There were many comments about the shifting role of the CFO at the recent World Congress of Accountants 2014. But to me, none rang truer than the quote above, expressed by Carol Calandra, CFO, Global Markets, EY Global.
Management accounting deals with the use of accounting information to managers within an organization. Management accounting provides managers with necessary information to make informed business decisions. Management accounting is essential for an organization to be better equipped and control functions.
There were many comments about the shifting role of the CFO at the recent World Congress of Accountants 2014. But to me, none rang truer than the quote above, expressed by Carol Calandra, CFO, Global Markets, EY Global.
The American Institute of CPAs recently announced that students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have earned first place in the 2014 AICPA Accounting Competition.
AccountingWeb reports that the UNLV team’s top finish in the competition earned a $5,000 award for their school. Students from North Carolina State University placed second, taking home $3,000 for their university. The third-place team from the University of Southern Indiana earned $2,000 for their school.
In addition, each of the three finalist teams received a $10,000 award to be split among the team members. All of the awards are funded by the AICPA Foundation.
I’ve always thought the world would be a better place if only there were more professional accountants working throughout organizations. Each and every day, we bring transparency and accountability to businesses and governments around the globe. We promote financial integrity, expose wrongdoing, and lift the veil of uncertainty to shine light on the truth. When you think about it, we are much like the Swiss-Army knife for modern business—equipped to bring solutions in countless ways.
Tax work? We do that. Financial statements? We do those too. Interpreting human capital and supply chain implications of the latest regulatory standards? Your CPA has you covered.
If CPAs are like the Swiss-Army knife, then transparency is the Master Key that unlocks good business practices; transparency holds decision-makers accountable, leads to better management decisions, and provides the reliable, actionable information on which investors and the free market rely.
I am excited to write to you as the new chair of the AICPA Board of Directors. I hope to meet many of you at the numerous conferences, state society meetings and firm visits that I have lined up between now and next October. The Chair’s Letter also is a great forum to discuss common experiences and important developments. Throughout the year, I will share my thoughts on key trends and emerging professional issues. I hope you’ll share your comments with me and our fellow CPAs so we can have a robust dialogue.
Let me begin by telling you a little about myself. I grew up in the tiny town of West Liberty, Kentucky, home to about 2,000 people and two stoplights. I was raised on small-town values that remain with me today. These values – hard work, integrity, community and commitment – first attracted me to the accounting profession, and now they will shape my stewardship as AICPA Chair.
On October 22, CIMA and AICPA released Global Management Accounting Principles, which are available for download at CGMA.org.
When explaining the principles, the first thing I usually mention is that they are not a prescriptive set of rules. They are principles-based, comprehensive, best-practice guidance designed to help organizations (and specifically finance leaders, CEOs and boards) benchmark and improve their management accounting functions.
The Global Management Accounting Principles encompass four core principles focused on four outcomes:
The principles outline the fundamental values and qualities that represent management accounting. Application of the principles, combined with talented people and robust performance systems, will help drive effective management accounting functions.
The document is most impactful in section five, where the core principles are applied to 14 management accounting practice areas. Here, extensive good practice guidance is provided in key areas such as treasury management, financial strategy, cost transformation, budgetary control, investment appraisal and risk management. The guidance can be used to self-assess existing processes. A diagnostic checklist is available to facilitate the review.
A complimentary resource to the management accounting principles is the CGMA Competency Framework, which is designed to help management accountants understand knowledge requirements and assess skills needed for current and desired roles. In addition to technical areas, the Competency Framework addresses business, people and leadership skills.
The Global Management Accounting Principles are focused on the organization. The Competency Framework is directed at the individual. Combined, they are powerful tools that we hope you and your team find useful.
Paul Parks, CPA, CGMA, Associate Director- Business Industry and Government, American Institute of CPAs
Yesterday, the AICPA announced the results of the fourth quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey. The survey, which polls CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other CPAs who hold senior management accounting roles, found higher expectations for profits, revenue and expansion in the coming year.
Some 64 percent of survey takers now report that they are optimistic about prospects for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months. That is up from 52 percent last quarter and 38 percent a year ago.
