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14 posts from May 2012

Majority Don’t Expect to Retire at 65

A recent poll conducted by CPA Letter Daily asked the question, “Do you think you will continue to work past 65?”  Coincidentally, the number 65 came up again. 

  • Yes – 64.8%
  • No – 29.31%
  • I don’t know – 5.89%

Approximately 65 percent of the respondents said they would be working beyond age 65.  Do that many people love what they do for a living or is there something else happening?

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In the News: Private Company Standards are Coming

BarryspeechThe big accounting news this week was the Financial Accounting Foundation’s Wednesday announcement that it was creating a body to set differences in U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, where appropriate, for privately held companies. The private company standards set by the new Private Company Council might make it easier for the roughly 28 million privately held companies in the United States to follow certain accounting standards.

The AICPA announced its support for the Private Company Council on Wednesday shortly after the news broke.

Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, spoke about the developments in a video to members.

“With the news announced today by the FAF, we recognize and appreciate that the FAF has taken solid steps in the right direction regarding the Private Company Council. The AICPA is encouraged by this approach and awaits more of the details of the FAF decision.  We look forward to continuing to work together to effect meaningful changes in U.S. GAAP for private companies and the users of their financial statements,” said Melancon,

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Celebrating 125 Years of Professional Pride

AICPA_125_Anniversary.gifThis year, the profession is proudly celebrating a major milestone: the AICPA’s 125-year anniversary. We are one of the few professional organizations to reach this landmark birthday. I believe we got here because the profession’s core values—integrity, objectivity and competence—have made CPAs the most trusted financial professionals and will continue to do so. Those values have remained constant since 1887, and they will serve us well in the 21st Century.

Reaching 125 years of age deserves recognition, so we kicked off our celebration of that achievement with a special Council meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Since the Institute plays an important role in educating and influencing policymakers, the gathering began with more than 400 representatives of the AICPA and governing Council visiting their legislators on Capitol Hill to reinforce our important thought leadership role. We talked with congressional leaders about two public interest initiatives launched in honor of the occasion.

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Shine a Light on What Taxes You Pay

Total Tax Insights Calculator

Every year, politicians, economists, tax practitioners and others talk about making changes to our federal and state tax systems. Some of the proposed changes are more fundamental – the adoption of a consumption tax, for example. Other proposals, on the other hand, call for varying degrees of modification to the existing system, such as adding or expanding tax incentives to encourage savings, modernizing the international tax rules, or making procedural changes to improve compliance.

In a presidential election year, and at a time when our country faces unprecedented levels of debt and extraordinary amounts of governmental-operating deficits, taxes will continue to be one of the most pressing issues for public discourse. Have you heard any of the candidates mention the “T” word lately? We all know, however, that talking about taxes in this environment takes a lot of political courage.

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And The Survey Says... Increasing Demand for Forensic Accounting

forensic accountingInfographics may be the rage these days, but I still like good old-fashioned statistics, data points and most of all, survey results. Maybe it's because I spent a lot of time watching Family Feud as a child, but when I look at survey results the voice in my head announces ‘and the survey says…’

If 100 CPAs across the country were asked ‘what is the fastest growing area in accounting,’ it is highly likely that forensic accounting would be one of their top answers. Backing up what many in the profession have long suspected to be true are the latest results from the AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Trend Survey: and the survey says that forensic accountants are seeing a noticeable increase in demand for their services.

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AICPA Celebrates 125 Years of Representing CPA Profession

AICPA 125 AnniversaryThe AICPA has reached a remarkable milestone: being one of the few organizations to celebrate 125 years. As you can imagine, the CPA profession has changed a lot over this period. Throughout the year, the AICPA and its members will be celebrating this special anniversary and reflecting on the history of the CPA profession. Since people are what make a profession, we asked members to give us their thoughts on what the AICPA means to them and the value of being part of a strong CPA profession.

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Creating Social Capital for Not-for-Profit Support

Ask any non-for-profit development director and they will tell you there are two ways to fundraise: 

  • Ask 1000 people for $10
  • Ask 10 people for $1000

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.

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AICPA Tells Congress to Keep Oversight of Investment Advisers with SEC

As the AICPA gears up for our 125th Anniversary next week, here’s a wrap up of a few interesting accounting topics recently making the news. You can follow @AICPANews on Twitter to stay on top of all the latest official AICPA news as well as articles impacting the profession.

