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In the News: Accounting named one of the Happiest Jobs in America

We’ve got a lot of big things on the horizon at the AICPA: April Financial Literacy Month (we’ll be releasing survey results on the financial state of Americans) and in mid-May, we’ll be celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the AICPA at our Spring Council meeting in Washington D.C.

Barry Melancon, CPA, Testifying in front of CongressWhich is not to say that we’ve haven’t been busy lately! Just in the last week we released the results of our CGMA Global Economic Forecast and Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, testified before the House Capital Markets Subcommittee Accounting and Auditing Oversight Hearing. Melancon told members of the subcommittee that AICPA supports a strong, balanced and independent regulatory structure that protects investors but does not restrict the flow of capital.

During busy season and year-round, you can keep abreast of all the most important AICPA news by subscribing to the Media Relations RSS feed or following @AICPANews on Twitter. On to news of note from the last few days.

The AICPA is well known and highly regarded for the tax guidance our experts on staff provide. Early this year, we provided ten tax tips to keep in mind when filing your 2011 tax return for individuals, as well as ten tax tips for small business owners. Our tax staff works closely with the Media Relations team to answer reporter questions on a variety of issues, which impact Americans’ tax returns.

Melanie Lauridsen, technical manager on the AICPA’s Tax team, recently spoke to David Francis of U.S. News & World Report for a compelling piece about the tax credits available to those who support qualified dependents. Use of this credit has likely expanded as the recession has caused a far greater number of parents to support grown children who remain in their household. Francis notes that while the situation itself may be burdensome for the parents, for tax purposes, those who are supported by family can be declared a dependent and used as a deduction at tax time.

A lesser known fact is that definition of a dependent is not limited to children - there is also a category of dependent called a qualified relative. According to Lauridsen, the person can be a "brother, sister, older child, half brother or sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew. The relationship just needs to be there." This person also must make less than $3,700 per year and live in the home for the entire year. Lauridsen goes on to say, "If I go off to college and I come home without a job, I might qualify. But even if I had a small job, I couldn't make more than $3,700 per year.

The AICPA recently announced the creation of the Maximo Mukelabai Award, which recognizes a CPA under the age of 40 who has helped build the CPA pipeline, served as an advocate of the profession and performed community service. The annual award is in tribute to the late Maximo Mukelabai, a member of the inaugural class of the AICPA Leadership Academy and the youngest chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs’ board of directors, who tragically passed away at the age of 36. Deanna White of AccountingWEB recently spoke to Donna Salter of the AICPA’s Academic and Career Awareness team for an article about Maximo, and the award bearing his name. "Max was known for his incredible drive, enthusiasm, and respect for the profession. He was a true leader and would do anything to carry that torch," said Salter, senior manager of the AICPA Young Member Initiatives program. "Because of his role as a leader, we wanted to remember him by establishing this award." Peers, employers, AICPA staff, or state CPA societies may submit nominations for the annual Maximo Mukelabai Award. Self-nominations are not accepted. The AICPA Young CPA Network Committee will review all qualified nominations for the award. All nominators will be notified of the final selection in June 2012. Those with questions on the submission process may contact [email protected]. Nominations must be postmarked by May 15, 2012.

Working in accounting is a recipe for happiness. That’s the take away from a Yahoo! Finance article on the happiest jobs in America. The list, which cited accounting as the 8th happiest job, is based on analysis by CareerBliss of more than 100,400 employee-generated reviews between February 2011 and January 2012. Employees were asked to rate 10 factors that affect workplace happiness, including one's relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over the work one does on a daily basis. “Many of the happiest jobs have some component with working with people," CareerBliss' Chief Executive, Heidi Golledge says. "Folks who work with others tend to rate their happiness higher on our site."

Even though you may be in the middle of busy season, you can take a moment to reflect on that news and smile!

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*Photo of Barry Melancon by Sam Kittner

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