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12 posts from May 2020

7 areas to consider when evolving your tax practice

IStock_59008810_XXLARGEThere’s no question that this was a tough tax season. And, with the tax deadlines delayed until July 15, it isn’t over. In our recent Tax Section survey, 60% said COVID-19 had an enormous effect on tax season. Practitioners noted the top three pain points related to assisting with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), understanding new legislation and guidance and struggling with ambiguity in the relief.

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Another step closer to evolving CPA licensure

GettyImages-609799244On Wednesday, May 20, we took a big step toward propelling the CPA profession into the future.

If you read the blog posts I wrote in JanuaryMay and July of 2019, you’ll be familiar with CPA Evolution — a joint effort of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to design and implement a new approach to CPA licensure.

Our goal is to transform the CPA licensure model to recognize the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice of accounting requires today and will require in the future.

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Cyber criminals are finding ways to steal your digital dollars

Shutterstock_778558450The cryptocurrency market — such as bitcoin, ethereum and others — has taken hold in the financial world, with the market now worth more than $200 billion and growing daily.

With so much money at stake, it’s no surprise that bad actors find new ways to use the system to their financial advantage. In 2019 alone, an estimated $4.26 billion in cryptocurrencies was lost due to hacks, cybertheft, scams, misappropriation or insider fraud, up about 250% from 2018.

“With traditional money in our banking system, there’s a paper trail, a record of transactions,” said Mark DiMichael, CPA, CFF and forensic specialist with expertise in cryptocurrencies. “With cryptocurrencies, there is no paper trail. You can move large amounts of money without having to carry around a duffel bag of cash. It could be carried on a thumb drive or sheet of paper.”

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Preparing accounting students for a changing profession

GettyImages-635957998We are in an unprecedented time of change for the accounting academic community. I’ve seen a fire lit beneath educators the likes of which I’ve never seen before as it relates to evolving their classrooms and curricula. Accounting programs have had to quickly make changes, like adapting to full-time remote learning almost overnight in response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as longer-term changes to ensure programs are preparing the next generation of accountants for the realities of a rapidly evolving business environment.

Research conducted by the AICPA found that public accounting firms are hiring fewer new accounting graduates. Instead, they’re hiring more non-accounting graduates who possess different skill sets, particularly those related to technology. Practitioners are increasingly advising schools that accounting curricula need to help students gain a better understanding of technology and its applications within the profession.

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3 retirement questions your clients are asking amid COVID-19

Shutterstock_1694685292There are a lot of unknowns related to the COVID-19 crisis. Your clients may be feeling stressed and even uncertain about their financial future, and are likely asking questions:

  • When will things stabilize?
  • When will the market volatility be behind us?
  • How will my retirement goals be impacted by everything going on?

Although no one has all the answers, as a CPA financial planner, you have a strong relationship with your clients, vast knowledge of tax and planning strategies and you offer objective advice that is in your clients’ best interest.

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Accounting firms lead the way to a more diverse business environment

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The U.S. population is growing increasingly diverse, and the U.S. Census projects that minority populations will comprise more than half the population by 2045, with the largest growth among multiracial individuals.

Accounting firms are leading the charge in supporting a more diverse business environment.

The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion initiative, launched by PwC, has drawn commitments from more than 900 CEOs to initiate meaningful and complex conversations about diversity and inclusion, address unconscious bias and improve diversity and inclusion throughout their organizations. The Association of International Certified Public Accountants, combining the strengths of the AICPA and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), has signed the CEO Action pledge.

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Bouncing back: How to recoup after a busy season

Shutterstock_93776323When this extended busy season ends, we’ll notice summer days feeling warmer and brighter. When crossing that proverbial finish line, I acknowledge freedom that leaves me feeling spacious, accomplished and abundant. Busy seasons (especially this one) can be hard, but we all come out a little stronger, wiser and more learned each year.

Once you feel this freedom, do you ever feel a little confused about what to do with this free time? Before you rebound to the nearest couch for a Netflix marathon, restore your body, mind and soul. 

I’m no Dave Brubeck, but today’s post includes my rendition of “Take 5.” I invite you to explore my Take 5 Method to come alive again. You dedicate a lot of time, energy and knowledge to your work. After the busy season, give yourself permission to be selfish during this transition time and prioritize what brings you back to YOU.

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Learning from disruption: Reflections from AICPA Chair

Bill Reeb headshotOver this past year, while I’ve been Chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Vice Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, I’ve often talked with members about how technology is driving an unprecedented pace of change and how we need to disrupt ourselves as a profession.

What I couldn’t know in 2019 is the shape and extent of disruption we are experiencing in 2020. The entire professional ecosystem has been impacted by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In all areas of practice, members are having to adapt. Some are identifying solutions for business continuity, while others are addressing clients’ tax concerns and liquidity needs. Many members are trying to mitigate economic harm to their own small businesses and their employees.

And, as I’m sure you know first-hand, the disruption caused by the pandemic has upended many of our professional routines. We’ve had to figure out new ways to work remotely and employ technology on an accelerated timeline.

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6 ways CPAs are making a difference right now

Shutterstock_664170823Healthcare and frontline workers have the daunting task of keeping communities safe, clean and fed. We salute them. Accountants and finance professionals have the responsibility to lead businesses through the economic recovery.

You’re needed now more than ever. Here are six ways you’re making a difference.

1. You help small businesses stay afloat and preserve jobs.

Small businesses are dealing with a multitude of COVID-related problems and are relying on your expert advice, including understanding the details and application process for the Paycheck Protection Program. In this podcast, experts untangle key parts of the application, and the Town Hall Series: CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program offers up-to-the-minute news on PPP and the CARES Act.

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Small businesses should focus on PPP’s intent, keep using funds

Shutterstock_1717147000When the Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) many businesses saw an opportunity to stay open and their employees paid during this very difficult time.

There is no question that small businesses are the heart of our nation’s economy, and without them our road to recovery will be longer and significantly more difficult. I am inspired every day by the stories I hear about our profession’s tireless efforts to support small businesses everywhere. The AICPA is committed to our economic recovery, and I would like to provide some perspective to advance the understanding of the PPP.

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3 tips to take your videoconferencing to the next level

Shutterstock_1689579709While your day-to-day routine may have changed in the last few months due to COVID-19, your meetings probably haven’t fallen off your calendar. Many organizations are turning to virtual meetings, utilizing cameras and audio connections to keep work going and employees engaged. 

Just because you’re at home and without a studio doesn’t mean you can’t look your best. Our Multimedia team put together a video with three key things you need to master to keep yourself looking and sounding good. Here’s what they said:

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Can you separate PPP facts from the myths?

Shutterstock_1713483700Do you remember playing the telephone game in elementary school? I’ll spare you the rules. But, in the end, the game exposes the way information mutates after numerous people filter it. As information about the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program rolled out, it quickly started to feel like a large game of telephone with misinformation floating around rampantly. Small businesses are extremely vulnerable during these times and cashflow is top of mind for every CPA and their client. Nobody can afford to live with confusion around a program promising direct relief. Let’s address a few pieces of PPP information — or misinformation. See if you can guess if the following are MYTHS or FACTS:

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