Robert Kuehler and Alan West have a few things in common: both are CPAs, both started their careers in public accounting, both have accounting degrees, and both went back to college—not as a student or professor but as a state university controller. As associate vice president/university controller at the University of Colorado, Kuehler oversees a […]
Crazy enough to think that people will care that he can look at a 1040 and not soil himself. Should CPAs run for office? According to this gushy post at the AICPA, the answer is a resounding: YAAAAS. When you’re a CPA, you have a solid understanding of the many issues that power government: taxes, […]
Any CPAs in the northeast thinking that packing up and heading to Hawaii would be just a little too rash should know that it’s not that crazy. Turns out, there’s plenty of opportunity in paradise. Here’s a brief from Hawaii Public Radio that says firms are “finding it especially difficult to find accountants with 3-to-5-years […]
You'd think with all the worrying going on in the accounting profession about talent and succession, that firms would be making it easy on the employees they do have to become CPAs. And I think, for the most part, many firms do encourage prospective CPAs with exam prep and exam fee reimbursement, time off to […]
Caleb recently published a post posing the question, "What’s the Future of the CPA Brand?"
This question was prompted by some AICPA research showing that while the CPA brand still has a lot value, there’s a growing threat from non-CPA professionals who are providing specialized services outside the core services — tax, accounting, and audit — typically provided by CPAs.
Trust but verify! New statistic: How many active #CPAs are there? https://t.co/HaNCD61YrV #accounting pic.twitter.com/Oll8yVutP0 — NASBA (@NASBA) May 25, 2016 This is just too good. A tickmark with an explanation. And there's further explanation on the NASBA website: This statistic is derived from the national database of CPAs, the Accountancy Licensee Database (ALD), and is […]
Over the last few years, we've watched the AICPA and CIMA hamfist the CGMA into our lives. The claim was that it would "raise the bar on management accounting" but all it really did was remind people of the cognitor fiasco from the late '90s/early '00s and invite lots and lots and lots of mockery […]
Alright, you guys. Next time you have an encounter like this one that Adam Blitz writes about, I want you to contact us immediately: I recently went to an event with a few managing partners from some local accounting firms. The size of the firms ranged from eight to 30 professionals. Each firm was a […]
Back in October, we discussed whether the CPA exam would ever become an optional within CPA firms. The reason the topic even came up was due to the fact that while the number of accounting students continues to increase, the number sitting for the CPA exam hasn't kept up, either declining in some years or staying flat.
Here's something interesting (hilarious, even) from the Indiana CPA Society's Center of Excellence: CPAs lack a bunch of important skills and they're completely aware of it. The Society conducted a survey of over 600 CPAs across 30 states and found that the profession that constantly goes on about being "trusted advisors" to businesses and entrepreneurs, […]
I'm catching up on my reading and lo and behold, here's another CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING IS SO FAST article. It's only been [counts fingers] a few weeks since we last touched on the topic, but we can't waste a good crisis, can we? No, we cannot. This particular piece is based on a speech by […]
Here’s what went down. On July 13, Helpless Big Brother wrote: I have just learned that my sister's husband of 35 years (I'll call him George) hasn't filed their personal income taxes going back a number of years. … Apparently, he hasn't filed because of his inability to organize.1 Their professional tax preparer has met […]
For reasons unfathomable, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is running for president. Apparently, one loud-mouthed Republican from the tri-state area wasn't enough for this race. Anyhoo, Greg Kyte pointed us to this video of Jon Stewart welcoming Christie to the race in true Daily Show fashion, noting a strange comment from the Governor around the […]
Ed. note: This is another interview in our series of discussions with accountants-turned-entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who run a business in or around the accounting profession. Whether it's an transforming an accounting firm, opening a coffee shop, or developing a mobile app, we're talking to entrepreneurs who know accounting. If you want to suggest someone for […]
Here's an interesting discovery from Xero: 53 percent of small businesses they surveyed "say they don’t work with an accountant at all." So not only are all firms the same, they're not crucial to fledgling businesses? Is this an opportunity or a barrier? Go.
