Accounting Rises to C-Level

PICPA member Edward Weller is CAO with The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.

PICPA member Edward Weller is CAO with The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.

Responsibilities continue to grow for accountants in the corporate finance world, leading to new titles and additional opportunities. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out that over the past five years there has been a 40 percent rise in the number of chief accounting officer (CAO) titles.

PICPA member Edward Weller is familiar with the opportunity. Weller is CAO with The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. In this blog, Weller provides insight into why so many organizations are incorporating this position, and how a focus on generally accepted accounting principles has led to so many new opportunities for CPAs in industry. Continue reading

What to Expect in the Future with the Supreme Court’s Decisions Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

By Guest Blogger David H. Glusman, CPA, DABFA, CFS | Marcum LLP

Glusman

David H. Glusman, CPA, DABFA, CFS
Partner, Advisory Services
Marcum LLP

The decisions in Obergefell v. Hodges and United States v. Windsor have now set the stage for a multitude of changes in actions, options, and necessary planning decisions. While some issues remain unresolved, the two landmark decisions have established that same-sex couples now have all of the rights and responsibilities that have been available to heterosexual couples with respect to marriage.

Same-sex couples now face the age-old quandary heterosexuals have faced. The answer is not always a slam dunk. Millions of heterosexuals live in permanent or semi-permanent relationships without marrying. Many same-sex couples may decide to keep their unwed status as well, despite the new-found freedom to wed. Continue reading

Pursue Practice Development Only with a Practice Enrichment Plan

By Guest Blogger Ira Rosenbloom | Optimum Strategies LLC

IraRosenbloom

Ira Rosenbloom is the chief operating executive of Optimum Strategies LLC.

Given the difficulties associated with attracting staff, motivating staff, and planning for succession, CPA firms must reassess their approach to practice development. Creating more work or more of the wrong work may bring short-term financial dividends, but it can raise the misery and frustration levels to a costly level. The main driver for your practice development efforts must be practice enrichment – getting your firm more stimulating opportunities, better clients, and more higher-profit-margin clients. Here are five vital ways to position your practice development efforts to succeed at practice enrichment: Continue reading

Game On! Leadership Conference Features Great Speakers and a Hashtag Challenge

HashtagChallenge

Find out how you can participate and win prizes at PICPA’s 2015 Leadership Conference on Sept. 21.

PICPA’s Leadership Conference is #Soldout once again, and I’m not surprised. Each year the program gets better, as #accountingindustry trends and #leadership development are explored by experts in the field. This year, if you aren’t able to attend the program you can follow the discussion on Twitter as attendees participate in PICPA’s first Twitter “Hashtag Challenge.” They will be competing for a free 2016-2017 PICPA membership, a registration to the 2016 Annual Convention at the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico, or a portable keyboard for a tablet. If you understand the term “hashtag” and the use of # in my first two sentences, you can skip the tutorial and move right down to “Game Rules” to find out how to follow along the day of the conference and learn some great tips from the presenting experts. Continue reading

Keep Your Eyes Open for Fraud when Auditing Employee Benefit Plans

By Guest Blogger Richard F. Fischer, CPA, CPMG | Louis Plung & Company

RichardFischer

Richard F. Fischer, CPA is the Partner-in-Charge of the Accounting and Auditing Department of Louis Plung & Company and was a speaker at the 2015 Employee Benefit Plans Conference.

“Deficient” is a word no auditor likes to hear. Unfortunately it is a word the profession has had to deal with since the Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) division of the Department of Labor (DOL), issued its May 2015 report on assessments of the quality of audit work performed on employee benefit plan audits by independent qualified public accountants (IQPA). EBSA’s review found that 39 percent of the audits performed during the 2011 filing year contained major deficiencies with respect to one or more relevant Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), which would lead to rejection of a Form 5500 filing. A common deficiency noted in about 25 percent of the audits examined by the EBSA was that, in the areas of planning and supervision and internal controls, there were no or inadequate assessment of fraud risk and no or inadequate evidence of fraud “brainstorming” or evidence of fraud inquiries. Continue reading

Unimpressed by “Strides” in Diversity in Accounting

As staff liaison to the PICPA Diversity Committee since its inception in 2009, I let out a gasp of disappointment when I read the AICPA’s 2015 Accounting Supply Trends Report. The study reveals ethnic minorities comprise 14 percent of the accounting profession. The number in 2013? 25 percent. And the number in 2011? 20 percent. This is not progress.

In Firm Culture and Its Impact on the Future of the Firm, the PICPA surveyed staff at public accounting firms. Forty-five percent reported that their firm does not have a diversity initiative. Even more telling, 28 percent were unsure. Couple that with the 28 percent of respondents who don’t think a diversity initiative is important at all, and we’re really in a place of denial.

diversity data

Google, Apple, Yahoo, Intel, LinkedIn, and Facebook recognize the urgent business case for diversity — the accounting profession must too. If you’re interested in reaping the undeniable rewards of a diverse workforce, here are three immediate opportunities to learn more and support the PICPA’s efforts: Continue reading

Global Tax Reform: Place Your BEPS

By Guest Blogger Doug Nakajima, JD, LLM | Smart Devine

Doug Nakajima, JD, LLM, is managing director of Smart Devine.

Doug Nakajima, JD, LLM, is managing director of Smart Devine.

Tax professionals are tasked with developing planning strategies to minimize or eliminate their tax burdens. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) addresses the need for a level of uniform tax treatment under the battle banner of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The problem with this approach is that not one, but all industries will be affected should OECD’s recommended solutions be approved.

I’m certain all tax professionals are receiving the same amount of updates in their inbox as I, making all of us aware of OECD’s approach to how domestic laws in each country contribute to tax avoidance through various schemes to shift profits from high-tax to low-tax jurisdictions. BEPS seeks global agreement to a policy that matches the taxation of profits to where the economic activity generating the profits is performed and where economic value is created. Although I question whether the BEPS goals can ever be achieved, they are certainly necessary and laudable. Continue reading