Archive for the ‘AICPA’ Category

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Stay Afloat

“Sometimes getting smaller and faster can lead to opportunities and growth we would have missed by being too big and slow.” – Joey Havens, CPA

I always enjoy reading Joey Havens’ articles and posts. His recent article via the Journal of Accountancy, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head. It is titled, Don’t Let Dead Weight Sink Your Ship.

What is going on inside your firm that slows the firm down? What keeps you from being one of the fastest-growing firms? What causes you to lose talented people? What causes you to lose clients to your competitors?

I sometimes talk about partners in a boat. Some are rowing and some are throwing out anchors. A few partners are pulling a heavy wagon up a hill and there are a few who are constantly dragging their feet. These partners are so-called leaders who are not leading. Slowly your boat is sinking.

Then there are the clients who complain about your fees, always pay slowly after much effort is spent trying to collect, and clients who are rude and disrespectful to your team members. I bet you have clients that make you cringe when you see, on your mobile, that they are calling you. You probably do not answer their first call. Slowly, those clients are sinking your boat.

Do you have partners/managers who are not teaching, mentoring, coaching, and motivating? In fact, they are actually driving top talent away. Slowly, your boat is sinking.

Read Havens’ post!

  • Once you know the right thing, do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?
  • Jim Collins

Monday, March 15th, 2021

Sharing Information

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” – Margaret Fuller

One of the ways I progressed in my career in public accounting was to network with others working in the public accounting profession (firm administrators, managing partners, marketing directors, HR directors, IT directors, etc.). We shared information.

Most of this experience came from networking in the Association of Accounting Administration, now called The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA), and attending management conferences sponsored by state societies and the AICPA.

I also learned so much from the speakers at conferences. These people were usually CPA management consultants. I got to know them and they helped guide me in my early years of consulting. I soon became a speaker and management consultant myself thanks to so many who mentored me.

I became the first female member of the New Horizon Group, a group of experienced CPA management consultants. We met annually to share best practices, etc. Those early members were: August Aquila, Allan Boress, Steve Erickson, Chris Frederiksen, Allan Koltin, Bob Martin, Jeff Pawlow, Marc Rosenberg, Don Scholl, Steve Weinstein and Jim Metzler. I learned so much because we shared information.

That golden opportunity, of learning from others is available to you today if you take advantage of it.

Now, when I encourage people in management positions in CPA firms to attend meetings and conferences, the problem I encounter is the fact that so many people say they are too busy and some people think they already know it all. If you know it all, it is your responsibility to share (and no one ever knows it all).

If you get a chance to attend a CPAFMA Chapter event. Set a goal to attend other management conferences such as the AICPA ENGAGE conference. This year the CPAFMA annual management conference is in conjunction with ENGAGE.

Never stop sharing information and learning from others. After all these years, I am still learning (and sharing).

  • Sharing knowledge is the most fundamental act of friendship. Because it is a way you can give something without losing something.
  • Richard Stallman

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Another Long Tax Season

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” – Albert Einstein

Here’s a press release from the AICPA from last week.

AICPA Calls for Postponement of Filing and Payment Deadline for the 2020 Tax Year

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2021) – In a letter sent today to the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) called for the extension of the filing and payment deadline for the 2020 tax year until June 15, 2021.

Last year, the IRS acknowledged the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic during the 2019 tax year by announcing a payment and filing deadline extension. Those challenges and more still exist in the system, and taxpayers are struggling to resolve issues related to 2019 tax returns due to the IRS inventory backlog.

The AICPA believes that more should be done for taxpayers during this filing season stating in the letter, “…in the current environment, it is simply not possible for many taxpayers and their tax advisers to meet their filing and payment obligations that are due on April 15.”

The letter also recognizes the difficulties a postponement of the filing and payment deadlines could create; however, COVID-19 and other circumstances necessitate action to ensure that the millions of affected taxpayers have sufficient time to meet their tax obligations.