The world needs #CPAs even more than it needs @justinbieber. See why we're needed oh so badly: http://t.co/7ckJj1gYol — ThisWayToCPA (@ThisWayToCPA) January 23, 2015 Fishing for RTs from Justin Bieber? The AICPA must be really hurting for ideas. Can someone remind them that the CPA exam gap is immaterial?
AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon recently talked about a growing concern around the number of people that are sitting the CPA exam every year. Barry stated “We have had six consecutive years of record numbers of people majoring in accounting. That’s a great thing. For the last three years, however, we’ve basically had a level number […]
Sixty-nine percent of CPAs suggested privatizing liquor stores as the best measure to close the Keystone State's deficit. Only 27% of them like the idea of legalizing marijuana. Considering the puritanical liquor laws in the state — er, commonwealth — we should accept progress where we can get it. [PICPA]
We've been keeping an eye on the story of the murder of David Locey, a CPA in Sturgis, Michigan and his former employee is now being charged with the crime. Andy Brown was initially charged with embezzling $100k from Locey's firm but now he's accused of first degree premeditated murder and felony firearm. Locey was […]
So, not sure if you guys saw this recent Entrepreneur piece by Gene Marks (a former senior manager at KPMG, btw) but if you aren't familiar, lets take a few important bits from it before we do anything to figure out where ole Gene stands. Like this: Not many people know this about me, but […]
This Way to CPA has stooped to a new low, insulting children. Sure the little snot-nosed brats aren't very smart but do we really need to say that out loud? We all know the youth of America is pretty doomed as is but I'm fairly sure little kids saying they want to be CPAs when […]
For CPAs, St. Patrick's Day is usually just one of several holidays that becomes a casualty of busy season. On Presidents' Day we were unable to engage in parliamentary procedure, on Mardi Gras we are unable to get laid, and on Valentine's Day we are unable to get laid1.
Last week a Santa Barbara CPA by the name of Steve Pybrum was sentenced to three years in prison after he was convicted of "filing false individual income tax returns." You see, Mr. Byrum was operating your run-of-the-mill "full service CPA firm" called Pybrum & Company, but he was of the opinion that his business was […]
Brian Dettmering is a CPA in Milwaukee that's been in the game for 30 years. These days he has his own practice, Riverwest Accounting Services that he operates out of his home. He pretty much works when he wants and takes the clients that he wants. You get the sense that he's happy with his […]
The Shelby Star in North Carolina reports that a fire caused by a window heat unit at a CPA's office resulted in "moderate damage" to the building. By the grace of God (or whatever) all of Greg Blalock's files were saved "as well as most of the computers" but, you get the impression that he's […]
Earlier today, we shared a nice little story of an accountant who hustled after his dream of playing Major League Baseball. Heart-warming, really. It just goes to show you what can happen when you've completely given up on your dreams, made a practical decision because, you know, life and all, and you have a support […]
It is a commonly accepted stereotype that accountants are cheapskates. Unlike Lady Gaga, they weren't born this way, rather they are shaped and molded by miser mentors and as their lives and circumstances demand. If you're one of those CPAs that fancies yourself as a savvy consumer, Kate Hashimoto will make you look downright opulent […]
I haven't had to fill out an "Independence, Integrity, and Objectivity" questionnaire since 2009. Just for kicks, I had a buddy send me a copy of one and I can't even read through it–partly because it's incomprehensible, but mostly because of the rage. Here's the first of 70 [!!!] questions: Have you performed, during the […]
There are plenty of professional mentors out there for young accountants to look up to. Men and women of intelligence, integrity, work ethic, nice shoes, all that good stuff. After taking a look at this SEC Administrative Release, you can easily conclude that group does NOT include R. Jeffrey Rooks and another anonymous "accounting partner": […]
It's not just Ohio CPAs, mind you. NosireeBOB. It's primarily Chambers of Commerce from around the country but also the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Snack Food Association, Turfgrass Producers International, and a host of others asking "Congress and the president to immediately enact legislation that averts America’s impending fiscal cliff." Christ […]
