Just yesterday, The National Association of
that its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month,
increased 6.7 percent to 112.3, the highest level since December 2006.
With many people considering
placing their home on the market, a timely Wall
Street Journal article
examined the taxes
and tax breaks available when selling a home. According to Melissa
Labant, director of taxation at the AICPA, these rules can be complicated and
people often misunderstand or don’t take full advantage of the benefits
For many years, I had what I now call an "accidental career." I didn't put much thought into why I was moving up the ladder, I just climbed
because that's what I was supposed to do.
It’s no surprise that I soon found myself unchallenged and feeling like
I wasn't making a difference.
When I stopped to evaluate, I realized that the power was mine to make a
change. It was time to find out what would happen if I put my whole heart and
soul into something. So I quit my job and started a business. I spent my life
savings trying to figure it out. Ultimately I learned more about business, life
and myself than I ever could have on the safe road.
What’s one thing that
CPA firm owners can agree on? While the top issues affecting CPA firms vary
based on size, bringing in new clients is a common concern for all. That’s one
of the many things we learned from the 2013
PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues survey, which asked CPAs
what’s keeping them up at night. The biennial survey, conducted by the AICPA’s Private
Companies Practice Section, reveals the chief
concerns of CPA firms like yours.
released the results of the Top Issues survey at the AICPA’s Practitioners
Symposium TECH+ and AAM Summit on June 11 in Las Vegas. The survey responses
are categorized by practice size, with top five concerns lists for sole
practitioners and for CPA firms with 2 - 5, 6 - 10, 11 - 20 and 21 or more
professionals. The findings offer unique insights into the critical challenges
facing practitioners across the country, and enable the AICPA to understand and
analyze the trends and challenges, and thus provide appropriate solutions and resources
to our members.
Businesses and individuals trust CPAs for their objectivity,
integrity and independence. Those characteristics are what the public also values
in elected officials, so we are fortunate that a growing number of CPAs are involved
in state, local and federal government.
This year, two
more CPAs were elected to Congress: Rep.
Tom Rice (R-SC) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL.). That makes a total of 10 CPAs
in Congress, plus an additional two accountants in the Senate.
The debate continues
about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will impact
health care costs in the overall economy. While CFOs may not be interested in
the macroeconomics of it all, they will want to keep their own company’s health
insurance costs down. It will not be easy.
law in 2010 and upheld
by the Supreme Court in 2012, the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act will profoundly affect individuals,
employers, health care providers and insurance companies. In addition to the many new tax rules to
offset the cost of these reforms, the law also contains many
changes that employers are going to need to consider and how it may affect employee
benefit plan operations, internal controls, financial reporting and more.
Here are a
few things that may have a larger impact on plans:
reading through the Sunday New York Times,
I stumbled across an opinion piece on corporate tax
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.
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.”
Over the past 20 years, change seems to come at the
speed of light and has had a significant impact on the way businesses operate. Markets
have become global, just about every process can now be outsourced and
technology has become integrated into the DNA of every business. If anything, changes
in rules, regulations and standards have accelerated. Businesses must now
satisfy the high expectations of regulators and other stakeholders regarding
governance oversight, risk management and the detection and prevention of fraud.
All of this change means that stronger internal control practices must be
developed to help to grow, as well as protect, the organization.
June 30 will be here very soon – making sure your clients
are compliant with the requirement to file a Report of Foreign Bank and
Financial Accounts by that date is critical as civil penalties for failure to
file are huge – they range from $10,000 up to $100,000 or 50% of the total
foreign account balance. Criminal penalties include $250,000 or five years of
imprisonment or both.
If your client is a U.S. resident and has a total of
$10,000 or more in all foreign bank accounts combined or has signature
authority over a foreign account, he or she must file FBAR Form TD F 90-22.1
annually. The FBAR is a report and is
not to be filed with the income tax return.
What makes the FBAR different from many other forms is that it must be received, not postmarked, by June 30 and it is filed with the U.S. Department of Treasury, not the IRS. Also, there are no extensions.