“The effect of numerous legislative changes overloading tax busy season compels us to speak up now,” said AICPA Vice President of Taxation, Edward Karl, CPA, CGMA. “We understand that there are some challenges associated with extending the payment and filing deadlines. However, time is a critical factor. Taxpayers and tax professionals need this postponement, and they need to have certainty about the filing date now.”

  • The American people are not undertaxed, the government in Washington is overfed.
  • Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Interesting Development From the AICPA

Many of you know Tom Hood. Here’s a press release from the AICPA:

Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA to Join Association of International Certified Professional Accountants as Executive Vice President, Business Growth and Engagement

The Association also announced that it will acquire the Business Learning Institute, strengthening its commitment to continuing education and delivering value to businesses and CPA firms.

NEW YORK, February 1, 2021 – The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) announced today that Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA, former executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), has joined the organization as executive vice president, business growth and engagement. He will report to Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the Association’s CEO.

In addition to Hood’s appointment, the Association has acquired the Business Learning Institute (BLI) from MACPA. The acquisition of BLI’s many learning programs will enhance the Association’s offerings to corporate employers in upskilling and reskilling their employees so they continue to meet ever-changing marketplace demands. Together, the Association and BLI will accelerate the introduction of new, innovative content for accounting and finance professionals globally. Founded in 1999 by MACPA, BLI is a highly respected source for human intelligence skill development and a strategic learning partner and talent management consultancy for businesses and CPA firms worldwide. Hood will continue to provide leadership in supporting BLI’s clients, products and services throughout BLI’s integration with the Association.

“Tom’s vision and mission to help finance and accounting professionals grow in a changing business environment is well aligned with the Association’s goals of powering trust, opportunity and prosperity for members, students, the profession and those they serve. He brings energy, insight, enthusiasm and a unique ability to facilitate connections,” Melancon said. “Tom will add value to our engagement with businesses and the accounting and finance professions, increasing our understanding of the challenges they face and how to best meet their needs.”

Melancon added, “We are proud of our reputation as a key source for accounting and finance professionals’ learning needs. BLI’s content complements and enriches our current learning tools, further deepens our global offerings and helps expand our value proposition. This development is an important step in the Association’s commitment to creating a strong and vibrant future for the profession and those it serves.”

Hood will use his extensive connections, influence, experience and passion for the accounting and finance profession to engage with businesses, their leaders and their global networks. Hood will convert those insights into actions that support the profession and work across the Association to grow its understanding of their challenges and opportunities.

“I am excited to join Barry and his team at the Association to continue making accounting and finance professionals around the world even more future ready and able to thrive in a global volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The BLI team is looking forward to coming together as part of the Association to leverage our combined strengths, reach and scale,” Hood said. Jackie Brown will succeed Hood as MACPA’s CEO. Brown, who has spent 40 years as part of the MACPA team and has served as its chief operating officer for the past 23 years, provides the MACPA with a much-needed sense of familiarity and stability as Hood departs.

Avonette Blanding, CPA, chair of MACPA’s Board of Directors, added, “Tom is also a great teacher, mentor and leader. I’m thrilled by his decision to join the Association and expand his reach within the profession.” (Watch this MACPA video and read this MACPA article for more information.)

Another focus of Hood’s role will be partnering with Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, the Association’s chief executive of management accounting, to further professionalize management accounting and support professionals in obtaining their Chartered Global Management Credential (CGMA) credential in the Americas. This includes the digital-first Finance Leadership Program, an online learning program that teaches candidates the finance, business, people and leadership skills needed to succeed in finance teams of the future.

Hood is well known across the accounting profession and in 2020 was named the Second Most Influential Person in Accounting for the eighth year by Accounting Today. He has been a longtime thought leader and driver of change among state CPA societies, both as a volunteer chair and, since 1997, as CEO of MACPA. He received the AICPA Special Recognition Award for his contributions to the profession leading the CPA Vision Project in 2003. In addition to his CPA license, Hood has obtained

the CGMA credential and the AICPA Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) certification. He is a graduate of Loyola College (B.A. in Accounting) and has a Master’s in Finance (Real Estate) from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life - all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.
  • Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

News From the AICPA

“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

AICPA Encourages Firms to Aggressively Advance PPP Applications

SBA Expected to Reopen for All Lenders by Friday, Jan. 15

NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2021) –The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) expects the federal government to open up the application process for all lenders participating in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program by Friday, and encourages CPA firms to advance the application process for small business clients seeking relief.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting  new applications on a limited basis this week through community financial institutions. But confusion about the timing for other lenders has led to anxiety among small businesses and their advisors. 

