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Windows on Washington

Distorted-politicsA few weeks ago I talked about the jitters many business owners and families are feeling in regards to the current U.S. economic situation. Now, more than ever, businesses are looking to their CPAs to help them make sense of this increasingly complex world. At the AICPA, we want to do everything we can to help you succeed in this environment.

We asked you to describe the angst you are observing in your practice. We received dozens of comments via the blog post and social media channels. Overwhelmingly, members said that Congressional action—or in many cases, inaction—is the primary source of uncertainty and anxiety for clients and in their companies.

Right or wrong, it is clear that we live in a time when the Federal government is quite active. Think about it: TARP, the auto-industry bailout, Dodd-Frank, healthcare reform, American Tax Reform Act—and the list continues to grow. There will assuredly be more “cliffs” to come this year: surpassing the debt ceiling, a possible downgrade in US credit ratings, sequestration, and another continuing resolution(s) to fund the Federal government.

Given this environment, we believe that what most members need is a broader “window on Washington,” to arm you with insights into what is happening in Congress and how that affects you and your employer or clients. In addition to our other advocacy web pages where the AICPA takes a specific stand on issues on behalf of the profession, we will provide this window in the form of two web pages with resources you need to make sense of all these changes. One will keep you updated on all that is going on through 2014 on issues related to healthcare reform and adoption of the Affordable Care Act. The other page formerly held all the tax information around the Fiscal Cliff. Since we have avoided, or at least delayed, the Cliff, we have refreshed this page to offer resources on all other matters such as tax legislation, sequestration, and the debt ceiling debate. We have retitled it the Fiscal Fix page to offer a more optimistic outlook on the year ahead.

Change brings great opportunity. It’s a great time to be a CPA. We are certainly optimistic your clients/employers need your insights and services now, more than ever, to help them manage all these changes and to feel more secure in the year ahead.

Let us know what issues beyond your control will most significantly impact your practice and the tools or resources you’d like for us to provide in those areas.

Michael Ramos, Director of CPE and Training, American Institute of CPAs. Mike sets the strategic direction and manages operations of the professional development business unit at the AICPA. He combines his understanding of technical audit and accounting issues with his communication skills and experience to advance AICPA CPE offerings. He is the author of many books and training courses on SOX 404, internal control and other auditing matters.

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