Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Good Advice For An Actor & Good Advice For An Accountant

“Showing up on time is one of the greatest liberating acts you can give yourself in a movie.” – Tom Hanks

I’m sure, by now, you have probably read about Tom Hank’s acceptance speech for the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.

He told the story of his first professional job as an intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. He and his fellow interns showed up to rehearsals a little late after doing a little too much partying the previous night. The director wasn’t having it.

“He screamed at us,” said Hanks. “You know what your job is?” the director asked. “You have got to show up on time, and you have to know the text, and you have to have a head full of ideas. Otherwise, I can’t do my job.”

Good advice for an accountant of any age as they strive to build their career in public accounting.

  • Show up on time.
  • Know the text.
  • Have a head full of ideas.

Show up on time – Are others unable to do their work because of you? Are people waiting on you to answer questions so they can continue to efficiently serve the client? If you have an appointment or a scheduled phone call, what does the other person think of you if you keep them waiting?

Know the text – Have you listened and learned? Do you know exactly what you are supposed to do and when? Are you prepared? Do you ask questions so that there are no misunderstandings? When you have questions, do you also suggest solutions?

Have a head full of ideas – Think about how this can move your career forward. Never sink into complacency.  Read, learn and experiment. “It’s the way we have always done it,” is not in your vocabulary.

  • If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great.
  • Tom Hanks

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Interesting News From the AICPA

“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

Here are some announcements & releases shared by the AICPA recently:

At the recent Digital CPA conference, CPA.com announced a partnership with Lukka to offer a crypto-asset solution, LukkaTax. As you know, there is a growing need for firms to understand the crypto-asset category, which was greatly accelerated with the recent IRS notices; this new service offering will provide firms with a virtual currency tax prep tool for growing client needs. Also on the blockchain front, they released their latest report on the 2019 Blockchain Symposium. Here is a link to a PDF for your reference.

They also announced the expansion of the OnPoint A&A Suite to include 3 standalone solutions including OnPoint Collaborate, OnPoint AnalyticsAI, and OnPoint EBP.

  • Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 13th, 2019

Different Policies For Holiday Closings

“The holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can.” – Giada De Laurentiis

When holidays fall on a Friday, Monday or mid-week, we often wonder if firms are doing anything more than just the one-day holiday.

When it comes to the December/January holidays – Christmas and New Year’s Day – firms differ on what they offer.

I did a quick survey to see what firms were offering this year for Christmas since it falls on a Wednesday.

  • 18.52% – Close only on December 25th
  • 18.52% – Close 1/2 day on December 24th and all-day December 25th
  • 55.56% – Close all day the 24th and 25th
  • 7.41% – Are closing the entire Christmas week

Most firms are just closing one day for New Year’s Day and allowing people to leave a “little early” on New Year’s Eve.

No matter how much time you get off work, celebrate and have fun with family and friends!

  • Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism.
  • Caroline Kennedy

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

My Ramblings About Mergers

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell

You have observed it. In the last several years, many mid-size firms have merged-up into the Top 100 (the AICPA calls this group the Major Firms Group).

The firms in the Major Firm Group have also joined forces to form even larger CPA firms. It is an interesting time in the CPA profession. The big get bigger and many firms I have known and admired for years have disappeared.

An interesting statistic from the AICPA, almost 40% of the Major Firms Group from the year 2000, no longer exists.

This week’s announcement about Skoda Minotti joining Marcum brought all this to mind. Read the press release here. Marcum has had phenomenal growth and success under Jeffrey Weiner’s leadership.

So, mid-size firms are disappearing. However, mergers don’t always lead to a happy life once the honeymoon is over. A lot of the big mergers will result in spin-offs and smaller firms will form and thrive.

  • I always say, complacency is the kiss of death.
  • Shari Redstone

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

New CPAs Have a Challange

“I’m still learning.” – Michelangelo

From NASBA:

The body of knowledge for newly licensed CPAs is growing. Compared to 1980, today there are:

Three times as many pages in the Internal Revenue Code

Four times as many accounting standards

Five times as many auditing standards

That’s why, to me, CPAs must be the champions of life long learning!

  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • Abigail Adams

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Digital CPA

“The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions.” – Patrick Lencioni

Here’s the press release from the AICPA about the upcoming Digital CPA conference. Digital CPA is the leading conference for practitioners curious about technology and its impact on the accounting landscape. Together we’re challenging business models, transforming practice areas and driving innovation across the profession.

CPA.com Announces 2019 Digital CPA Conference Keynote Lineup

Innovation Futurists and Leadership Experts Offer Insights at Dec. 9-11 Event

NEW YORK (Oct. 23, 2019) – Innovation is reshaping the traditional areas of practice in the accounting profession, and CPAs who want to position their firms for success can gain the latest intelligence and insights about this shift at the 2019 Digital CPA Conference, sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs and its technology arm, CPA.com.