Most of the time when you ask for time off, your superiors don't have much of an issue. "Sure! Enjoy yourself!" or "Go ahead. You deserve a break," they might say. On the rare occasion where your request comes at an inopportune time (e.g. looming deadline, it's their monthly get-away time with mistress/boy-toy), there can […]
Have you struggled to pass a certification exam? Is your reaction to colleagues that place various three-lettered credentials behind their name on their résumés a resounding "Meh"? Not too hung up on money? Great! You won't be bothered by this at all: The average reported salary of IMA members surveyed was $109,001 in 2011, down […]
Looking for the right way to tell your colleague he has a hygiene issue? Not sure if dark khakis go with that dusty blue button-up shirt? Want confirmation that you haven't sold your soul to the Devil himself? Get in touch with us and we'll do our best to help without making you cry. Hello […]
Michael Cohn over at Accounting Today wonders if an accounting firm could suffer the same fate as recently departed global law firm Dewey & Leboeuf. It's a question worth asking since the entity structures for both accounting and law firms are similar and mergers are common in both industries. But really, it's not as likely (although not […]
Last week Adrienne asked all of you to explain, to the best of your ability, why you became accountants. There were a myriad of answers given, which she opted to highlight in her post on Monday. While many of them were fine answers (if not a little verbose), they pale in comparison to the reasoning […]
It's rare we share any feel-good stories with you all so when I saw this letter of thanks printed in the New Jersey-based Daily Journal, I thought it might be nice for you to read. Let's all remember as some of you miserably trudge ever-onward toward April 17th that no matter how bad you have […]
Up until now, the easiest way to verify a CPA license was to check with the individual state boards for license information. That's great if you know the state in which the CPA in question might be licensed but what if you need to do a broad, nationwide search? Enter CPAverify, NASBA's central repository of […]
Listen, if you're going to file fraudulent tax returns, try not to kill anyone in the process. A San Diego tax preparer is facing federal charges for filing over $11 million in fraudulent tax returns and has now added a new charge to his ever-growing list of screw ups: witness tampering. You see, when 50-year-old […]
Alan Dlugash is a partner at Marks Paneth & Shron who specializes in "tax planning and financial analysis for high net worth individuals "and their related business entities." He's based in New York so you know Al has had some BSDs come into his office demanding the finest wealth planning advice that their money can […]
Hopefully you guys appreciate the time these folks put together to give you some free advice on putting a little away toward your future. Answers provided by AICPA National CPA Commission members Craig Steinhoff, CPA, Kelley Long CPA, Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS, and Leonard Wright, CPA/PFS. Adrienne Gonzalez: How do you suggest young professionals who are also […]
Do you have needy clients? You know the type – they want to talk to you when every little thing goes wrong. They call to chit-chat for no reason in particular. They need your opinion on EV-ER-Y-THING. How are you responding to these people? Are you not returning their calls? Are you showing up late to your meetings with them? Do you just listen passively on the phone while repeating, “Uh, huh. Yes. I understand,” as you struggle with level 6-13 on Angry Birds? THOUGHT SO.
Well, they’re on to you. They sense your lack of interest. Your lack of giving a rat’s ass. And you know what? They are FED UP. There are plenty of CPAs out there that would love a client like them and MAYBE they’ll just go out and find one:
“Business is out there, but you have to market yourself differently,” [Allan Koltin, chief executive of Koltin Consulting Group] said, noting that one out of seven accounting firm clients are not happy with their accounting firm and are open to switching firms.
He urged attendees to spend time learning the personal goals of their clients. Among the factors affecting a client’s decision to leave an accounting firm, fees were ninth on the list, he indicated. “The number one factor was that the firm didn’t spend enough time with the client.”
“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said.
Got the message? They aren’t going to put up with your shit forever.
File this one under first world problems.