“We believe the full program needs to go live as soon as possible and we fully support the Treasury Department and SBA reopening the program for all lenders by Friday,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “What we’ve been telling CPA firms is be prepared and get to work. All indications, based on input from the Treasury and SBA, is there will be enough funding to meet all of the ‘first draw’ and ‘second draw’ PPP applications, so firms can help alleviate concerns their clients may have.”

The AICPA has been advising firms to collect key information from their clients such as average monthly payroll amounts, quarterly revenue comparisons for second draw borrowers and other required documentation to speed the process. Compared to the initial launch of the program in April 2020, firms now have substantial experience in business relief, more guidance and better tools.

The AICPA, CPA.com and fintech leader Biz2Credit in September launched a financing platform for CPA firms, the CPA Business Funding Portal, to help practitioners as they assist small businesses through PPP loan forgiveness. The portal, which has been used by thousands of firms, has been updated to accept so-called PPP2 applications and over three thousand applications have already been prepopulated.

“Small businesses should expect more scrutiny in this round of PPP applications,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “The SBA is doing more vetting for potential fraud and in some instances is asking for more validation. It’s important that businesses and their advisors get it right, so that applications don’t get held up and pushed back in the queue. That’s why we think it’s vital that firms use the more robust set of tools that are available now.”

The CPA Business Funding Portal offers a free basic service, plus tiered subscription plans for firms that want a direct path to fund loans through an SBA-approved lender to ensure they receive agent fees.

“It is critical that business owners work closely with their trusted business advisors, especially their CPA, to ensure they qualify for the maximum loan amount and provide the right supporting documentation,” said Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-Founder of Biz2Credit. “Being prepared now is the best way for businesses to ensure they get the money they need.”

AICPA executives will discuss the latest PPP developments and their implications for CPAs and their small business clients at this week’s AICPA Town Hall at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. For more information about the AICPA’s resources for firms on PPP, please visit aicpa.org/sba.  More details about the CPA Business Funding Portal can be found at cpa.com/business-funding.

  • Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
  • Dale Carnegie

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Friday Musings

“Great ideas emerges from useless fragments of thoughts.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

On Fridays, I often provide you with a flashback post – something I have written about before. Sometimes I save Fridays for random thoughts, ideas, and comments.

Here’s a flashback post on an age-old topic – Getting Partners to Change.

Now on to other stuff.

This week I spent some time preparing for CPAFMA’s virtual Accelerator for people managing accounting firms. The virtual event will take the place of FMA’s 2020 annual conference and will provide practice managers with some timely and helpful information. This program is exclusively designed to help participants professionally manage accounting firms of varying sizes.

I will be involved in the Strategy, Leadership & Growth Accelerator – Monday, November 9th at 11:40a – 1:30p EST and also in the Talent & People Accelerator on November 10th at 12:20p – 2:20p EST.

This week I was featured via an AICPA PCPS podcast – Small Firm Philosophy. I hope you will set aside some time this weekend to listen.

Next week, I will be speaking (virtually) with one of the AICPA PCPS small firm networking groups.

Finally, my newsletter went out yesterday. Did you receive your copy? Be sure to check your spam filter. Here’s a link to one of the articles titled, Afraid. This article will only be available online for a limited time. Sign-up for my newsletter via my website.

Have a nice weekend. Monday will be November and you have a lot to do!

  • The best advice I’ve ever received is 'No one else knows what they’re doing either'.
  • Ricky Gervais

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Navigating Your Career & Growing Your Practice Podcast

“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” –Joseph Campbell

I was delighted recently to connect up with Brad Barbour, Manager, firm Services at AICPA PCPS.