Barry MelanconCFO.com wrote that the AICPA raised concerns over the Investment Adviser Oversight Act of 2012 and urged Congress to keep oversight of investment advisers with the SEC. Introduced in the House of Representatives on April 25, the bill would transfer oversight of investment advisers from the SEC to a self-regulatory organization."Many of our members work for a firm that is registered as, or affiliated with, a registered investment adviser," Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, said in a statement. The AICPA's stance is that the system proposed under the bill would cost advisers much more in fees than current SEC oversight would.

On January 19, 2011, the SEC issued a staff report that found the current SEC-registered investment-adviser examination program faces hefty capacity and funding challenges. Three options were proposed to offset these challenges.  One would be to impose "user fees" on SEC-registered investment advisers to fund oversight. A second would authorize one or more SROs to examine investment advisers, with oversight from the SEC. A third choice would be to authorize the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a leading broker-dealer SRO, to examine dual registrants for compliance with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. All three options require congressional action. "We believe that the SEC's core mission to protect investors requires adequate regulation of the investment advisory profession. The SEC remains the proper regulatory body to protect the public's best interest." Melancon said, "Providing the SEC with resources to properly enforce their rules is the best solution for investors and the public."

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From Tax Preparer to Financial Planner

Financial planning consultation

Congratulations on making it through another tax season! As you helped your clients prepare their tax returns, did you ask yourself any of these questions?

  • Who, if anyone, is looking at their overall financial picture?
  • What can I do to help remove financial obstacles so they can accomplish their goals?
  • Can I offer financial knowledge, analysis and a framework to make this person’s dreams a reality?

From those long hours, including rigorous reviews and meetings with clients, you’ve gained unique insight into their lives – insight into their incomes, spending habits, investments and life events. While reviewing those 1040s, you are able to envision potential tax impacts of financial decisions and begin considering tax planning opportunities for your clients. This is a great first step in helping them meet their overall financial planning needs, including making estate, retirement, tax, investment and insurance planning decisions to move them toward meeting their long term goals.

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Friends, Family and Finances

Feed the pig loveRelationships and finances can be very tricky; whether between parents and children, roommates or spouses. In fact, financial matters are the most common source of discord among American couples, prompting an average of three arguments per month, according to a survey conducted for the AICPA by Harris Interactive.

More than half of adults, 55 percent, who are married or living with a partner said they do not set aside time on a regular basis to talk about financial issues. This leaves them at a huge disadvantage. It’s important for all parties involved to be aware and understand where their money is going.

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5 More Steps to Get Ahead in Your Career

Since so many of you were interested in Friday's post, 6 Steps to Get Ahead in Your Career, I decided that I should share some other career strategies also adapted from a recent presentation by author and career coach Donald Asher. 

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6 Steps to Get Ahead in Your Career

What’s the difference between a CPA's salary of $45,000 and $90,000 per year? Skillset. The difference between someone's salary being $90,000 and $200,000 per year, however, is not a difference in skillset, but a difference in how they manage their careers. Here are some steps—adapted from a recent presentation from author and career coach Donald Asher—which you can take to advance your career.

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The Brand YOU: Your Bio

Compelling Consistent ClearPersonal branding is about promoting what makes you unique and what allows you to stand out from the crowd. A major piece of branding is creating your professional “bio” or biography. That bio is, after all, a specific place to capture your “story” …. so it is personal.  

For many CPAs, your bio is likely already on the web and accessible by anyone and anywhere. Since it is so accessible, it presents a nice branding opportunity – to spread your message about the value you provide and the opportunities you want to attract.

When reviewing your bio, consider three Cs of personal branding – Compelling, Consistent and Clear:

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Behind the Scenes with Volunteers on Making the CPA Exam


Passing the U.S. Uniform CPA Examination is one of three crucial requirements to obtaining licensure for one of the most respected professions in the world, the other two being education and experience.

A great deal goes into ensuring the CPA Exam is of the highest quality. A team of more than 75 dedicated volunteers, sitting at the top of the CPA profession and representing areas such as small and large firms, education, government and non-profit, work in collaboration with the AICPA’s professional staff. These volunteers serve as members of the Board of Examiners, the oversight volunteer board for the CPA Exam, and its seven sub-committees, covering such topics as content, scoring and state board of accountancy communications.

The AICPA Communications and Media Channels team had an opportunity to speak with two AICPA volunteers on how their experience has benefited the CPA profession and their careers:

  • Wendy Perez, CPA, current chair of the Board of Examiners, retired Ernst & Young partner and past president of the California Board of Accountancy; and
  • Mari DeVries, CPA, chair of the CPA Exam’s Content Committee and member of the Board of Examiners, managing shareholder of DeVries CPAs of Arizona, P.C. and past president of the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.

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