Archive for the ‘AICPA’ Category

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Changes To The CPA Exam

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

The Journal of Accountancy has a podcast titled, How Tax Reform – and Excel – Are Changing The CPA Exam. It is hosted by Chris Baysden of the AICPA.

Tax reform will have an important impact on many aspects of the accounting profession — including the CPA Exam. In this week’s episode of the podcast, we talked to Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, about the changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How the AICPA’s exams team has gone about collecting feedback on the exam.
  • Why continuous testing could be on the horizon.
  • The timeline for implementing changes due to tax reform.
  • How and why a practice analysis will be initiated.
  • The changes that test takers will see to monitors and software used in the exam.

Here’s a link to the podcast (it’s only 11 minutes long). You need to know so you can advise and encourage the young accountants in your firm to take the Exam and get it behind them!

  • Nothing happens until something moves.
  • Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Trends for PCPS Member Firms

“Nobody comes here anymore, it’s too crowded” – Yogi Berra

Want to know what’s going on with small, medium and even some larger firms?

Check out this video from Mark Koziel.

You probably know Mark well, but in case you don’t, Mark is Executive Vice President – Firm Services for the American Institute of CPAs. He leads the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS), Firm Relationship Management, Small Firms, Diversity & Inclusion, Young Member Initiatives, Technical Hotline and Center for Plain English Accounting.

  • There's a rebel lying deep in my soul. Anytime anybody tells me the trend is such and such, I go the opposite direction. I hate the idea of trends. I hate imitation; I have a reverence for individuality.
  • Clint Eastwood

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Profession Update via Melancon

“Attention is a limited resource, so pay attention to where you pay attention.” – Howard Rheingold

Barry Melancon spoke at the BDO Alliance conference this week. Daniel Hood, Editor of Accounting Today communicated many great points from Melancon via Twitter. Twitter is often a great way to learn things – I hope you have a Twitter account and follow @AccountingEdit (Dan Hood) and @CPAmanagement (me).

Here are some of Hoods tweets from Melancon’s presentation. This is IMPORTANT information so you can better lead your firm into the future.

  • For those of you who believe the profession can be insulated from change, that’s a false optimism.
  • Once AI, blockchain, etc. become accepted, they will completely redefine what we think a professional accountant is.
  • Technical skills are table stakes. Finance execs want tech skills, communications skills, and critical thinking/ judgment skills.
  • Technology and the law are changing what tax compliance means.
  • What the world wants now is a combination of tax compliance and tax planning. Tax reform gives us a great opportunity to reposition ourselves this way.
  • The number of U.S. accounting grads hired into public accounting dropped 20% in the last 2 years. But overall hiring at firms was flat – they’re hiring fewer accounting grads.
  • In 2017, a quarter of all CPA firm acquisitions were of non-CPA firms.
  • The digital age in transforming organizations from the traditional pyramid model to more of a diamond, with automation and outsourcing removing a lot of the entry-level staff.
  • We need to start thinking about ‘fat middle’ firms, with more skilled middle-level employees than entry-level staff.
  • In terms of new skill sets, we’re most concerned about mid-career people who need to unlearn what they’ve already learned.
  • The notion of measuring CPE by the hour has to go by the wayside – it’s not about the hours, it’s about the skills learned.
  • The profession can’t say ‘We’re fine.’ No one is, and we’re not exempt. Are we well-positioned for making the changes that go with not being fine? Yes — if we’re willing to change, if we’re willing to take risks, we are very well-positioned
  • The quality of one's life depends on the quality of attention. Whatever you pay attention to will grow more important in your life.
  • Deepak Chopra

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Different – Bold – Fast!

Lisa Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

Thank-you to Lisa Simpson, Associate Director – Firm Services AICPA for posting this picture from the AICPA Digital CPA Conference back in December.

If there is any other advice for CPA practitioners right now, it pales in comparison to these three statements.

Many of my clients are smaller firms. I think “Move fast” especially applies to them.

That doesn’t let the larger firms off the hook. My larger, multi-partner firms need to also take these three statements to heart.

I see “Think different” happening in many firms right now. But, being bold and moving quickly are lagging behind.

Adopt these three statements as your firm’s internal motto, a motto that will take your firm into the future. Make posters and put them up around the office. Make a screensaver using these three. Discuss the three statements at each partner meeting.

Most importantly, ask your team members:

  • Are we thinking differently enough?
  • Are we making bold decisions and taking bold steps?
  • How can you help us move faster?
  • Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.
  • Mark Zukerberg

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Gender Study

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafzai

The AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee recently released the results of their 2nd annual CPA Firm Gender Study.

women-cpa-firms-gender-survey-768x493There has been little change. Women still make up less than one-quarter of partners in public accounting firms.

As usual, the smaller the firm, the more female partners.

Here’s some info from the Executive Summary but I urge you to review the entire report and share it among your partner group.

  • Partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male, with women representing only 22% of partners in CPA firms.
  • A growing percentage of women are serving as directors or non-equity partners.
  • Only 47% of firms have a formal succession planning process and only 2% include a formal gender component in their plans.
  • Flexible work hours are the most popular program, followed by reduced hours and telecommuting.

Women are key to succession for male partners. Make sure your firm is working on, or already has, a plan to help women (and men) to become future owners of your firm.

Here’s a link to the members of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee members. Maybe someone from your firm should volunteer for the committee.

  • Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.
  • Diana Ross

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Resource For What You Need To Know About Tax Reform

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Here’s an opportunity for CPAs to learn more……

What You Need to Know About Tax Reform

AICPA’s Oct. 18 Webcast Will Cover Proposals, Politics and Prospects for Passage

Washington (Oct. 12, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is offering a tax reform webcast on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.

