KSCPA News http://www.kscpa.org/about/news News from KSCPA en-us Copyright 2015, KSCPA What Employers Assume About ACA Can Hurt Them http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/795-what_employers_assume_about_aca_can_hurt_them http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/795-what_employers_assume_about_aca_can_hurt_them <div class="entry-body"> <h2>What Employers Assume About ACA Can Hurt Them</h2> <h4>By Doug Stives, MBA, CPA</h4> <p>The Affordable Care Act is here to stay and continues to challenge CPAs with many unanswered questions and some mind boggling confusion. Every time I think I understand the ACA, rules change and interpretations contradict themselves. Despite the high frustration level, our own firms, our companies and our clients depend on us to guide them.</p> <p>As a CPE discussion leader for the AICPA and others, I am continuously challenged by participants who complain about leaving class with more questions than answers on ACA. This situation is not about to resolve itself.</p> <p>When the law was passed in 2010, the knee jerk reaction for many employers was: “We'll just cancel our health insurance plan and pay the penalties.” This is not a good answer. Take my own CPA firm as an example. We employ about 35 people and do not have to offer affordable health insurance since we have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Although Full-Time Equivalent Employee is defined three different ways in the ACA, our firm is definitely exempt from penalties.</p> </div> <div class="entry-more"> <p>So ... if we cancel our insurance, where will a group of professionals and our support staff get coverage? Some are fortunate enough to be covered through their spouse’s employer and don't need our insurance. The others can theoretically go to the Exchange. In New Jersey, however, we don't have an exchange, so applicants are forced to buy insurance on a federal website.</p> <p>My plea to my clients and anyone else who will listen is to figure out some way to provide insurance that will be affordable, even if it requires high deductibles and co-payments. Health Savings Accounts are a strongly recommended alternative since they provide an arrangement that makes all medical expenses pre-tax when well administered and understood by participants.</p> <p>Our firm has saved tens of thousands of dollars with an HSA in place since they became legal in 2004. We have a $5,000 deductible and our firm contributes not only to the cost of insurance, but also to our employees’ accounts with pre-tax dollars.</p> <p>Meanwhile, we witness many companies falsely believing their pre-ACA plans are “grandfathered” and do not need to be amended. That assumption is dangerous and can be disastrous. All health insurance plans must be ACA compliant. For example, plans cannot deny coverage to new hires regardless of previously existing conditions. A non-compliant plan can trigger a $100 per day per employee penalty. This is a strong disincentive to ignore the burden of so many rules.</p> <p>Plans cannot have monetary limits. Pre-ACA plans almost always had limits, typically $1 million. This is one provision I sincerely like because it removes the risk of being financially wiped out by a long-term illness. The cost of these provisions is huge, but I do not resent this benefit since it protects me and my family from financial disaster. I am happy to pay more for this benefit.</p> <p>And then there are the confusing FTE formulas, though the Treasury Department has provided guidance in a few areas. One item that piqued my interest was the formula announced for adjunct college professors. To account for preparation, grading and office hours, Treasury promulgated a 225% factor of classroom time for adjuncts.</p> <p>Here's the problem with this rule. I know an adjunct who was teaching three classes and enjoyed outstanding ratings from his students. Along came ACA and the 225% rule. The professor was told he could no longer teach three classes since the formula would make him “full time” and eligible for health insurance. Despite his offer to sign a refusal of the college’s health insurance because he has coverage at his full-time job as a controller, his school's HR department insisted he cut his workload, which caused the adjunct to go teach at another school. The college lost a dedicated and popular adjunct professor, and to replace him, hired a full-time PhD who is being paid about 15 times what the adjunct was paid. So much for cost savings and affordability.</p> <p>Don't run away from ACA or rationalize that the IRS doesn't have enough resources to enforce the volumes of ACA rules. Embrace the confusion. Learn to live with the ACA, and work closely with your clients to design quality affordable coverage.</p> <p><strong><em>Doug Stives, MBA, CPA</em></strong>. Doug is a full-time professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. He is also a tax consultant at The Curchin Group in Red Bank, NJ where he was a partner for 36 years. He teaches CPE for the AICPA, is a frequent speaker at tax conferences and is quoted in <em>The Wall Street Journal</em> and other national publications. Doug was President of the NJ Society of CPAs and served on several AICPA committees including the Tax Division Executive Committee.</p> </div> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Applications Now Open for 2015 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/794-applications_now_open_for_2015_accounting_scholars http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/794-applications_now_open_for_2015_accounting_scholars <h2><strong><span>Applications Now Open for 2015 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop</span></strong></h2> <div> <p>The AICPA Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop "ASLW" is an annual invitational program for minority accounting students who plan to pursue the CPA designation. This event aims to strengthen students’ professional skills and understanding of the limitless possibilities and benefits of earning the CPA credential.</p> <p>Register <a href="https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/education/scholarship-search/aicpa-accounting-scholars-leadership-workshop/?utm_source=ASLW&utm_medium=PartnerMarketing&utm_campaign=2015Scholarships" target="_blank">HERE</a></p> <p>Through speakers, panel discussions and interactive programs, participants gain confidence and an enhanced understanding of the various career paths within the accounting profession to prepare them for the steps that follow graduation. An all-expenses paid event, the AICPA Foundation covers the cost of student attendees’ transportation to/from the workshop location, hotel accommodations, training experience, and meals. </p> <h4><span>What to Expect</span></h4> <p>Attendees will participate in learning sessions and panel discussions covering a wide array of topics such as developing leadership skills and passing the CPA exam. Students will have the opportunity to interact with accomplished CPA professionals who will share priceless knowledge regarding career opportunities in accounting and the value of networking.</p> <h4><span>Program Venue & Date Information</span></h4> <p>Baltimore Marriott Waterfront<br />700 Aliceanna Street<br />Baltimore, MD 21202<br />410-385-32000<br />Wednesday, July 29 – Friday, July 31, 2015</p> <p>Please contact <em><strong><a href="mailto:diversity@aicpa.org">diversity@aicpa.org</a></strong></em> with any questions regarding the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop.</p> <p>“The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop strengthened my networking and communication skills, and helped me develop into a more effective leader within my community and workplace. At ASLW, attendees will develop a deeper understanding of the accounting profession and the limitless possibilities within themselves. I encourage others take advantage of this opportunity to develop a bond with their minority peers, who will be part of the future of the accounting profession.”<br /><br />-Shakor Jukes, a 2014 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop Graduate and Junior Accountant at the Moret Group</p> <h4><span>Frequently Asked Questions</span></h4> <p><em>How do I apply to attend this event?</em><br />So glad you asked! The application period is now open for the 2015 program through April 30th, so don't delay...apply today.<br /><br /><em>If I am graduating in spring/summer 2015, may I still attend the workshop?</em><br />Yes: this is an ideal program for recent graduates. This workshop benefits attendees by strengthening networking and communication skills to prepare workplace leaders.<br /><br /><em>If I have attended a past AICPA Workshop, may I come back?</em><br />To enable as many students as possible to have this experience, students who have attended a previous workshop may not attend.<br /><br /><em>What if I have another obligation (class, work) at the same time as the workshop and still want to attend?</em><br />Students are required to attend the workshop for the full two days. The AICPA will provide your employer or teacher with information regarding the content and benefit of your participation in this program.<br /><br /><em>May I attend if I am already a CPA?</em><br />No, those persons who are already CPAs are not eligible to attend as participants.<br /><br /><em>I am ready to apply what type of information or documentation do I need to have prepared to submit an application that is review ready?