I’m starting to think about post-Big 4 opportunities and I am wondering how people maintain their CPE credits after leaving the Big 4. Since we need to take 80 hours of CPE credits every 2 years to maintain a CPA, do most employers offer trainings that give CPE credits? If not, will they give you time off and pay for the classes? I’d be very interested in hearing from you, and from the Going Concern community.
Well considering so many of the country’s employable CPAs somehow manage to meet their board of accountancy’s CPE requirements year after year, there’s got to be a trick to stay current that doesn’t involve firms forking out the cash for “experts” to school their staff on all things billable to the CPE time code. Are you telling me you have somehow escaped the wrath of NASBA and don’t get emailed weekly with new CPE offers? Congratulations.
I spoke to one of my favorite HR people at a reasonably-sized but definitely not Big 4 firm to find out what their CPE policy is and found out that most firms above 50 people pay for CPE in one way or another. According to a national survey conducted by the AICPA and the Texas Society of CPAs, 42 percent of the smallest firms paid for CPE in 2010. So unless you end up working out of some ancient CPA’s basement, you will probably not be expected to pay your own way.
Obviously, smaller firms will not be able to provide in-house CPE but you can likely get your online CPE comped, or get reimbursed for any travel associated with in-person CPE you attend. But seriously?! In-person CPE? Get with the times, man.
If you do end up needing to pay your own way (again, totally unlikely as long as you stay gainfully employed by a real accounting firm, even a tiny one), your state society of CPAs can probably provide information on their CPE offerings, or there is always NASBA (as anyone on their email list will tell you) or the AICPA.
Remember too that if you are attending conferences like AICPA Council, you get CPE for doing so, so maybe those dumb meetings aren’t so pointless after all.
New AICPA Chairman Greg Anton doesn’t want you to worry; you’re all still very useful.
In his acceptance speech, Anton detailed the many ways technology is changing the profession. Automation has transformed the way financial information is collected, processed and presented, but a CPA’s value continues to lie in his or her ability to solve problems and identify opportunities for clients and employers, he said.
“As CPAs, we can decipher, disseminate and manage knowledge,” said AICPA Chairman Greg Anton. “This is what a computer or smartphone cannot do.”
We’re getting lots of great news out of the fall meeting of AICPA Governing Council in Phoenix, AZ – some of which includes the CPA exam – but this little interesting tidbit might actually be something some of you might want to get on.
CPA2Biz (an AICPA subsidiary) announced yesterday it will offer a CPA-branded email service for AICPA members beginning later this fall. Eligible AICPA members will be able to get an email in their own name that ends with the coveted cpa.com address, making it a much more professional alternative to those embarrassing Hotmail and Yahoo address some (allegedly) professional CPAs use for business purposes.
So, if Caleb were not merely an inactive CPA but an actual CPA, he’d be able to hook up email@example.com. He could then use this for everything from his private practice to his, uh, private practice (you know, like Craigslist or Match or whatever it is he does in his spare time when he’s not hitting on girls in the Whole Foods organic bulgur wheat section). Cool!
The benefits here are obvious. First, CPA is a powerful brand, and being able to identify yourself as such in your email address gives that extra bit of authority that you just don’t get from firstname.lastname@example.org (I made that email address up, sorry if that actually belongs to anyone out there). It also makes your email address easier to remember for clients, who should hopefully know your name and at least know that you’re a CPA, making it easy for them to memorize your CPA-branded email address.
AICPA members can order basic email, or step up to a business-class offering that includes premier security, access and easy-to-use management tools. The product was announced at yesterday’s meeting of fall Council.
“This is going to be of significant value to sole practitioners because a majority of them are using consumer email services to conduct business,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA2Biz, the technology subsidiary of AICPA. “Additionally, members of larger firms, as well as those in business and industry, now have the opportunity to own a portable professional email account. Regardless of what firm you work for or which industry you represent, it can serve you throughout your career.”
Pricing and service details will be announced in coming weeks. The offering will be the first of many to be featured on CPA.com, the new firm services solutions hub for CPA2Biz.
I know this will cause a lot of Brazilians to get excited but please try to exercise some self-control.
