CPA / CFE Mike Portis Swims in Numbers Daily and Then Grabs His Scuba Gear

Avenu’s Vice President of Audit, Mike Portis, has been with Avenu since October 2021, but he’s certainly not new to the industry. Mike brings over 24 years of state and local tax experience, and as served as a Sales Tax Leader for both North and South Carolina at Ernst & Young, a Tax Consultant for Arthur Andersen and KPMG, and as an Interstate Auditor for the NC Department of Revenue. He has extensive knowledge in the areas of compliance, audit defense, and managing audits.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.  He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in both Texas and North Carolina and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Michael is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. Prior to pursuing his business career, Michael served over five years as an airborne infantryman in the United States Army.

With travel restrictions lifted, he’s enjoying getting to travel and meet with both client and staff face-to-face. In case you haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet, we wanted to share a little about Mike from a recent interview.

How are you enjoying Avenu?

My previous roles had me cover most of the east coast and Texas. Fortunately, Avenu serves all 50 states and Canada so broadening my expertise into other geographies has been really refreshing. What’s great about Avenu is that we offer a full range of solutions that expand beyond auditing and tax administration. We have a very talented team and no shortage of solutions that can truly serve local governments. That’s a great combination and I think it’s really exciting…both personally and professionally.

Which additional Avenu services do you think would interest your clients?

At some point, each of our clients may be interested to know that we digitize records — this is important to preserve data as well as reduce the cost of storage. I think they would also be interested in Avenu’s IT Project Management and cybersecurity audits. Many areas are short-staffed and need to outsource this type of expertise. And of course, what’s on the mind of many local leaders is short-term rental compliance and administration. This is an area that is a growing problem for many and we can help them with partial or full-service alternatives.

 What should clients know about your team?

Our team is talented and extremely dedicated. We have some of the most tenured and experienced subject matter experts in the industry. At the same time, our team is growing with new talent and fresh ideas. It is a perfect blend for innovative ideas and new ways to approach problem solving for clients.

What types of things do you do for fun?

I love the outdoors and when time allows, you’ll find me hiking, camping, or fishing. I live in Charlotte, NC with my wife and four kids. When we have time, we’ll go to the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway which are some of our favorite spots.  We live a few minutes from Lake Norman, and it was important that our kids learn to be strong swimmers for safety reasons. With team sports, they are the ones keeping us active these days.

Did you grow up in the Charlotte area?

No, my Dad was in the military and I grew up in Washington, Italy, Georgia, and also Texas which is a big part of where I was raised. Actually, when I was 13 years old, I became scuba certified in Texas. The scuba class was where I met one of my best friends. We would grab our gear and find all sorts of places to go diving…different lakes or from oil rigs off the Gulf Coast. It was a very different time for kids back then.

What other places have you been scuba diving and will this become a family activity?

I’ve been able to scuba dive in the Gulf Coast, Antigua, Honduras, and the Puget Sound. My kids are each strong swimmers and it is my hope that they will each get scuba certified.