Archive for the ‘AICPA’ Category

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

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Please Pay Attention To Security Issues! A Message From Barry Melancon

I received the following press release from the AICPA.  This is very important for firms.

NEW YORK (July 6, 2016) – Cyber crime has emerged as a leading financial and operational risk for all organizations of all sizes in all sectors. “With that in mind, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is taking a multifaceted approach to cybersecurity through the work of the Assurance Services Executive Committee and the Center for Audit Quality. This work will allow CPAs to take a leadership role,” AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, explains in a new video.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has acknowledged publicly that the accounting profession’s experience with integrating data, reporting and assurance puts CPAs in a unique position to assist organizations as they address their cybersecurity concerns. “But this is not just a public company issue,” said Melancon. “It affects businesses of all types, shapes, and sizes.”

The AICPA is already seeing explosive growth in the need for cybersecurity-related services that build on the foundation for Service Organization Control, or SOC, reports. “This demand is driven by market forces, not a government mandate. And the market is asking us to do more, from both the advisory and assurance perspectives,” Melancon observed.

In response to the cyber challenge, the AICPA is taking action on many fronts:

  • First, the Institute is developing timely tools and education for CPAs to successfully address risk in a number of areas. Simultaneously, various areas of the AICPA are working to help CPAs as they address cybersecurity concerns through services like advisory, assurance, tax and management accounting.
  • Second, the AICPA is looking at how the profession can address cybersecurity as a natural extension of the platform of services CPAs already perform. The Institute is developing new examination engagements for members in public practice that are specific to cybersecurity. One is on an entity’s cybersecurity risk management program; another covers supply chain management for vendors and business partners to assess and manage their cybersecurity risk.
  • Third, the Institute’s advocacy team is closely monitoring cyber-related legislative and regulatory developments in Washington so it can respond appropriately and keep members informed.

“We see numerous roles for CPAs in the battle against cyber crime,” Melancon went on to say. “Within their businesses, CPAs must present their own front line against cyber attacks, implementing controls that help protect data and prevent service disruptions. CPAs in business can use their knowledge of the organization to advise their employers on administering a cybersecurity risk management program and provide the best cyber solutions.  CPAs in pubic practice, or public accounting, can assist their clients in an advisory capacity, as they grapple with cyber concerns and provide assurance when needed.”

For more information, visit the AICPA’s Cybersecurity Resource Center:

http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/FRC/AssuranceAdvisoryServices/Pages/cyber-security-resource-center.aspx

 

  • If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Take Them Along

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

Throughout the summer and fall, it is conference season for accounting firms. It is the time when CPA firm leaders attend various types of conferences to obtain CPE credit. While much of the CPE sessions for team members is now obtained online, management of an accounting practice is still learned via attending management conferences and networking with others in the profession.

What I observe is that a firm usually has ONE representative at any such conference that contains a management track. That one person goes back to their firm and does their best to convince others of the trends, changes and challenges the firm is, or will be, facing.

I heard this same story last night as I attended the CPA Firm Management Association opening reception. “It is difficult to convince my partners of what I think we should do after I return from this conference.” “My firm would only send me.” “My managing partner wouldn’t attend with me.” “I was lucky to be able to convince the partners to even just let me attend.”

Managing partners attend their firm association MP sessions but go alone. Please, this year, take one, two or three other partners along. Allow your COO to also attend with you. If it is another conference like CPAFMA’s national practice management conference or AICPA Practitioners’ TECH conference – take others with you and your firm will move forward faster.

Here’s a shining example. My friend, Benito Tagle, attends AICPA PCPS Practitioners’ TECH every year. In recent years, he has included some representatives of his staff. During the conference, they meet and strategize about who will attend the various sessions. They break apart to cover topics and then come together in the evening to discuss what they learned and what the next day will bring.

Below is a picture of Benito and his team going over the next day’s schedule at this year’s PSTech. Guess what? Their firm is making great progress!

IMG_7032

 

  • Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Mom, Manager, Mentor… Maniac?

Lindsay“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

One of my favorite sessions from PSTech this year was “Mom, Manager, Mentor…Maniac?” by Lindsay Stevenson, CPA.

I so often hear sad… should I say “sob” stories from women in accounting. They, and often rightly so, are challenged by the difficulties facing them as CPAs trying to advance their careers and the important life role of mother and wife.

That’s why Lindsay’s presentation was so refreshing and inspiring. She didn’t mince words about the difficulties but she was so energetic and positive about the fact that women, working in the CPA profession, can succeed in both roles. She provided a lot of good information and strategies that are helpful to finding work/life integration specific to mothers.

Female CPAs, you can do it too – you can succeed in both roles. What you learn as a mom can also apply to your role as manager at your firm.

Join your local women’s initiative groups or the one sponsored by your state CPA society. Continually reach out to other working moms and seek positive, can-do mentors.

Don’t just let things happen to you – blaze your own trail.

 

  • The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
  • Amelia Earhart

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Don’t Address Partner Compensation Before You Get The Firm Right

IMG_2335Monday afternoon, Allan Koltin addressed the topic of partner compensation at the AICPA PCPS PractitionersTech+ Symposium.

His basic message was the fact that you really can’t even address partner compensation until you assess all of the partners and “get the firm right” first.

There are three kinds of partners:

  • Content – This is me, you see what you get, I’m doing a good job at what  I do so leave me alone.
  • Climber – I’m trying to improve myself and I’m continually getting better.
  • Crazy – Usually the managing partners that has a multitude of good ideas and want them all implemented immediately.

Getting the firm “right” is really an alignment issue. It’s about planting seeds for a better tomorrow.

Be sure to assess the strengths of the partners. Determine what the partners are actually doing vs. what they are really good at. You can no longer allow partners to do whatever they want.

The partners, as a group, must be honest with each other about what each partner should be doing and not allowing partners to simply stay in their comfort zones.

  • An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

AICPA Practitioners Symposium and TECH+ Conference

“Genius is the capacity to retrieve childhood at will.” – Erik Wahl

Again this year, I am very fortunate to be able to speak at this great conference.

IMG_7017The opening keynote on Sunday afternoon was one of the most amazing presentations I have ever experienced (and I have seen a lot of excellent keynotes!). The presentation titled Unthink was by renowned graffiti artist, Erik Wahl.

His presentation (and message) was unique, different and fun. How about your firm….. is it unique, truly different and fun? Or, do you let fear keep you repeating the status quo?

Here’s Wahl’s take on FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.

He challenged accountants to use their creative skills, to break the mold and to dare to be unique.

I have observed that CPAs always want to follow the leader; do what every other firm is doing. However, I am seeing a lot of change happening.

You are probably familiar with some of the high-profile firms (of all sizes) that are truly becoming digital firms and providing some very non-traditional services in non-traditional ways.

Just recently I met a couple of additional CPA firm owners who are going down this uniqueness road. I met one in the Las Vegas airport on Sunday and one at an OSCPA meeting. They were both females. That is also an interesting observation!

 

  • Most of our inspirations for solutions and creativity come from interactions with others.
  • Erik Wahl