December 15, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Accountants Are Busy; There Will Be No Postcard Tax Returns; Crypto Tax Prep | 12.22.17

accountant tax bill busy

A busy accountants is a happy accountant.

Ed. note: The Accounting News Roundup will be off next Monday and Tuesday, returning Wednesday. While things are quiet, send tips and links to [email protected]. And remember Open Items is like 7-11.  

Tax Bill Is Great for Accountants — Unless They Have Holiday Plans [NYT]
Yesterday, we mentioned that the AICPA was perturbed about CPAs being left out of the tax cut extravaganza. But really, Barry Melancon & Co. shouldn’t feel all that bad, because every accountant from Boston to Boise to Biloxi is too busy making heads or tails of the new (impending) law of the land:

Late nights spent scrutinizing the new rules in the office have fueled UberEats and other food delivery services. Christmas shopping? Forget about it. Long-scheduled holiday trips are being delayed or interrupted.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four accounting firms, is not rescinding its tradition of shutting down the entire firm from Christmas to New Year’s Day.

But that’s basically a technicality.

“People and teams are going to have to figure out what they need to do to make sure we’re serving our clients appropriately during a difficult time,” said Len Combs, the firm’s chief United States auditor.

Congress made things difficult enough by shoving this bill through so no one had proper time to dig into it; however, EY’s vice chair of tax is quoted that many clients didn’t expect it to happen at all. “30 to 40 percent of the heads of tax at corporate clients are scrambling to model out the new law,” Kate Barton said. And then there are the people who can’t get enough. One Grant Thornton tax director gushed, “This has, in some ways, been my Super Bowl. It’s been the most exciting time of my career.”

Who needs a tax cut with all this excitement? Happy (Billing) Holidays, everyone.

Does the GOP tax plan make taxes simple enough to fit on a postcard? Probably not, experts say. [NBC]
The claim that the tax bill will allow 90 percent of Americans to fit their tax return on a form the size of a postcard is one of the most insulting pieces of rhetorical nonsense in the modern political era. If they do manage to fit the 1040EZ onto a postcard, I fully expect to see “Greetings from Hell” on the back of every single one.

Grant Thornton has a 26% gender pay gap [Economia]
GT’s U.K. affiliate has the biggest gap, even when compared to its Big 4 rivals. The disparity is driven by the most senior, highest-paid positions being held primarily by men. At the entry level, the split is 50:50 and the firm says that “on a gross basic full time equivalent basis, the gap is only of 1%, meaning men and women in similar roles are being rewarded consistently.”

Happy Tax starts cryptocurrency specialty tax practice [AT]
You gotta strike while the iron’s hot, right? “[T]he IRS said that even though millions had traded cryptocurrency in 2015, only 802 taxpayers included such trades on their tax returns. Happy Tax hopes to help taxpayers who find themselves in such a situation.”

Survey says…

Over the past month, we’ve been surveying accountants about their experience with the month-end close. If you haven’t taken our query yet, do us a solid and spend a few minutes answering some painless questions. We appreciate it.

Brought to you by Accountingfly

The featured job of the week is an Experienced Accountant position with FloQast in Los Angeles. They’re looking for someone with at least 2 years experience at a Big 4 or national firm.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Jason Bramwell wrote about how controllers can up their cybersecurity game.

In Open Items, a CPA exam candidate is feeling lost.

In other news:

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Image: iStock/cyano66

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Accounting News Roundup | 01.21.10

How to find the “best and brightest” [CPA Success]
This may be a better topic for the friendly HR professional but figuring out who these future accounting rock stars are before they show up on their first day is “more art than science”, as Tom Hood notes.
Popular to some old-school thought, GPA does not always indicate who’s going to dominate in the real world and “soft skills” — besides being a terrible term — are in more demand than ever.
Help The The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Help Haiti [Re: The Auditors]
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is having a drive today and since Francine’s friend is the CFO, we’ll be glad pass around the news:

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Guillermo Becerra, is the CFO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I asked him how I could help him, and the Red Cross, during what must be an incredibly busy time post-Haiti earthquake.

“The Chicagoland community will come together on Thursday, January 21 to give to the American Red Cross as we help the people of Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated their country last week.
The Chicago Helps Haiti media relief drive begins at 5 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Nearly every TV and radio station in our area will be promoting this fundraising effort throughout the day. You can help too, by giving via phone or online, and sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook or Twitter, and by asking others to give.
To give from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CALL 1 (877) 565-5000 or visit

Plus, we’re guessing that if you give, your 2009 tax return isn’t much of a concern.
If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe [NYT]
The Times is concerned that you have a shitty password which puts you at a huge risk of being hacked by someone sitting in their parents’ basement.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456” as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123” and “princess.”

You know who you are, ye with stupid passwords. Also, don’t even think of changing it to “654321” because that drops in at #19.

Accounting News Roundup: Haiti Relief Passes Senate; Accounting Job Surge? CPAs Basically Control People’s Lives | 01.22.10

Senate votes for faster tax breaks for Haiti gifts [WaPo]
As expected, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation yesterday that allows taxpayers to deduct donations made for Haiti relief efforts. You have until the end of February to donate so that it may be included on your 2009 return.

Maybe it’s bad legislation but we’ve been over that.

CPA Jobs Set for Surge. But When? [CPA Trendlines]
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rick Telberg, who has done a great job of tracking the Bureau of Labor Statistics on accountants, points out that while the latest BLS forecasts a 22% increase (279,400 jobs) by 2018, there’s no indication that it’s happening now:

[M]any tax, accounting and finance professionals are still slogging through the Great Recession. The Association for Financial Professionals, for instance, reported that about one in four respondents say their organizations will contract in 2010. At the same time, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of private companies found 43 percent of CEOs and CFOs still budgeting no expansion over the next 12 months to 18 months. The data just seem to reinforce economic uncertainties and a weak outlook.

The BLS is looking past the past the recession for the jump in opportunities but just when the hell will that be? Just because the economy isn’t contracting currently, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future and this “recovery” has been tepid at best.

Theismann to CPAs: You Are the Conscience of America [Web CPA]
Joe Theismann gets it. He knows that without all of you out there in CPA land, your clients don’t stand a chance. They’d be finished. Finished!

“You’re the conscience of America,” Theismann told conference-goers. “You are the survivors in tough times. With accountants, I’m not looking for someone to file taxes and do my financials. I can do that myself online. In your position you can basically control people’s lives.”

So get out there and control somebody’s life. Joe Theismann is expecting it.