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19 posts from January 2012

Live Blogging the CGMA Launch

Chartered global management accountant logo

AICPA Insights live blogged from the interactive business forum celebrating the launch of the Chartered Global Management Accountant on January 31. Follow the real-time event as it unfolded in New York and London and was viewed live in other regions around the world. A launch event in Kuala Lumpur took place earlier in the day. The CGMA was established through a joint venture between the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

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Top 10 Tax Resources (for the 2012 Tax Season)

Finding time to do anything during tax season is tough. Emails pile up, as does almost everything else, right? So save a little time this year by using some of the resources compiled by AICPA staff. And if you like free, you’ll like this list as most of the resources listed below will not cost you a dime. 

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2012 CPA Exam Score Release Timetable Q1/Q2

In late 2011, we announced that U.S. CPA Exam scores would begin to be reported earlier and published the U.S. CPA Exam score reporting timeline for Q4’2011. Early score reporting is possible due to the implementation of a major U.S. CPA Exam update known as CBT-e, launched in January 2011. Today we’re excited to announce the Q1 and Q2 2012 U.S. CPA Exam score reporting timeline. 

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12 Things You Need to Know About Benjamin Bankes

In light of the new Feed the Pig PSAs, we asked the star of the PSAs, Benjamin Bankes, our twelve light-hearted questions. These are just for fun and to gain some insight to what makes him tick.

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Scrutiny of Foreign Accounts Puts Taxpayers in Tough Spot

Finding foreign accounts and assetsWe’ve all seen the headlines: assets hidden offshore, millions in penalties, jail time. They get your attention. But what does it boil down to? The rules regarding the reporting of financial and non-financial accounts and assets are getting increasingly complicated.  The U.S. government has taken numerous steps over the past five years to increase income tax compliance by U.S. taxpayers with overseas assets, including:

  • stepping up enforcement regarding reporting of foreign bank and financial accounts and payment of all U.S. income tax on those foreign accounts;
  • enacting new, additional reporting requirements for individuals (Form 8938);
  • enacting new withholding requirements for foreign financial institutions and other foreign entities if they don’t enter into agreements to report annual information on U.S. citizens.

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Financial Planning Conference Attracted Diverse Crowd (Part 3)

Personal Financial Specialist 25th anniversary

The third and final part of this series covering the 2012 AICPA Advanced PFP Conference. Our on the ground bloggers:

Jean-Luc Bourdon, CPA/PFS, Principal, BrightPath Wealth Planning LLC. Jean-Luc is a regular contributor to CPA Insider and currently serves on the AICPA’s PFS Credential Committee.

Theodore Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President/CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted is an appointed member of the AICPA Virtual Grassroots Panel, Social Security Task Force and Planner Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. Ted serves as Chair of the AICPA Elder Planning Task Force and is a liaison to the AICPA PFP Executive Committee.

From the beginning, several other attendees posted notable take-aways on Twitter. Take a look at what experts, including Michael Kitces, Mitch Freeman, Bill Winterberg and Carolyn McClanahan, had to say at the bottom of this post.

Continue reading "Financial Planning Conference Attracted Diverse Crowd (Part 3)" »

Financial Planning Conference Provides Wealth of Knowledge (Part 2)

Personal Financial Specialist 25th anniversary

Part 2 covering day two of the 2012 AICPA Advanced PFP Conference. Our on the ground bloggers:

Jean-Luc Bourdon, CPA/PFS, Principal, BrightPath Wealth Planning LLC. Jean-Luc is a regular contributor to CPA Insider and currently serves on the AICPA’s PFS Credential Committee.

Theodore Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President/CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted is an appointed member of the AICPA Virtual Grassroots Panel, Social Security Task Force and Planner Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. Ted serves as Chair of the AICPA Elder Planning Task Force and is a liaison to the AICPA PFP Executive Committee.

From the beginning, several other attendees posted notable take-aways on Twitter. Take a look at what experts, including Michael Kitces, Mitch Freeman, Bill Winterberg and Carolyn McClanahan, had to say at the bottom of this post.

Continue reading "Financial Planning Conference Provides Wealth of Knowledge (Part 2)" »

Financial Planning Conference Offers Path to New Career (Part 1)

Personal Financial Specialist 25th anniversaryThe 2012 AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference concluded Wednesday at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. The conference, held annually, brings together experts from four diverse financial planning areas: Investment Management, Wealth Management, Practice Management and Retirement/Elder Planning. This year we asked two attendees to share their thoughts and experiences from the financial planning conference. See what they had to say.

