How are states dealing with the unemployment benefit exclusion?

Shutterstock_324599615Millions of people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment benefits each week for the past year. There are10 million Americans still unemployed, according to the latest Labor Department statistics. After a hard year during the pandemic, many people couldn’t wait to get their taxes done to close the chapter on 2020 and start fresh in 2021.

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CPAs are humans, too: Workplace relationships matter

Shutterstock_1494208232A human experience

I don’t love my job because of the work I do. I love my job because of who I work with and what we do for one another.

The memorable moments in my career are not the audit tasks I perform but the audit teams I am a part of and what we learn about each other. Coming out of school and into my career, traveling out of town for my first audit with strangers was a scary thought. I was nervous and didn’t want to do or say the wrong things. To my surprise, on the first night of the audit, the managing partner asked me to hang out at the hotel bar. My initial thought was, “Great, my first night and I’m going to get slammed with audit work.” But to my surprise, he took the time to get to know me.

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Do colleges prepare future CPAs? Three key insights

Shutterstock_1368244235Whether a professor has taught thousands of students throughout their career or is new to the classroom, they aim to give students a strong foundation in the relevant competencies and skills for their major and future career. As professions evolve, the curriculum to develop young minds must keep pace. The CPA profession and accounting programs are no different.

I have been in accounting academia for many years, most recently as an associate professor of accounting at Sam Houston State University. To keep my classes relevant, I have consistently modified the curriculum in response to changes in the professional environment. As an academic, it is vital to prepare students to successfully enter the marketplace.

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The IRS should move the April 15 due date

Moving target“When a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less.” — Plato

Well, here we are again — talking about tax busy season. It isn’t because it’s my favorite topic. But it might be one of the most important topics to tax practitioners and taxpayers. In a good year, I know tax busy season is a challenge. Both 2020 and 2021 have been, how should I say, memorable.

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5 ways to motivate your team during tax season

RitaIt’s tax season.

That means it’s showtime for CPAs, and the show must go on. You are the star of the show, and your script constantly changes, making it difficult to keep yourself up to date and focused.

So, how can you motivate the rest of your hardworking team? Many activities and steps can motivate your team. Here are five that are the most critical for success.

 

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New Year's resolution fails: Cut yourself some slack and get on track

NYFailYou made a New Year’s resolution: I will find that job that takes my career to the next level. Perhaps you want to earn that data analytics certificate since you keep hearing about the demand for data analytics skills and how data analytics is changing the profession. Or was your resolution to get through 2021 better than 2020 (fair enough)?

Now it’s March and you feel like a failure, at least on the New Year’s resolution front. Here are three steps to get back on track.

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Women strengthen the accounting profession


IWD2International Women’s Day — March 8, 2021 — is a time to celebrate the achievements of women and acknowledge the valuable insights of women in the accounting profession.

This year, we asked AICPA and CIMA members to share their perspective on the pandemic.

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Are you ready for these ESG trends?

Investors, customers and key stakeholders continue to seek reliable and transparent information on a variety of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. The accounting profession Sustainability has a key role to play. Accountants within organizations play an important role in integrating critical business information; implementing and maintaining relevant processes and controls; making and enabling business decisions; and reporting to stakeholders in a holistic, integrated way. Public accountants play a critical role in providing assurance and advisory services to organizations to enhance confidence in the reported information. As influential members of almost every business, government and non-governmental organization, professional accountants are uniquely positioned to make a difference.

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COVID-19 challenges in commercial real estate audits

GettyImages-468759872Now that 2020 has concluded, many owners of commercial real estate are contending with the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts on their financial performance.

As auditors, you should recognize that the execution of financial statement audits for 2020 is going to be different from prior years, and the commercial real estate market brings with it a range of issues that you will have to be prepared for. You can expect many facets of a commercial real estate audit to feel the pandemic’s effects. The focus of this blog is on impairment considerations for commercial real estate properties.

You and your engagement team may want to make use of AICPA resources such as the COVID-19 audit toolkit and the COVID-19 accounting resources.

