Archive for the ‘AICPA’ Category

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Keeping You Informed About Blockchain

“I’ve spent a ton of time studying blockchain the last three years, and it’s about getting connected to the right resources.” – – Gary Boomer

As I talk with practitioners this summer, I am finding that many are still not educating themselves about blockchain.

I have blogged about it before and today I am reminding you once again to learn all you can about blockchain.

There is a very helpful article via The Journal of Accountancy, posted recently – Why CPAs need to get a grip on blockchain.

The article covers a presentation by Gary Boomer, CPA/CITP, CGMA, of Boomer Consulting, at the recent AICPA ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas.

Boomer highlighted a number of crucial concepts that helps explain blockchain and gives insight into its value propositions for the accounting profession:

  1. Blockchain is secure and immutable
  2. Think of blockchain as the internet of value
  3. Blockchain data will create new business opportunities
  4. Studying up on blockchain will pay off

Read the entire article and more about each crucial concept here.

  • Accountants who get a grip on blockchain today will be the ones who successfully pivot their services tomorrow.
  • Gary Boomer

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

AICPA Top Issues Survey 2017

“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” — Jack Welch

Every other year, the AICPA/PCPS conducts a top issues survey. Some of the findings from the 2017 Top Issues Survey were released yesterday.

Finding qualified staff was the No. 1 issue in every firm-size segment except sole practitioners where it ranked No. 3. Likewise, retaining qualified staff was a Top 5 issue in every grouping except sole practitioners. Recruitment and retention were leading concerns last time the survey was conducted in 2015, too, but the challenge appears steeper as the profession continues to gain strength in a growing economy.

Besides staffing, other common Top 5 issues this year include succession planning, acquisition of new clients, workload compression and keeping up with tax law complexity.  One former top issue, retention of current clients, has fallen out of the top issues for all groups.

So, no big surprises here. Just keep focused on developing a firm culture where people will want to stay and develop their career in public accounting. If you want to know how to do that, just browse through many of my past blog posts!

  • The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
  • Harvey S. Firestone

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The Skills That Are Needed

“Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” – Ralph Marston

Many of us rest upon our current skills – we know a lot and that has gotten us to where we are. That’s all fine and good but you can never stop learning and improving your knowledge base if you are working in the CPA profession.

Recently, Barry Melancon, CEO of the AICPA, shared the Top 10 Skills that will be need in 2020. CPA firm leaders and their teams must prepare for the future beginning now! (Thanks to @J_Maiman for the photo.)

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  • It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.
  • Wilbur Wright

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Can This Be A CPA Firm?

“We are trying to change this old culture to try to sustain our profession for the future.” – Bernie Ackerman, CPA

Quite a few years ago I met Bernie Ackerman and his son, Jason at an AICPA conference. For several years, we would meet-up and talk about their firm, current topics, other firms and the profession, in general.

BernieBernie and Jason have always been, to me, a great two-generational team that had a firm grasp on what they could do to take their firm, BNA, into the future.

Recently, they were featured in the Journal of Accountancy for the very innovative things they were doing. The title: BNA: A Completely Flat Hierarchy.

As the article notes, you might think they were a tech start-up because staffers set their own working hours and never touch a time sheet. All employees get their own offices, starting on day one. There is no path to partner because there are no partners!

While their practices are very unusual in the profession, they are Jasonpaying off in term of recruitment. Jason Ackerman reports that they receive 10 to 15 resumes a week, even when they are not hiring!

Follow the links above to read the article and to visit their website.

I hope this inspires you to create a great culture and a future for your firm.

 

  • The best way to predict your future is to create it.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Friday, April 28th, 2017

“For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Because of all the concerns about cybersecurity and the opportunity that it provides for CPAs to provide cybersecurity-related assurance services, I wanted to share a press release from the AICPA this week.

AICPA Unveils Cybersecurity Risk Management Reporting Framework

Voluntary Engagement Will Help Companies and Auditors Communicate Cyber Risk Readiness

NEW YORK (April 26, 2017) – At a time when organizations around the world are facing cybersecurity attacks, it is more important than ever for them to demonstrate to key stakeholders the extent and effectiveness of their cybersecurity risk management efforts. To help businesses meet this growing challenge, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has introduced a market-driven, flexible and voluntary cybersecurity risk management reporting framework.