Our on the ground bloggers:

Jean-Luc Bourdon, CPA/PFS, Principal, BrightPath Wealth Planning LLC. Jean-Luc is a regular contributor to CPA Insider and currently serves on the AICPA’s PFS Credential Committee.

Theodore Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President/CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted is an appointed member of the AICPA Virtual Grassroots Panel, Social Security Task Force and Planner Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. Ted serves as Chair of the AICPA Elder Planning Task Force and is a liaison to the AICPA PFP Executive Committee.

Continue reading "Financial Planning Conference Offers Path to New Career (Part 1)" »

Feed the Pig: Great Time to Save Money [INFOGRAPHIC]

The AICPA, in partnership with the Ad Council, launched the next phase of its award-winning Feed the Pig campaign with the release of new public service advertisements.  The new PSAs promote the key message: “Put away a few bucks. Feel like a million bucks.” In connection with the new PSAs, they also created this excellent infographic highlighting tips on saving money. DailyInfographic.com even picked it up. Click on the image to enlarge.

Feed the Pig: Saving Money Infographic

In the News: Easy Steps to Save $1,000

Mackey McNeillDo you happen to be one of the many people who has resolved to make saving money a priority this year? Do you also find yourself in the category of those who feel they cannot even save $25 a week?  If so, Mackey McNeill, CPA/PFS, a former member of the AICPA’s National Financial Literacy Commission, has offered some actionable tips to help you painlessly save $1,000 this year in an article appearing on depositaccounts.com.

McNeill suggests finding your largest discretionary expense and challenging yourself to spend 5% less. For example, if you spend $400 a month at the grocery store, make it your goal to reduce that figure to $380. The 5% challenge works because it doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice, but $20 over the course of a month translates to a cool $240 a year (full disclosure: I was a math minor).

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Internal Control - Integrated Framework - 20 Years Later

Almost 20 years ago, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), of which the AICPA is a member, produced the landmark Internal Control – Integrated Framework. With this published framework, COSO, an organization providing thought leadership and guidance on internal control, enterprise risk management and fraud deterrence, established a common internal control model against which companies and organizations may develop and assess their control systems. It became the world’s most widely used internal control framework.

But a lot has happened since 1992, such as the Internet! With advances in technology and business operations, the time was right for the framework to be updated so it could remain relevant and useful. In November 2010, COSO announced such a project. An online survey in January 2011 gleaned input from a broad audience. Last month COSO released the proposed updated Internal Control – Integrated Framework Exposure Draft to obtain input from the users of the framework and the general public. As a member of COSO, the AICPA has a representative on the COSO Board and a representative on the project’s Advisory Council.

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Cost Basis Reporting Rules

In this audio stream, Michael Kitces covers the new cost basis reporting rules enacted under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Note that the new tracking rules will require any financial intermediaries (i.e., generally all brokers and custodians, as well as certain other types of financial institutions) that currently issue Form 1099-B to report using an updated version, which tracks not only the gross proceeds from sales of securities, but the cost basis, acquisition date, amount of gain/loss, and character of the gain/loss (i.e., short-term or longterm). Actual reporting on cost basis will be phased in over time, with equities in 2011, mutual funds and dividend reinvestment plans in 2012, and bonds and other securities in 2013.

Michael Kitces on Cost Basis Reporting Rules

If you prefer, you can read the entire transcript after the jump or download this and other audio webcasts from the Personal Financial Planning Section on AICPA.org.

Michael Kitces, Director of Research, Pinnacle Advisory Group. Michael is the publisher of the e-newsletter The Kitces Report and the blog Nerd’s Eye View through his website kitces.com, dedicated to advancing knowledge in financial planning.

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In the News: Big Tax Changes to Come in 2012

1040 tax formsThe Wall Street Journal recently spoke to Melissa Labant of the AICPA’s tax team about tips for taxpayers as they wait to see if Washington addresses major tax questions in 2012; a number of major tax cuts are set to expire at year's end. Labant noted that several changes for this tax year could pose traps for those who are unaware.  Among the changes is the elimination of the charitable IRA donation, which expired at the end of 2011. IRA owners 70½ or older were previously able to donate up to $100,000 of assets per year to a tax-exempt charity. Individuals were able to use this donation as part of their required IRA payout, if they hadn't taken one. Adding to the confusion, many experts expect Congress to reinstate the law at some point in 2012. "If you want an IRA donation to be all or part of your required withdrawal, wait for Congress to act," advised Labant.