In our last live blog session from the 2013 Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit, Jerry Love, CPA, CGMA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CITP of Abilene, Texas, offers insight as to how CPAs can specialize
and improve their bottom line. Specializing will:
Deepen existing client relationships – with each additional
value-added service that you offer a client, they rely on
you more heavily as their trusted advisor.
Increase the firm’s bottom line with additional
Retain staff – specialized services provide staff exposure
to a wider array of assignments and fulfilling career paths.
Join the new generation of CPA who is finding success by
reimagining and recreating the traditional CPA firm for the
21st century at the 2013 Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit.
Leverage new technologies.
Invent new client acquisition and relationship
Improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Embrace value pricing.
Kill the billable hour.
Attract, nurture and motivate the best
Get ready to renew your commitment – and be
inspired anew – to transform your life, and the lives
of colleagues and clients for the better.
Join Rick Telberg as he moderates this panel of young CPA professionals including:
Jason Deshayes, CPA, Vice President, Butler CPAs,
Michael Elliott, CPA, Manager, Dittrick & Associates, Inc.,
Joy Lizotte, CPA, Owner, Joy L. Lizotte, CPA, LLC,
Lake City, FL
Kicking off day two of the 2013 Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit is the session "What‘s in the Future for Digital Signatures?." Business in general, and the CPA profession specifically,
have long sought a solution to the inefficiencies of ink
and paper-based signatures. Has technology finally solved
the problem or do we continue to wait? There are many
popular “solutions,” but do they really solve the problem(s)?
This session, presented by Erik Asgeirsson, CEO, CPA2Biz, a subsidiary of the AICPA, and Brian Fox, CPA, founder of Confirmation.com, will define the problems and compare and
contrast some of the proposed solutions. (Email subscribers: See the live blog coverage on AICPA Insights).
Earlier today, the AICPA announced the launch of the Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities. This session at the 2013 Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit covers AICPA Director of Private Company Financial Reporting, Robert Durak, CPA, CGMA, as he highlights key features and benefits of the Financial Reporting Framework for SMEs, as well as important accounting topics within the FRF for SMEs. You can find more information on the framework by following #MainStFinancials. (Email subscribers: See the live blog coverage on AICPA Insights).
The 2013 Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Partnership with the Association for Accounting Marketing Summit takes place June 10 to 12 in Las Vegas. I am live blogging from select sessions throughout the three days. The first session is "The Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business: New Taxes and the Cost of Healthcare and Insurance" with Mark Dietrich, CPA/ABV, of Framingham, Mass. Mark wrote a prelude on AICPA Insights which generated a lot of interest and conversation.
This session covers the Accountable Care Act, which is the most significant and costly social spending legislation since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. Its impact extends beyond health insurance, and envisions a system of regulation and taxation that aims to restrict the impact that income has on access to healthcare, except the wealthiest top .1% (one-tenth of 1%) of taxpayers. (Email subscribers: See the live blog coverage on AICPA Insights).
release timetables have been such a hot
topic amongst candidates that we have decided to post regular updates. Updated
score release timelines are announced twice annually on AICPA Insights and also posted on the CPA Exam website. Since we would rather have candidates
study for the CPA Exam than spend time notching off business days on a calendar, we
have contained the score release timeline in a table below for candidates to
easily find their score release dates.
for the CPA Exam are released by the National Association of State Boards of
Accountancy to individual boards of accountancy based upon the target
score release dates listed in the table below.
As CPAs, we get so consumed with our
day-to-day challenges of serving clients and employers that we can neglect some
of the big-picture issues that are going to impact the not-so-distant future of
our profession. That’s what was behind the AICPA’s Vision 2011 project, and
more recently our CPA Horizons 2025, but it’s also the subject of a series
of panels we’ve convened to bring thought leaders together. Last month’s
topic was value versus valuation, which is not a new issue, but one that has
intensified in recent years. This video is just a snippet of that conversation.