</em><br />In addition to the above eligibility requirements you will also need the following; unofficial transcripts, two letters of recommendation (at least one must be either a faculty member OR a licensed CPA), a brief 500 word essay and that is all, a motivational quote (we want to know what keeps you charged up). Don’t fret over the essay, we have easy to follow tips right <a href="https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/education/articles/applying-yourself/how-write-great-scholarship-essay/" target="_blank">here </a>to help you get started.<br /><br /><em>How do I learn more about the Leadership Workshop and other AICPA diversity programs?</em>Contact us with your inquiry and contact information.</p> </div> <h3>Requirements</h3> <div> <p>Eligible applicants must:</p> <ul> <li>Be a declared accounting, finance or tax major who intends to pursue the CPA credential</li> <li>Be a sophomore, junior, senior, 5th year, or graduate student for the 2014-15 academic year</li> <li>Have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA</li> <li>Be actively involved in campus and community activities</li> <li>Have not attended a past workshop</li> <li>Be an ethnic minority (i.e., Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; Native American; or Asian, etc.)</li> <li>Be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident (green card holder)</li> <li>Be a Student Affiliate Member of the AICPA</li> </ul> </div> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Complimentary Webinar: Protecting Your Firm from Liability http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/793-complimentary_webinar_protecting_your_firm_from http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/793-complimentary_webinar_protecting_your_firm_from <h2>Protecting Your Firm from Liability</h2> <p>Complimentary Web Seminar<br />March 31, 2015<br />2 pm ET/11 am PT<br />Brought to you by <em>Accounting Today</em> and <em>Taxpro Today</em></p> <p>Register <a href="http://pages.marketing.accountingtoday.com/20150331_act_citrix_ws_lp.html?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonvK%2FOc%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16O4uXqa1gZ541El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcBiMb%2FORw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKdUVt9BpPgznCW8%3D" target="_blank">Here</a></p> <p>Clients bring profits, work and satisfaction – but they can also bring headaches, complaints and even lawsuits. During this web seminar, industry experts will show you how to manage your engagements and your clients to keep your exposure low and your firm out of court.</p> <p><strong>Additionally, this webinar will discuss:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Best practice strategies for engagement and termination letters </li> <li>A review of the applicable state statute of limitations</li> <li>The privity defense</li> <li>Recent court victories for CPAs</li> </ul> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/20150331_act_citrix_ws_john_raspante.jpg" alt="Speaker" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>John Raspante</strong><span>,CPA,MST,CDFA</span><br /><span>SVP/Director of Risk Management</span><br /><span>NAPLIA</span></p> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Anticipating Governance Catalysts in a Family-Owned Business http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/792-anticipating_governance_catalysts_in_a_family-owned http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/792-anticipating_governance_catalysts_in_a_family-owned <h2>Anticipating Governance Catalysts in a Family-Owned Business</h2> <p><em>From the KPMG </em><a href="http://www.kpmg-institutes.com/institutes/global-enterprise-institute.html" target="_blank">Global Enterprise Institute</a> <em>and the </em><a href="http://www.kpmg-institutes.com/institutes/aci.html" target="_blank">Audit Committee Institute</a></p> <p>For public companies, formalized governance systems and processes are required—by government agencies and securities exchanges. At private companies, largely those held by entrepreneurs and families, only relationships-blood and business-inform how the company is run.</p> <p>Indeed, the vision and passion of the founder or owners is what drives the success of these businesses. Yet, success inevitably leads to key transition points, where professional governance can make the difference between growth and decline.</p> <p>Family-owned companies can be greatly enhanced and strengthened by self-imposed professional governance standards, including independent directors and audit and compensation committees, when facing the specific challenges of growing the business, managing transitions, and financing the company.</p> <p><strong>Succession Planning</strong>. For family-owned and entrepreneur-led businesses without outside investors, chief executive transitions can be a significant challenge. It can be intimidating for children, relatives, and even professional managers to replace a founder/CEO. They often worry that a charismatic leader may only be stepping aside from the day-to-day but will continue to permeate the workplace. Moreover, family members in line for executive positions may ascend too early and without the right training, or not at all, leaving the company with a leadership vacuum. A professional board charged with supporting and overseeing executives and validating a sustaining strategy for the business can help diffuse the emotion of succession planning.</p> <p><strong>Managing Shareholder (Family) Dynamics.</strong> For closely-held companies, shareholders are raised and shares are inherited. Yet business owners may end up passing on their ownership without transferring their passion for the business. Sometimes “the chosen one” doesn’t work out and other shareholders-by-birth choose different professions, “diversifying” away from the family business while still participating economically in the company’s ups and downs.</p> <p>Extending down to the third generation and beyond, the company’s interested parties and shareholders have a far different composition than a singular founder or founders. An initial step in separating the business of the business from the business of the family could be the formation of a family council, from which a representative or two would serve on the board. Such a council would also help isolate the company from the extremes of family politics.</p> <p><strong>Product and Geographic Expansion.</strong> A growing family and shareholder base, of course, will look to the business to grow alongside them, organically, through business development, and by acquisition. Bringing in partners, or motivating high-achieving employees, who may expect a tangible equity stake in the new business can challenge a company that isn’t structured to extend real ownership to any individual outside of the family. A willingness to evolve ownership to key employees and partners beyond the family can help everyone, but only if there is equity in place and available for opportunistic moves.</p> <p><strong>Financing Growth.</strong> Entrepreneur-led and family-owned businesses tend to start small and grow on the back of bank loans and non-equity financing. Significant capital, however, rarely comes with strings attached only to assets. Minority investors often bring governance demands, particularly when it comes to board representation. In today’s marketplace, with ever cautious banks limiting their risk, a more advanced governance structure—a board with independent voices and independent counsel—can help put in place an ownership structure that can accommodate additional investors and allow their voices to be heard.</p> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT AICPA Chair Tommye Barie to present free Professional Issues Update May 6, 2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/743-aicpa_chair_tommye_barie_to_present_free http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/743-aicpa_chair_tommye_barie_to_present_free <p>The KSCPA will hold the Spring Leadership Events May 5-6, 2015. The executive committee will meet on May 5. <strong>The professional issues update will be presented by Tommye Barie, CPA, Chair of the AICPA on May 6.</strong> <strong>For the general membership, this 2-hour free CPE will be held by video cast.</strong> Members of the board of directors (and ex officio) will meet Tommye in person at the KSCPA offices and attend additional leadership events.</p> <p> <a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/ProfessionalDevelopmentFiles/spring_leadership_schedule_of_events_may_2015.pdf">May 5-6, 2015 Spring Leadership</a></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/tommye_barie_to_speak_at_spring_2015_professional_issues_update_copy2.jpg" alt="Tommye Barie" width="479" height="268" /></p> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Skyscapes Snapshot for the Week of March 23rd http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/791-skyscapes_snapshot_for_the_week_of_march_23rd http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/791-skyscapes_snapshot_for_the_week_of_march_23rd <p>Full interactive <a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/skyscapes_snapshot_supplement_march.pdf">Skyscapes Snapshot</a></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/untitled_copy1.jpg" alt="Skyscapes Snapsot" width="395" height="506" /></p> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT KSCPA Leaders Attend AICPA Regional Council Meeting in Chicago http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/790-kscpa_leaders_attend_aicpa_regional_council_meeting http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/790-kscpa_leaders_attend_aicpa_regional_council_meeting <p>Three KSCPA leaders attended the AICPA Regional Council Meeting in Chicago on March 19, 2015.</p> <p>The KSCPA currently has three members on the AICPA Council, which is the governing body of the 400,000 plus member organization.