As Politico reports, the survey found that respondents are actually slightly more optimistic about their own companies’ prospects (67 percent, up 2 percentage points from last quarter), with 71 percent saying they expect their business to expand in the coming year.
I’ve just returned from the World Congress of Accountants 2014 in Rome where the CGMA designation, powered by the AICPA and CIMA, served as the imperial and event app sponsor. I can tell you unequivocally, in English as well as Italian, that it was a great success!
WCOA is organized by the International Federation of Accountants and is held every four years. As lead sponsor, the event provided us the ultimate opportunity to showcase the CGMA designation, the US CPA credential, and the AICPA to an audience of nearly 4,000 professional accountants from around the globe.
At WCOA, we launched a series of reports and briefs that explore the latest trends shaping the future of business. Here’s a synopsis of those reports:
New Year’s Eve is one of the few holidays celebrated almost universally in countries around the world, with parties, champagne toasts, and fireworks. This year, December 31 will also be a key date for management accounting professionals. That’s because it marks the final day that AICPA voting members who meet relevant experience requirements are exempt from the upcoming CGMA exam.
The exam’s unique strategic case-study format is designed to assess problem-solving skills in real-world business situations and test a broad range of competencies defined as crucial by businesses around the world. Since the case study format is quite different from traditional exam techniques like multiple choice or fill-in-the-blanks, we recently released a practice exam that candidates can use to prepare for the exam.
At launch in 2012, we promised our members and the global employer market that the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation would recognize and support accounting professionals who know how to connect finance to strategy. Backed by the combined resources and reputations of the AICPA and CIMA, CGMAs would be recognized as finance leaders who see across the entire organization to make better business decisions.
In the last few months of 2014 we’ll deliver the fundamental pieces that will help define the profession of management accounting and solidify the CGMA’s position as the premier global management accounting designation.
Ethics is on the agenda at the 2014 World Congress of Accountants this November, a good reminder of the global nature of this subject. Every day, accountants in both business and public practice face challenges that require ethical decision-making. At the same time, they must adapt to a changing regulatory landscape, cooperate with government agencies, and respond to legislation on fraud and corruption.
A solid foundation in ethics helps them prepare for the next critical decision. For AICPA and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants members, that foundation has several layers. Each organization’s members must abide by their respective codes of ethics, and, in many cases, licensed CPAs must also follow the ethical standards required by state boards of accountancy. Additionally, all professional accountants working in public practice or in business are required to follow the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics.
To help CGMA designation holders navigate ethical issues and respond in a manner that upholds their professional standards, a collection of ethics resources can be found on CGMA.org, including this CGMA video exploring ethical conduct.
The nature of the finance function is evolving and combined with the business environment being highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, the need for an agile and robust finance function is all the more critical for business success.
How finance takes on this broader role in serving the business in the future has implications for the types of skills needed and the development of those skills. Management accountants can get an in-depth look at these skills, and assess where they stand by using the CGMA Competency Framework. The framework is designed for CGMA designation holders, but is unlocked on CGMA.org and available for download and use by all finance professionals, their employers, HR professionals and educators.
There’s no need for media reports to tell us that business has changed more in the last few years than we could ever have imagined. We’ve seen first-hand how our role has moved in new directions, markets have become more competitive and a commitment to learning has risen as a must-have for success. Ironically, along with these challenges are tremendous benefits that have brought us greater leadership opportunities and job satisfaction, stronger team and organizational performance, and the latest in professional development.
As widespread as these benefits are, attaining them calls for resources designed for today’s business environment and the finance teams that drive it day after day, year after year. Yet, it can be overwhelming choosing from so many leadership and career resources on the market. To help ease the process, here are four recent CGMA releases:
When it comes to success, we often see and hear more well-intentioned plans and how-tos than we could ever use. Websites, blogs, consultants, colleagues and for many of us, our friends and family, all have opinions on what can help businesses stay on course. But what if one of today’s best resources for success is right inside our own companies and it just isn’t being developed as strongly as it needs to be?
