#ElectionDay fact: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most unpopular candidates in history>> https://t.co/bjeXFC2rpV — Grant Thornton (@GrantThorntonUS) November 8, 2016 Thanks, GT.
Jim Peterson has subjected himself to not one but two viewings of the PCAOB's December 4 meeting, so that alone makes him a hero because ain't nobody got time for that. But on his second viewing, the delirium kicked in and he started counting how many times the PCAOB thanked the PCAOB for the PCAOB's […]
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It’s been awhile since we shared some of Stephen Chipman’s blog musings (mostly because we were too busy watching dust accumulate) but he was probably saving the more interesting stuff for post-April 15th.
Having just passed April 15, the first words I want you to read are “Thank you!” As we move through our busiest season, I continue to be impressed by the long hours, personal sacrifices and collaboration I read about in my e-mail, on our home page and by special letters and words of praise and thanks from our clients. As I’ve met with clients recently, one after another client executive raves about our people. It’s customary in the firm to say that clients rave about “our service,” but what they’re referring to is “you.” They are raving about each of you. The individuals for whom you work and with whom you have formed strong relationships based on excellence and trust are taking the time to tell me how valuable you have been to their respective businesses. Every time you show up, speak up and stay up late, you are demonstrating our global values: collaboration, leadership, excellence, agility, respect and responsibility. You are making a difference.
In case you missed it, your mere ability to drag yourself out of bed every morning, get to work at a decent hour, manage to utter a coherent sentence, and sacrificing your own health by depriving yourself of sleep you are making a difference. Your clients have noticed this by way of your wrinkled clothes, scuffed shoes, that expanding paunch, and your the all around zombie-esque qualities you exhibited every day during busy season (never mind this was all done for very little money).
And because of all those raving clients, Steve-o sent a little nudge to GT partners to make sure that they know, that you know, that they appreciate it because as it stands, they’re not doing that bang-up of a job:
These two simple words make a profound difference.
Feedback from the Voice Your Experience survey indicated that we need to continue to improve how we recognize our people. Interestingly, research shows recognition is not only about money and that a personal acknowledgement is especially powerful in motivating people to achieve exceptional results.
Please use the enclosed stationary to write your people notes of appreciation. By modeling this behavior, you play a key role in perpetuating a spirit of acknowledgement that benefits both our people and our business.
As always, thank you for all you do to make a difference every day.
Okay people, illegible thank you notes (on extra-special stationary!) should be coming your way. Gratitude by way of money is cold and impersonal anyway.
Seriously people. For most of you, this isn’t a problem. You gird up your loins, duck your head and bulldoze your way through this time of year just like you’ve done in years past. Busy season sucks. We all know that.
Who in their right mind interviews with the Big 4 et al. and is thinking, “The hours won’t be that bad,” or “I probably won’t have to travel” OR “Big 4 salaries are good enough for me”?
The Big 4 Exodus is something that has been discussed at length here but until we’ve yet to discuss this particular topic.
Yes, the trend of accounting firm layoffs is demoralizing and yes, merit increases were mostly frozen, and there were virtually no bonuses> Hell, you may working your ass off knowing that your staff makes more than you but if you’re working in mid-February, what ton of bricks hits you that causes you to conclude that bailing out on your team is the best option?
All the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with, despite all of them having multiple “F— THIS!” moments, pull it together because they have a job to do. Why the hell didn’t you quit prior to busy season? You really felt like sticking it to everyone?
Fine. Perhaps your desire for sweet, sweet revenge against your senior/manager/partner/firm is more powerful than any shred of integrity you may have but for crissakes, that makes you a very bitter person. More so than the average accountant.
Seriously? It couldn’t wait? There isn’t that much time left in busy season. And besides, if you’re patient, they may pay you to leave.
Apparently the IRS is not one for timing. Earlier this month the Service announced that if you get paid to crank out 1040s, your life as you know it is more or less over. Well, at least a little more inconvenient. Okay, it’s hella-inconvenient.
Back when the new regulations were announced the Service let it be known that since it can’t get these new regulations implemented for 2010, it was still stepping up its efforts for getting all up in tax preparers’ shit.
