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12 posts from December 2020

2021 busy season due dates can’t come soon enough

Shutterstock_139682299“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”– Alfred Hitchcock

In a good year, CPAs fret over due dates. I’m a glass half-full type of guy, but there aren’t too many measures that could be used to call 2020 a good year. (I digress for one moment and thank my wonderful colleagues at the AICPA and the many CPAs who volunteer to assist the profession, with whom I’ve shared the 2020 journey of achievement.)

Although we’re not finished with 2020, we’re already hearing from members about March and April 15, 2021.

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Unwavering in disruption: Reflections on an extraordinary year

In this interview, 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 an extraordinary year and the steps we must take to prepare for 2021.

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5 free resources to help market your services

Cpa-logo-no-tagline-low-resolutionYour to-do list likely includes items such as scheduling next year’s engagements, sending client information requests, preparing for year-end client accounting services processes, gathering and reviewing documents needed for early 2021 and contacting clients to plan for the year ahead. Taking time to market your services to prospects and clients might be missing from your list. We understand that. With so much else going on, this task often isn’t a priority. But we’d like to help you showcase your expertise and the value you provide with our new CPA Marketing Toolkit. Check out the following five marketing resources, included as part of your AICPA membership.

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Four steps to get started with data analytics

GettyImages-903141924You know data analytics is changing the way accounting and finance professionals work. If you don’t know how to get started on your data analytics journey, let us help.

We spoke to two experts during a recent LinkedIn Live lunchtime event called Hear from your peers: Building your skills and your practice with data analytics. The panelists shared their expertise and answered questions. From that discussion, here are four steps they recommend to get started with data analytics.

  1. Get a baseline understanding.

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Business funding: A key new advisory category for your firm

Shutterstock_1726789390CPAs are meeting the moment when it comes to small business relief. This is a new advisory service for the profession, one that will last through 2021 and 2022, in terms of lingering pandemic impacts. Beyond that, I firmly believe funding options will continue to be a valuable category for CPAs to explore with their small business clients. To do it right, though, firms need expanded capabilities and tools.

Throughout 2020, the AICPA and CPA.com have been providing resources and guidance to CPA firms on relief developments, particularly those related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Here’s some of the things we’ve done since March:

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Do THIS — Not THAT in preparation for the upcoming tax season

GettyImages-840575924Ready or not, tax season 2021 is rapidly approaching. And while we all hope that it will be better than tax season 2020, as John Wooden famously said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” So, why not hope for the best but prepare for the … unexpected?

In thinking about what you can do to get yourself, your clients and your firm ready for tax season, I asked my #TaxTwitter network for some advice. What kind of advice, you may be wondering?

Wrong advice.

Terrible advice.

On purpose.

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Young CPAs learn to adapt to lead a changing profession

Leadership Academy class of 2020 - social (purple)The accounting profession has undergone major changes in recent years. New technologies are redefining client expectations and therefore how the profession works. Now, with the pandemic, the need to adapt has accelerated.

The 2020 AICPA Leadership Academy gave 29 young CPAs from firms, businesses and academia across the nation the opportunity to refine and enhance the skills they will need to meet these challenges.

“I now not only have a better understanding of the importance of having a solid grasp on what is going on in my organization and the profession, but also understand how to look at the current state and plan for the future and be ready to adapt,” said 2020 academy graduate Jessica McClain, a CPA with Brand USA in Washington DC.

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To avoid tax surprises, update your W-4

Shutterstock_1156208635Paying taxes is probably low on the list of things that give Americans a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. But getting hit with a surprise tax bill when filing? That makes 34% of Americans feel concerned, 33% frustrated, 32% disappointed and 28% angry, according to a recent AICPA survey conducted by the Harris Poll.

Assuring the correct amount of taxes are withheld from your paycheck can go a long way toward preventing an unexpected tax bill – and the negative emotions that come along with it.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made changes to withholding in early 2018, and those changes were reflected in 2019 in a redesigned IRS Form W-4. Still, nearly half — 45% of tax-filing Americans — have no idea when they last updated their withholding.

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How to audit during a pandemic? You asked. We answered.

GettyImages-655449204This year has been anything but conventional. As auditors prepare to audit clients who’ve found themselves financially affected by the pandemic, we’ve received many questions. To bring a little clarity in the time of COVID-19, this blog presents answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Is it possible and effective to audit remotely?

You’re not prohibited from conducting audit procedures remotely. Auditing standards generally specify what evidence must be collected, but not how it must be collected. In most cases, we can reliably gather audit evidence remotely.

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How COVID-19 will affect states’ revenues, taxes and you

GettyImages-624511076The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the country’s physical health and the economy, including a major impact on states and their revenue. 

According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recent report, states, localities, tribal nations and U.S. territories face revenue shortfalls of about $480 billion and $620 billion through 2022. It could reach even higher if there is a double-dip recession. Affected state revenue sources include individual and corporate income taxes, sales taxes and gasoline taxes, as well as local property taxes.

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4 A&A challenges caused by COVID-19

IStock_43524178_XXLARGEFor many public companies, the financial reporting challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. They will continue through year-end, and probably at a minimum for a few quarters after that. We’ve been hearing about the following A&A issues from those of you in the trenches — finance professionals and firm practitioners — and many of these challenges will be discussed at the AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments next week. Here are some of the topics I’m expecting we’ll hear about.  

  1. Impairment related to non-financial assets

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Cannabis legalization: States continue to take the lead

2011-01895 Image for cannabis blog 3000x2000Following November’s election, most states have legalized cannabis for either medicinal or personal adult use. Voters in four states — Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — approved ballot measures legalizing cannabis for personal use for adults at least 21 years old. Mississippi and South Dakota legalized cannabis for medicinal use, with South Dakota becoming the first state to legalize medicinal and recreational use cannabis in the same election.

Arizona

Proposition 207 regulates adult-use cannabis and imposes a 16% sales tax to fund community colleges, infrastructure, public safety and public health programs. It allows localities to prohibit cannabis businesses through zoning and bans smoking marijuana in public places.

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