Yes, it’s true, the CPA exam is coming to South America and since the AICPA and NASBA will start administering the CPA exam in February 2012, they’ll be in fine shape for 2014 and 2016:
Testing in Brazil will be open to citizens and long-term residents of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia. U.S. citizens living abroad are eligible to test at any location.
The international administration of the exam, which will be offered in English, is the same as the U.S. exam administered by the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric in the United States. Licensure requirements for international candidates are the same as for U.S. CPA candidates. Along with passing the Uniform CPA Examination, international candidates must meet educational and experience requirements as mandated by U.S. state boards of accountancy.
If any of our Brazilian friends have a head start on panicking over this, I suggest you start with our coverage to calm down. See you in 2012.
If you can get away with tax cheating, is it malpractice for your CPA to make you stop?
A Massachusetts CPA firm found out a new client was using a lame old trick. The S corporation had paid out $1 million to its owner over the years without putting it on a W-2 or treating it as a distribution from the company. Instead, the company every year booked it as a “loan” to the owners – a loan with no note, no interest rate, no security, and no repayments.
This is a time-dishonored way for people who carelessly suck cash out of a corporation to try to avoid the tax consequences – though it is less common in S corporations. It normally fails if the IRS figures it out.
The CPAs told the client that the “loan” should be reclassed as “wages” on the 2002 return to clean it up. The client owner was not excited, and talked to a lawyer to see if there was another way. After the first lawyer failed to satisfy, she talked to a second lawyer, who agreed with the CPA. The client reluctantly filed an amended return, and the owner found herself with a $500,000 tax lien.
At a national firm where I once worked, an audit partner would go from one tax person to another until he found one who told him what he wanted to hear. The client here took that approach, eventually finding a practitioner willing to prepare the 2002 return the old way. That was enough to get the client to file another amended return claiming a refund and to sue the old CPA for malpractice. That might have been a bad decision, in light of this reaction from the astonished judge:
It is surprising that Plaintiffs had the temerity to bring this lawsuit. The complaint was clearly filed too late. The record, mainly as a result of Plaintiffs’ failure to file long-overdue tax returns, is utterly insufficient to demonstrate damages. Most importantly, it is clear that Plaintiffs for many years enjoyed over $1,000,000 in income without paying any taxes on it, and they accomplished this by filing a tax return that improperly characterized the monies they received as a loan. It is close to ludicrous to claim that, by advising Plaintiffs to amend the 2002 tax return to conform with what the law and good accounting practice required, Defendants were being negligent. On the contrary, they were serving their clients ethically and well.
The judge also implied that the client might have been unwise in calling attention to the matter by filing the suit:
As a result of behaving professionally, Defendants have found themselves slapped with this expensive lawsuit. That undeserved headache, at least, is now over. The court can only hope that the IRS and the state authorities will make sure that Plaintiffs now proceed to do what everyone who enjoys the privilege of living in our beloved country is required to do: pay their fair share of taxes.
In other words: come and get ‘em, IRS!
In a world full of charlatans, it can be tough out there for CPAs who try to do the right thing. When you do, it’s nice to know at least one judge has your back.
While most of you are either in the process of getting licensed as a CPA or perfectly content to stick around in the state in which you are already licensed, NASBA reminds everyone that those of you with licenses in different states should not simply let them expire now that mobility (mostly) allows you to hold one license but work in multiple states.
From the NASBA blog (which I didn’t even know existed until now):
Mobility has meant that many CPAs no longer need to keep an active license in a state in order to practice there. But even if the license is no longer needed, there’s more involved than just letting it expire. If you don’t file the proper paperwork to let the board know that you’re voluntarily relinquishing that license, you could face disciplinary action. Without communication from you, the board may assume that you’ve allowed your license to lapse.
The distinction between reciprocity and mobility is an important one, which is why NASBA is enhancing ALL in this regard. If your work in a state were likely to be short-term, then the state’s mobility guidelines would likely cover you for the project’s duration. But if you are licensed in one state and plan to relocate to another, then you’ll need a secondary or reciprocal license from that state’s board. Most states, even with mobility, are requesting that CPAs obtain reciprocal licenses if they are making such a permanent move. Either way, if you find yourself with redundant licenses, ALL can help you relinquish them properly.
