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7 posts from October 2017

The one business mentality all CPAs need

Global mindsetDr. Alia Crum famously says in her Ted Talks, “Change your mindset, change the game.” This philosophy is especially true in how we relate to one another. In today’s evolving marketplace, being a successful businessperson requires the ability to work and engage with people from all over the world and from many different cultures.

Understanding the global mindset

The global mindset is “the ability to relate to and influence individuals and groups whose culture and way of doing business are different from your own.” It’s necessary for anyone who wants to “change their game” and thrive in today’s business environment.

But incorporating this perspective means more than just changing the way you think. It means filling your mind with information that will help you behave in a more culturally sensitive way, making you more effective in both business and community. The global mindset’s three capitals were developed by Thunderbird University, and include:

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CPA life hacks to keep from getting hacked

Hacker 2I love that my bank, credit cards and insurance companies all have intuitive websites and mobile apps where I can easily pay bills and check my balances. But between Whole Foods, Equifax and Yahoo, I – like many other consumers – am becoming increasingly concerned with what organizations are doing to protect sensitive information.

Even as we become more dependent on IT systems for everything from ordering our groceries to tracking our fitness, cyberattacks are becoming more organized, profitable and persistent. For CPAs, this means growing concerns about both protecting client data and helping clients protect sensitive information.

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are three ways CPAs can remain proactive when it comes to cybersecurity.

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The road to retirement starts here

Older couple riding a bikeWhen it comes to saving for retirement, there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Each American has a unique and fluid situation, impacted by a variety of factors. Fortunately, CPA financial planners are well-versed in the different aspects that go into a tailoring a retirement plan that best fits their client’s needs.

I sat down with Leonard Wright, CPA/PFS and member of the AICPA Personal Financial Specialist Credential Committee, to learn some best practices for starting a retirement plan that helps maximize enjoyment during your golden years.

Jonathan Lynch: A recent survey found that less than half of non-retired Americans are confident they will reach their retirement goals. With all the uncertainty surrounding retirement -- where should someone without a plan begin?

Leonard Wright: Before bringing numbers and calculations into retirement planning, simply think about where you want to be when you reach that stage of your life. Ask yourself how you envision enjoying your retirement years. Define exactly what your desired lifestyle will entail. Will you downsize your residence? Do you plan on travelling? Would you consider working part-time? And perhaps most importantly, what age would you like to retire?

Once you have a clear vision in mind, you can start building the plan to make it a reality.

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Money, Money, Money: CPAs’ Salaries Revealed

SalariesIt’s good to be curious, no matter what your cat tells you. CPAs are known for seeking out high-quality information and always wanting to know more. However, when it comes to salaries, EVERYONE is curious. How do you measure up? If you choose one field over another, how will it impact your earning potential? Now, we’ve made that information available at your fingertips.

This week, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants announced the results of its 2017 salary survey of U.S. CPAs. Nearly 5,600 people responded, answering questions about current salaries, salary expectations, skills and training. A couple key numbers:

  • $119,000: National average annual CPA salary (without bonus)
  • 81%: Percentage of CPAs expecting a raise in 2018

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Celebrating the Teachers Behind the Accountants

World Teachers' Day

Every year on October 5, people come together to celebrate World Teachers’ Day and the powerful difference teachers make. There are many accountants across the globe who wouldn’t be in the positions they’re in now without the influence of a teacher.

To celebrate, we put out a call for responses on social media asking how a teacher impacted a decision to pursue accounting. Here’s what we heard:

Lori Liddell, CPA, ABV, CFE

“To encourage us to stay motivated on our journey to becoming CPAs, Professor Virgil Carr would end his morning greeting by saying, ‘But once you pass that exam, you be sure to let me know and I will greet you as, ‘my fellow accountant’ and will even buy you lunch.’ Telling Professor Carr I had passed the exam and was officially an “accountant” is one of my fondest memories. Although he passed away in 2011 before I ever had the opportunity to take him up on that lunch he owed me, I work each day to make sure others also know the importance of becoming CPAs as well—just as he taught me. So today, on World Teachers’ Day, I salute you, Professor Virgil Carr, and all the other teachers who are encouraging would-be CPAs to continue to the end goal of becoming CPAs.”

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AICPA Finds Accounting Enrollments Remain High

Trends Cover 2017The AICPA recently released the 2017 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report (Trends report). The report found that the total number of accounting undergraduate and graduate enrollments remains at the record levels seen in the 2014-2015 academic year, totaling more than 250,000 enrollments.  This was driven primarily by an all-time high in undergraduate enrollments. On the demand side, hiring of new accounting graduates has slowed compared to previous years.

This year we saw a shift in the mix of bachelor’s versus master’s enrollments. Projected master’s enrollments have returned to pre-2014 levels, while undergraduate enrollments remained high. The last several Trends reports found a sharp rise in the number of master’s enrollments and graduates. The higher numbers previously reported may be attributed to a surge in both traditional students and those changing careers earning their master’s in accounting. The CPA profession is known to have significantly lower rates of unemployment than the broader economy, particularly during economic downturns.  In my experience as an educator, economic turmoil is a strong motivator for people to seek out the stability that a career in accounting provides.

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4 Great Ways to Lose Talent

RecruitmentFew practitioners would be surprised that CPAs identified staffing as a chief concern in the 2017 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues Survey. Unfortunately, many firms inadvertently make mistakes that prevent them from keeping their best people or making use of their talents. Outlined below are four mistakes many firms make. This list isn’t meant to be all encompassing, as there’s several other mistakes firms make to push people out the door. Need help? Don’t worry, there’s help in the end.

1. Keep your story to yourself. What’s so great about your firm? If you don’t speak about this with your employees, they may not be aware of the value your practice provides to clients, the firm’s standing in the community or the difference it makes through volunteer or charitable efforts. Instead, recruits and newer staff may only ever receive a fairly generic description of the firm and its offerings. Telling your firm’s story—in a formal program or in informal conversations at staff meetings or one-on-one—can better engage people and enhance their commitment to the practice.

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