You can view the full
video on AICPA TV.
allows organizations to make more effective use of data in advising clients and
making business decisions. However, the explosive growth in the volume and
complexity of information has increased the risks in managing and retaining
data – which, according to the 2013
North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, is the top priority for CPAs.
everyone can agree that data management is integral to an organization’s
ability to mitigate risk, an organization whose data management policies and
procedures are insufficient or ineffective is exposed to the consequences of
poor data management. Those consequences could result from poor business
decisions or client advice that was based on incomplete or inaccurate data,
having data stored in outdated or incompatible retrieval formats or improperly
backing up data, which can result in its irrevocable loss.
momentum is being fueled by a large, influential and growing majority of
supporters: business leaders. They recognize that sustainability-minded
organizations are more
committed to management checks and balances, informed decision-making and
community goodwill. What follows is an organization’s reputation for greater
stability, less risk and a more secure market value. Sustainability-minded
organizations are among the top choices when retailers and other businesses
create vendor relationships, select investment candidates and make purchase
When more than 400 leaders of the CPA profession journeyed
to Washington, D.C., to attend last month’s AICPA Spring Meeting of Council, visits
to Capitol Hill to engage in advocacy of the profession’s legislative goals were
a highlight of the agenda. To no one’s surprise, tax reform – which sits
atop the list of the Institute’s legislative priorities – was a focal point of
The AICPA has a longstanding tradition of advocating for
sound tax policy and assisting lawmakers on tax policy matters. The
proliferation of new income tax provisions since the 1986 tax reform effort has
led to complex compliance hurdles for taxpayers, administrative complexity and
enforcement challenges for the Internal Revenue Service. The Institute has
testified on tax reform before the House Ways & Means Committee and the
Senate Finance Committee and submitted technical recommendations to five study
groups whose findings will shape legislation expected later this year.
recent – and I use the word recent liberally – college graduate, one of my few
regrets is that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to spend a summer studying
abroad. I generally excuse this away because I had my hands full juggling my
course work and extracurricular activities and was always eager to return to my
native New York. If I was being honest with myself, the real reason was that I could
never seem to navigate the financial and administrative aspects of applying to
take classes overseas during the summer.
those of you who are still in school and seeking to broaden your horizons,
Michael Eisenberg, a Los Angeles-based
CPA/PFS, recently spoke to U.S.
News & World Report to educate their audience on how to pay
for short study-abroad trips.
article encourages students to look for scholarships and aid to pay for the
parts of a short-term educational trip not eligible for 529 plan funding.
The Patient Protection and Affordable CareAct (health care reform) seeks to change the
way health insurance premiums are established, just as the Act Providing Access
to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care did in Massachusetts. As CPAs’ small business
clients begin to implement the requirements of health care reform, CPAs need to
understand two significant ways in which their small business clients, and
their own small practices, may be affected.
The Small Group Insurance Market and Increasing
The first big
change that health care reform brings is the prospect of “merging” (formally or
via rating rules) the small group insurance market with the individual
insurance market. The individual market typically has the highest costs of all
the health insurance markets due to the actuarial risk of a single covered life
and the time and expense of selling single policies. The small group market, historically
50 employees or less, but in the case of health care reform, 100 employees or
less (mandated to expand the risk pool base of small businesses who might also absorb
the cost of the merged individual market), is significantly less risky and thus
has lower premiums. As has been the case in Massachusetts, if the formal merger
of the two markets’ risk pools takes place in your state, it may cause small business
premiums to increase dramatically. If you or your client presently have more than
50 employees and are covered in your state’s existing large group market risk pool,
premiums could rise once the small group level increase to 100 employees becomes
effective in 2014.
Now that you’re back to work after this year’s Memorial Day
celebrations, you and your colleagues may be looking for additional ways to say
thanks to the men and women who protect the U.S. and its interests. Good news! There
is an exciting opportunity for CPAs to use your talents to do just that.
It is all part of the Veteran
Fast Launch Initiative, a combined
effort of the AICPA and SCORE.The program connects veterans who want to start and
grow their own businesses with CPAs from across the country. The aim is to help
veterans, their spouses and families succeed as small business owners. Practitioner volunteers provide up to five hours of time at no
charge to veterans.