This year’s conference will be held just outside Seattle at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Wash. The Dec. 9-11 event is organized around the theme “Age of Innovation,” and includes sessions on the shift to advisory services across all core areas of the CPA firm, such as audit and assurance, tax, and accounting services.

Keynote speakers at the event include:

  • Lisa Bodell, founder, and CEO of FutureThink, a global consulting firm that helps companies eliminate red tape and busy work and adopt simplicity as an operating model to unleash innovation.
  • Pascal Finette, chair of Open Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singularity University and co-founder of radical Ventures, a firm that takes the long view on the impact of technological change. Pascal will share insights and future trend predictions from his year-long collaboration with CPA.com in a program called “Navigating the Future,” which is designed to help CPA firms prepare and prosper from exponential change.
  • Steven Robbins, founder of S. L. Robbins and Associates, a firm that studies human behavior, who will talk about how inclusion, leadership and the “power of caring” are key drivers of productivity and innovation.

Further rounding out the speaker lineup are Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, will provide a professional issues update, and Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, will give a “state of the union” on Digital CPA trends.

The Digital CPA Conference is designed for CPA firm partners, managers and, staffers responsible for rolling out cloud solutions, and business development, firm marketing and human resources directors within firms.

Reporters interested in covering the event can apply for on-site press credentials or arrange for online access to live broadcasts. Members of the media can contact Jeff May, jeffrey.may@aicpa-cima.com, for more details.

For more information about the conference, please visit digitalcpa.com.

  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • Abigail Adams

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Disappointed & Embarrassed

“She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her.” Sylvester McNutt III

Women have been slowly but surely gaining ground within the CPA profession. I have been very proud of associations and firms that have made the commitment to provide the leadership development assistance and other resources women need to advance in their careers. These organizations follow through on those commitments.

Then there are others. The news this week is very disheartening. I was disappointed and embarrassed for the CPA profession. I was not shocked that this happened at one of the “big” firms. But I was shocked at what was presented to a group of female executives.

It is my observation that women are a foundational piece in almost every public accounting firm. Here’s the Male/Female professional staff breakdown via the Rosenberg survey:

  • Firms over $20M: 48%/52%.
  • $10-20M firms: 45%/55%
  • $5-10M firms: 43%/57%
  • $2-5M firms: 41%/59%
  • Under $2M: 35%/65%

Here are two different news articles covering the fiasco.

Empowerment Seminar Tells women They Have Small, Pancake-Like Brains

Ernst & Young training seminar told women not to “flaunt” bodies

  • The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.
  • R. H. Sin

Monday, October 7th, 2019

National Tax Conference – FYI

“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” – Dave Barry

The quote above is for those of you preparing extended 1040s!

Here’s a press release from the AICPA:

SAVE THE DATE: AICPA National Tax Conference

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2019) – This November, the American Institute of CPA

s (AICPA) will host its annual National Tax Conference. Press registration includes access both online and in-person access. Please mark your calendars.

WHAT:            2019 AICPA National Tax Conference

WHEN:            November 13-14, 2019                                                          

WHERE:         The Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C.

INVITED:                   

  • Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner
  • Michael Desmond, IRS Chief Counsel
  • Rochelle Hodes, Washington National Tax Office Crowe, LLP
  • Tony Nitti, Partner, RubinBrown LLP

TOPICS INCLUDE:

  •  Using Machine Learning to Predict Outcomes in Tax Law
  •  Treasury and the TCJA
  •  Small Business Exceptions and the Tax Shelter
  •  Lessons Learned from the 1st Year of Filing After TCJA                             

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: Current information about speakers and conference topics including full agenda may be found here

 

Note: AICPA Fall Tax Division Meeting will take place at the Marriott Marquis on November 15th. These meetings are open to the press but not accessible via the internet.

 

  • I'm proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.
  • Arthur Godfrey

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

The Hiring Model Has Shifted For CPA Firms

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud

The following is a press release I received from the AICPA. It is much longer than my normal post but I think it is important for firm leaders to read. Read it, then think about it and begin making plans.

Public Accounting Firm Hiring Model Shifts: AICPA ‘Trends Report’

  • Undergraduate accounting enrollments were second highest on record in 2017-2018
  • AICPA is working with key stakeholders on programs to strengthen pipeline of talent entering the profession

NEW YORK (Aug. 12, 2019) – Rapid advances in technology continue to impact the accounting profession. As CPA firms shift their hiring models to focus more on technology skills, non-accounting graduates now comprise 31 percent of all new graduate hires in public accounting. That’s an increase of 11 percentage points from 2016 to 2018, according to the “2019 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits,” released today by the AICPA.

The biennial report, published since 1971, provides statistical projections and expectations based upon university responses for the 2017-2018 academic year and firm responses for the 2018 calendar year. This data provides a snapshot of the profession, set against the current economy, and the ability to forecast future trends.

