination and the rules state that candidates must be seventeen. Carlton was asked to sit out a year and to enter the Naval Academy the following year. Instead of waiting, Carlton selected to pursue a career in accounting through the University of Georgia. Carlton later reflected on this turn of events as being "perhaps the most significant decision in my life".

Professional Service:

AICPA Microcomputer Conference 
Carlton has been a speaker at the AICPA Microcomputer Conference continuously since 1989 - except for 1994 when the birth of his daughter conflicted with the speaking engagement (thanks to Wayne H. & Taylor M. for filling in). Carlton served as a member of the AICPA Microcomputer Conference Committee for five years . Carlton was the Chairman of the 1990 AICPA Microcomputer Conference & Exhibition. As chairman, the conference achieved its highest attendance in years. Carlton arranged for Lotus Development Corporation to give $90,000 worth of Lotus product away to CPAs attending the conference.

Georgia Society of CPAs PC Advisory Committee 
Carlton served on the PC Advisory Committee for three years (1985 to 1987). He served as Chairman of that Committee for two years (1896 and 1987). Under Carlton's direction as Chairman, the PC Advisory Committee upgraded its microcomputer training lab with twelve of the latest IBM computer systems (386 16mhz PS/2 model 70s) making the Georgia Society one of only four State CPA Societies to offer hands on training to its members at that time. The PC Advisory Committee also established a software library, sponsored many PC based educational seminars, and formed the PC Consultant's Group of Atlanta. Carlton also pioneered new territory with the creation of the Georgia Society of CPAs National Microcomputer Consulting Certificate program - one of only two states to this day that has ever offered a certificate of achievement program in microcomputer education.

PC Consultant's Group of Atlanta 
Founded by Carlton in 1987, the PC Consultant's Group of Atlanta consisted of approximately 300 members who met monthly to discuss the installation of accounting software. Carlton served as President of that organization for five years, coordinating monthly speakers from software companies such as Novell, Lotus Development, and Microsoft. The meetings often featured live software presentations followed by software giveaways. Each meeting concluded with a fifteen minute open forum where members consulted with members in an effort to solve their accounting software problems. Effective for 2002, carlton has resurrected this organization.

The National Association of CPA Software Consultants, Inc. 
In 1991, Carlton help found the National Association of CPA Software Consultants, Inc. (NACSC, Inc.) an organization which distributes software through value-added CPA resellers. Until 1995, this organization was primarily responsible for selling Lotus 1-2-3 product at discounted prices directly to the CPA channel.

AICPA MCS Microcomputer Subcommittee 
As a member of this committee for two years, Carlton worked with other committee members to draft practice aides for modem communications, spreadsheet standards, local area networking, and other technology issues.

AICPA MCS Public Relations and Steering Committee 
This newly formed committee solicited committee members on an "invitation only" basis. For two years, Carlton has served on this committee in an effort to grow the MCS division. Carlton brainstormed and filmed an amateur AICPA television commercial which later evolved into the AICPAs "never underestimate the value" advertising campaign.

Consulting Experience:  

Implementing Accounting Systems & ERP Solutions 
Mr. Collins has conducted over 200 accounting system & ERP installation engagements. These engagements typically involved analyzing the client's needs; identifying, evaluating and selecting and appropriate solution; negotiating purchase price and reseller contracts; selecting the appropriate hardware; implementing the new system; establishing beginning trial balances and transactions; training users; creating and modifying financial reports; and supporting these ongoing accounting systems.  Approximately 10% of the engagements involved large business ranging from $100 million to $40 billion in revenue; 60% involved medium sized companies with $10 to $100 million in revenue; and the remaining 30% involved smaller companies with revenues less than $10 million.

Some of the clients Carlton has served include automobile dealerships, churches, non-profit institutions, government agencies, restaurants, beauty shops, chemical companies, utilities, home furnishings, process manufacturers, restaurants, construction companies, discrete manufacturers, printing, engineers, property management, nursing homes, boat marina, liquor stores, museums, CPA firms, law firms, insurance companies, and more. Some of the technology platforms Carlton has work with include Windows XP, LINUX, OS/400, Oracle, DOS, Novell, Windows NT, Unix, operating on IBM, SUN, COMPAQ, HP, DELL equipment.