Do you have firm partnership in your sights? If so, good for
you! Although there is no “one size fits all” approach for a senior manager to become
partner, there are steps CPAs can take to strengthen their skills, expand their
knowledge and develop personal characteristics that can bring them closer to
achieving their goal. Beyond working hard to stand out, here are some things we
did that helped us better position ourselves to become partners at our firm, Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC. You
may want to consider these tips as you set out on the road to partnership.
A small business gains access to sophisticated
technology it could not previously afford. A mid-size company reassigns its IT
staff to strategic projects that encompass far more than day-to-day tech
operations. A large organization is able to tap into enhanced business
intelligence and put it to work more quickly.
These are some of the success stories associated
with cloud computing. Cloud technology is quickly becoming an integral part of
everyday business life, smoothing the way to valuable business process
outsourcing opportunities and making it easier to identify and use critical
business intelligence. In fact, over 65% of IT security professionals reported
using some type of cloud technology for mission-critical applications and data,
according to the AccelOpps Cloud Security Survey 2013. And CPAs
are integrally involved in many organizations’ shift to the cloud.
Before starting my own CPA firm, I worked at a large,
national accounting firm and found I was never actually able to use up my three
weeks of annual vacation time. However, when I went to work for a local boutique
CPA firm, I only got ten annual vacation days. There was also no policy for
telecommuting and no flexible schedules or incentives for being more efficient
than expected, such as being rewarded with more paid time off. “Face time” in
the office ruled. Initially, I was okay with limited vacation, but a couple of
years in, I realized that I would really value more flexibility as part of my
There are tens of thousands of hours of video being uploaded into YouTube every day. Don’t let the hard work you put into producing a video for your firm or practice get lost in cyberspace. Implement a few basic optimizations to make it easier for users to find your videos as they browse and search.
1. Use keywords in your filename
Rename your video’s filename to match the topic of the video. For instance, if your video is about small business accounting, rename your video file from “video.mp4” to “small-business-accounting.mp4.”
The 2013 AICPA Spring governing Council meeting kicked off on Sunday and just wrapped up. Take a look at the three-day meeting through the eyes of social media. (Email subscribers: View the full story on AICPA Insights.)
As the economy continues to recover, the impending
retirement of our nation’s Baby Boomers will create a labor shortage far
greater than any we have experienced in the U.S. Professionals with the right
skills will have their choice of employment opportunities, which will drive
demand – and salaries – up. CPA firms that provide truly motivational and engaging
environments will win the recruiting and retention race.
That’s why learning to manage the challenges and possibilities
of virtual work teams is a must for today’s current and emerging partners. The
need for increased workplace flexibility generates passionate conversations by
CPA firm leaders and team members. Employees are challenged to keep a steady balance
between their work and their personal lives as demands in each continuously
change. Some aren’t willing to make the firm their top priority.
read so many great quotes from CPAs every day and have such a limited space to
summarize them on the blog– it can get to be a bit frustrating. As I began drafting my bi-weekly ‘In the
News’ post, I decided to switch things up this week.
present to you four helpful quotes from CPAs. Hey – everyone can use a little
help now and then.
As Kelli Grant reports in MarketWatch, going to summer camp
may be a rite of passage for children, but for parents, it seems more like an
initiation into the woes of tuition payments.
What parents might not know is
that camp expenses can translate into a tax break.
week, my blog
post discussed that Integrated Reporting <IR> represents an important
shift in corporate reporting in which CPAs can play a key role providing
consulting services, implementation or report preparation. In today’s blog, I’m
drilling down into some of the key concepts of the recently released Consultation Draft of the
International <IR> Framework that are important for CPAs to understand.
often ask me, “Ed, when do you think we’ll finally see tax reform?”
“Not before 2014,” I respond with assurance.
“How can you be so sure, Ed?” they say.
ball never lies!
started getting a bit nervous about sounding so confident. After a little digging, I found out my crystal
ball had once predicted that the Titanic was unsinkable, yet it went down on
April 15, 1912. How’s that for foreshadowing?! That forced me to do some soul
searching and thinking.
to November 2011. I was sitting next to Pat Thompson, who chaired the AICPA Tax
Executive Committee. We were listening
to Don Longano, former House Ways and Means Committee Chief Counsel and
Washington tax insider, share his views on the prospects for tax legislation at
the National Tax Conference.
Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not too long ago, I heard Craig M. Lewis, Director and Chief
Economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Risk, Strategy
and Financial Innovation, give a presentation on the SEC’s new predictive
accounting quality model, nicknamed “RoboCop”
by the trade press, which will enable the SEC to monitor and flag reports
for further review.
What makes AQM so useful, Mr. Lewis said in
an interview with Merrill Compliance Solutions, is that, by using XBRL, the
tool can be “applied broadly to the entire filer space.” Previous versions of
the tool used Compustat data, which did not include all filing companies. With
XBRL, 100 percent of filing companies will be analyzed by AQM.
According to a new survey
conducted for the AICPA by Harris Interactive, only 39% fully understood the
burden student loan debt would place on the future and 60% have at least
some regret over the choice of education financing. Furthermore, 75% have
made a personal or financial sacrifice--such as delaying a home purchase and
postponing marriage and children--because of monthly student loan payments. The
press release includes
tips for parents and students on both saving for college and managing loan
payments. The below 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy infographic, Realities & Regrets of Student Debt, highlights the
reporting in the U.S. and around the world has often developed as disparate
strands of reporting. Stakeholders have
grown to seek more and more information in a number of different reporting
vehicles, but do they really seek the details or are they trying to drive
better corporate practice?
Reporting <IR> represents an evolution of corporate reporting that
focuses attention on how an organization creates value in the short, medium and
long term. An integrated report, a key
output of Integrated Reporting, is a concise report primarily
intended for investors of financial capital, although other stakeholders who
have an interest in the organization’s ability to create value will also
benefit from such communications.
The not-for-profit accounting and auditing landscape
has undergone significant change in recent years. In this podcast, CPA
not-for-profit experts Chris Cole, Jennifer Hoffman, Frank Jakosz and Andrew Prather discuss current NFP issues that face CPA preparers and
auditors and describe how the AICPA’s newly updated Not-for-Profit Entities
Audit and Accounting Guide can be a resource for NFPs. Discussion topics
include recent Financial Accounting Standards Board updates, changes in the NFP investment arena, revenue
recognition, gifts-in-kind valuation, and taxes and regulatory considerations. Ken Tysiac, senior editor for news with the Journal of Accountancy, moderates. [Email subscribers: Visit AICPA Insights to listen to the podcast.]
CPAs know how seriously our profession takes ethics. The AICPA’s Code
of Professional Conduct
applies to all AICPA members. In addition, many state CPA societies and state
boards of accountancy either incorporate it by reference or use it as a
starting point for their codes. The Code of Professional Conduct provides guidance on areas such as client
relationships, maintaining independence and adhering to the technical standards
of GAAP, GAAS and others.
The AICPA's Professional Ethics
Division acts as the steward of the Code of Professional Conduct, taking a 360
degree view of ethics. It publishes a free
Speaking, which helps CPAs better understand ethics-related issues
(send an email to email@example.com to
subscribe). The Professional Ethics Division establishes, interprets
and enforces these standards. To carry out its charge, the Professional Ethics
Division provides a hotline
that helps members understand and apply the Code of Professional Conduct
properly. What’s more, monitoring hotline inquiries is one of the ways the Professional
Ethics Division identifies topics that require standard setting. Using this
real-time feedback, the Professional Ethics Division has been able to tackle
topics that are important to the profession.
The latest exposure
draft issued by the Professional Ethics Division reorganizes
the Code of Professional Conduct to make it easier to navigate, understand and
apply. Watch this video to learn more about the Ethics Codification project.
After this crazy,
compressed tax season, you and your employees are certainly ready and deserve a
vacation. But do you give your employees enough vacation time? How much paid
vacation time is enough? Can you imagine that the answer might someday be “as
much as they want?” Some companies are shifting toward an unlimited vacation
policy because they believe it can enhance morale and minimize stress. Although
only 1% of organizations offer unlimited paid time off, according
to a Society for Human Resource Management survey, it is surprisingly most often used at
smaller organizations. There are a number of advantages to
offering unlimited vacation time in your CPA firm. They include:
Americans money stress brought on
by lighter paychecks this year is affecting more than their wallets — it’s
taking a toll on their waistlines, friendships and the amount of sleep they get.