I found some great insights into that issue recently when I attended Tomorrow’s Company’s launch of their report, Tomorrow’s Global Leaders: How to Build a Culture that Ensures Women Reach the Top.Tomorrow’s Company is a London-based global think tank that helps guide senior executives in leadership, talent, sustainability, governance and other top management areas.
American Indian gaming generates an estimated $26.2 billion in annual gaming revenues within the United States. The industry has seen a vast expansion over that last two decades encompassing 237 tribes in 28 states. The economic impact of American Indian gaming has given tribal nations the opportunity to rebuild their infrastructure and strengthen their culture after decades of destructive federal policies.
As an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and chief financial officer/director of finance at Prairie Band Casino & Resort, I know first-hand that tribal nations have been limited with the economic development opportunities that reside within defined reservation boundaries. Therefore, the advent of Class II and Class III gaming operations on reservations presented a real opportunity for tribes to raise capital and strengthen their communities. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 stipulates that a tribal nation must have land in trust status prior to 1988, and complete a state compact with the state that they reside in to conduct Class III Gaming. Further, the state must already be involved in gaming, and in this case any major lottery qualifies a state.
Are you ready to be the chief future officer? That is what I imagine to be the ultimate role of today’s CFO, someone who offers the kind of multifaceted, high-end skills that organizations can use to achieve their strategic financial goals and drive innovation.
The role of the CFO is already undergoing rapid change. In fact, 66% of global CFOs don’t believe the current definition of that title adequately captures the diversity of their position, according to an Ernst & Young study. Finding the skills needed to move an organization forward is going to be an ongoing challenge, however. In an Accenture survey, 40% of decision makers in Europe believed that the future success of their organizations depended on high-end analytical skills, but only 15% said they had these skills. So-called soft skills are also vital. IBM research has found that CEOs believe the critical skills for future success are being collaborative, communicative and creative.
That’s a question I am constantly asking myself and my staff. Management accounting is more relevant than ever. Forward-looking and externally-facing, it brings structured solutions to unstructured problems.
The AICPA and CIMA believe there is an unmet need for a set of global principles to help organizations gain an integrated view of the business environment. That is why we have developed the Global Management Accounting Principles©, which are open for public consultation until May 10, 2014.
The CGMA designation was created to help people and businesses succeed. As we head towards 2015, there are a several major releases from the AICPA and CIMA, culminating in a universal exam in January 2015. These releases are the foundational building blocks of the designation.
Like so many of you, I am passionate about both leadership and learning. Recently, the thought struck me that on occasion, my desire for personal and professional growth might actually get in the way of my leadership and learning.
I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of “sprinting to the finish” on various projects. But how often do you really feel like you’ve reached the finish line? Instead, what if we’re actually like hamsters on a wheel, essentially stuck in one place? This was an “ah ha” moment for me—a realization that my logical mind had some trouble laying bare.
What opportunities and challenges does the head of the AICPA foresee for the CPA profession in 2014? What were the profession’s significant achievements in 2013? Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, answers these questions and offers insights on how the profession will continue to adapt to today’s changing environment, addressing clients’ and employer’s needs. Citing successes with regulation, legislation, recruitment and positioning the profession for the future, Barry strongly believes CPAs will build on a solid foundation.
1. What were the AICPA’s legislative or regulatory priorities this past year and what’s in store for 2014?
We continued to have success in the advocacy area in 2013. In one significant victory for the profession and the public, the Securities and Exchange Commission exempted CPAs from registration as municipal advisers when they are providing certain accounting or attest services. We urged the SEC to exempt CPAs from the definition of municipal advisers after it had indicated that anyone performing accounting services for governments would be defined as a “municipal adviser.” It was critical that our voices be heard on this issue because such a broad definition would have made it more difficult for CPAs to serve governments and potential investors without taking on unnecessary and duplicative costs or compliance burdens.
The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the past and consider the future. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the latest AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey has inspired me to share some of my reflections and thoughts with you.
