Katy Brown, CPA


Stay flexible and be humble; never stop learning.

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Meet Katy

Katy leads the firm’s Nonprofit Tax practice, a nationwide team of experts who work exclusively with tax-exempt organizations of all types. She works with hundreds of nonprofit leaders throughout the country to help them make smart business decisions that protect their organizations’ tax-exempt status and to present transparent and accurate annual public information returns.

Katy has over 15 years of experience in advisory services, which has given her a broad background in nonprofit management and great insight into the needs of the sector. She has clients in the areas of healthcare, social services, foundations and grantmakers, performing arts and museums, animal welfare, conservation, private education, higher education and membership associations.

She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Washington Nonprofits and the Center for Volunteerism and Nonprofit Leadership. Katy earned a B.A. in Foreign Languages from George Mason University, an M.A. in French literature from the University of Arizona and an M.S. in taxation from Golden Gate University. She currently serves as a board member for the Armanino Foundation and for Family Paths in Oakland, California.

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Professional History


  • California Society of Certified Public Accountants

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants


  • George Mason University

  • University of Arizona

  • Golden Gate University

Speaking Engagements

  • Webinar: Tax Reform Impact for Higher Education 1/17/18
  • 30th Annual Independent School Business Officers & Administrators Seminar, 1/25/18, Los Angeles: Tax Reform Is Here: What Your School Needs to Know
  • Webinar: Impact of the Tax Act on Private Schools 2/15/18
  • Tri-Valley Non-Profit Association Forum 2018, 4/12/18, Livermore, CA: Thriving in the New Philanthropy Era
  • Armanino Nonprofit Symposium 2018, 5/23/18 SF, 5/30/18 LA, 6/7/18 Dallas: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Certainties and Assumptions
  • 2018 Association of Zoos and Aquariums CFO Conference, 10/9/18, Oakland CA: The FASB Trifecta and Tax Reform
  • Webinar: Private Business Use of Tax-Exempt Financed Facilities, 3/1/19
  • Armanino Nonprofit Symposium 2019, 5/16/19 LA, 5/21/19 SF, 6/19/19 Dallas: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: One Year Later
  • Tri-Valley Non-Profit Association Forum, 11/14/19, Livermore, CA: Using Your Form 990 as a Marketing Too


  • Armanino Foundation, board member

  • Clifford Brown Jazz Foundation, board member


Q. What was it that drew you to Armanino?
I came to Armanino for the unique opportunity to work only with nonprofits and to advise clients who are a major part of the community. It is a much more entrepreneurial environment than I experienced in other firms, and it is exciting to have the latitude to decide how to tackle business problems and form the right teams to do so. I’ve been empowered to take the lead in developing my nonprofit tax team, and I enjoy having the professional freedom to make decisions that have impact on the firm and our community of clients.
Q. Make a prediction; describe your vision of the future of the general business environment for your area of expertise or the industries you serve.
As investments get more complicated and global, tax issues for nonprofits get more complex as well. Nonprofits can expose themselves to tax and many additional regulatory filings through the investments they make, and nonprofit boards are responsible for the prudent investment of charitable assets. Investment committees will need to balance their goals for investment returns with the potential exposure to risk and expense that nontraditional investments can generate. I think we can also expect more oversight and regulation of donor-advised funds in the coming years. DAFs are increasingly subject to questions about whether donors are “parking” valuable assets in charitable organizations, only to later receive additional personal benefits from the property. I expect that we will receive new rules about spending requirements and additional disclosures for DAFs sometime soon.
Q. Without naming names, tell us about your favorite client and why you enjoyed working with them.
I really enjoy working with clients who are collaborative and who want to understand the “why” behind their public reporting. It’s their opportunity to highlight their successes and how their mission is impacting the community, and I really like helping them understand what exactly they are telling the public about themselves. The IRS relies pretty heavily on the public to oversee charitable organizations, so the information our clients provide on their returns is important to their long-term ability to maintain their exempt status. The best clients understand this and take good advice.
Q. What’s your proudest moment?
I know it sounds strange, but my educational background was in the humanities, so it was a proud moment when I passed the CPA exam and received my CPA license.
Q. If you could pass on a nugget of wisdom to aspiring accountants or consultants, what would that be?
You’ll have the most success, and more opportunity, if you’re open to learning new things, are flexible, and readily accept correction while you are learning. I learn something new every day – never stop learning. And most importantly, choose to find humor in situations that would otherwise be frustrating.
Q. What do you love most about your work?
All the people that I work with on the team, in the firm, and at our clients, and being able to help other people achieve goals together.
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Industries Served
Katy's Thought Leadership
Regulatory and Industry News Alerts from Armanino
Taxpayers could claim the proposed credit for contributions to public universities’ research infrastructure projects.

October 07, 2021
Regulatory and Industry News Alerts from Armanino
The bill incentivizes schools to provide student aid in return for a reduced excise tax.

September 23, 2021
What Gets You In Trouble With Attorneys General? Failing to Register Your Nonprofit
There are a few misconceptions about registration and soliciting — here’s how to avoid common slipups.

June 12, 2016