Author & Publishing in Magazines & Newsletters:

Carlton has authored and published many articles related to the topic of accounting software. A few of these articles are listed below:

Breaking Symphony's Password Encryption, Symphony User's Journal, 1984
How to Make a Success of Software Consulting, Journal of Accountancy, June 1991, Page 75
Leading Ledgers - Accounting Software Packages: which ones add up?
LAN Magazine, October 1990, Page 107
Sum and then Some, LAN Magazine, November 1991, Page 97
Selecting the Right Accounting Software Package, Journal of Accountancy August 1999, Page 61
Selecting the Right Accounting Software Package, Journal of Accountancy Sept 1999, Page 61
Selecting the Right Accounting Software Package, Journal of Accountancy October 1999, Page 31
Microsoft's Web Site - Save Time and Money with Customized Financial Management Software - August 29, 2003

Author of A Book :

Guide to Installing Microcomputer Accounting Systems

Carlton is the lead author for Practitioners Publishing Company's Guide to Installing Microcomputer Accounting Systems. The Guide is a 1,000 page, two volume guide that walks the installer through the process of installing an accounting software system. Volume I features the following chapters: 

1. Introduction to Installing Accounting Software
2. Getting Started (key steps to becoming an installer)
3. Marketing
4. Planning the Engagement
5. Performing the Needs Analysis
6. Selecting the Appropriate Software and Hardware
7. Installing the Accounting System
8. Concluding the Engagement
9. Windows and Macintosh Considerations
10. Local Area Network Considerations

The Guide features practical guidance and several hundred pages of ready-to-use practice aides to assist the installing in conducting a smooth and successful installation engagement. Volume II features thirteen Chapters which discuss various high-end accounting software systems including ACCPAC Plus, CYMA, Great Plains, One Write Plus, Peachtree, Real World, Solomon, Accountant, Inc., Platinum, and MAS 90.

Now in it's eighth edition, the Guide to Installing Microcomputer Accounting Systems is published and sold by Practitioners Publishing Company of Fort Worth, Texas and has sold over 5,000 copies. Today, thousands of installers across the United States and several "Big Five" CPA firms rely on the Guide for conducting their installation engagements. The book has emerged to become the leading reference material pertaining to the scope of installing accounting software. You can view more background on the guide here


Carlton speaks frequently to accounting software installers on behalf of the accounting software community. Following is a list of some of the conferences Carlton has addressed on the subject of accounting software:

Great Plains "Stampede" Reseller Conference, Fargo, ND, 1989
Microsoft's "Solution Provider's" Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 1993
Manzanita's "Gold Rush" Reseller Conference, Sacramento, CA, 1994
Macola's "Directions" Reseller Conference, Columbus, Ohio, 1994
SBT's Annual Reseller Conference, San Francisco, California, 1994
SBT's Annual Reseller Conference, San Francisco, California, 1998
ACCPAC's "Partnership" Conference, Orlando, FL, August 2000
ACCPAC's "Partnership" Conference, Orlando, FL, August 2001
Damgaard Axapta Conference, Marietta, GA, February, 2001
Sage Software Visions Conference, Palm Springs, May 2001
Navision's Conexions Conference, Atlanta, January 2002
Exact Macola Directions Conference, Cincinnati, May 2002
Best Software Visions Conference, Palm Springs, May 2002
SE Accounting Show, Atlanta, GA, September 2003
Accountmate reseller Conference, San Francisco, CA, February 2003
SouthWare Reseller Conference, Auburn, AL, March 2003
Best Software Conference, Palm Springs, May 2003
ACCPAC Partnership Conference, Quebec City, Canada, August 2003
BusinessVision Conference, Toronto, Canada, September, 2003
SE Accounting Show, Atlanta, GA, September 2003
AICPA National Real Estate Conference, New Orleans, November 2004
Best Software AccountMate Conference, February 2004
Microsoft BBC Conference, February 2004
SouthWare Reseller Conference, Auburn, AL, March 2004

Frequent Speaker at Other Technology Conferences

Carlton has delivered numerous presentations on the subjects of accounting software, local area networking, the Internet, Microsoft Windows, and PC hardware on behalf of many companies. Following is a listing of some of those Conferences.

ACUTE Microcomputer Conference (Accountant's Users Technical Exchange) Carlton has delivered fourteen presentations at the Acute Conferences from 1988 to 1994.
Minnesota Information Technology Conference
Carlton has delivered fourteen presentations at the Minnesota Society of CPAs Microcomputer Conference from 1989 to 2004.
Lotus Development Corporation
Carlton has delivered more than one hundred presentations of Lotus product on behalf of Lotus Development Corporation from 1989 to 1995.
Midwest Show Carlton has delivered 8 presentations at the MidWest show in 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1998.
New York Microcomputer Conference
Carlton has delivered three presentations at the New York Society of CPAs Microcomputer Conference from 1990 to 1995.
Ohio Microcomputer Conference Carlton has delivered eight presentations at the Ohio Society of CPAs Microcomputer Conference from 1990 to 1995.
Southeast Accounting Show, Industry Conference Carlton has delivered 34 presentations at the Georgia Society of CPAs Accounting Show from 1990 to present and six presentations at the Georgia Industry Conference.
Restaurant Technology Conference Carlton presented to 550 persons attending the February, 2000  Restaurant Technology Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
Microsoft Corporation Carlton has delivered more than sixty presentations on behalf of Microsoft Corporation on the topics of accounting software, Windows, the Internet, and Microsoft Applications.
Novell, Inc. Carlton has delivered more than forty presentations on behalf of Novell, Inc. on local area networking.
Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals, Inc. (AAFI) Carlton presented to AAFI in September, 2000.
IBM Carlton has delivered more than forty presentations on behalf of IBM on the topics of accounting software, and hardware technology. In 1988 and 1989, Carlton trained IBM sales representatives in accounting and the IBM accounting software then known as Accounting Assistant Series (BPI).
Other Conferences include: Ziff's Computer Technology Conference, Orlando, Florida 1993; The Louisiana Microcomputer Conference (20 presentations in five years from 1990 to 1995), the Alabama Microcomputer Conference (1992, 1993, and 1994), and over 100 State CPA Society Conferences.