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7 tips to help you tackle tax season

GettyImages-506870706Around this time last year, 12 months and 135 years ago to be exact, we binge-watched “Tiger King” and pondered Prince Harry and Meghan’s royal departure. In early March 2020, we also worked through what we thought would be another conventional tax season. Remember when we were laser-focused on improving our client services and figuring out the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and the term Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) wasn’t in our vocabulary? That all feels like a lifetime ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives, communities and ways of working upside down. We grappled with remote working and technology, dealt with IRS operational issues, struggled to keep up with new tax laws and guidance and took on new advisory roles while dealing with a never-ending tax season.

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6 wise choices to start this tax season strongly

GettyImages-497325655If you are like many of the tax practitioners I’ve talked to lately, the 2020 filing season felt like a rambling run-on sentence.

Because of the pandemic, last year’s April 15 filing deadline was extended to July, which ran into fall extension season and bled into more tax legislation. Now we are staring down another April 15 deadline probably not as rested and refreshed as we usually are in late February. 

However, to put things in perspective, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes (I routinely say some version of this to my teenager, whether she wants to hear it or not):

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”

Roy T. Bennett

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Top audit challenges in 2021: peer reviewers weigh in

GettyImages-526703275“Same as last year?” Definitely not.

This year won’t be “business as usual” for auditors. Auditors are navigating a new revenue recognition standard and still dealing with pandemic-related disruptions. CPAs have worked hard to perform audits under uncertain circumstances since the pandemic began, and that work will continue this year.

The AICPA® will help you prepare for these changes so you can keep performing high-quality work. We talked to experts — more than 230 peer reviewers — about the challenges auditors are facing around revenue recognition and the current business environment. We’ve also identified resources that will help you audit successfully.

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Three cybercrime trends to prepare for in 2021

3 ways to prepare for cybercrime in 2021 photoCyber breaches have become more common threats for businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitalization of many companies and a shift to remote working. That increased first-quarter cybercrime 273%  in 2020 compared to 2019. The new and innovative ways hackers found to steal company data cost U.S. businesses an average of $8.64 million per breach. Even more startling: small businesses were victims of nearly a third of all cyberattacks.

What new trends, patterns and hacks can we expect this year? How can CPA firms protect their practice and their clients from cyberattacks?

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This Valentine’s Day, talk money

Stress bad headerThey say money can’t buy love, but it can buy heartbreak. Love and finances are exceedingly complex subjects, so it makes sense that it only gets more complicated when you combine them. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the AICPA® Financial Literacy Commission encourages Americans to give their loved ones the gift of an honest talk about money.

Nearly three in four (73%) married or cohabitating Americans say financial decisions have caused tension in their relationships. Of these, nearly half (47%) admit that this tension has negatively affected intimacy with their partner. This is all according to a recent AICPA survey The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA).

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How your peers are moving digital transformation forward

Shutterstock_1126321616Millions of smaller organizations have used digital transformation to reinvent the way they work during the pandemic. The accounting profession is no exception. Fully 97% of respondents to an informal poll of AICPA and CIMA members in late fall 2020 said COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in their organizations, firms and small businesses.

That poll was part of a series to learn more about AICPA and CIMA members’ perceptions on how to keep digital transformation in process. The data, while not statistically representative of the whole member community, offers a quick snapshot of the concerns many organizations may need to address on their digital transformation journey.

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The most overlooked way leaders can relieve staff stress

Shutterstock_267283724Most organizations are effectively helping their staffs cope during a time that has put even the strongest among us on edge. Some stress-relieving strategies include:

  • moving to a four-day workweek,
  • giving stipends for wellness coaches or classes and
  • openly discussing mental health and better self-care with the staff.

Job security is one of people’s top worries. According to a National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation study, 54% of Americans fear that they’ll lose their job because of the pandemic. Articles, studies, podcasts or white papers are published almost daily about how employees must learn new skills to remain employable in a world where industries are going through digital transformation. The accounting and finance profession is no exception. From conducting audits and safeguarding clients’ data to improving customers’ experiences, technology is altering how we work.

