Archive for the ‘AICPA’ Category

Friday, January 7th, 2022

There Is A Lot to Like

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need not more.” – Mother Teresa

I love working in the CPA profession. I loved my work inside a firm and love the CPA firm clients that I now advise and coach.

Maybe you should stop and think about all there is to like about being a CPA and working in public accounting. Read this flashback post encouraging you to share all the things you like about your work.

  • The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.
  • Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Jargon

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” ~Albert Einstein

If you have been working in public accounting for even a short time I bet you are using accounting jargon. We all know what, “Are we doing their 1120-S?” means. Cash or accrual are common terms. Actually, many phrases we use can be considered accounting jargon.

Definition: Noun: Jargon – special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.

According to a Quickbooks report (a few years ago), only 40% of business owners surveyed considered themselves to be very knowledgeable in the areas of accounting and finance.

Things like GAAP, IFRS, AR, AP, Accruals, Accrual Basis, Cashflow Statement, even Balance Sheet are unfamiliar terms to many of your business owners. Now, we have PPP and CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Could you even recite the official name?

And then there is all that stuff that follows your name on the website: CPA, CITP, CGMA, PFS, ABV, ASA. All of that might be overwhelming to a new client, even scare some away!

Never forget that many clients (that pay you a lot of money), might not be very clear on exactly what you are saying.

The AICPA even has a resource called CPEA. Of course, that stands for Center for Plain English Accounting.

Always explain things simply and thoroughly. Save the jargon for conversations between peers inside the firm.

You want the word on the street to be that you, always explain things clearly and you take the time to help clients understand the services you provide.

  • Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify!
  • Henry David Thoreau

Monday, October 25th, 2021

2021 Top Issues

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” – Gertrude Stein

I always look forward to reading the AICPA PCPS Top Issues Survey results.

The PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues Survey gathers insights from practitioners in firms of all sizes to understand the significant issues facing firms across the country. 

The survey responses are broken down by firm size, with separate lists released for sole practitioners and for firms with 2 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 20, or 21 or more professionals. The AICPA and its Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) team use the biennial surveys to pinpoint areas where new tools and resources may be needed to help practitioners address current challenges. Below are the results. Follow this link to read the commentary and learn about resources for firms to use.

SOLE PRACTITIONERS:

  • Keeping up with changes and the complexity of tax laws.
  • Keeping up with COVID relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, ERC, etc.
  • Challenges when working with the IRS.
  • Seasonality/layering of deadlines.
  • Keeping up with changes in technology and managing associated costs.

2-5 PROFESSIONALS:

  • Keeping up with COVID relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, ERC, etc.
  • Keeping up with changes and the complexity of tax laws.
  • Challenges when working with the IRS.
  • Seasonality/layering of deadlines.
  • Finding qualified staff.

6-10 PROFESSIONALS

  • Finding qualified staff.
  • Keeping up with changes and the complexity of tax laws.
  • Keeping up with COVID relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, ERC, etc.
  • Challenges when working with the IRS.
  • Developing the next generation of firm leadership.

11-20 PROFESSIONALS

  • Finding qualified staff.
  • Developing the next generation of firm leadership.
  • Keeping up with COVID relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, ERC, etc.
  • Keeping up with changes and the complexity of tax laws.
  • Challenges when working with the IRS…. and… Effective staff utilization & management

21+ PROFESSIONALS

  • Finding qualified staff.
  • Retaining qualified staff
  • Keeping up with COVID relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, ERC, etc.
  • Developing the next generation of firm leadership.
  • Effective staff utilization & management… and… Managing work/life balance initiatives.
  • We are not in the information age anymore. We're in the information management age.
  • Chris Hardwick

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

Cover Letters

“A well-written cover letter can be the difference between winning or losing a job opportunity.” – Larry Sheftel, Aprio

It is always great to be featured in The Journal of Accountancy. Thank you to Teri Saylor for contacting me to discuss the power, lack of power, and use of cover letters for resumes.

Do you expect a cover letter when someone submits a resume? Do you even care? Some beneficial information can be obtained from someone who writes an exceptional cover letter if the hiring manager at your firm actually reads it.

I believe that cover letters have almost become a thing of the past. Everyone seems to be in a hurry these days and do not think of including a cover letter. Those doing the hiring are also in a hurry too and don’t even read a cover letter if it is included.

I asked one of my clients if they always expect a cover letter with a resume. He said yes because they ask in the ad, “submit your resume and cover letter to…. ” They don’t care about the cover letter but they just want to see how many people follow instructions!

I hope you take the time to read the article. It was also nice to be featured along with my friend, Larry Sheftel of Aprio (pictured).

  • In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you.
  • Warren Buffett

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

“THE” Exam

“Students are struggling to afford that fifth year of school.” – Daniel Hood 

There are a lot of discussions recently about the difficulty of passing the CPA Exam and requiring five years of education (the 150-hour rule) to become a CPA. These are the reasons college accounting majors are giving for not going into public accounting.

Accounting Today editor-in-chief, Dan Hood puts this dilemma in question form to all of you out there. He asks, “Is it too hard to become a CPA?” He notes that CPA profession leaders/consultants say that the number of students in accounting dropped from 2% in 1990 to 1% in 2000. The 90s is when the 150-hour rule became prominent in many states. The Exam itself is widely known to be very grueling. What could be the answer?

Read the article and give him your personal feedback.