“Cybersecurity threats are escalating, thereby unnerving boards of directors, managers, investors and customers of businesses of all sizes – whether public or private,” said Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, AICPA executive vice president for public practice. “While there are many methods, controls and frameworks for developing cybersecurity risk management programs, until now there hasn’t been a common language for companies to communicate about, and report on, these efforts.”

The AICPA’s new framework will enable all organizations – in industries worldwide – to take a proactive and agile approach to cybersecurity risk management and to communicate on those activities with stakeholders. Two resources that support reporting under the framework are being released today:

  • Description criteria – For use by management in explaining its cybersecurity risk management program in a consistent manner and for use by CPAs to report on management’s description.
  • Control criteria – Used by CPAs providing advisory or attestation services to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of the controls within a client’s program.

A third resource for CPAs will be available in May:

  • Attest guide – This guidance, Reporting on an Entity’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Program and Controls, will be published next month to assist CPAs engaged to examine and report on an entity’s cybersecurity risk management program.

Building on CPAs’ experience in auditing information technology controls, the AICPA’s Assurance Services Executive Committee identified the emerging need for cybersecurity-related assurance services. The goal was to enable companies to more effectively communicate the robustness of their cybersecurity risk management programs to key stakeholders.

“The framework we have developed will serve as a critical step to enabling a consistent, market-based mechanism for companies worldwide to explain how they’re managing cybersecurity risk,” Coffey explained. “We believe investors, boards, audit committees and business partners will see tremendous value in gaining a better understanding of organizations’ cybersecurity risk management efforts. That information, combined with the CPA’s opinion on the effectiveness of management’s efforts, will increase stakeholders’ confidence in organizations’ due care and diligence in managing cybersecurity risk.”

For more information and links to valuable resources for CPAs providing cybersecurity advisory and assurance services, visit our Cybersecurity Resource Center.

  • Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.
  • Maxwell Maltz

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Interesting Topics From The New Horizon Group Meeting

marc-rosenberg-2017“When you are in the news business, you always expect the unexpected.” – Helen Thomas

Earlier this month, I blogged about attending the New Horizon Group of CPA firm consultants’ annual meeting. It was held at the AICPA offices in New York.

This year I attended virtually (and it worked really well). Members are: Jim Bourke, Gale Crosley, Chris Frederiksen, Carl George, Angie Grissom, Rita Keller, Roman Kepczyk, Allan Koltin, Mark Koziel, Rob Nixon, Darren Root, Marc Rosenberg and Jennifer Wilson. Barry Melancon graciously gave us a briefing.

This week, Marc Rosenberg blogged about some “pearls of wisdom” obtained from that meeting. Be sure to read Rosenberg’s post here. Some significant changes are unfolding.

  • In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.
  • Voltaire

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Get Out Of Your Office And Learn From Others

How do you become a digital CPA? It would take a while to explain all the facets. You and your firm need to get there because there is so much opportunity with client accounting services.

Watch and listen to this short video about one firm’s journey and how they learned by attending the AICPA DigitalCPA conference.

  • I'm not trying to be new school and I'm not old school - I'm classic. There's a lot of new cars and there's a lot of old cars, but I'm just classic in doing what I do.
  • L L Cool J

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

AICPA Engage Conference

Here’s a press release about next June’s ENGAGE conference.  It is the familiar PractitionersTECH+ with much, much more.  It should be a high priority for you to continually expand your knowledge. Here’s a great opportunity. Hope to see you there! Bring staff members with you.

AICPA ENGAGE to Feature Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary and Google Executive Abigail Posner

All-in-One Event in June 2017 is Designed for CPAs, Tax and Financial Planners, Attorneys, Marketers and Audit and Advisory Professionals

NEW YORK (Oct. 3, 2016) – With six conferences rolled into one, AICPA ENGAGE is a singular event for CPAs, financial planners, advisory professionals and the marketers who support them. Its programming is unique, too, with specialized keynotes and session panels for each conference and thought-provoking, high-level presentations from speakers designed to appeal to all attendees.

