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12 posts from December 2019

IRS crypto guidance every tax practitioner should know

Shutterstock_732138853The IRS is getting serious about cryptocurrency. This fall, it released three documents that all tax practitioners need to pay attention to ahead of the 2019 filing season: a retroactive revenue ruling, FAQs for reporting cryptocurrency ownership and Form 1040 that asks taxpayers about their financial interest in virtual currency.

Revenue ruling

On Oct. 9, the IRS released an authoritative revenue ruling that specifically addresses situations in which a taxpayer receives auto-generated cryptocurrency. According to the IRS, this type of situation – known as a hard fork and airdrop – always triggers a tax obligation. Thus, because forks and airdrops are often unprompted by the individual who owns cryptocurrency, a taxpayer could receive digital currency against their wishes and still must pay taxes on it.

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12 free tax resources to get your firm ready for 2020

GettyImages-169274514The new year will be here before you know it. To get a head start on tax season, check out these free resources to get your firm in top shape for 2020.

Stock your arsenal of forms, templates and charts:

  • Year-end planning letter for individuals It’s the season. Tell your clients about key steps to take today to build a solid tax and financial planning strategy in the new year.
  • Year-end planning letter for small business Strengthen relationships with your small business clients. Use this letter to tell them about important tax considerations and point out that you can help with strategic tax planning.

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Reimagining the profession for a vibrant future

Barry Melancon Headshot (1)Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, President and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), reflects on the successes of 2019 and the opportunities ahead.

This year, you’ve talked with members about how we need to reimagine the profession. Can you explain more what you mean by “reimagine”?

In today’s marketplace, virtually all companies are reimagining who they are, what they offer and how they deliver services and products. To meet the changing needs of clients and employers, we, as a profession, are also reimagining what it means to protect the public interest and serve as trusted advisers. We are providing clients and companies with new services and embracing new technologies to enhance the quality, efficiency and value of what we do. Together, we’re creating a future that may be dramatically different from the past but will remain a beacon of trust and opportunity for all accounting and finance professionals and everyone we serve.

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Derivatives are back, but are the risks?

Shutterstock_744615220Mortgage-backed securities, credit-default swaps and derivatives were not much more than financial industry jargon until the recession of 2007. When the world economy nearly collapsed—due in part to mismanagement of and poor investment in complex financial instruments—those terms entered the mainstream.

The 2019 survey of business executives reveals that 59% of CPAs have complex financial instruments on their balance sheets. Of those, 28% said they expect complex financial instruments to take an even bigger percentage in the next three years. At the same time, 55% said they are concerned about the valuations of those investment vehicles, and 69% said they expect them to become even more complex, making them harder to value.

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D&I initiatives: A strategic imperative

GettyImages-669854210Ensuring diversity & inclusion remains high on an organization’s agenda is key to long-term success and growth. Because this topic is so important, I have made raising awareness of this initiative my personal goal, and I‘m having conversations like these with key players throughout the accounting and finance profession on tactics they’ve implemented.

Staff is the greatest investment in your firm, and often recruiting, growing and maintaining the best and the brightest talent are critical priorities for firms. It’s also exactly what Michele Meyer-Shipp finds so vital about her role as chief diversity officer at KPMG. No matter how much time and energy firms pour into their recruiting and retention efforts, they will not have access to the full talent pool without committed D&I initiatives.

During a recent LinkedIn Live, I sat down with Michele to discuss observations and advice for firms seeking to strengthen their D&I efforts. Here are the key takeaways from that conversation.

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How to make the accounting profession more diverse and inclusive

Shutterstock_229737430An increasing number of ethnic minority students are enrolling in and graduating from accounting programs, according to the AICPA’s 2019 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and The Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report.

The biennial report identifies key trends in U.S. accounting enrollments and graduations. It also tracks hiring of new graduates in the public accounting sector. Published since 1971, Trends provides statistical projections and respondent expectations based upon university responses. The latest report covers the 2017-2018 academic year and firm responses for the 2018 calendar year. It is intended to help the accounting profession — from educators to firms to state associations and the AICPA — tailor programs and outreach efforts.

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How to ride the innovation curve

Shutterstock_1556033876At a time of significant and constant change, how can we ensure that our organizations — and our own careers — are positioned to ride the curve of innovation? My research into the history of accounting has revealed patterns that indicate the best ways to respond to the current environment. If you want to prosper as you move ahead, these are the steps you need to take.

Follow the S curve

Most business people are familiar with the hockey stick curve: A flat, quiet period followed by explosive growth in a service or business. However, the S curve can actually be a better indicator of what will next crest the wave of change.

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Use data analytics to drive your business

Shutterstock_148158431There’s a lot of buzz surrounding data analytics. But what does it actually mean in a company’s day-to-day business? According to the information technology research and advisory company Gartner, data analytics provides a data and insight-centric approach to solving a business problem. The entire organization can use the created insights to drive business decisions. It’s not just about developing a lot of reports, building models or moving data around, but instead it’s about solving business problems to make decisions faster and more effectively.

My company runs amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers across the country, with millions of visitors each year. We’re only about five years old and continue to acquire new parks. Some of the considerations we’ve used data analytics to address include:

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6 ways we’re working for our small firm members

IStock_73233617_XXXLARGESupporting your firm is a top priority here at the AICPA. That’s why we travel across the country, speak with practitioners at conferences and events, and gather feedback via email and phone — all to make sure we grasp the pressing issues for firms of your size.

With this knowledge, we develop tools and resources to help your practice run more smoothly. Below are six ways we’re championing you, our small firm members.

1. Navigating tax law changes. We know the past year hasn’t been easy, but we’re here to help. Looking for news, answers to common questions, guides or learning opportunities? You’ll find them and more on our Tax Reform Resource Center.

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Make yourself irreplaceable to clients

Shutterstock_1043390353How can you become a “client whisperer,” who is an irreplaceable part of your clients’ financial lives? By figuring out how a client’s current finances can help become them accomplish their business goals over the short, medium and long term. In my own practice working with small companies, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:

Be a boutique.

Become familiar with all parts of a client’s business, their products or services, their operations and their people. You’ll then be able to offer targeted training and solutions to help them be more productive and profitable. It’s a very rewarding relationship, and it also make you hard to replace.

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Revenue recognition and independence: Something to consider

GettyImages-621032734Implementing the new revenue recognition standard is like climbing a mountain.

It’s a challenge. It has to be addressed since the standard is effective for private companies and many not-for-profits in calendar year 2019. It can be tedious to make sure systems are updated appropriately and staff is trained.

Sometimes your clients may get breathless through this exercise and feel discouraged, so they turn to you. As your clients’ management and accountants climb “Mount 606,” as I like to call it (named after the FASB ASC 606), they look to their CPA firms — you — for help up the summit.

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How the Boston Red Sox win with data analytics

Shutterstock_311860862They might not have won the World Series this year, but the Boston Red Sox are definitely winning. As one of the highest-valued Major League Baseball franchises, the organization leverages the power of data analytics to make better business decisions. Tim Zue, the franchise’s Executive Vice President and CFO, recently shared in a Facebook Live interview how he uses technology and data to increase revenue, lower costs and optimize the fan experience. Here’s his advice on how finance leaders can use data analytics to bring greater value to their organizations and customers.

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