In my personal opinion (and please note, I am not a CPA but have worked with them for over 40 years), the extra year of education is a waste of money and effort. I have never been able to see how that extra year made incoming recruits any better prepared than those that came before them. The CPA Exam should be on the “grueling” side. Clients rely on CPAs for their amazing expertise and advice. If they want to remain “the most trusted advisor” they not only have to prove their current knowledge, they have to commit to LIFE LONG learning to add to that knowledge.

  • The CPA profession is facing serious staffing challenges and long-term threats around its ability to attract future professionals.
  • Daniel Hood

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Plant Seeds Early

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

The AICPA is encouraging all of us working in the profession to urge high school students to consider becoming a CPA. I have advised practitioners to do that for many years. Practitioners need to not only give presentations to college students but also to high school students. Speak to them about the awesome opportunities when you become a CPA. Many famous people have accounting/finance in their backgrounds, as do many CEOs.

Here’s a recent quote from Barry Melancon:

“Because today’s high school students have spent more time with their parents and experienced more uncertainty, they’ll be making career decisions earlier. The profession’s pipeline efforts must move into every high school in the country.” – Barry Melancon

There is only one thing wrong with this activity. I believe that you need to go into middle schools and even elementary schools.

If you Google “encouraging kids to be architects” or “encouraging kids to be engineers” you will see many books for kids on the topic. Do the same for accountants and you won’t see near as many kids’ books.

If you want to continue to have very talented people in the accountant pipeline you better get busy this fall and speak to elementary, middle, and high school students. Maybe you should write a book for kids!

  • You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
  • Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

You Know What I Like!

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.” – Tracy Morgan

I recently heard an old song by someone called The Big Bopper. He died on the famous plane crash with Buddy Holly. It happened on February 3, 1959, and has been called “The Day the Music Died.” It was referred to in Don McLean’s classic American Pie. If you are not old enough to remember or have never heard of Buddy Holly, click here.

Anyway, The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson) had a novelty song that became a big hit titled Chantilly Lace. In the song he says, over and over, “Oh, baby you know what I like.”

I told you all of that so that I could talk about this – a recent article by Dan Hood of Accounting Today – “Accountants need to explain themselves.” Dan was on a recent Zoom session the AICPA leaders conducted last week. They (the AICPA leaders) urged all of us in the meeting and all CPAs to communicate what is good about the CPA profession. Dan’s article will be helpful to you.

They didn’t need to convince me. I love the CPA profession. But, are you, people working in a busy CPA firm, actively talking about all the good things to LIKE about the CPA profession? Talk to your kids, talk to students, talk to your spouse, your aunts/uncles, and especially your clients about the great rewards of being a CPA.

Read Dan’s article and keep in mind, “Oh, baby, you know what I like!”

  • If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him 'pop.' Don't tell him 'rock'n'roll' or they won't even let you in the hotel.
  • Buddy Holly

Monday, May 17th, 2021

The New CPA Exam

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon

They are changing the CPA Exam again. It is shifting to put an increased focus on technology. July 1, 2021 is when this shift in the Exam will take place.

From Accounting Today: As the accounting profession evolves to meet today’s needs, the Uniform CPA Examination is also evolving to reflect these industry changes. On July 1, 2021, the CPA exam is shifting significantly to put a heavier focus on technology, digital mindsets, data analytics, and the other skills that newly licensed CPAs need to succeed. Candidates preparing to take the CPA Exam must take these updates into consideration.

Here’s the informative article, What every candidate needs to know about the updated CPA exam, via Accounting Today. Read it and share it.

I wonder how many CPA partners could pass the exam if they had to take it in 2021. I have often heard partners joke about it (meaning they couldn’t pass it now, let alone after July 1).

  • Study while others are sleeping, Work while others are loafing, Prepare while others are playing, and Dream while others are wishing.
  • William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

We All Want To Know The Top Issues – Share Yours!

“Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world’s population.” – Stephen Hawking

I have always looked forward to reading the results of the AICPA PCPS Top Issues Survey. They conduct it every other year. The last one was in 2019 and a lot has certainly happened since then!

Now is your chance to share the top issues facing your firm by participating in the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues Survey. Your responses highlight the critical issues facing firms and guide PCPS as we develop tools and resources to assist your firm in meeting the everyday challenges of running a practice.

The Top Issues Survey — which takes less than 10 minutes to complete — is open until Friday, June 18.

Take the survey

Comprehensive results and thought-leading commentary will be available this summer at www.aicpa.org/pcps/topissues.

Your participation informs the profession and shapes the future. The AICPA appreciates your valuable time and insight and so do I. Remember, it only takes 10 minutes and you have until June 18.

Of course, I will keep nagging you…. oops, I mean reminding you. I hope you are following me on Twitter.

  • Survey and test a prospective action before undertaking it. Before you proceed, step back and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.
  • Epictetus

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Build On Your Transformation

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” – Elbert Hubbard

During 2020, CPAs were shocked out of their comfort zone. They had little time to think. They had to act quickly if they wanted to continue serving their valuable clients.

Thus, they made giant leaps forward. Don’t quit the giant leaps and go back to your normal baby-steps!

Joey Havens, CPA, CGMA has written an excellent article via The Journal of Accountancy titled, The Pandemic Pushed Us Forward. Let’s Keep Evolving. The title says it all! He contends that it is a defining moment for all CPAs.

Here are the topics he covered in the article:

  • It forced us to adopt flexibility in how, when, and where we work.
  • It led us to create new services to meet clients’ increased needs.
  • It caused us to rethink how we measure work and bill for it.
  • It accelerated our learning curve.

He elaborates on each of these topics. Be sure to click here to read the entire article.

  • Everybody accuses me of moving fast when I direct a picture. I don't move fast, but I just keep moving.
  • Clint Eastwood