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It’s Data Privacy Day. Where has your ID been?

HeadlineYour personal identification (ID) is just that, personal. Unfortunately, in today’s world, your ID could get compromised with everyday activities such as ordering food online or signing up for a new music service. To observe Data Privacy Day, the AICPA® Financial Literacy Commission encourages you to take a few steps to find out where your ID has been — and make sure it’s safe and secure.

It might surprise you to learn that most Americans feel that it’s inevitable that their information will be stolen. Three in five (60%) say that it’s likely that ID theft will lead to a financial loss in the next year. The good news is that they recognize this as a real threat. The bad news is that many still don’t incorporate measures to protect their financial information, even with a significant increase in their online shopping since the start of the pandemic. This is all according to a recent AICPA survey The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA).

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Plan for your clients to get both PPP loans and the ERC

Many-coins-are-stacked-in-a-graph-shape-for-financial-planning-concepts-1186701116New legislation from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 creates a chance for some of your clients to take advantage of both Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

Several changes specific to the ERC can provide an opportunity for additional relief for your clients. The significant changes that affect small businesses include:

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Taxpayers are unaware of remote worker state tax liabilities

Shutterstock_1072365962During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become common for many companies. What once was a relatively small percentage of remote workers has drastically increased. A recent survey found that many new remote workers are unaware of the potential state tax implications of working in a state or states different from where their company is located.

On behalf of the American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA®), The Harris Poll surveyed 2,053 U.S. adults in October. Among the 58% of Americans employed, 42% have worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and 25% were currently working remotely. More than half (55%) of those working remotely during the pandemic were unaware that failing to change their state tax withholding to reflect their remote work situation could have tax consequences.

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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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5 tips to protect yourself while holiday shopping online

Shutterstock_337089266This holiday season, researchers expect consumer spending to mirror prior seasons but with a huge swing to online shopping. While you’re buying for your loved ones and feeling warm and fuzzy, cybercriminals are feeling the same about the uptick in online shopping because it presents more opportunities to steal data.

With cybercrime expected to reach $6 trillion in 2021, being aware and maintaining safe cyber practices will benefit you significantly. Here are five things you can do to protect yourself during the holiday season:

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How to be thankful – even in 2020

Shutterstock_488784811For me, Thanksgiving has historically been an endurance sport. I’ve repeatedly proven to myself that if I can only survive my family’s barrage of questions regarding my singlehood, if I can simply feign an interest in football, if I can laugh off an inebriated uncle’s inappropriate limericks while covering the ears of my innocent siblings, then I will be rewarded with hours of judgment-free gluttony. Turkey with gravy and stuffing. Warm biscuits — split, buttered and steaming. Multiple unnecessary versions of the ever-ubiquitous green bean casserole. Tomato aspic, ostracized and jiggling in a darkened corner of a makeshift buffet table. And pies. Pecan pies. Pumpkin pies. Chocolate chess pies. The delicious bounty makes the familial challenges worth it all.

But this Thanksgiving is different. For many like myself, instead of the bounty and the family, there’ll merely be isolation.

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Your support matters: Give back this Giving Tuesday

AICPA Foundation-iStock-1035789052Many of us take stock of our good fortunes during the holiday season, reflecting on what we’re most grateful for and giving back to help others in need. This year has been trying for most of us. Just as businesses and professionals  face economic hardships, many college students face challenges and uncertainties about how to fund their education and secure their futures.

That’s why the AICPA Foundation’s work has never been more important. Established nearly a century ago, the Foundation aims to advance the science of accountancy and accounting education. Through the profession’s generous donations, we equip accounting students with the much-needed support they need to progress in their journeys and reach their ultimate goal of becoming CPAs.

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AICPA advocacy makes big impact during pandemic

Shutterstock_121973707As the accounting profession continues to build trust, create opportunity and grow prosperity amid the global pandemic, the AICPA has implemented numerous advocacy initiatives, built coalitions, created tools and provided leadership that simultaneously propels the profession while addressing its issues and concerns. The AICPA’s advocacy efforts have helped the profession navigate clients’ and businesses’ needs in the United States and abroad. This blog highlights some important recent events in our U.S.-based advocacy.