</p> <p><strong>Michelle Schneider, CPA</strong>, Chair of the KSCPA, is the Desginated Member of Council. The current KSCPA chair serves a one-year term on the AICPA Council.</p> <p><strong>Robert Schuster, CPA</strong> is the Elected Member of Council. This member is selected by the KSCPA nominations committee and serves a three-year term on the AICPA Council. Bob will lead the KSCPA delegation on May 19 at the Spring Meeting of Council in Washington, D.C. Bob provides updates to the leadership of the KSCPA as an ex officio member of the board of directors and to the general membership at the annual meeting. Bob is also co-chair of the legislative executive committee of the KSCPA.</p> <p><strong>L. Gary Boomer, CPA.CITP, CGMA</strong> is an At Large Member of Council. At Large members are selected by the AICPA leadership and serve a three-year term.</p> <p>Barry Melancon, CPA, President/CEO of the AICPA presented an informative issues update. Tommye Barie, CPA, AICPA Chair and Tim Christen, CPA, AICPA Vice Chair teed up issues and questions for round-table discussions and reports from Council members.</p> <p>The report of the nominations committee included the nomination of <strong>Richard Dinkel, CPA,</strong> to election as an At Large Member of Council at the Fall Council in October 2015. Richard will be only the third person from Kansas to be elected to Council as an At Large member.</p> <p>The KSCPA continues its strong relationship with the AICPA. KSCPA members are encouraged to pursue leadership in the local chapters, the state association, and the AICPA. For further information on leadership opportunities, contact <a href="mailto:mary@kscpa.org">mary@kscpa.org</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Microsoft Discounts - Expire April 6, 2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/789-microsoft_discounts-expire_april_6_2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/789-microsoft_discounts-expire_april_6_2015 <p><img src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/microsoft_1.jpg" alt="Discount" width="551" height="198" /></p> <p><img src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/microsoft_2.jpg" alt="Microsoft Discount 2" width="553" height="68" /></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/microsoft_3.jpg" alt="Microsoft GoDaddy" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/click/services/Redirect2.ashx?CR_CC=200554087">Click here to learn more about the Microsoft - GoDaddy Special Offer</a></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/microsoft_4.jpg" alt="501(c)(6)" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans">Click here to learn more about 501(c)(6) organziation special discounts: Microsoft Project Sky Offer</a></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT KPMG's Board Perspective Series: Newly Released Articles Related to Private Company Boards http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/788-kpmgs_board_perspective_series_newly_released http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/788-kpmgs_board_perspective_series_newly_released <p>KPMG’s Board Perspectives series investigates emerging and ongoing governance topics facing boards and businesses today. The following articles highlight the issues and challenges facing private companies as they build and manage an effective board.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Exceptional Private Company Boards Get the Basics Right      – </strong>Without a regulator or stock      exchange to impose oversight guidelines, private companies often “write      their own rules” when it comes to governance. Continue to read by <a href="http://click.kpmgemail.com/?qs=a911ff00d18f7e2215bcd900622ac395d39d257f6a1fb7049d9a8c87f8f7baa7" target="_blank">downloading the full article</a>.</li> <li><strong>Culture as a Blind Spot: Openness and Transparency in      the Private Company Boardroom – </strong>For      all its focus on the business and the marketplace, the board itself can be      vulnerable to its own blind spot: boardroom culture. Continue to read by <a href="http://click.kpmgemail.com/?qs=a911ff00d18f7e22ee279c42167c2825eeb2dae2c3626e9db20182399cbd1074" target="_blank">downloading the full article</a>.</li> <li><strong>The Challenge of Managing Investors and Time Horizons      at a Private Company </strong>–      Private company boardrooms are often disrupted by their own invitation.      High-net-worth individuals, large family offices, and private equity      investors are increasingly being brought in as critical business partners      or capital providers and, ultimately, as directors. At the same time,      these investors can bring different expectations, time horizons, and the      potential for conflict to the boardroom. Continue to read by <a href="http://click.kpmgemail.com/?qs=a911ff00d18f7e22761d4aab4c474050497402631cf64c8efd41cd5738770882" target="_blank">downloading the full article </a>.</li> <li><strong>Anticipating Governance Catalysts in a Family-Owned      Business </strong>– The vision and passion of the      founder or owner is what drives the success of family-owned businesses.      Yet, success inevitably leads to key transition points, where professional      governance can make the difference between growth and decline<strong>. </strong>Continue to      read by <a href="http://click.kpmgemail.com/?qs=a911ff00d18f7e22ed059b13cd81188f9232529c495ac2575a5a81a9f7fe7933" target="_blank">downloading the full article</a>.</li> </ul> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT KSCPA Testifies Neutral on SB 260 and HB 2392 Relative to Taxing Passive Income http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/787-kscpa_testifies_neutral_on_sb_260_and_hb_2392 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/787-kscpa_testifies_neutral_on_sb_260_and_hb_2392 <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/gary_allerheiligen.jpg" alt="Gary Allerheiligen" width="152" height="202" /></p> <p>The KSCPA Legislative Executive Committee, represented by co-chair, <strong>Gary C. Allerheiligen, CPA</strong>, testified neutral at both the Senate Taxation Committee and the House Taxation Committee on March 12, 2015 at the Kansas Statehouse. These bills - both the same - provide an exception to the general rule that losses from business enterprises are not deductible for Kansas income tax purposes, as well as an exception to the general rule the income from business enterprises are not taxable for Kansas income tax purposes.</p> <p>Chair of the Senate Committee, Senator Les Donovan, and Chair of the House Committee, Representative Marvin Kleeb, both stressed that this is one bill that may ease the budget shortfall in Kansas. Other options have or will emerge; however, a revenue solution will not be finalized until revenues over the next couple months are received and offer a clearer picture of what is needed to fill the shortfall.</p> <p>It was apparent the KSCPA continues to be the pre-eminant source of information on complex tax issues, as members of the committee focused their questions about the more complex issues related to passive income to Gary. Committee members were most interested in the definition of passive income and who will be impacted by the elimination of these exceptions. As defined under the Federal tax statute, as adopted by the State of Kansas, passive income is defined as "any activity which involves the conduct of any trade or business in which the taxpayer does not materially participate." It is estimated that approximately $50-60M in revenues would be gained if this bill became law.</p> <p>Two interesting points that Gary made during his testimony were as follows:</p> <p>1. The active/passive characterization can treat the taxation of two co-owners in a business differently. For example, assume a brother and sister are equal co-owners of a Kansas small business located in Topeka. Assume the brother lives in Topeka and runs the business while the sister lives in Wichita and has no involvement in the business. Under this scenario, the brother's share of income from the business will be deemed to be active and not subject to Kansas income tax, while the sister's share of income from the business will be passive and subject to Kansas income tax.</p> <p>2. Royalty income: While a working interest in oil and gas is considered active, royalty income is not passive. Royalty income is portfolio income. Since Kansas current tax law exempts income and losses flowing from Schedule E - where royalty income is reported - there is no impact to oil and gas as the bills are currently written, because royalty income is not passive.</p> <p>As Gary emphasized at the inception of his testimony, because both income and losses would no longer be exempt, there would be both winners and losers. There would need to be changes to the forms to add back passive items, but the overall complexity doesn't change. This issue by it's very nature is complex and the advice of a professional tax preparer, knowledgable in this area, is warranted.</p> <p>The KSCPA is grateful for Gary's leadership and service. In addition to its most important role of serving as an advocate for its members and profession as a whole, t<span>he KSCPA will continue to serve as a resource to our legislators.</span></p> <p>Click <a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/gary_allerheiligen_testimony.pdf">HERE</a> to read Gary's testimony.