“Increased demand for technology skills is shifting the accounting firm hiring model. This is leading to more non-accounting graduates being hired, particularly in the audit function,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “CPAs have an unmatched reputation for trust and integrity, earned through decades of working in the public interest. However, to play this vital role in the future will require an increased focus on technology.  It is incumbent upon the profession to ensure accounting graduates and newly licensed CPAs have these skills and expertise needed to support the evolution of the audit.”

One of the ways AICPA is seeking to address this trend is through the CPA Evolution project, in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. This project strives to ensure that CPAs continue to have the competencies needed to support an accounting profession that plays a critical role in protecting the public interest.

The percentage of new accounting graduate hires assigned to audit-related work is increasing. This area now comprises 56 percent of new accounting graduate hires. That’s up four percentage points from 2016 and nine percentage points from 2014.

Overall CPA firms hired about 11 percent fewer accounting graduates in 2018 than they did in 2016, and nearly 30 percent fewer than in 2014. As firms continue to embrace technology and evolve their approach to the audit, they are seeking employees with data science and data analytics skills. They are largely filling those needs with non-accounting graduates, though there is anecdotal evidence from firms to suggest that some of this technology-specific hiring is occurring at the experienced hire level.

On the supply side, enrollments in undergraduate accounting programs stand at the second highest level on record after pulling back slightly from their all-time high in 2015-2016.

Nearly 208,000 projected students were enrolled in undergraduate accounting programs during the 2017-2018 school year, topping 200,000 for the fourth Trends report in a row. More than 33,000 projected students were enrolled in master’s programs in 2017-2018. This reflects a six percent decline from 2015-2016 but remains comfortably above any level pre-recession. Declines in graduate student enrollment is due largely to more students opting to enter the workforce in lieu of pursuing an advanced accounting degree.

There were nearly 55,000 projected bachelor’s and more than 21,000 projected master’s degrees earned in 2017-2018. This reflects a decline of four percent each from the previous report. However, the combined 76,542 degrees remains above pre-recession levels.

After a significant increase in the number of new CPA Exam candidates in 2016, largely attributed to the new version of the exam launching in 2017, the number of candidates and newly licensed CPAs in 2018 dipped to the lowest level in 10 years. CPA candidates fell 7 percent to 36,827, while newly licensed CPAs fell 6 percent to 23,941.

“The AICPA and other stakeholders in the profession are focused on anticipating the changes shaping our economy and ensuring newly licensed CPAs have the skills they need to serve as trusted advisors to their clients,” said Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., AICPA Academic-in-Residence, Academic & Student Engagement. “As the pace of change increases, the Institute has been accelerating our work on a number of profession-wide initiatives that attract, inspire, and engage the next generation of CPAs.”

In addition to CPA Evolution, some of these initiatives include:

  • A CPA Exam practice analysis focused on the impact of technology and the critical skills for newly licensed CPAs. An exposure draft and invitation-to-comment will be published in late December.
  • Accounting Accreditation Practitioner Engagement Program which places CPA practitioners on AACSB accounting accreditation teams and committees.
  • Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program provides funding for CPAs to obtain their doctorates and teach.
  • Accounting Program for Building the Profession trains high school educators to teach a college-level accounting class.

The Institute is working with organizations to increase the likelihood that racial and ethnic minority students consider accounting early in their career decision-making process. AICPA scholarships and programs such as the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop help ensure accounting students have a meaningful and successful experience as they work to earn their CPA license.

The report found that racial/ethnic diversity has increased, with the highest percentage of non-white enrollees to date. Enrollment by gender is nearly even at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

View the full Trends report

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
  • Napoleon Hill

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Client Accounting Services (Bookkeeping)

“Many small businesses would rather face an angry barbarian horde than tackle their cash flow statement.” -Nicole Fende

Many firms are enjoying a growing niche. It seems that the niche is new but to me, much of it is a new face on old one (bookkeeping). Yes, CAS involves so much more and can encompass many additional services for clients. It also means that much of the “work” has been automated so that it is not so labor-intensive and little time is required of partners and managers.

Dan Hood of Accounting Today has a good article that you should read if your firm provides bookkeeping services to clients (and most of you do!). The article is titled, The State of Bookkeeping in 2019.  It reports on a survey involving over 700 accountants in the AT audience.

Hood offers charts that tell us:

  • The biggest issues for bookkeepers.
  • The average number of bookkeeping clients.
  • Less time spent at the high end.
  • Less time and more clients.
  • Other services offered.
  • Segmenting the client base.
  • Top industries for bookkeepers.
  • The geographic reach of bookkeeping practices.

Hood’s article is a good one to share within your firm.

  • Few have heard of Fra Luca Pacioli, the inventor of double-entry bookkeeping; but he has probably had much more influence on human life than has Dante or Michelangelo.
  • Herbert J. Muller