That’s according to results of a new survey fielded for the American Institute of CPAs by Harris Interactive in recognition of National
Financial Capability Month.
The telephone survey, conducted between March 14 and March 17,
asked 1,011 U.S. adults to name all the ways financial stress is affecting
their lives. Of those who rate their financial stress “very” or “somewhat
high,” almost half, 47 percent, said they are sleeping less; 43 percent said
they have less patience with friends or are seeing them less often and 31
percent are eating more junk food or gaining weight.
I live blogged from the AICPA's Sustainability Workshop that took place May 2 to 3 in New York City. The workshop is part of the Executive Boardroom Series from the AICPA and the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. Below is a replay of the entire two-day event.
Get ready to tackle some major revisions in accounting standards.
After years of consideration, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is
finalizing its approaches on three major issues: revenue recognition, leases
and financial instruments. Each of these accounting areas affects virtually all
companies in the United States no matter what their size or whether they are
public or nonpublic. And that means virtually all CPA firms are affected too.
From an advocacy standpoint, the AICPA continues
to monitor the progress of these important standards and to comment on the
exposure drafts on members’ behalf. Our goal is to help make sure the standards
are effective and can be implemented with as much ease as possible. Moreover, the
AICPA will help members understand and implement the new standards so they can
continue to provide high-quality services and comply appropriately with the
allows CPA firms to better understand, manage and grow their practices. Yet, it
can come with its own set of challenges when trying to manage and retain data,
secure IT environments and stay in compliance, according to the latest top
technology initiatives survey from the AICPA’s Information Management and
Technology Assurance Division.
North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, conducted jointly by
the AICPA and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, asked accounting
professionals in public accounting, business and industry, consulting, government,
not-for-profit and other organizations about their top 10 technology
initiatives in 2013. Here's the top 10 in the U.S. and Canada:
Were there warning signs of
the worldwide financial crisis and global recession?
Could the addiction to off-balance sheet accounting have been stopped?
How could contentious reporting issues have been better resolved?
From the reporting scandals
of 2001 and 2002 to the recent global financial crisis and efforts at
international convergence of accounting standards, former Financial Accounting Standards Board Chairman Robert Herz discusses critical
issues and much more in his new book, Accounting
Changes: Chronicles of Convergence, Crisis, and Complexity in Financial
Reporting. Herz tells the story from the perspective of his front row
seat on many of the major developments affecting accounting and financial
reporting during his tenure.
Herz has had a long and
distinguished career--as Chairman of FASB, a former senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a part-time member
of the International Accounting Standards Board, an author and someone
who has seen the accounting and financial reporting profession develop and grow
over the past several decades. In his book, Herz shares his experiences and
insight, including the importance of charting and setting a course to improve
standard setting when he joined the FASB, making things simpler by
rationalizing the structure of the U.S. accounting standard setting, and
reorganizing and codifying U.S. GAAP.
AICPA Insights interviewed Herz on financial reporting’s evolution and his role
financial literacy continues to be one of the most gratifying activities of my
career. Although it requires a portion
of my already limited time, the rewards (tangible and intangible) are
tremendous. Following are the reasons I think public
service via financial education is important to us as individual CPAs as well
as to our profession.
The Need is Great
education is not taught in our public schools and our economic/financial
environment continues to become increasingly complex. Many people do not have
the basic information they need to make financial decisions and they don’t know
whom to trust. There are large segments of our population who need the
professional, objective advice that CPAs can give, but who cannot afford the
fees: teenagers and college students, the elderly and middle/low income adults,
to name a few.
Meet the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program
It’s been a milestone month for the Journal of Accountancy on social media! Not only did the Journal of Accountancy Twitter account (@AICPA_JofA) add its 20,000th follower and 8,000th tweet, their Facebook page reached 16,000 likes and social media has driven 110,000 visits to their website. Wow! That’s what I call ‘thriving.’
Today I feel like Toto in the Wizard of Oz; I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program. Only it’s not a man with a funny mustache running the show….