</p> <p> </p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Skyscapes Snapshot March 13, 2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/786-skyscapes_snapshot_march_13_2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/786-skyscapes_snapshot_march_13_2015 <p><a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/skyscapes_snapshot_03_13_15.pdf">Full interactive Skyscapes Snapshot</a></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/skycapes_snapshot_03_13_15.jpg" alt="Skyscapes Snapshot" width="473" height="590" /></p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Tis the Season to Step It Up http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/785-tis_the_season_to_step_it_up http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/785-tis_the_season_to_step_it_up <h2 style="text-align: center;">Tis the Season to Step it Up</h2> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/johnnapolitano107.jpg" alt="John Napolitano" width="193" height="193" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">John Napolitano</p> <p>Not all CPAs look at tax season the same way.</p> <p>Whether your firm has a wealth management division or not, there are opportunities to serve at a higher level by recognizing issues beyond what goes on Line 12 on the tax return. While clients don’t have any special affection for tax season, it is the time when they are thinking about everything from their income and investments through their charitable deductions and retirement plans. Many CPAs, on the other hand, are too busy for anything but cranking out returns. As a result, clients can be left under-served or hanging at the altar of pro-active advice when they are most receptive to receive the elevated service opportunity that presents itself.</p> <p>Here today, we will show you some of the opportunities hidden in plain sight to elevate the service that you provide to clients and build a stronger relationship with your client in the process.</p> <p><strong>KEEP AN EYE OUT</strong></p> <p>Starting with dependents, ask questions about the children. Appropriate questions would be about their health, any special issues that may be present or the client’s thoughts on funding education. For children over 18, inquire whether that child has their own will, durable power of attorney of health care power. Also query whether there are any income deflection opportunities to mitigate the parent’s tax bill.</p> <p>If you see an elderly parent being claimed as a dependent, chances are that many issues involving elder planning may need attention. Start by asking about the plan for mom’s care, as she needs more attention than merely a place to live. Is there long-term-care coverage, or is it assumed that your client will be the caretaker for an elderly or infirm parent? Ask if there has been any coordination with any other siblings regarding the long-term-care needs that may arise.</p> <p>Find out what the elderly parent did with their home. Many cases show that mom, under the direction of a local lawyer who is not an estate planning professional, simply gave the home to the children whether she lived there or not. If the parent passed away in the past year, consider the possibility that the home should be included in the estate of the deceased parent under the “life estate” provisions, enabling a step up in basis for the beneficiaries. If the elderly parent is still alive and the home has been gifted, consider reverting the deed to a trust where the parent is the primary beneficiary.</p> <p>Moving on to the income lines of the 1040, ask about your client’s W-2. Find out what they expect for income in the following year and ask if they are maximizing any deferral opportunities for high-bracket taxpayers or accelerating income for those in an unusually low tax bracket in an upcoming year. For owners of a closely held business, ask about opportunities to beef up the retirement plan for even greater deferral opportunities.</p> <p>When looking at interest and dividend income, consider a few material components. The first is the title of the accounts generating the income. For many clients, these 1099s will demonstrate that the accounts are owned in joint name. This may work for some, but for many, utilizing a trust is a better solution. Find out if your clients have trusts and the age of their estate plan.</p> <p>Schedule C taxpayers also have planning needs that can be discovered by the tax preparer. First is to remind the client of the inherent risks of a Schedule C with unlimited liability flowing to the owner from the business. I’d also inquire about the owner’s succession plan. Frequently sole proprietors feel that the business dies with them. While this may be true from a tax and entity perspective, frequently there is value to that business where no attempt was made to create a workable succession plan. Lastly, ask if the cash flow from the Schedule C is enough to beef up the retirement plan your client utilizes. They may not be aware that a defined-benefit type of pension plan is possible for this sole proprietorship. The retirement options are especially valuable to a client where the Schedule C is a second income from director’s fees, speaking fees or somewhere else that may be deferred with a retirement plan.</p> <p>Schedule D also reveals issues that may need attention. The Schedule D may be the most visible evidence of whether the investment plan is coordinated with the income tax plan. Seeing large distributions from investment products, large capital gains, loss carry-forwards, and too much or too little activity in terms of transactions all raise questions in my mind.</p> <p>Ask your client if they make their investment decisions on their own or if they have guidance. If they have guidance, ask if there is any time spent with the advisor to mitigate taxation. If the answer is no, don’t be surprised, but be ready to serve, or to introduce that client to a pro-active and holistic advisor.</p> <p>For a client over age 59-½, ask about retirement distributions. Most CPAs automatically suggest that clients defer qualified assets as long as humanly possible, but there may be times when a counter-intuitive approach may make sense. This frequently happens for clients who retire early.</p> <p>For the client who retired at age 61, there may be years where taxable income is very low from the loss of earned income and the ability to control their tax bracket through their portfolio management and income choices. After paying taxes at the maximum rate for most of one’s adult life, it is common to bask in the glory of a few years where your tax bill is extremely low. But for many, this is a temporary situation that will change upon reaching RMD age. A possible approach is to accelerate income for a few years to utilize the low bracket that may go unused without the pro-active creation of taxable income. For those intent on not working, a Roth conversion may be a good choice to utilize low-bracket opportunities.</p> <p><strong>THE GOLD MINE</strong></p> <p>Schedule E is my favorite form for discovering hidden opportunities to provide greater and more meaningful service. On the E, CPAs see a lot of real estate investments and flow-through entities.</p> <p>For real estate reported on Schedule E, the asset is likely owned in the taxpayer’s individual name. As rental real estate inherently carries risk, I’d prefer to see that rental property owned in an entity that may provide some sort of asset protection such as a limited liability corporation. This is especially true of rental property that is owned jointly with another person. The individual or joint ownership exposes all of your personal assets to the potential liabilities created from the rental property, but the joint ownership subjects your rental asset to the possible liabilities of your partner also. A protected entity may be a better form of ownership for these real estate assets owned by more than one individual.</p> <p>Similar questions need to be asked of flow-through entities. For trusts, ask about the underlying assets inside the trust. Also inquire about the client’s beneficial interest — their rights to income and principal distributions and future or contingent beneficial interests. Learn about the trustee(s) of the trust. In some trusts, the trustee is not changeable and in others there is some discretion. Ask your client about their relationship with the trustee and if they know whether they can change that or not.</p> <p>For flow-through entities that are active trades or businesses, there are likely to be other owners or partners. The overwhelming majority of small businesses have no succession plan or one that is so outdated that it will not work if called into action. Your client should be comfortable with every element of the succession plan and probably needs the guidance of a wealth manager. If you simply tell them to go see their attorney for an update, the updated document may still contain difficult or unworkable valuation language without proper funding for all possibilities — death, disability or a desire to exit the business.</p> <p><em>John P. Napolitano, CFP, CPA, is CEO of <a href="http://www.uswealthnapolitano.com" target="_blank">U. S. Wealth Management </a>in Braintree, Mass. Reach him at JohnPNapolitano on Facebook or at (781) 849-2390.</em></p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Excel Data Analysis and Reporting Roadmap - By Will Fleenor, CPA, Ph.D., Member K2 Enterprises http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/784-excel_data_analysis_and_reporting_roadmap-by_will http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/784-excel_data_analysis_and_reporting_roadmap-by_will <h2>Excel Data Analysis and Reporting Roadmap</h2> <h4>By: Will Fleenor, CPA, Ph.D., Member K2 Enterprises</h4> <p> </p> <p>This article provides a roadmap for analyzing data and preparing financial and other management reports in Excel.  