PCPS has been very dear to my heart throughout my years in public accounting. I have met and worked with so many wonderful people at PCPS by speaking at conferences, serving on committees, writing articles, and helping with resources for the PCPS website.

Brad hosts a podcast for PCPS called Small Firm Philosophy and recently interviewed me for one of his podcasts.

I hope you find time to listen to my story and my observations on working in public accounting. Listen to it at one sitting (approx. 30 minutes) or break it up into segments.

I hope some of my comments will be helpful and some will make you smile. Listen to the other podcasts on Small Firm Philosophy, too. Thanks so much, Brad.

  • Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
  • Robert McKee

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

An Important Conference – Digital CPA

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates

Another important conference for CPAs, Digital CPA, will be virtual this year. Here’s some current information from the AICPA.

The AICPA and CPA.com have added another keynote speaker – former CNBC chief economist Marci Rossell — to the lineup of this year’s Digital CPA, which takes place Dec. 8.

Rossell, a co-host of Squawk Box during her time at the financial news network, will discuss the current state of the economy and the larger trend of “seismic surprises” that businesses face, including cyberterrorism, environmental disasters, swings in the regulatory regime, and pandemics such as COVID-19.

Before her stint at CNBC, Rossell was an economist and investment spokesperson for Oppenheimer Funds, an expert witness on economic issues for Deloitte & Touche and an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Digital CPA is an all-virtual event this year and will be complemented by a Nov. 12 pre-conference session on remote work and decentralization.

Other keynotes at the main Dec. 8 event include:

  • Jeffrey Rogers, a moderator of executive education programs and international summits for Singularity University, who will speak about change dynamics, managing complexity and transformation in a period of continuous, accelerating change,
  • Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, who will give an in-depth professional issues update on accounting and finance
  • Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, who will discuss trends in firm management, advisory services and technology.

The conference will also include a panel discussion with CPA firm leaders.

  • Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
  • Bill Gates

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Accounting Graduates

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy

There are reports that tell us that the number of accounting graduates being hired is steadily declining. Yet, many firms are still saying that they need people.

In some firms, the “need people” has come to mean they need more non-accounting graduates, such as people with more advanced technology skills.

Per Todd Shapiro, CEO of the Illinois CPA society says, in an article via Accounting today: “Hiring of accounting graduates is down 30 percent. That’s a massive decline in hiring of accounting graduates by CPA firms. This isn’t companies that traditionally haven’t hired accounting graduates that aren’t CPAs. These are accounting firms.”

I was surprised by this statement from Barry Melancon a few years ago: Today we are a profession of CPA-led firms, not CPA firms. Two-thirds of the employees in all firms are non-CPAs.

Shapiro notes that firms are hiring more non-accounting graduates. It only makes sense to me that accounting students need to be sure that they have more advanced technology skills than at any time in the past.

If you didn’t read the article by Michael Cohn (via Accounting Today), you should.

  • You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.
  • Walt Disney

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Your Foundation

“The important thing is that you’ve got a strong foundation before you start to try to save the world or help other people.” – Richard Branson

Does your CPA firm have a solid foundation?

I often talk about the internal workings of a firm as the foundational issues. Do you have effective and efficient processes and procedures as it relates to client service and also how it relates to human resources issues? If there are many different ways to accomplish client work, it cannot be as efficient as having one way, the FIRM way. In too many firms, the way work is completed depends on the partner-in-charge of the client engagement.

Of course, there are other foundational issues relating to the services you offer and the needs of your clients. Those issues are changing. The once-solid foundation of the CPA profession consisting of accounting, tax, and audit is becoming rather shaky!

Joey Havens, CPA, CGMA, is the executive partner at HORNE LLP. He offers us a closer look at your foundation in his article, Five Ways Firms Can Solidify Their Business Foundation via the AICPA, CPA Insider. Take a few minutes to read his tips.

  • Great persons are great because of good, strong foundations on which they were able to build a character.
  • Alfred Armand Montapert