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Auditing health-care entities affected by COVID-19

GettyImages-867204006 (2)It’s difficult to overstate COVID-19’s impact on the health-care industry. These changes vary dramatically among individual entities, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to auditing them. The audit risks vary widely.

Any health-care entity audit should start with a client meeting that covers several COVID-19 variables. They should include whether the client received federal funding, related financial statement implications, remote work arrangements and any furloughs or layoffs.

Here are major considerations to keep in mind during your audits.

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Your top 6 automation questions answered

Shutterstock_1806567244What’s RPA? Will bots take my job? How can my firm get started with automation? 

To answer these questions and more, we spoke with two automation experts – Jotham Ty, the founder and CEO of Gappify, a provider of automation software for corporate accounting teams and Lesley Mast, CPA, who is leading the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) for her firm at Rea & Associates in Wooster, Ohio.

Participants were enthusiastic and inquisitive during our 20-minute LinkedIn Live event, How CPA firms can get started with automation. After the event, Ty and Mast provided additional answers to questions.

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Account for your personality

Today is International Accounting Day, the day the world celebrates YOU. And because it’s your unique talent that attracts clients, we want to have some fun by discovering your “true accountant personality!” Think you know? Take this quiz to find out exactly which type of accountant you are. When you finish, share it with your accounting friends so they can do the same.

 

 

4 steps to take your tax practice to the next level before 2021

GettyImages-991037654This year has been a whirlwind. I’m sure that the extended April 15 filing deadline, the payment deadlines and helping clients navigate PPP funding have kept you busy. Like me, you’re probably just catching your breath. When you’re ready, why not take a moment to reflect on the year you’ve had and consider your goals for your practice. Have you spoken with clients about their retirement or estate plans? Now might be the time to proactively and more formally incorporate financial planning into your tax practice—and begin identifying yourself as a CPA financial planner. Here are four steps you can take to get started: 

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A reminder to focus on self-care

6a0133f5884316970b0264e2de96f9200dOf the many lessons 2020 has taught us, one is the importance of self-care. We are often so busy making sure we take care of the things around us that we bypass taking care of ourselves. In our efforts to make sure our employers, clients, children, parents and pets have what they need to thrive, we can overlook our health and happiness.

As we wrapup Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge you not to make this mistake. Being a two-time breast cancer survivor, I cannot stress enough the importance of early cancer detection — it saves lives. I encourage you to prioritize your well-being and get your screening on time. If you are already late, make an appointment today.

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Create a respectful workplace for people with disabilities

Shutterstock_777969256According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four adults in the U.S. — nearly 61 million people — is living with a disability that impacts their life activities, including work.

In 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act became law, prohibiting discrimination based on disability. And while Americans with disabilities are protected by the law, some employers still overlook crucial elements to maintaining inclusivity in the workplace.

Disability inclusion means understanding the relationship between the way people function and how they participate in society. It means making sure everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires.

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Legalization: What’s ahead with cannabis accounting

2010-74311-Cannabis-Squad—BlogBallot initiatives relating to cannabis will be voted on in five states — Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — this November. Topics being considered are presented in Marijuana on the ballot.

If you are a CPA working with clients in the cannabis industry, or if you think you might in the future, you’ll want a firm grasp of the issues regarding cannabis accounting.

Cannabis? Marijuana? THC? CBD? Hemp?

Like most industries, the cannabis industry has its own vocabulary.

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Here for good: We’re working with you, for you

Shutterstock_1724121793Main Street America needs CPA expertise more than ever.

Members like you have been working tirelessly to support small businesses and help our country’s economy. You don’t have to face these challenges alone.

Since the start of the pandemic, the AICPA has doubled down on efforts to support the profession and the work you are doing to support your clients and employers.

As your trusted member organization, we serve you, keeping you up to date with changing government guidance and ensuring you have the practical help and resources to do your job.