Efficiency and effectiveness are important objectives. </p> <p>The data we need for effective management reports no longer resides in a single on-premise database. Even for SMBs (Small to Medium Businesses), data often resides in numerous places - some real-time data and some traditional batch processed data – some in the on premise and perhaps some in the Cloud (e.g. your email and global address list).  </p> <p>For years, accountants and other financial professionals have been using Excel (often with a great deal of success) to make sense of data coming from multiple sources. A local delivery company may need information from their Microsoft Access delivery database and also from their financial database to effectively analyze delivery costs.  The entire process becomes further complicated when the online order system is hosted.   This creates a third Cloud-based dataset that should be integrated for effective analysis and reporting.</p> <p>To be effective, you need to get the most information you reasonably can (i.e. cost does not exceed benefit) out of all your data – regardless of where it resides.  Manually pushing data out of ERF systems, accounting software, and other databases into Excel is a slow, time-consuming, error prone process.  Often the data has to be “reformatted” and otherwise “converted” to meet our analysis – often requiring hours of manual conversion. </p> <p>Worst of all, data pushed into Excel is dead data.   The cord is cut.   Anything that changes from that moment on is not part of the analysis – including error corrections and omitted transactions posted at a later date.   It is pretty hard to be efficient (much less effective) doing business this way.  There is a better approach.  Just follow the roadmap.</p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/1.jpg" alt="Figure 1" width="430" height="156" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Figure 1</p> <h4>Step 1 – Importing Data Using Excel Queries</h4> <p>In addition to being a great analysis tool, Excel is also a great query tool.   Excel has been an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) standard compliant client since 1993.  This allows Excel users to connect directly to literally hundreds of commercial database products including the vast majority of accounting software products.   For Example: QuickBooks, Sage 50, Microsoft Dynamics, Open Systems Traverse, and dozens more are all ODBC enabled applications.</p> <p>If you use SQL databases Excel is also a capable SQL client.   In fact, there is a long list of database applications for which Excel is a capable client.  It includes Microsoft Access, XML datasets, data from analysis services sometimes referred to as data warehouses or OLAP cubes, data from other Excel files, and more.     </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="justified_center" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/2.jpg" alt="Figure 2" width="284" height="321" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Figure 2</p> <p>If our objective is to build a better analysis and reporting spreadsheet, then getting the data into Excel by query is a must.  These live hooks, to the most recent versions of all our data, give us the ability to update the data; (1) quickly, (2) easily, (3) with low risk of error, and – if we choose - (4) automatically every time we review the report or examine the analysis.  All that time previously spent pushing the data out then opening Excel and cleaning it up (e.g. inserting and deleting rows and columns, copying, cutting, pasting, and reformatting) is no longer needed – we simply click “Refresh.”  Best of all, the risk of errors is significantly reduced. </p> <p>To access your data from inside Excel, you first need to determine what application is hosting your data and what type of query it supports.  This is the easy part.  Just research your software or service on the Web, ask your consultant or VAR, or ask IT. </p> <p>IT may not be receptive to this request because it means more work (and risk) for them in setting up and managing the rights of the query client.  ITs ability to control what your query can see can be very granularly in higher end products like Microsoft Dynamics or Sage 500.  They can, for example, restrict access by IP address, time, day of the week, etc.  However, even with QuickBooks, there is some level of control over what a query client can see and/or do.</p> <p>The database administrator (i.e. the person who sets up users, passwords, and user rights) will have to grant you the right to make the queries.  Sometimes users face political obstacles in getting these rights.  Their objections to your request may not make sense.  Why wouldn’t you allow your users to pull in the same data they are allowed to push out?  If you can go into the database and push it out, why shouldn’t you be able to sit in Excel and pull it in?</p> <p>Once you are granted the rights to query the database, you need to configure Excel so it can see your database.  This is a one-time deal that will take a consultant or qualified IT person no more than 10 minutes.  Now you are ready to pull data in.  The query feature is accessed under the Data tab (See Figure 2).</p> <p>Finally, ask the database administrator for a database dictionary.   This will help you find the data elements you are looking for in the mass of tables and records you will find in your dataset.</p> <h4>Step 2 – Leave the Data Alone</h4> <p>Numerous studies (e.g. Panko-Halverson 2010) have documented high error rates in Excel spreadsheets prepared and used by business professionals.   The most common cause is human error in updating existing files (e.g. adding this month’s data to the file, or typing a number over a formula by mistake). </p> <p>The next most common cause of errors is when users turn data into reports by inserting and deleting rows and columns, copying, cutting, and pasting, etc.  This is a high risk approach to creating reports.  Anytime you start manually manipulating data, you run a high risk of errors.   Leave the data alone!  Build your reports in separate sheets that point to your datasets. You can still filter your datasets for analysis or to find records, but don’t modify or delete records or fields.</p> <h4>Step 3 – Build Reports and Analyze Data in Separate Sheets</h4> <p>Using the old approach of turning the data itself into the report by inserting rows and columns, copying and pasting, etc., was never very efficient and would work poorly with queries.  Every time you refresh your query, all the deleted rows and columns would come back and your inserted rows with subtotals would be gone. </p> <p>Fortunately, there is a much better (and easier) solution.  Using the queries discussed in Step 1, we can automate the process of getting our datasets into Excel.  With the help of the Excel Tables features, we can create reports based on these datasets that automatically update when the dataset is updated.  This process can significantly reduce time and effort required to update reports.  It also significantly reduces the risk of errors by eliminating manual updating and altering of raw data. </p> <p>Start by gaining a good understanding of Excel Tables.  The Tables feature brings easy to use database tools to Excel.   When datasets are turned into “Tables,” you can use the table name and the field name in building a formula.  For example, if you had a dataset where you had a field named “Amount” and the Table was named “Sales,” you could summarize that field with the following formula:</p> <p><strong>=SUM(Sales[Amount])</strong></p> <p>Using the Table name and the field name in the formula is called “structured referencing.”  It allows you to build formulas that summarize fields rather than static ranges like H3:H350.  Formulas using static ranges do not work well with Tables that are refreshed and, as a result, the number of records changes.  Using structured references allows you to build formulas that reference “dynamic” ranges – i.e. ranges that change in size as the data is updated.</p> <p>If you are building static reports (i.e. report layout does not change from period to period) that are updated periodically and are based on only one Table, the =SUMIFS() function is likely a good choice.  This function allows you to summarize data by as many criteria as you would like.  So, for example, if you have an inventory dataset that contains fields for Warehouse, Vendor, and Category – you could use one formula to easily build a formula that summarizes your data by Warehouse, by Vendor, by Category.  This function works with “structured references” to Tables.</p> <h4>Step 4 – Relate Tables and Build Reports from Multiple Sources</h4> <p>You also need at least a basic understanding of how to summarize data with PivotTables and PivotCharts.  PivotTables and PivotCharts are well suited to quickly summarize large amounts of data in multiple different ways.  This works well for data analysis and data mining. </p> <p>For analysis and reporting that requires data from multiple related Tables, you will need to use PivotTables. The Excel Data Model (new in Excel 2013), which allows you to relate tables, is designed to be used with PivotTables.</p> <p>The following is an example of how such reporting could be useful to a small business.  Assume that we have three closely held businesses each of which is accounted for in a separate Sage 50 database.   We would like to build a spreadsheet that will consolidate the trial balances of these three companies.  Further, we would like to have the ability to get an up-to-date consolidated trial balance any time we want on a moment’s notice – as long as the three underlying Sage 50 databases are up-to-date.  This would allow us, for example, to quickly see how much cash we have and where it is.