International Speaking 
Carlton has lectured internationally on the topic of Accounting Software in Sydney, Australia, Melbourne, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, and Wellington, New Zealand. Carlton was sponsored by the University of Sydney in Australia, and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Frequent Lecturer on Accounting Software 

At last count, Carlton had twenty-seven current accounting software packages up and running on his traveling computer systems ranging from QuickBooks to SAP. For the past ten years, Carlton has traveled across the United States and throughout the world delivering an eight hour presentation titled; "Overview of the Top Ten Accounting Software Packages". Carlton has lectured to "tens of thousands" of CPAs about accounting software. In his lecture, Carlton devotes about twenty-five minutes each to some of today's best accounting software packages. using real-to-life cases and examples, Carlton walks the audience through everyday tasks such as the order entry process. Carlton points out strong points and weak points along the way in an effort to help the audience understand what features to look for in selecting accounting software. Carlton uses live demonstrations of customizing accounting software to show users how to meet unusual needs and specific system requirements. By days end, the objective is that audience members are in a better position to evaluate and select an accounting software solution for their company or client.

To stay current , Carlton travels personally each year to visit approximately thirty software and hardware vendors. Carlton also uses the Internet and various on-line database services to search for all articles written which contain the words "accounting software". Each year Carlton receives a stack of CDs and brochures more than three feet high of updated software and mailings from many of the accounting software vendors.

Consistently High Ratings:

As a lecturer for the past nine years, Carlton has delivered well over 1,500 presentations on the subject of technology, productivity software and accounting software. Most of these presentations were concluded with the audience rating the instructor for knowledge and presentation skills on a five point scale (where 5=excellent, 4=very good, 3=average, 2=fair, and 1=poor). Over the past three years Carlton's average ratings were 4.88 and 4.82 for both knowledge and presentation skills, respectively. On numerous occasions, Carlton has scored a perfect 5.0.

Carlton attributes his success in speaking to being prepared. "I am often surprised that my presentations rate so highly because in my opinion, my speaking style is not very polished. However, I believe that I make up for my lack of "polish" by being concise and to the point. By being well-prepared, a speaker can impart as much knowledge as possible with the minimum amount of words. Keeping a high level of energy and injecting just the right amount of entertainment helps too. Heaven knows that without a little humor, the subject of accounting software can get pretty dry after eight continuous hours."

Consulting to Software Developers:

Carlton has provided professional consulting services to many of the top software and hardware companies. In 1992, Carlton spent two days with Microsoft Excel programmers and product personnel for the specific purpose of designing improvements to Microsoft Excel 4.0. Carlton has also provided product design advice to companies such as Epicor, SYSPRO, SouthWare, Intuit, Microsoft, Best software, Exact, and Peachtree Software.

Family & Personal Notes:  

Carlton grew up on St. Simons Island, Georgia - a small barrier island off the coast of Georgia about halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville. The island has white sandy beaches, stately large oak trees covered with Spanish moss, a charming lighthouse, miles of gentle marshes, great fishing, and good people. Carlton often refers to St. Simons Island as the "most beautiful and serene place on earth". The neighborhood where Carlton grew up was Epworth by the Sea. A history of this community can be viewed here.

Carlton married in 1984. His wife, Mary Lou is an Atlanta native. They first met in 1978 at the University of Georgia where they shared a class together. (Yes those were the Herschel Walker years and they were great!) Carlton's first child, Austin, was born in 1990 and his second child, Stephanie, was born in 1994.

Carlton and Mary Lou attend Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Georgia (Pastor Randy Pope). Carlton stays active in the local community. Carlton coaches little league in Gwinnett County and has coached basketball for the YMCA and the United Methodist Church in Dunwoody. Carlton plays organized softball and tennis, and this year has been captain of his tennis team. He also enjoys bike riding and enjoys snow skiing. Carlton formed the Atlanta Canoer's Association in the 1980's and for ten years led canoeing expeditions to the North Georgia mountains. Carlton's hobbies include drawing and collecting prehistoric shark's teeth. Carlton's shark's tooth collection contains more then 6,000 teeth, some which are over six inches long and date back to 45 million years BC.

In 1996, Carlton lived in the Olympic Village in Atlanta, Georgia and served as an envoy to the New Zealand Olympic Team. One of his responsibilities was to make sure that the athletes get to their events on time with all of their equipment. 

Family Pictures




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