The audio webcast features Edward Karl, CPA, CGMA, AICPA vice president of taxation, and Melissa Labant, J.D., CPA/PFS, CGMA, AICPA director of tax policy and advocacy.

Entitled Tax Reform: What CPAs Need to Know, the webcast is intended to brief participants about the latest tax reform developments and prospects for passage.

One CPE credit is available for the webcast.  It is $59 for AICPA members and $69 for non-members.  Group registration is also available.  Those interested may register at http://tinyurl.com/y9q9nd8n

  • Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.
  • W. B. Yeats

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Focus On Next Generation Clients

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – George Orwell

Firm leaders are always faced with multiple priorities. Probably, two of the most prominent are hiring and retaining top talent and taking great care of current clients. Leaders are also often deeply engaged with a new client pursuit. Your rainmaker partners truly love the pursuit and sometimes pay more attention to prospects and new clients than they do to their long-time loyal clients.

There is another priority that needs attention. In a recent article via the AICPA CPA Insider, How to engage next-generation clients, Jennifer Wilson of Convergence Coaching, reminds practitioners of the massive generational shift that is happening over the next several years within their own client community. Many firm leaders have not developed strategies to deal with this client leadership transition to a younger, more tech savvy generation.

It is time for firm leaders to add this priority to their list – more focus on next generation clients.

Wilson not only addresses what next-gen clients value, she also gives practitioners six “first steps” to begin appealing to and attracting these clients.

Be sure to read the entire article.

  • First we are children to our parents, then parents to our children, then parents to our parents, then children to our children.
  • Milton Greenblatt

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

It’s Not All About Salary – But It Is About Salary

“Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have probably heard it or read it several times, to millennials being happy at work isn’t all about salary. Maybe it isn’t ALL about salary but most people want to know they are being paid fairly.

Per the Journal of Accountancy, CPAs satisfied as average salary tops six figures.  This information comes from the more than 5,000 CPAs responding to the inaugural Compensation Survey in May-June, 2017.

Accounting remains a lucrative profession for those who are qualified, as the average salary of a CPA based in the United States is $119,000 per year, excluding bonuses. Newly qualified CPAs with less than one year of experience earn an average salary of $66,000 per year, and CPAs with more than 20 years of experience average $152,000 per year in salary.

Note that the above comment states “excluding bonuses.” From my experience, almost all CPA firms offer some sort of bonus program for accountants.

KozielAccounting firm leaders worry about retention. But, another interesting finding from the survey is that four out five CPAs said they were not planning to change job roles in the next two years.

Here’s a great comment, in the article, from Mark Koziel, executive vice president-Firm Services at the AICPA:

“Careers in accounting are a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, I think people leave great organizations for a short-term financial benefit rather than the long-term potential. So when you compare your salary situation, be sure to do so from a holistic perspective.”

  • Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don't want to impress people that they don't like.
  • Will Rogers

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

AICPA Campaign Promotes CPA Firms’ Key Role in Advising Small Business

“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde

I received the following press release about the latest #CPAPowered updated. Check it out and learn about new tools to help you promote your firm.

Latest #CPAPowered Update Designed to Raise Firms’ Visibility on Social Media and National TV

NEW YORK (Sept. 18, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs today launched the latest update of its national #CPApowered campaign, an initiative designed to showcase the strengths of CPA firms as trusted tax and business advisors to consumers and small businesses.

This year’s campaign features two 30-second videos with the tagline, “Don’t Worry, I’m a CPA,” both of which allude to practitioners’ expertise in business development, tax planning, risk management, cybersecurity and more. The videos are part of a national cable television and social media buy this fall. Firms can promote themselves through paid opportunities on YouTube, Facebook and local television, as well as use the two videos and other materials for free on their website and social media channels.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and no one is better suited to provide trusted, informed business advice to this sector than CPAs,” said Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, executive vice president of firm services for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “With the #CPApowered campaign, we’re reminding small business owners that ‘hey, we’ve got your back.’”

Since its launch in 2014, #CPApowered has reached more than three million people through innovative digital media and content strategies. Besides the two videos in this year’s campaign – “It’s a Jungle Out There” and “Small Businesses Take a Beating” – the AICPA has created a CPA marketing toolkit for small business with promotional materials that firms can personalize with their brand. More than 130 firms and several state CPA societies have signed up to participate in the campaign this year.

Information on the videos, suggested social media postings and co-branding options for materials can be found at www.aicpa.org/cpapowered. Videos and content for small business owners on such topics as acquiring financing, succession planning, and family office considerations can be found at cpapowered.org.

  • Bad decisions made with good intentions are still bad decisions.
  • Jim Collins

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Evolving Into a Consultancy Firm

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare

Here’s the message from the AICPA, state societies, top management consultants and your peers:

Your CPA firm must move from

compliance to consultancy if you want

to survive into the future!

Learn from the Big 4. They haven’t claimed to be a CPA firm for years. I think you must admit they have been rather successful. Recently, while reading an article in National Geographic I thought of most of you – those working in local, regional and even national firms “below” the Big 4. Most of you I meet don’t think of yourselves as consultants, you identify with CPA, Certified Public Accountant.

Does your local press, your business community and your clients think of you as a consultancy firm? Now is the time to re-invent yourself. Here’s the passage that got me thinking about all this:

From Skitch

  • People evolve and it's important to not stop evolving just because you've reached adulthood.
  • J. K. Simmons