</p> <p>Since the data is in Sage 50 (an ODBC enabled application), we can use ODBC queries, as described in Step 1, to bring each of the three trial balances into one Excel file – each as a separate Table in a separate sheet.  Since the account numbering structure is the same for all three businesses, the account numbers (key field) along with the Excel Data Model can be used to consolidate the three closely held businesses.  The Excel Data Model allows us to identify the related fields in the three trial balance Tables.  </p> <p>The screen capture in Figure 3 shows the resulting consolidated trial balance.  This consolidation can be updated at any time by “Refreshing” the queries and the PivotTable.  The queries can be set to “Refresh” automatically when the file is opened.  To create this type of consolidation report, use the PivotTable and PivotChart Consolidation Wizard.</p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/3.jpg" alt="Figure 3" width="566" height="234" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Figure 3</p> <p>Those working for large entities will want to explore the PowerPivot add-in (new in Excel 2013) which makes it possible to relate multiple different types of databases with literally 100s of millions of records, all from inside Excel.  If you are interested in mining your data to make more informed business decisions on short notice, you should consider Microsoft’s new “Power BI” (Business Intelligence) service that lets you share, collaborate, and report on data from multiple sources including the Cloud.   </p> <h4>Conclusion</h4> <p>The costs (inefficient workflow) and risks (human error) of creating reports by pushing data into Excel and then transforming that data into the report makes this approach to reporting unacceptable.   Automating the process of moving the new data into Excel and updating the reports and analysis clearly makes more sense.  Since Excel contains easy to learn and useful tools to make this automation happen – What are you waiting for?</p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Time to Move Beyond State-Based Regulation - By Gary Bolinger http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/783-time_to_move_beyond_state-based_regulation-by_gary http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/783-time_to_move_beyond_state-based_regulation-by_gary <h2>Time to Move Beyond State-Based Regulation - By Gary Bolinger</h2> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/98c65dfb-cb34-41b8-a75d-80a2b52e84f2.jpg" alt="Gary Bollinger" width="153" height="222" /></p> <p>Regulation of the CPA profession in the U.S. needs a transformation. Mind you now, not a change — a transformation. Yes — a major overhaul. We need to look at this system in a different way. We need to look at this system from a 21st century perspective. There have been ongoing attempts during the entire history of the CPA profession in the U.S. to change. To align all of the jurisdictions throughout the U.S. Progress has been made. But the profession will never get to the goal of having a uniform system of regulation in the future as long as we wrap our collective arms around the current system.</p> <p>Okay, some of you are already saying that there is no way you can support a national license for the profession. That’s fine. It isn’t being suggested here. Bear with me.</p> <p>Let’s look at some fundamental components of the current system — for example, the educational requirement for the Uniform CPA Exam. More than 50 years ago, recommendations were made to enhance the educational requirements for CPAs. Thirty years ago, in 1984, Florida became the first state to enact a 150-hour educational requirement to qualify for the exam. Over the years, states were added to the list. Then, around the same time the exam became computer-based in 2003, some states made amendments to allow a candidate to sit at 120 hours but not certify until 150 hours. Now we have some “pure 150-hour” states and some “120-/150-hour” states. Crazy. Employers are interested in hiring the most qualified candidates. It doesn’t matter how many hours they have and if they took the exam before, in between or after the hours were earned.</p> <p>Do I need to mention a fairly wide variety of experience requirements across the U.S.? Continuing professional education requirements may even be more inconsistent, especially in terms of things like state-specific “ethics” and A&A requirements (how many hours do you need?). And what about the various sign-in/sign-out requirements? One-hour increments, half-hour increments and now “nano-learning.” Would it make sense to forget all of that and simply focus on a competency-based learning system for professional development?</p> <p>A recent effort to achieve uniformity is focused on attestation. Yep — attestation. You may think that you know how attest is defined. As we enter 2015, we have maybe 21 states that have it “right.” At least for the time being. By the time the 50th state gets it in statute, the model will have changed — again. (And yes, I do know that there are 55 jurisdictions, not just the 50 states.) Besides, there is a definition of attest — it’s in the professional standards. Let’s not forget it seems that more and more users are really not interested in that attested-to historical financial information. They might be more interested in an integrated report. Is the profession going to try to regulate that on a state-by-state basis?</p> <p>The environment that the profession operates in drives change. It’s called the market. The market is a very strong force. CPAs will respond to the market as best as they can — some without regard to what a particular state statute says. These aren’t bad CPAs. They want and need to remain relevant and they need to deliver value. Firm business models are changing. The value proposition of CPAs in business and industry is evolving. How work gets done is changing, and a lot of that is driven by technology and user (market) expectations. Specialization is demanded by ever-increasing complexity. Oh yeah … and globalization. And I am sure that you have noticed that the velocity of all of this change is accelerating. We shouldn’t kid ourselves here — U.S. jurisdictions likely won’t be able to play in that arena. It’s true. State legislators and regulators won’t be able to keep up with the rate of change.</p> <p>State-based regulation has served the U.S. CPA profession well. It has served the public well. However, in today’s environment it can’t keep pace. The legislative and regulatory process is designed to be very deliberate. And rightfully so. The question then becomes, what is a realistic alternative?  </p> <p>Self-regulation may be a practical answer. Or perhaps a reasonable alternative is market-based regulation. Call it deregulation. Call it whatever makes sense, but continuing to embrace a state-based system of professional regulation for CPAs does not serve the public well. And the current system doesn’t recognize the need for the profession to be responsive, adaptive and agile in a business environment that won’t wait for some state to get the definition of attest amended. It could be argued that a move away from the current system will become an economic necessity.</p> <p>We will need to talk about it. We will need to argue about it. It likely won’t be pretty. How many “problems” and “challenges” might be eliminated? What resources could be redirected to truly value-adding activities as opposed to antiquated compliance issues? The current system will become increasingly irrelevant as we move farther into the 21st century. It has to change.</p> <p><em>Gary Bolinger, CAE, is president and CEO of the Indiana CPA Society.</em></p> <p> </p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Small Business Reprieve on Health Premium Reimbursement Plans http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/780-small_business_reprieve_on_health_premium http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/780-small_business_reprieve_on_health_premium <h2>Small Business Reprieve on Health Premium Reimbursement Plans</h2> <p>By the Not for Profit Advisor at Mize Houser and Company, P.A.</p> <p>Historically, companies that wanted<span> their employees to be protected with health coverage, but didn't want the hassle of having a company health plan, could simply give employees an amount of money sufficient to reimburse them for the cost of buying that coverage or some portion of it. As long as the individuals provided evidence that they used those funds for that purpose, the dollars were excludable from taxable income for the employees.</span></p> <p>Continue reading article <a href="http://www.bizactions.com/n.cfm/page/e120/key/295398027G2057J2380517N0P0P2549T2/" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Managing Passwords by Will Fleenor, CPA, Ph.D., Member K2 Enterprises http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/779-managing_passwords_by_will_fleenor_cpa_ph_d_member http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/779-managing_passwords_by_will_fleenor_cpa_ph_d_member <h2>Managing Passwords</h2> <p>By: Will Fleenor, CPA, Ph.D., Member K2 Enterprises</p> <h3>Understanding the Problem</h3> <p>76% of reported breaches are from weak credentials according to a Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report that analyzed more than 47,000 security incidents.   Weak passwords account for 48% of the breaches. It is clear from this report and other similar reports that mismanagement of authentication credentials is the primary culprit when it comes to data breaches.</p> <p>Substantial evidence exists proving that weak passwords and poor password management practices are the rule rather than the exception.  