Meet Megan Pinkston, senior editor and social media extraordinaire. She’s sitting down with us to share her secrets to success.
hard to believe that I’m coming up on my 30-year anniversary at the AICPA. Before that, I spent eight years in public
practice – six with a local firm and two with an international one. Truth is
those 30 years have not dimmed the memories of the challenge of filing
season. I joke about those memories but
I also admit about how important it is for me to “feel the pain.”
many of our members are in public practice and have to “live the pain.” That is one of the reasons why I am glad that
my two directors have experienced many, many filing seasons - one of them ran
her own practice for 17 years – as it motivates the Tax Team even more to
lessen our members’ pain.
I’ve mentioned previously on this very blog, I am a procrastinator
My ‘to do’ list from January of this year is littered with winter-related items
(two prime examples are ‘purchase warmer jacket’ and ‘book ski trip for
President’s Day weekend’) that I simply didn’t get around to. In those
instances, I can shake my head, let out a self-pitying sigh and put it off
until next year… But if you missed the April 15deadline to file
either your federal income tax return or an extension, you don’t have the
luxury of simply waiting until next year – the time to act is now.
Labant, AICPA director of tax advocacy, speaking to the New
York Times Bucks Blog, advised taxpayers to file as soon as
possible and to avoid falling into the trap of thinking ‘oh, the deadline
passed so there’s no rush now.’
My heart is heavy given the
horrific events that occurred during the Boston Marathon on Monday. I grew up
just a few minutes outside of Boston and have spent my entire CPA career
working in our great city. I also have attended the Boston Marathon many times,
both as a spectator cheering for my daughter and as a participant. The spirit
and character of Boston, and the patriotic pride of its residents, go back to
the earliest days of our country. To see the streets of Boston, particularly
those of which I have so many fond celebratory memories, attacked in such a way
and during such a joyous moment of civic unity saddens me deeply. My heart goes
out to the victims and their families as they try to find calm after this
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.
Elijah Watt Sells Award winners were announced on March 26. Just a total of 39 individuals performed so well on the CPA Exam
in 2012 to have earned this prestigious title. Considering there were more than 92,000 candidates who sat for the CPA exam in 2012, the 39 recipients have
made an immense achievement indeed! Perhaps congratulations are in order?
What does it take to be a Sells winner? The award is presented
to candidates who have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across
all four sections of the CPA Exam, completed testing during the 2012 calendar
year and passed all four sections of the CPA Exam on their first attempt.
The talented individuals listed below are the 2012 Sells
Award winners in alphabetical order, followed by their state board affiliation,
education and present employer.
April is Financial Literacy Month! This annual event is centered on improving Americans’ understanding of financial principles and practices. During this time every year, the AICPA and state CPA societies bolster financial literacy efforts with added events and resources.
Even with the craziness of tax season, it is amazing to see the dedication of CPAs across the country. Here is just a sampling of the various financial literacy events taking place this month.
The Texas Society of CPAs is encouraging families to participate in their 30 Days of Personal Finance. They’ve posted 30 tips for each day of the month, ranging from creative savings ideas to budgeting tips.
The New Mexico Society of CPAs will speak on financial literacy at an Albuquerque middle school on April 22. Three CPA volunteers and a NMSCPA staff member presented at the event last year, and it was so successful for the school that they have decided to make it an annual event! You can see pictures from last year’s event on their Facebook page. This year they will be giving away Feed the Pig and 360 promotional materials to kids and parents, in addition to raffling off copies of Save Wisely, Spend Happily; a copy of the book is also being donated to the school’s library.
Do you see your
neighbor waiting by the mailbox for their tax refund? Chances are it’s not so
they can use it on a fancy vacation or a new spring wardrobe.
This year, workers
are most likely to save their refund or use the money for day-to-day expenses, according
to a recent survey conducted for the AICPA by Harris Interactive for
National Financial Capability Month. And
that refund money is substantial. An
AccountingWEB article on the survey results
states that through March 22, the average refund this tax season is $2,827.
That’s trending slightly lower than this time last year, when the average
individual refund was $2,860.