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.

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Employee payroll tax deferral — Is it workable?

Shutterstock_535688566“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

— Helen Keller

These perilous economic times are nothing short of a daring adventure. The reason the AICPA created the Coronavirus (COVID-19) resource center and SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) resources for CPAs is to help our members — in your critical trusted adviser role — as you nurse the small business world back to economic recovery.

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4 tax and financial planning tips to share with clients

GettyImages-578161073Uncertainty is a common theme these days. People worry about the future and face many personal finance questions. The AICPA Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Trends survey found that 80% of CPA financial planners said their clients had a higher stress level about their financial plan than normal. The CPAs surveyed reported that they spoke with their clients early in the COVID-19 pandemic and often. As a CPA financial planner, you play a key role in reassuring clients and easing their concerns. In this blog post, CPA financial planners and CPAs with the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS™) credential detail the top tips they are implementing with their clients now.    

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Why CPAs should care about RPA

Shutterstock_1287129859Big data. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. You’ve heard it before — automation will change how we work. While exciting, the prospect of mastering new technology — or even the lingo — can seem overwhelming at times. What does automation really mean, and how will it affect your career specifically?

Whether you’re new to the profession, own your own company or work within the finance function of a business, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is here to empower you with the knowledge you need to stay relevant. Our resources make it easy to learn about some of the hottest technology, like automation, data analytics and cybersecurity.

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Community has a new look. But we’re still connected.

Shutterstock_1044017923At the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, we have a responsibility to our members and the accounting profession. A key component of this responsibility is ensuring that we provide informed and robust intelligence across a range of topics. In collaboration with our partner EY Seren, we’re researching the human impact of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the profession, its practitioners and the wider community.

The content in the report — Human Signals: New patterns of behavior and the accounting profession — aims to empower readers and provide guidance on how to navigate a highly unpredictable future.

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Networking in a new world

Shutterstock_1726119376Amid continued business uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic caused, CPAs have successfully moved their professional lives to a virtual environment. But while they may have learned that it’s possible to conduct business interactions online, maintaining personal connections with clients, referral sources and other key contacts can be more challenging. Virtual networking can be done, though, if you follow these tips.

Focus on the personal

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8 things to know about the audit evidence standard

GettyImages-956306692As we were finalizing Statement on Auditing Standards No. 142, COVID-19 arrived and caused major disruptions to the country’s economy, including changing the ways auditors were working. Automated tools and techniques — like conducting remote observation using cameras or drones — became necessary to perform certain audit procedures, such as observing the physical count of inventory. These and other automated tools and techniques are referenced in the guidance accompanying the audit evidence standard that was issued last month. After practitioners’ experiences over the past several months, these techniques likely will feel more familiar today than they did several months ago.

Before you dive in to read the standard, we’d like to highlight some key changes; the standard:

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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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July 15 Filing Date — Not to Move

Shutterstock_1682999677What's called a difficult decision is a difficult decision because either way you go, there are penalties.

-Elia Kazan

To advocate effectively on our members’ behalf and deliver the right resources, the AICPA periodically conducts member surveys to gather opinions on various subjects. As we navigate through this ongoing filing season, the AICPA Tax Executive Committee asked Tax Section members for their concerns and opinions regarding the July 15 deadline. The Tax Executive Committee has been carefully considering a decision regarding July 15 since, well, April 15. If you read July 15 filing date — To move or not to move, you know the heart of the matter was whether to move the deadline. We now have an answer — don’t move the July 15 due date. As famous ‘50s and ‘60s Hollywood director Elia Kazan infers above, our decision was complicated and multi-faceted. There were many issues to consider.

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5 tips for working from home with kids

Shutterstock_1677609325Remember “Take Your Child to Work Day”? For many of us, that’s become every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down offices, leaving professionals to carve out workspaces in their homes while keeping children occupied or helping them with schoolwork at the kitchen table. We’ve compiled the following advice to help CPAs remain productive, including tips from members of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee:

Protect your space. With so many firms going remote without much notice, not everyone was set up to work from home. If you have an office or spare bedroom, consider designating that a no-interruption zone for when you have important meetings or projects. If your environment doesn’t allow for that, try using a signal to your kids — like an upside-down cup on the counter — that you need uninterrupted time.

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5 must-have tax tools before July 15

GettyImages-1189336762Have you seen the memes or cartoons on social media that joke about how days and months are non-distinct during quarantine? While sheltering in place, we’ve had a vague notion of time. But for a few months now, we’ve had a new date on our radars: July 15th.

As the new tax deadline approaches, here are questions, ideas and resources for your toolbelt:

  1. Have you heard from all your individual clients?

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Turn challenges of sheltering in place into opportunities

Shutterstock_489814966This pandemic has rocked our world and the digital accelerator was pushed to the floorboard. We’re not going back to business as usual before COVID-19, and this presents opportunities for women to propel our profession forward with expanded influence and leadership.

Relationship building

During this time, we’ve been invited into one another’s home and experienced one another’s personal daily lives. We’ve seen a host of previously unknown aspects of personal lives — each other’s homes, favorite T-shirts and PJs, and children and pets via Zoom bombs.

Continue reading "Turn challenges of sheltering in place into opportunities" »

3 estate planning conversations to have now

GettyImages-681886373The coronavirus pandemic has encouraged people with existing estate plans to consider reviewing and modifying them, and people without plans to develop them. Regardless of your client’s situation, there are worthwhile conversations about estate planning to be had.

As a CPA, you have a strong relationship with your clients and a comprehensive understanding of their finances. Because of this, you provide great value, and when partnered with an attorney, you form a solid team. You bring your expertise on the financial structure and they bring their knowledge of the legal system.

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Considerations before reopening your office

IStock_000049546004_XXXLargeReopening your office isn’t as simple as unlocking the office door. Consider several factors before jumping to any reopening decision, starting with a couple of questions:

  1. Are our employees still productive with the office closed?
  2. Are our clients’ needs being met?

If the answer to both is “yes,” then what’s the rush to reopen? Understandably, you and your employees may be a little stir-crazy being at home, or maybe you’re frustrated paying rent for unused office space. Neither are good reasons to rush to reopen and risk employee safety. Perhaps now is a better time to consider boosting employee morale or focus on a long-term virtual solution that keeps clients and employees safe and shows that you care. There’s a session at this year’s all-virtual ENGAGE2020 (July 20-24) on enabling remote workers and virtual office.

Continue reading "Considerations before reopening your office" »

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