A well-known hacker group called Anonymous made public passwords and usernames for 44,000 subscribers of a company known as Strafor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.).  Subscribers are mostly international business travelers and government officials (ex. Henry Kissinger, Dan Quayle, the Defense Department, Lockheed Martin, and Bank of America).  One might think that these business and government officials would use better passwords than most users – not true.  74% percent of the revealed passwords were weak and 10% were less than 5 characters long.</p> <p>The use of weak passwords and poor password management practices is not from lack of good guidance.  Microsoft, SANS (largest source for information security training and security certification in the world), the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many others provide guidance on what good passwords should look like. According to these authoritative sources, passwords used to access sensitive information should:</p> <ul> <li>Contain both upper and lower case characters</li> <li>Have digits, letters, and punctuation characters</li> <li>Be at least fifteen alphanumeric characters long</li> <li>Not be a word in any language, slang, jargon, etc.</li> <li>Not be based on personal information, names, etc.</li> <li>Never be written down</li> <li>Changed regularly</li> <li>Never be recycled or used for multiple assets</li> </ul> <p>For most users, the first question that comes to mind is <strong>“Who could possibly follow these rules?”</strong>  The answer is, probably nobody without the help of password management software. People just cannot remember strong passwords.</p> <p>Fortunately, we have many good choices when it comes to using software and services to generate and manage high quality passwords.  Even better, adopting a password management tool will not only make your data more secure, it will also save you lots of time.</p> <h3>How Password Management Software Works</h3> <p>Most password managers are easy to use, inexpensive, and require very little user training.  Typically, they accumulate your passwords as you type them in during your regular login processes.  Then when you go to log in again, they fill in the password and username automatically without you having to type anything.</p> <p>Most password managers integrate with your Web browser.  You log into a Web site or software application by selecting the site from a drop down menu located on your Web browser toolbar. To prevent others who might have access to your computer (with or without your permission) from accessing your passwords, the password database files are heavily encrypted.   A “master password” is required to unlock this database.  If your computer is left unattended (or it is lost or stolen), the database locks automatically after a set period of time or when the computer is powered off.</p> <p>Password managers will also fill in forms that require name, address, billing information, and even credit card information.  You can accomplish all this securely without using the keyboard (which is susceptible to key logging programs) and without putting anything on the clipboard (another prime target for malware programs trying to capture your credentials).</p> <p>Password managers allow users to generate passwords that follow best practices such as using long randomly generated passwords for highly sensitive assets.   Password generators are part of all the better products.   Since password managers enter usernames and passwords automatically, it is just as easy to use a 16 character long random password for your bank login as it is to use a weak password.</p> <p align="center"><img src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/untitled.jpg" alt="Will Fleenor" /> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">RoboForm Password Generator</p> <p>With most password managers, you have the option of backing up your passwords in the Cloud as a heavily encrypted file.  With some products, you have the option of choosing where to back up the password database. You and you alone have the key to unencrypt this file. If someone hacks the backup site, your passwords are still safe because only you have the key to unencrypt the file.  If your local machine hard drive fails and this is where the password database file is stored, your passwords are not lost.   Even better, the software automatically synchronizes your password database between multiple devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and even phones.  Having all your passwords available at all times is a real asset to most business users. </p> <p>Some password managers also have the ability to store confidential information that is totally unrelated to logging in to Web sites, software and documents.  Examples include: the social security numbers of spouses and children, license codes of purchased software, and credit card information.</p> <p>These features both improve security and save time.  If you log in to five or more Web sites or software packages a day, you can save over 20 hours per year using a password manager.</p> <h3>Good Password Management Solutions</h3> <p>The password management software market has become competitive with lots of good choices.  The products mentioned below have proven track records and are always highly rated in product reviews. There are other good choices and many of the top products have similar features.</p> <p>RoboForm Everywhere, LastPass Premium, Dashlane, Keepass, Password Depot, and 1Password are well established products with proven track records.   Further, they always rank at, or near, the top of product reviews.</p> <p>RoboForm Everywhere is my personal favorite.  Following are some of the features that make it a product to consider:</p> <ul> <li>Automatically remembers your passwords and enters them securely without using the keyboard (avoiding key loggers) or the clipboard</li> <li>Encrypts your data with military-grade AES 256 bit encryption</li> <li>Fills in forms as well as passwords</li> <li>Supports multiple browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome on Windows and Macs, and Safari)</li> <li>Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone/iPod, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Palm, and Symbian</li> <li>Synchronizes passwords securely across all your devices so you always have them with you and up-to-date</li> <li>Automatically backs up your password database securely in the Cloud and only you have the key to this encrypted backup file</li> <li>Comes in a desktop only version if you are not comfortable with the Cloud</li> <li>Generates strong passwords</li> <li>24/7/365 live chat or phone support</li> <li>Has “Secure SafeNotes” for storing confidential information like social security numbers, credit card information, and software activation codes</li> <li>Has a series of short online training videos that make the product easy to learn and use</li> <li>Roboform2Go can be installed on a USB drive and used securely with any computer</li> </ul> <p>1Password is a particularly good product for Mac users.  It was designed for the Mac rather than being a Windows product that was ported to the Mac.</p> <h3>Conclusions</h3> <p>Those who are interested in securing their personal information or are responsible for keeping company, customer, client or firm information secure, should not consider password management software optional.  The days of being able to keep secure credentials in your head are long past.   If you are someone who tries to use the same passwords or slight variations of the same passwords over and over – you are desperately in need of password management software. </p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT FRF for SMEs Toolkits for CPAs http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/778-frf_for_smes_toolkits_for_cpas http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/778-frf_for_smes_toolkits_for_cpas <p><span>As a CPA, you help support Main Street businesses in your community and ensure they have the information they and their financial statement users need to make informed business or credit decisions. The new </span><a href="http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/FRC/AccountingFinancialReporting/PCFR/Pages/FRF-SMEs-CPAs.aspx" target="_blank"><em>Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities</em></a><span> (FRF for SMEs™ accounting framework) provides a great opportunity for you to offer a new financial reporting option designed specifically for your small business clients or potential clients looking for comprehensive non-GAAP financial statements.</span></p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT CFO Awards: Teema Roberts http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/777-cfo_awards_teema_roberts http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/777-cfo_awards_teema_roberts <p>By Daniel McCoy, Reporter- <em style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">Wichita Business Journal</em></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/robertsteema2_600xx1500-2250-0-0.jpg" alt="Teema Roberts" width="170" height="252" />Business is dynamic and often the only guarantee is that things will change. That means change for a business' top finance executive. And that's part of what Teem Roberts loves about being a CFO.</p> <p>When she joined Hall's Culligan and Prairie Fire Coffee as CFO in 2013, she found plenty of change. Company President C.R. Hall says that prior to her arrival the company doubled in size twice in two years.</p> <p>While growth is good, it can present challenges.