The first step being to be to send 10,000 letters to paid preparers nationwide letting them know that they need to be on their A-game. The letters were intended for, “preparers…with large volumes of specific tax returns where the IRS typically sees frequent errors,” and that they should be “vigilant” for errors related to “Schedule C income and expenses, Schedule A deductions, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the First Time Homebuyer Credit.”
Well then. That should cover about EVERY TAX PREPARER IN THE COUNTRY.
Anyway, the IRS is following up the 10,000 “Dear Joe Kristan” letters with phone calls to set up sit-downs with “thousands” of preparers. According to William Stromsem, who wrote a piece over at CPA2Biz, these are “urgent” calls:
In at least one case, the IRS called a practitioner at home and spoke with the spouse by name, asking for a response within three hours and then calling back before that time was up. Another practitioner, who was unable to schedule a meeting during a busy time was threatened with having the refusal passed up the line to a supervisor.
The piece goes to tell us that the visits will be performed in the coming weeks and months and may last up to 3 hours. Does anyone see a problem with this yet?
These chats are designed to be friendly reminders of all the pitfalls out there in tax preparer land; not a compliance visit (but they will remind you of the penalties that can be assessed for any malfeasance). Regardless of the pleasant intentions, the timing has irked CPAs to no end and we can’t say that we blame them. Hope no one is expecting an apology. And one more thing, we’d like to know how the Commish’s CPA feels about this whole thing. Just for fun; he should get a letter.
IRS ‘10,000 Letters’ Program Angers CPAs [CPA2Biz]
You’ve already seen me rail on SOX and I’m not the only one.
I am not classically trained in recognizing Service threats but this certainly feels like one.
The Internal Revenue Service today reminded tax-exempt organizations to make sure they file their annual information form on time. In 2010 the tax-exempt status of any non-profit that has not filed the required form in the last three years will be revoked.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 requires that non-profit organizations that do not file a required information form for three consecutive years automatically lose their Federal tax-exempt status. This requirement has been in effect since the beginning of 2007.
The costs of compliance begin to add up and suddenly it starts to reek of 404(b); compliance for the sake of compliance does not equal nor even assist transparency.
I spoke to Chris Leach, a former not-for-profit auditor who has served on several NFP boards, who gave some insight into the problem with the 990. Let me tick off just a few “concerns”:
• Some of the smaller non-profits don’t have anyone on their board qualified to do the 990. It’s not a 1040 and problems are numerous.
• NFP board members are exposed to liability, being forced to “sign off” on 990s. That should sound familiar to any auditor who has been at the job for longer than ten years or so.
• Increased regulatory pressure has been proven to distort true financial condition, not necessarily make it any more transparent.
Any of this sound eerily familiar?
Many boards do not have members equipped to adequately review and sign Form 990, so they are still exposing themselves to liability as a result of improperly filed forms. “Bad publicity is the largest implication in my view, especially for organizations facing financial stress, and even more so in this economic environment,” Chris told me. “Beyond that, from a board member’s perspective, the biggest problem would be misstatements on the Form 990, which could potentially lead to personal liability for the board.”
Chris is slightly more reasonable than yours truly, saying “Just the simple day-to-day administration of tax issues puts pressure on smaller not-for-profit organizations. [However], when a not-for-profit organization isn’t a worthy steward of its donors’ trust, donors feel betrayed, so they want more transparency.”
Fair enough. Bring on the transparency (and the headaches?)!
Deloitte threw their “State of The Media Democracy” survey together for the fourth year in a row, and man are we glad they did. This latest opus informs us that TV is 34% of Americans’ favorite form of media and that it ranks in the top three for 70% of Americans. Viewing hours increased to almost 18 hours a week, up two hours from the same study last year.
The same survey also states that 60% of the U.S. Households have a gaming console including 70% of GenX households. So for many of you, after a long day of opining and complying, you like to go home and pwn some noobs.
Forget — for a minute — about what this reveals about Americans in general. What’s really important is that Deloitte is going out of their way to perform a survey annually that will remind all of us how lazy we are.
This is almost as helpful as as the reports based on World of Warcraft analysis. Keep up the good work, D.
Deloitte “State of The Media Democracy” Survey: Recession Intensifies America’s Love for TV [Deloitte.com]
Study: Interest in TV viewing on the rise [The Hollywood Reporter]