Thinking back to the fourth quarter of 2012, CPAs in industry were deeply concerned about the economy, especially with the “fiscal cliff” looming large. Fortunately, we had a last minute resolution to the dilemma on December 31, 2012 and concerns about the overall economy and politics abated somewhat in the first half of 2013. Optimism about the US economy improved, and the number of CPAs saying they were optimistic about their companies and having plans to expand also increased.
I recently watched a new video featuring Dan Crumb, CPA, CGMA and CFO of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. The video brings to life one of so many unique paths for CGMA designation holders. Dan says that he never thought he’d work for a football team. Now, as the Chiefs’ CFO, he leads finance, IT and the ticket office. His job is to make sure that all systems are functioning 100% of the time so that the Chiefs can focus on football.
“Accountants have a vital role in translating the impact on the financials in three metrics: operating performance, balance sheet strength, and volatility,” said Gregory Case, President and Chief Executive of Aon at a CGMA event held in partnership with the London think tank Tomorrow’s Company. “The whole role of the accounting profession, the language of finance, is absolutely essential and critical.”
According to a recent article in CGMA Magazine, “the aggregate level of risk to businesses is rising at an unprecedented pace. Cybersecurity challenges threaten businesses and even the stock exchanges where value is traded. Social media’s expanding influence can draw attention to risks, crush reputations and cause investors to flee.”
I’m continuously impressed by how CPA,
CGMAs are applying their strengths and knowledge to help organizations adapt
and embrace innovation. During our visits to large multi-nationals, we learn
how the finance teams in highly successful companies are harnessing innovation.
In addition, we invited senior executives to share their experiences at events
in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Their insights and our research results are
captured in the CGMA report, “Managing Innovation:
Harnessing the power of finance.”
At the last meeting of the AICPA’s governing Council, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion between three esteemed colleagues--all of whom are CGMA designation holders. Along with Bill Schneider, CPA, CGMA, Deirdre O’Connor, FCMA, CGMA and Ash Noah, CPA, FCMA, CGMA, I spoke about the latest issues affecting management accountants in business and industry--and how the education and experience that lead the earning the CGMA designation, and the continued learning that each of them do, helps them shape their unique, but equally phenomenal careers.
In a recent Financial Times article, Sally Fisher of Deloitte noted that while they are not new skills, “you rarely find in one individual strong technical skills, strong commercial acumen and strong behavioral skills.”
She’s right. Fortunately, CGMA designation holders are a step ahead in satisfying the ever-changing needs of their organizations. In the years of experience and education that led to earning their designations, they have worked to complement their financial skills with the business acumen needed to contribute fact-based analysis and recommendations on a range of topics critical to corporate operations and strategy.
Management accountants have a unique opportunity to step in and act as key advisers to their companies by looking at strategic and operational areas outside of finance.
While reading through the Sunday New York Times, I stumbled across an opinion piece on corporate tax avoidance that I think is particularly relevant for business and industry CPAs. In today’s struggling economy, the corporate tax system is a hot button issue both in Washington and around the world. As companies become more global, we as CPAs in industry can continue to add value in this area.
The article, “Who Will Crack the Code?” by David Leonhardt, starts out by talking about the shift in the soda industry from domestic to foreign concentrate production—just one example of a thread that runs through many different industries. Leonhardt notes, “as a result [of moving manufacturing operations overseas], the industry paid a combined corporate income tax rate of only 19.2 percent over the past six years…the average rate for companies in the S&P 500 was 29.1 percent.”
In his CGMA video interview, Chris Ling, Financial Controller of British Gas, explains well the increasing responsibilities of the finance department and why the function is evolving at such a rapid pace. “The rate at which the business world is changing is forcing everything to change faster,” Ling said. “So it’s our job as finance professionals to make sure we are supporting business as best as we can and as fast as we can.” As the external market drives the pace of change, and as that pace is ever-increasing, the finance function needs to continue to evolve to remain relevant.
Call it what you will: pop, soda, Coke, Pepsi, Cheerwine, bubbly juice… countless Americans have an insatiable thirst for carbonated drinks, but we all know the costs of consuming a lot of soda over time can add up and it’s often bad for us. Plus, the discarded cans and bottles take a heavy toll on the environment, piling up in landfills across the world.
