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Chief Information Officer



Software Engineering
Arlington, VA, USA
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2024
About The Company

Ascend Partner Services (“Ascend”, or the “Company”) is a newly formed tax, accounting, and advisory platform that partners with entrepreneurial CPAs to usher in their next stage of growth. Ascend is backed by Alpine Investors (“Alpine”), a people-driven private equity firm. Since its inception in January 2023, Ascend has closed strategic investments in eight award-winning firms and in aggregate, is already among the top 50 largest accounting firms in the U.S.

The accounting industry is facing burgeoning challenges across recruiting, technology, and the ability to fund strategic growth. There is an acute shortage of accounting professionals in the industry due to an aging employee demographic and lackluster CPA enrollment trends, and many regional firms do not have the strong cultures, well-designed financial incentives, or human capital capabilities necessary to compete on a national scale for talent. Further, technology investments in the industry are needed to modernize workflows and expand service offerings. Given that in partnership structures earnings are distributed each year, firms tend to underinvest in their infrastructure. Facing these challenges, many firms feel as though their only option is to sell to a national accounting firm, and in turn give up their leadership and cultural autonomy.

Ascend has developed a unique and modern approach to growth, partnership, and practice management for the accounting industry. Under Ascend’s ownership, regional firms remain independent and execute on their own growth strategy, while benefitting from Ascend’s capital and operational support. The Ascend Growth Model empowers CPAs to lead with confidence, nurture flourishing cultures, create rewarding career paths, employ shared resources, and bring their firms into the new age.

While Ascend is a startup, its institutional support and committed capital from Alpine, deal sourcing and execution resources, and experienced management team provide a strong competitive advantage and allow the Company to deploy a rapid M&A growth strategy, which are unique characteristics for an early-stage firm. The Company is looking to hire individuals who understand the “build”, are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard across many lanes, and are excited by the opportunity to create an industry-leading platform from its inception.

For more information on Ascend, visit

About Alpine Investors

Alpine Investors is a people-driven private equity firm that is committed to building great companies by working with, learning from, and developing exceptional people. Alpine prides itself on fostering cultures where people value empowerment, diversity, fairness, integrity, and intellectual honesty. Founded in 2001, Alpine specializes in investments in companies in the software and services industries. Alpine has over $15 billion in AUM and has offices in San Francisco, New York, and Salt Lake City.

For more information on the firm, visit

Position Summary

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) will be responsible for the roll out of Ascend’s enterprise tech stack (Workday ERP/HRIS/CPM, and Salesforce CRM), operational applications (practice management and service delivery tools), IT architecture and security, M&A IT integrations, and IT Service Management. The CIO will be responsible for delivering the IT budget, driving cost synergies and tech-driven ROI at acquired firms, and building a team of in-house professionals and outsourced consultants to launch a world-class technology function at Ascend.

This role represents a unique opportunity for an individual to join a startup Company with ambitious goals, yet one that has the sophistication, resources, and leadership caliber of a much larger firm. The CIO will work in an exciting, fast-paced, and entrepreneurial environment, and will help promote a team-oriented culture that values treating people well.

This role has the option of sitting in our Arlington, VA (near D.C.) office, or can be fully remote with occasional travel.

If you are a highly motivated technology leader, with a passion for building best-in-class systems and technology environments, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity with Ascend.

Key Relationships

  • Reports to: Chief Financial Officer.
  • Direct Reports: Near-term hires of Systems Admin, PMO leader, Infrastructure/Security, Operational IT leader, BI/Reporting, and Integration Specialists, and other hires based on future growth driven needs of the business.
  • Relationships with key stakeholders: Accounting firm subsidiaries (“Partner Firms”), Ascend executive leadership team (“ELT”) and employees, tech stack project management and systems implementation consultants, external IT MSP/MSSP relationships, and IT/software vendors.

Key Responsibilities

The CIO will be responsible for standing up and leading a world-class technology function at Ascend and its Partner Firms.

IT and Systems Development and Implementation

  • Create the systems/processes to capture, organize, and leverage operational and financial data, and work with the ELT to align the use of that data with Ascend’s business strategies across finance and accounting, HR and talent acquisition, business development, marketing/websites, and regional and subsidiary leadership.
  • Manage internal resources and IT-related partners/vendors to develop project plans, specifications/scorecards, scopes, timelines, deliverables, quality assurance, and renewal of services to ensure best-in-class maintenance, support, and continuous improvement of systems.
  • Negotiate contracts and maintain vendor relationships for server, network, multi-site internet, telecommunication, helpdesk support, and cloud-based applications and services.

IT Strategic Initiatives and Budget

  • Lead IT operational planning to support Ascend’s goals by fostering innovation, prioritizing IT initiatives, and coordinating the evaluation, deployment, and management of IT systems across the Company and its subsidiaries.
  • Develop, track, and execute the IT annual and long-range strategic plan and budgets.

Acquisition Integrations

  • Lead and deploy the Ascend Technology Integration Roadmap for all completed and future Partner Firm acquisitions, to ensure seamless and expeditious vertical data, reporting, and system integrations post-closing.
  • Educate users on the benefits of integration work and oversee new user training, with an emphasis on a ‘client service mindset’ to ensure a sterling reputation for Ascend regarding the ease of IT and system transitions at subsidiaries.

Compliance and Security

  • Ensure that the design, installation, planning, security, and maintenance of Ascends technology infrastructure is aligned with the growth strategy and consistent with industry best practices, with an eye towards legal/data/privacy compliance and risk management (e.g., NIST, PCI, etc.).
  • Develop educational materials and coordinate the training of all Ascend and subsidiary employees on the optimal use of organizational technology resources, including IT security training, and leveraging external partners as appropriate.
  • Evaluate potential IT security risks and implement and maintain systems, policies, and procedures for mitigating those risks. Manage quality assurance processes, integration, and system tests; maintain network security at the highest level.
  • Develop disaster recovery and business continuity planning processes and systems.


  • Develop and maintain organizational IT policies and processes.
  • Prioritize and control the IT project pipeline related to the selection, acquisition, development, installation, and ongoing support of the information systems, and ongoing optimization of core business systems.
  • Oversee procurement for all IT hardware, with an eye towards cost-saving opportunities and driving employee productivity. Manage all software licensing, deployment, and technology inventory.

Education And Experience

  • Master's and/or Bachelor’s degree in computer science, MIS, IT, or a related subject. Professional certifications in both technical and IT management are a plus (e.g., Microsoft MCSE certifications, Network+, Security+, ITIL , CCNA, CISSP, PMP).
  • 10+ years of progressive IT work experience, with 5+ years in a management or senior supervisory role; industry experience in technology services or professional services is a plus.
  • Proven successful experience leading the standup of best-in-class IT systems and procedures; M&A IT integration experience is highly preferred.
  • Proven leadership experience in a highly technical environment, with IT planning, organization, and decision-making skills.