Now, NASBA wants to use their Accountancy Licensing Library tool to figure out the rules in your state for relinquishing your license, which is fine. But you can also check with your state board directly for rules on this.
Keep in mind if you relinquish your license in any state you may have to re-apply and retake the exam all over again, assuming you somehow also relinquish your other licenses in other states and have no license to transfer to that state. But who is going to do that?!
The key word here is redundancy. In this day and age, it no longer makes sense to carry multiple licenses, even if your work means you need practice privilege in states other than your own.
Just in time for President Obama’s jobs conversation to a joint session of Congress, the AICPA has released its latest quarterly economic outlook survey results. Long story short: sentiments aren’t high among financial professionals surveyed.
The outlook for the U.S. economy turned negative in the third quarter for the first time since 2009 as prospects for recovery waned and concerns about a second recession rose, according to the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey of Chief Financial Officers, Controllers and CPAs in executive and senior management accounting roles.
The CPA Outlook Index, a broad-based composite index that captures the expectations of CPA financial executives and management accountants, declined 8 points to 58 this quarter, down from 66 in the prior period. The survey, conducted in August, tallied 1,305 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officers or controllers in their companies.
“For the second consecutive quarter, the CPA Outlook Index declined as turbulence in the political and economic environment eroded the sense earlier this year that a recovery was taking hold,” said Carol Scott, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government. “A majority of our CPA members in executive financial roles now fear a second recession may be likely.”
The decline in the CPA Outlook Index was fueled by a sharp drop in sentiment about the U.S. economy.
A whopping 61 percent majority of respondents said they think it is “somewhat likely” or “very likely” the U.S. will fall into a double-dip recession. Only 9 percent of CPAs serving in executive positions expressed optimism about the U.S. economy in the third quarter, down 24 percentage points from 33 percent who were optimistic in the second quarter.
It is reasonable to point out here that though the CPA Outlook Index turned negative this quarter, it is still above the 4-year low of 32 in the first quarter of 2009.
U.S. economy optimism plummeted a whopping 28 points from 53 to 25. Of the major index components, none changed positively quarter-over-quarter for 2011.
While the outlook for respondents’ own organizations is not as rosy as it was earlier this year, it has not dropped as sharply as the outlook for the US economy. Optimists also still outnumber pessimists, with 41% of the CPA decision-makers indicating that they are optimistic about the outlook for their own organizations over the next 12 months, while only 21% are pessimistic. Expectation for expansion also dropped again this quarter but a majority of respondents (53%) still expect to expand at least somewhat in the next 12 months. This is down from 61% who expected expansion last quarter.
Executive summary of the survey results can be found here.
From the mailbag:
Does GC have any suggestions of where to get a frame for my brand-new CPA wall certificate? I searched the site, but if you’ve covered this before I must have missed it.
I appreciate the feedback! Thanks!
Perhaps our reader is referring to this post we did back in July where the reader was impatiently waiting for his certificates so he could decorate his cubicle walls.
Obviously we have a completely different issue here but it’s no less important. So let’s throw a few ideas out there:
1. Make like a Son of Nazareth and build the thing yourself.
2. Hand the certificate over to your young son/daughter/niece/nephew along with a box of Crayolas and hope for the best.
3. Two words: Dumpster diving.
4. Your ideas.
Back again with another edition of fix my career ASAP. Today, “an accidental tax lawyer” wants to obtain a CPA to bolster his small practice. Other lawyers look at him like he’s “crazy” when he discusses the IRC but our Regretful JD enjoys all the minutiae. Problem is, he’ll have to start from scratch since he has business background. Is this plan gold or is he a glutton for punishment?
Are you suffering from a case of summer-is-ending-which-means-busy-season-is-right-around-the-corner blues and are wondering if it’s time for a new job? Does your golf game suck? Do you wear