Enter SodaStream, an appliance you can use to make carbonated drinks straight from the faucet. SodaStream International Ltd., the product’s manufacturer, has a completely sustainable business model featuring reusable bottles that can last one year or more, rechargeable CO2 canisters and any number of flavored syrups to liven up your drink. The result: landfills are spared more than 1,000 plastic bottles per consumer every year, customers reuse system components, and this savvy company gains major profits and a well-earned reputation for being innovative and environmentally conscious. Over the past few years the company has also achieved remarkable growth, increasing revenue by 51% and net income by nearly 60% from 2011 to 2012. What CFO wouldn’t be impressed with that?
Recently a colleague of mine attended a Tomorrow’s Company lecture in London as a guest of CIMA. Tomorrow’s Company is a London-based think tank that offers lectures and publications on issues like leadership and talent, sustainability and governance. CIMA, as a corporate member of Tomorrow’s Company, sponsors some lectures, as they did on this particular evening. The lecture she attended was given by Dick Olver, Chairman of BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest defense contractors.
Dick’s lecture was titled "A journey of culture change" and centered around his organization’s successful efforts in the area of ethics. With Dick’s appointment as chairman, he ushered in a complete overhaul of the company’s culture. He said, “The culture we’ve tried to develop is one in which our people take the company’s core ethical values into account in every decision they take. One where doing the right thing becomes an almost subconscious response.”
Do you or your employees travel around the country, working in different states and jurisdictions? As I travel around the United States, I hear more and more management accountants lamenting the difficulties associated with interstate operations and the significant regulatory burden with regard to compliance with non-resident state income tax withholding laws.
Currently, there are 41 states that impose a personal income tax on wages and there are many different tax requirements regarding the withholding of income tax of non-residents among those 41 states. While some states offer de minimis thresholds or exemptions before taxes must be withheld and paid, others require only a work appearance in the state before imposing personal income taxes on the employee and withholding requirements on the employer—even for just one day.
Key Performance Indicators, while frequently discussed in the for-profit sector, can be an essential aspect of a non-profit organization’s financial health and performance. KPIs are quantifiable measurements of an organization’s health or success. Determining what KPIs are important for a particular organization can be difficult, especially if that organization isn’t a franchise in a larger collection of organizations. As a CPA, you can identify KPIs for your NPO clients, explaining how they can use these indicators to their advantage. When understood, KPIs can allow NPOs to benchmark their progress against peer organizations for context about healthy and not healthy positions to be in.
Important principles to remember when helping your nonprofit clients select and identify KPIs:
I was a kid from a blue-collar immigrant background, growing up in a neighborhood where most adults cobbled together a living from two or three jobs. When I turned 12, our community got its first CPA resident. That’s when I learned what a CPA was, and that it could lead to a better life. Thanks to the CPA profession, I grew up to be able to live the great American Dream.
I am honored and excited to write to you as the new AICPA Chairman of the Board of Directors. I believe the CPA profession is full of even more promise today than it was when I first started my career. For those with determination, adaptability and persistence, the profession offers extraordinary possibilities. I’ve learned the key to achieving that success: embracing change and seeing the opportunities in it.
Organizations around the globe face extraordinary challenges when navigating through the current global economy. To thrive in the long-term, organizations must constantly innovate, evolve and transform.
One of the most critical factors that determines an organization's fate in this environment is the quality of its human capital and the way it manages its talent pipeline.
A recent report from the AICPA and CIMA showed that while most companies understand the importance of human capital, they do not appear to have the right systems, processes and information in place to manage talent effectively. Think about your organization for a minute. Does it invest in training and the development of talent and skills? Or does it view training as a compliance tool?
David McCann at CFO.com spoke with Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, AICPA SVP of management accounting, about a recent talent management survey for Chartered Global Management Accountants conducted jointly between the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The report found that 43 percent of the CEOs, CFOs and human resource directors surveyed said their companies have missed financial goals in the past 18 months because of inadequacies in human capital management. Almost the same number, 40 percent, indicated that such shortcomings—which could include insufficient systems, processes or management information—have hindered their ability to innovate. “We believe that talent and the human dimension drive business growth and companies haven’t focused enough on that,” said Thomas. “Too many companies look at talent in terms of what they have to do to comply with labor laws and regulations, rather than understanding that it can be a competitive differential.”