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Climate risk and business resilience: How the profession can help

GettyImages-649659849At the beginning of 2020, before the COVID-19 public health crisis severely impacted communities across the globe, the World Economic Forum sounded the alarm about climate risk in its 2020 Global Risks Report. For the first time, the top five long-term risks were all environmental: extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disaster, biodiversity loss and human-made natural disasters. Considering that in 2019 weather disasters cost an estimated U.S.$232 billion worldwide, it’s not surprising that the environment took center stage in their risk assessment. This year, risk has become reality for many. Even as people and economies across the globe struggle with the challenges of the pandemic, we are witnessing the dire consequences of environmental events as fires and floods threaten the economic recovery of impacted communities.

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Free cybersecurity resources to get you up to speed

Shutterstock_1363031105Ready to learn about cybersecurity to help your clients or business? The pandemic, and corresponding increase of eCommerce and internet use, have created many opportunities for cyber thieves — data breaches increased 273% in the first quarter of 2020.

But opportunities are also being created for you. It’s anticipated that the cybersecurity market will be worth $248 billion by 2023, providing a unique opening for CPAs.

CPAs are trusted advisers. Your qualifications as a CPA, along with a shortage of cybersecurity experts, put you in a prime position to lead businesses in their cybersecurity efforts.

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Unlock 4 hidden benefits of succession planning

GettyImages-673115987If you’ve been putting off starting or updating your succession planning, I’d like to share a stark reminder I experienced a couple of years ago: It’s important to act now. My 10-person, Windham, N.H., firm was considering buying a CPA firm from a sole practitioner who had an interesting practice in a good location. We had several positive meetings. But just as we were formalizing a deal, we heard the sole practitioner had unexpectedly passed away. Although the next of kin wanted to continue with the sale of the practice, we had to decline since we knew that many of the firm’s clients would have already moved on by the time we took over. The CPA’s failure to plan for transition made the firm less valuable to us.

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Your firm’s most underrated tool

Shutterstock_520811992Your firm already has a logo and a website. Your branding job is done, right? Not exactly. Gone are the days where simply having an online presence and an eye-catching logo were enough to attract new clients and set you apart from your competition. Today, clients want an experience and meaningful interactions. So, how do you give them that? Branding.

How a company is identified and distinguished, also known as branding, is essential for any business no matter the size, industry, clientele or years in operation. It leaves an impression on your customers, lets them know what they are getting and builds their trust. How you brand your firm can greatly influence your success. Businesses that show consistent branding increase revenue up to 23%.

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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Tony Torres

Shutterstock_796571017It’s no secret. The accounting profession is in dire need of more ethnic diversity.

While numbers have increased over the last decade, only 15% of enrollees in accounting bachelor’s and master’s programs are Hispanic. Despite the knowledge that diversity within an organization breeds success, even fewer —10% — go on to get hired into accounting and finance roles in U.S. CPA firms.

Tony Torres, whose father immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1961 and whose mother immigrated from Bolivia in 1963, is the Chief Inclusion Officer of Audit & Assurance at Deloitte & Touche, LLP and a member of the AICPA’s National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. I spoke to Torres to learn how he has successfully navigated the accounting ecosystem.

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The learning journey and speed of change

Shutterstock_1368244235The COVID-19 crisis accelerated us into a new era of digital engagement — an era characterized by greater personalization and omnichannel access.

At the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, we have a responsibility to the accounting and finance profession and to our members, and 42% of you have told us that you are unsure that you’ve adapted well to challenges resulting from COVID-19. We want to help, and in collaboration with our partner EY Seren, we present Human Signals: New patterns of behavior and the accounting profession. In this blog, we look at the second pillar of the report — the need for flexibility as we adapt and learn.

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How to strengthen client relationships during a pandemic

Shutterstock_776701864How can you expand services to existing clients and attract new clients in the current environment? Here are tips from experts.   

Choose the software that works best for you.

In searching for new ways to maintain ties to clients, Christine DeAngelis, CPA, tax master at 20-person High Rock Accounting has found that video conferencing makes the contact more personal, even when an email would also work.

Continue reading "How to strengthen client relationships during a pandemic " »

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