AICPA ENGAGE, sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs in partnership with theAssociation for Accounting Marketing, will be held June 11-15, 2017, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The general session keynotes include:

  • Kevin O’Leary, a pull-no-punches judge on ABC’s Shark Tank and the entrepreneur behind educational software firm The Learning Company and other high-growth businesses, who will discuss lessons learned in his career
  • Abigail Posner, head of strategic planning at Google’s think tank, the ZOO, who will talk about how to unleash our innate creativity in business for greater productivity and growth
  • Jason Dorsey, co-founder and chief strategy officer of The Center for Generational Kinetics, who will discuss the business implications of his research into Millennials and other generations
  • AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, and AICPA Vice Chair Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, who together will give an update on the CPA profession

“AICPA ENGAGE’s size and depth gives attendees incredible flexibility in creating the learning experience they want,” said Clar Rosso, the AICPA’s vice president of member learning and competency. “Whether it’s technical expertise, practice management tips, out-of-the-box leadership advice or unmatched networking opportunities, the event offers something for everyone in public accounting, tax or financial advisory services.”

The six conferences that constitute AICPA ENGAGE are the Advanced Estate Planning Conference, Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference, National Advanced Accounting and Auditing Technical Symposium, Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference, Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual, and the Association for Accounting Marketing Annual Summit. Additional keynotes for each individual conference, as well as the full conference agenda, will be announced next month.

“The Association for Accounting Marketing is pleased to be part of AICPA ENGAGE as it gives our members access to sessions beyond our marketing and business development offerings, as well as introducing CPAs to what our association has to offer,” said Lauren Clemmer, executive director of the association.  “Members appreciate the ability to attend a conference with other members of their firm, and ENGAGE has expanded that opportunity even further with the addition of the other conferences.”

AICPA ENGAGE will feature an expanded exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors, a separate, CPE-eligible track of sessions covering AICPA initiatives, and a state-of-the-art, on-site registration and CPE-tracking system.

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
  • Gandhi

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Innovation

“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippman

It makes me SO happy when I hear about innovative things coming from people working at CPA firms.

While I often lament that we don’t see very much innovation and creativity within firms and that many firms are very happy with the status quo, there are some great firms out there leading the way for others.

The following is an announcement from CPA.com about the 2016 Innovative Practitioners’ awards.

CPA.com announced this week that Caitlin Lacher and Rachael Higginbotham, both representing Louisiana accounting and business advisory firm Postlethwaite & Netterville, have been named winners of the Innovative Practitioners 2016 Award. The annual award looks to recognize innovations in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting firms.

Lacher and Higginbotham both developed Pounce, a new business development tool, this previous summer. Pounce allows CPA firms to more easily manage and match staff resumes, industry experience, and other firm materials, allowing marketing and sales teams to quickly respond to new business opportunities.

Runner up:  (One of my clients – Congratulations, Charles!)

Charles Postal of Santos, Postal & Co., Rockville, Md. Adopted Yammer.com,Slack.com and OfficeVibe.com, among other services, to his firm to improve communication amongst staff.

Honorable Mention – a tie

    • Kathy Ryan of RoseRyan, Newark, Calif. Kathy helped develop her firm’s own in-house application, the RoseRyan Dream Team System, to automate time tracking, recruiting, revenue forecasting and more.
    • Dixie McCurley of Trusted CFO Solutions, Atlanta. Dixie helps lead CPA.com workshops on client accounting services in the cloud, but also walks the walk with her firm, developing customized accounting models for clients that deliver powerful data analytics for business decision-making.

    For more on the 2016 Innovative Practitioners Award, head to CPA.com’s site here.

  • Interviewer:

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Is that you?

I finally updated my Is That You With Rita? Flickr page.

I had several new ones to add for 2016. I hope you can find yourself among these fun pictures. There are 227 photos dating back about 10 years.

I love this quote by Hubert Humphrey, it fits me perfectly:

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”

Here is a special one:

Anita Goetz, Colleen Endres, Virginia Lowery, Bill Leach, Nancy Kriner, Diana Sarkine, is that you with Rita?

Anita Goetz, Colleen Endres, Virginia Lowery, Bill Leach, Nancy Kriner, Diana Sarkine, is that you with Rita?

  • A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
  • Walter Winchell