It’s amazing to see what can happen within a single year. That’s one of my main observations as I complete my extraordinary time as your chairman.
I was honored to serve as chairman during the AICPA’s 125th anniversary. The Institute’s founders wanted to make a difference in the lives of CPAs and the people and organizations with whom they worked. They clearly succeeded, and I am confident we will continue to create value for our clients, employers and the public as the 21st Century progresses. As this year draws to a close, I see an increasingly vibrant profession preparing for the immense challenges facing us. Most of all, I see a profession that, throughout its history, has served with integrity and unleashed opportunities for success.
Have you seen the CGMA Report “Thirsty Planet”? The report expertly underscores the need for businesses to consider social and environmental sustainability as a means to sustain business. Ensuring that natural resources, such as water, are safe and clean for future generations, communities and businesses to come should be a priority for businesses.
A sustainable enterprise has a clear strategy not only on how it will make money, but also on its social and environmental impact. An organization’s ability to create and preserve value for itself, its stakeholders and society at large, depends on the strength of its business model; the sustainability of the financial, social, economic and environmental systems within which it operates; as well as on the quality of its relationships with, and assessments and decisions by, its stakeholders. Businesses need to consider environmental and social impacts in order to have a genuinely sustainable business that makes money—not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes good business sense.
As a busy CPA in Business and Industry, you may not have time to seek out resources to help you in your day-to-day work. More than 33,000 CGMAs are already enjoying access to valuable benefits like innovative thought leadership reports and tools. The following is just a sample of the dozens of resources available on CGMA.org.
On July 10, the AICPA and CIMA released the results of the most recent CGMA Global Economic Forecast, which showed the world’s CEOs, CFOs and senior management accountants hold an increasingly pessimistic outlook for the global economy over the next 12 months. The shift to a more negative sentiment appears to reflect the worsening of the sovereign and financial crisis in Europe and its effects on other regions, as well as slower growth in China and political and fiscal uncertainty in the U.S.
The CGMA Global Economic Index – a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the Forecast – declined 7 points to 58 from the first quarter 2012 reading of 65. The Index is a composite of 10 equally weighted survey measures on a scale from 0 to 100, with 50 considered neutral and numbers above that signifying positive sentiment.
There is a joke in Hollywood that no matter what one’s day job is, everyone has a headshot in their back pocket. In business, the back pocket accessory isn’t the headshot—it’s the business plan. The startup community is exploding across the U.S. Whether it’s Silicon Valley, New York City or Detroit, state and local governments are embracing startups and encouraging talent to call their fair city home. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there was a 60% increase in startups from 2010 to 2011. But there is one important thing most startups are missing: financial guidance.
You and I know the value a CPA brings to any organization. But many startups don’t. The qualities a CPA possesses—integrity, competence and objectivity—are needed and missing from some startups. Not to mention the financial and business knowledge that makes CPAs trusted business advisers. Recently, a report was released that examined the appointments of accounting and financial experts to audit committees, exploring whether concerns about the status of these experts discouraged companies from appointing them.
Case in point: Groupon.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you my (reasonable and totally understandable) enjoyment of data points and survey results in all their shapes and sizes. I have also always been a huge fan of The Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine, and put serving as ‘The Ethicist’ near the top of my dream jobs list. Needless to say, the recent results of the global business ethics survey from the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants were right in my wheelhouse.
It’s encouraging to see that four out of five businesses worldwide report that they have committed to ethical performance. But according to Managing Responsible Business, a global survey of almost 2,000 CGMAs, the rhetoric does not always match the reality. While 80 percent of organizations provide a code of ethics to employees, only 36 percent collect ethics information such as the number of employees attending ethics training and actions taken on hotline reports. The report suggests that companies need better processes to really operationalize their ethics programs.
