Have you purchased something online this past year, month or day? You probably looked at the cost of the item purchased, but did you pay attention to whether you paid taxes on your purchases? Sorry to tell you this, but just because a sales tax was not charged does not mean you don’t owe a tax on the transaction.
All states that impose sales taxes also require purchasers to remit use tax on any taxable purchases if sales tax is not paid. Many, if not most, consumers are unaware of the use tax and, therefore, do not comply. It is almost impossible for state taxing authorities to enforce these laws with respect to individual consumers (but businesses often are audited for use tax).
Continue reading "Capturing Online Sales and Use Tax: The Battle Continues" »
As a CPA and a power Excel user, my goal in Excel has always been to create useful reports and analysis for audit documentation as well as to meet my client’s need for information and reports. I quickly discovered that the best tool in Excel to meet my goals was to learn and master the capabilities of pivot tables. Learning pivot tables has increased my efficiency in almost every project that I have worked on and has been the tool I most often turn to in order to complete projects in a timely manner.
As great as pivot tables are they do have limitations, for example pivot tables do not work with data sets larger than one million rows. Pivot tables also can only work on one data set at a time. If I want to create a single report from multiple data sets, I must use V-Lookup formulas. If I want to perform calculations in my pivot table, I must use Calculated Items and Calculated Fields, which are cumbersome to work with and are not well supported by the Microsoft team.
Continue reading "PowerPivot: A Game Changer for Excel Pivot Table Users" »
Many nonpublic companies have looked to the Financial Accounting Standards Board – through the creation of the Private Company Council – to examine the existing accounting standards and make recommendations for alternative approaches to financial reporting.
Based on the PCC recommendations, the FASB has now issued two Accounting Standards Updates, one standard provides simplified accounting alternatives for accounting for goodwill, the other for applying hedge accounting to certain plain vanilla interest rate swaps (which is explicitly not available to financial institutions) and have others in the pipeline for release. Financial institutions may want to proceed cautiously before moving forward with adoption of any of the PCC alternatives.
Continue reading "Is Your Nonpublic Bank (or Credit Union) Considered a Public Entity?" »
How do we stay motivated to continue to get a full night’s sleep, hydrate and enforce good habits when the pressures of work and the reality of deadlines, client demands and day-to-day fire drills become overwhelming? Long hours of winter busy season don’t allow for extra time to take care of our physical well being. Our daily workouts are replaced with early morning or late night staff meetings. Saturday afternoon pickup basketball games at the YMCA are just a fond memory. The only thing worse than going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark is dealing with the bitter winter weather in between.
Continue reading "Staying Mentally and Physically Motivated during Winter Tax Season" »
It is likely that we have all been told to get our heads out of the clouds at one point in our lives. However, emerging technologies are now forcing us to get our heads into the “cloud” and our hands on our mobile data.
Mobile computing, remote computing, social media, big data and cloud computing have enabled CPAs and others to access, use and manage information most anywhere, at any time.
While these technologies are expected to drive 90% of the growth of the IT market from 2013 through 2020, determining out how to best leverage them is a hot issue for the accounting profession. In fact, the issue of leveraging emerging technologies ranked among the top ten technology initiatives in both the U.S. and Canada according to the AICPA's 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey results.
Continue reading "Managing the Risk of Emerging Technologies" »