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10 posts from July 2020

CPA licensure: one step closer to change

GettyImages-615258648 (1)You may be familiar with CPA Evolution, a joint initiative of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA that we’ve been discussing for more than a year.

In May, I wrote about the AICPA Council voting in support of advancing CPA Evolution. On July 24, NASBA’s board of directors also voted in support of advancing the initiative. Thank you to AICPA’s board of directors, AICPA Council, NASBA and NASBA’s board of directors for their support and the leadership they’ve provided since our two organizations began this initiative in 2018. I’d like to thank all of you as well for providing us with advice and ideas along the way.

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Reflect on morale and team spirit as you consider reopening your office

Shutterstock_1742168762Across the country, CPA firms are deciding when best to reopen their offices, knowing employees are integral to the success. Here are solutions for maintaining employee morale and team spirit while ensuring a good flow of communication between staff and clients.   

Address key concerns.

Given an uncertain economy and rising unemployment numbers, staff may be worried about their futures. At the 13-person Hutchins & Haake, LLC, Chad Allen, CPA, CITP, says “the main concern was putting people’s minds at ease that the firms weren’t planning layoffs.” Chad did that by holding individual video conferences with each team member to answer questions and offer reassurance. Even if jobs are in jeopardy, it’s best to be transparent — secrecy and surprises can damage employees’ trust in firm leadership and lower morale and engagement among remaining staff.

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Pandemic teleworking causes state tax withholding issues

IStock_85468875_XXXLARGEA half-century ago, tax withholding was one of the simpler issues for taxpayers and practitioners. A more mobile society makes state tax withholding more complicated today given the ease of conducting cross-jurisdictional business and the increase in teleworking or remote work arrangements.

Meanwhile, the web of inconsistent state and local income tax and withholding rules affect employees and employers. As the AICPA testified, the myriad state income tax withholding laws and varying de minimis exceptions make compliance difficult and time-consuming.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, more employees are teleworking, and state income tax withholding is a larger burden on employers.

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Key risks when auditing a not-for-profit during the pandemic

GettyImages-182392061 (2)While COVID-19 has cast a cloud of uncertainty over not-for-profit organizations, there is one fact we can all hang our hats on: How we audit a not-for-profit now should look completely different than it did a year ago, a month ago, or even a few weeks ago.

As auditors, we’ve been fortunate to work in a stable environment for some time. The pandemic, however, has pulled the rug out from underneath all of us – and that includes our clients. Not-for-profits are not exempt, and COVID-19 has affected each one in drastically different ways.

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3 A&A tech tips for today’s virtual firm

TechyWith COVID-19 changing everyone’s world, firms must develop new ways to work internally and with clients. If you are used to going over the audit report with clients in the office, what’s your plan? If your audit team usually conducts the audit at the client’s office, what’s your plan?

Fortunately, technology enables firms such as yours to continue to offer personalized, exceptional service without being in the same physical space as your client. You don’t even need your team to be together in one office to deliver efficient, high-quality work.

What will it take to get it right in the long run? Here are three tips to get you going:

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5 reasons borrowers shouldn’t rush their PPP forgiveness applications

IStock_19111721_XXLARGEThis blog post explains why borrowers shouldn’t rush their PPP loan forgiveness applications. Please share with clients who participated in the program.

Borrowers who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are asking their CPAs if and how they will qualify for PPP loan forgiveness. There is uncertainty over some of the program details. Organizations — especially small businesses — worry about meeting the maximizing loan forgiveness requirements.

While you may be anxious to apply for forgiveness, here are five factors affecting the forgiveness application process.

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Help small business clients recover through customer retention

Small Business Customer RetentionMany small businesses are struggling because of the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. As a CPA, your guidance is critical to help small business clients navigate these current challenges and enable successes.

One of the most valuable factors in a business’s long-term vitality is customer retention. For instance, DocuSign’s annual sales grew more than 30%, due in part to their high level of repeat customers.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) can also benefit from obsessively tracking and learning from customer and revenue retention trends. That makes retention analyses an ideal addition to your advisory services — and you can do it using the same accounting data you’re already managing for SMB clients.

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Navigating financial plans during the pandemic

Shutterstock_184777091As news of the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread intensified early this year, the effect on the U.S. economy and American’s financial situations was unknown. We conducted the AICPA PFP Trends Survey in May to explore how CPA financial planners worked with clients during these uncertain times. The U.S. had experienced tens of millions of job losses, extreme stock market volatility and trillions of dollars in emergency federal programs to mitigate the economic fallout for businesses and individuals. The survey results provide an informative snapshot of how AICPA members on the financial frontlines helped their clients calmly navigate this extraordinary situation.

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5 skills finance professionals need right now

Shutterstock_730013188Even before the current crisis, digital transformation and new ways of working were significantly influencing the skills and capabilities finance teams need. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated that need as people and businesses now seek digital experiences and solutions more than ever.

Recently at the Interactive Solution and Key Initiative Sessions, the ENGAGE 2020 kickoff event, I shared insights [listen here via podcast] from my conversations with CFOs worldwide. They told me the skills and competencies finance teams must develop to adequately support the business in today’s world. These skills include:

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A Shark’s advice for building resilience

Shutterstock_321313280Daymond John can shut you down with a simple “no” or change your world with a definitive “yes.” He’s a Shark on the Emmy award-winning television series Shark Tank and a keynote speaker at ENGAGE 2020, the premier event for accounting and finance professionals, July 20–24.

John is also CEO and founder of the ground-breaking lifestyle brand FUBU (For Us, By Us), an American apparel company that has sold more than $6 billion in merchandise. He’s CEO of The Shark Group and is a New York Times bestselling author of five books, including his latest, Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome.

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