In the midst of continued uncertainty, the nation – and by extension, news coverage - has been increasingly focused on the economy. Yesterday, the AICPA released the results of the second quarter Economic Outlook Survey, which showed that CPA business executives who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies, had grown more pessimistic about the U.S. economy, compared with last quarter.
The survey results were covered in the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics Blog, which noted that the CPA outlook index slipped to 67 this quarter from 69 in the first quarter. A reading above 50 indicates a generally positive outlook with increasing activity. The index has ranged between 60 and 70 for the past two years.
“What we're seeing is the same ‘two steps forward, one step back’ cycle we encountered last year,” said Arleen R. Thomas, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA’s senior vice president for management accounting. “There's no question survey takers have grown more pessimistic about the U.S. economy, and, with expectations muted for profit, revenue and employment growth, there appear to be few catalysts to change that view.”
Ask any non-for-profit development director and they will tell you there are two ways to fundraise:
Which is the easier task? In terms of time and resources spent, certainly option B is the easier option. But in terms of broader reach and influence over a large audience, option A is a formidable contender because of something called social capital. Social capital is a concept that points to the power of networks to build a powerful entity, such as support for a cause, political candidate or even a corporate brand.
The AICPA and CIMA continue to make available valuable management accounting reports and tools available for CPA, CGMAs and those considering the CGMA. Check out the following to help you develop new skills and bring best practices to your organization.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Welcome to my first blog post as the new AICPA Chairman of the Board of Directors. I am honored to serve you and our wonderful profession during the next year and hope to meet many of you as I travel around the country.
It’s a great privilege to take on the role of chairman in the year the AICPA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2012. A source of pride for all of us, this milestone signifies both the historic and contemporary importance and relevance of our profession, and its staying power as a career.
CPAs are known for providing sound guidance. We are, after all, called trusted advisors for a reason —whether our area of knowledge is related to tax planning, estate planning, spending and saving or making business decisions.
Over the last year, I’ve found my CPA colleagues are a particularly good source of advice regarding professional and personal development. Since the AICPA launched its BusIndNews monthly newsletter in the fall of 2010, readers have been writing in to provide their career profiles, insights into how to advance within an organization, tips on how to be the go-to-person in your office, how to find professional development opportunities and how to enjoy a happier, more successful or more balanced career.
The profiles and tip articles your colleagues have submitted demonstrate how interesting and diverse the work of a CPA is. Most important of all, there’s a running theme in all of the submissions we’ve received: CPAs love their jobs and are enthusiastic about making them more interesting, challenging and fulfilling.
Do you have a story to share or any tips to help your fellow CPAs in personal or professional development? Tell us how you go the extra mile at work, maintain a better work/life balance or motivate your staff. We’d love to read about it!
Carol Scott, CPA, Vice President - Business, Industry and Government, American Institute of CPAs.
The impact of regional economies over global financial markets is intense. This past month was particularly tumultuous as investors reacted to current events and economic conditions in Europe, Asia and the U.S. The rocky ride has organizations struggling to maintain the inroads they’ve made over the last two years. Corporations must navigate the risks and opportunities to move forward. That’s why I think there is great potential for management accountants to lead businesses toward success in the future.
What makes me so optimistic? Because the skill sets of management accountants have never been more appropriate for business success. In addition to solid accounting fundamentals, management accountants’ competencies in monitoring, assessing and forecasting performance; helping colleagues understand income and costs; and assisting management in making tough decisions are critical for organizations to move in the right strategic direction.
The AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants are preparing for the early 2012 launch of the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. The CGMA will showcase the management accounting expertise of qualified AICPA voting members, and open up an international community of colleagues for sharing ideas and gaining knowledge. The targeted resources and continuous learning opportunities that the AICPA and CIMA are preparing will enhance CGMA holders’ business acumen and help them bring long term value to their organizations. I am excited to be a part of this effort to establish what will be a gold standard for management accountants worldwide. If you want to learn more about what the CGMA, visit the CGMA website.
Carol Scott, CPA, Vice President - Business, Industry and Government, American Institute of CPAs.