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10 Minutes to Understanding Our Nation’s Fiscal Health

If you’ve watched the news, picked up a paper (or read one on your electronic device) or listened to the radio in the past year, you’ve probably heard about America’s debt, its bond rating and political gridlock.

Instead of telling you what fiscal challenges our country is facing, I think it’s better if you understand them for yourself. Today, I’m encouraging each of you to spend a few minutes taking a short quiz that will test how well you understand the financial matters being discussed in Washington, D.C.

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Chair's Letter: Resources for a Successful Future

What’s your dream, your long-term professional goal, your plan for the future of your career? I ask because whatever your answer, I’m pretty sure the AICPA has resources that can help you meet that goal. I’ll tell you about my own experience.

After spending many years at a large national accounting firm, I joined with two other partners nine years ago to follow my dream and launch my own firm. Today, we have three offices and 100 people. How were we able to grow so quickly into the kind of firm we dreamed of being? I have to give some of the credit to the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section. PCPS serves in a combination of roles, providing tools, publications and resources created especially for small and medium-sized firms. It also acts as an advocate on behalf of our interests, speaking out on issues that affect us and our clients.

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Tell Us What You Think

Welcome to AICPA Insights, the official blog for the AICPA. AICPA Insights features posts from AICPA staff on a variety of topics affecting the accounting profession, the AICPA and its members.

AICPA Insights turned six months old on Jan. 11! It's hard to believe we've been publishing this long already. A huge thank you to all our readers and contributors! 

We'd like to get your feedback on the blog so far and find out what we can do to improve.

Take just a few minutes to complete this short survey.

In the News: Saving Money is Top New Year’s Resolution

Hello and Happy New Year to my Insightful readers! I hope the holiday season was full of joy and left you rested, relaxed and most importantly, ready to tackle the year ahead.

The AICPA will be launching a number of exciting initiatives this year and I’m looking forward to getting the news out and continuing to share interesting articles about the profession that you may not have caught. As always, if you happen to see something that makes you stop and say ‘this is important news CPAs should really be aware of it’ – please send it my way and I’ll consider it for inclusion.

Every January many Americans resolve to make beneficial changes to their life. They may decide to start exercising, to spend more quality time with family and friends or to, finally once and for all, get organized. A recent survey conducted by the AICPA and Ad Council has found that, for young adults, saving money in 2012 is at the top of their priority list. The survey was released to coincide with the launch of a new PSA on behalf of the national Feed the Pig financial literacy campaign, which helps 25- to 34-year-olds take control of their finances and make saving a priority. 

Continue reading "In the News: Saving Money is Top New Year’s Resolution" »

CPA Firms are at a Crossroads - 2012 and Beyond

Strategy choices signAs I travel the country meeting with small firm owners, I am finding that most have weathered the recession. Most firms report flat revenue or very moderate growth (1-3%). Firms have done a good job sharpening the pencil and controlling expenses effectively, and this has enabled them to keep their bottom lines respectable. They are running lean and mean today; but what about tomorrow? 

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Bob Keebler on Refining the Roth Strategy

In this audio stream, Bob Keebler covers the new thinking as it relates to Roth planning given market volatility. Key considerations include:

  • Opportunistic conversions (i.e., optimizing Roth segregation strategies, which focus on the volatility of the stock market)
  • Hedging against increased tax rates
  • Tactical planning (i.e., net operating losses)
  • The annual Roth conversion strategy

Important to note is that conversions to Roth 401(k)s cannot be recharacterized.

Bob Keebler on Refining the Roth Strategy - 12/9/2011

If you prefer, you can read the entire transcript after the jump or download this and other audio webcasts from the Personal Financial Planning Section on AICPA.org.

Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, DEP, Partner, Keebler & Associates, LLP. Bob is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Estate Planners award from the National Association of Estate Planning counsels. From 2003 to 2006, Bob was named by CPA Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential practitioners in the United States. He is the past Editor-in-Chief of CCH's magazine, Journal of Retirement Planning and a member of CCH's Financial and Estate Planning Advisory Board. His practice includes family wealth transfer and preservation planning, charitable giving, retirement distribution planning, and estate administration.  

Continue reading "Bob Keebler on Refining the Roth Strategy" »

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