</p> <p>In the case of Hall's business, the rapid growth left the accounting department unable to keep up and led to problems within the business that then began to negatively affect its operations. "In a relatively short time, Teema has transformed our accounting department from a liability to an asset," he says.</p> <p>He credits Roberts and her team for boosting the company's skills, streamlining processes and upgrading technology — all of which led to rapid turnaround of the financial reporting. Hall calls it a "near-miracle" that has greatly improved the overall business. Roberts says that although the job hasn't been without its challenges, it has been fun to help lead the turnaround.</p> <p>"I really enjoy working for C.R.," she says.</p> <p>Part of the reason she has been so successful is her background. Prior to joining Hall's Culligan, she had spent nearly six years working finance in the aerospace industry. And before that, she spent nearly 13 with public accounting firm Grant Thornton. Her time as a CPA gave her the technical skills. Her time in aerospace taught her how those skills relate to the business. And it all combined in giving her the knowledge and ability to help change the fortunes of Hall's accounting department.</p> <p>For her, it has been fun to roll with the changes. That's part of what a CFO does, she says. "I would say the CFO position evolves with the company," she says. "It grows in complexity as the company grows." Hall says she has helped the whole team at the business adapt to the changes not just because of her technical skill and knowledge, but also because of a "infectious, fun, can-do personality." That can-do spirit keeps her busy outside of the office.</p> <p>Among her favorite hobbies are boating and riding her ATVs, or just getting away somewhere in her camper. She is also a country music fan and avid concert-goer. Her favorite show, she says, has been Garth Brooks, whom she saw in concert in Manhattan.</p> <p>To anyone that knows Roberts, it's not a surprise that she saw him there. A graduate of Kansas State University, Roberts spends a lot of time in Manhattan. She may have learned a little something about turnarounds, like the kind she engineered at Hall's Culligan, thanks to Bill Snyder's example. She has been a season ticket holder for KSU football since 1995. Like many K-State fans, she counts the Wildcats victory over the University of Nebraska in 1998 — KSU's first win over Nebraska in 30 years — among her favorite football memories.</p> <p>But far from just supporting a team, Roberts has also always been keen on building them, especially among her financial colleagues. <em><strong>She stays involved with the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and Educational Foundation, where</strong></em><em><strong> has served on the board of directors and on several task forces, including as chair of the Business and Industry Conference steering committee</strong></em>. Roberts says that gives her an opportunity to help put others on the same type of path she credits for her own success.</p> <p>"I just feel really fortunate that I got onto the CPA track," she says. "I followed the right people."</p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Art of Accounting: Opportunities for You http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/776-art_of_accounting_opportunities_for_you http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/776-art_of_accounting_opportunities_for_you <div id="story-header"> <div class="author"> <h2>Art of Accounting: Opportunities for You</h2> </div> <div class="author">BY EDWARD MENDLOWITZ</div> <div class="author"> </div> </div> <div class="entry-content"> <div class="null imageLine-null"><img class="justified_left" style="float: left;" src="http://cdn.accountingtoday.com/media/newspics/edwardmendlowitz.jpg" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="entry-content">I have been fortunate to have opportunities that helped me grow and have a great fun-filled career. <span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;">The key was that I did not pass up opportunities that I stumbled on as they crossed my path. As payback I offered to assist many accountants in a like fashion and my regret is the lack of success in that regard. Too few takers! Here are some opportunities for you that I am willing to assist you in.</span></div> <div class="entry-content"> <p> </p> <p>Just do what I suggest and contact me. I call these a graveyard of missed opportunities because of the too many that passed by unused.</p> <p><strong>• Write an article.</strong> To start, all you need to do is pick three topics you feel you can write about, pick a publication with readers the articles would appeal to, contact me, and I’ll help you get started and published.</p> <p><strong>• Present a speech.</strong> Same process—pick three topics and an intended audience, and contact me.</p> <p><strong>• Get a blog started.</strong> Here you need to have experience writing and have a portfolio of published articles; or an outsized ego with strong opinions about topics people would be interested in reading. Contact me to get started.</p> <p><strong>• Social media involvement.</strong> Determine your goal in doing this. Then get signed up for the major media vehicles and contact me.</p> <p><strong>• Firm publicity.</strong> Write three sample press releases of 300 words or less about your firm and what you do, and contact me.</p> <p><strong>• Tax Court Admission.</strong> This is a great credential that will open opportunities to service clients better in tax controversies. Go to <a href="http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/" target="_blank">www.ustaxcourt.gov</a>, read about how to be admitted to the court, purchase the last two exams, and contact me on how to study and tips for passing the test.</p> <p><strong>• Publish a book.</strong> Buy a book from <a href="http://www.2020groupusa.com">www.2020groupusa.com</a>. For $500 you can have a print-on-demand book to distribute. They have two different books. For ways to use them, contact me.</p> <p>There are others, but these are some easy pickings. I will gladly help you, but you must do what I said you need to do before you contact me. My email address is <a href="mailto:emendlowitz@withum.com">emendlowitz@withum.com</a> and I welcome hearing from you. Send me an email with the info I suggested and provide your phone number. I will call you to help you get started.</p> <p><em>Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner emeritus at <a href="http://www.withum.com/" target="_blank">WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs</a>. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz (published by CPATrendlines) and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition” (published by the AICPA). Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at <a href="http://www.www.partners-network.com/" target="_blank">www.partners-network.com</a>. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or <a href="mailto:emendlowitz@withum.com">emendlowitz@withum.com</a>.</em></p> </div> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT Women in Accounting: Terri Polley on Finding Your Voice http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/775-women_in_accounting_terri_polley_on_finding_your http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/775-women_in_accounting_terri_polley_on_finding_your <p>Terri Polley, president and CEO of the Financial Accounting Foundation, sat down with Accounting Today managing editor, Tamika Cody, to discuss the importance of women finding their voices in the accounting profession, and the challenges of finding women to fill leadership roles. For full video, click <a href="http://www.accountingtoday.com/video/women-in-accounting-terri-polley-on-finding-your-voice-73792-1.html?utm_campaign=daily-mar%203%202015&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&ET=webcpa%3Ae3934934%3A2519711a%3A&st=email" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:00 EDT The KSCPA Hosts Bill Balhoff, Immediate Past Chair AICPA, at KU and K-State http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/774-the_kscpa_hosts_bill_balhoff_immediate_past_chair http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/774-the_kscpa_hosts_bill_balhoff_immediate_past_chair <h2 style="text-align: center;">The University of Kansas</h2> <p>On February 23, 2015, the KSCPA hosted Bill Balhoff at The University of Kansas for the presentation <strong><em>Looking Forward: Insights Into the Future of the Profession. </em></strong>KU School of Business accounting students and others were invited to join Bill for an evening reception and listen as he shared insights into the future of learning, emerging issues in the profession, succession planning, and young professional opportunities and demands. Note in the photo below students who are delightfully looking forward to becoming CPAs!</p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="width: 533px; height: 195px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/KUKSUBallhoff/03_ku-001.jpg" alt="KU School of Business" width="749" height="247" /></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="width: 338px; height: 375px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/KUKSUBallhoff/04_ku-001.jpg" alt="KU School of Business" width="484" height="498" /></p> <p><iframe src="http://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fapps%2Fslideshow%2Fshow.swf%3Fv%3D107931&fv=v%3D107931%26offsite%3Dtrue%26lang%3Den-us%26page_show_url%3D%252Fphotos%252F58224886%40N02%252Fsets%252F72157648749614653%252Fshow%252F%26page_show_back_url%3D%252Fphotos%252F58224886%40N02%252Fsets%252F72157648749614653%252F%26set_id%3D72157648749614653%26jump_to%3D&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2F58224886%40N02%2Fsets%2F72157648749614653%2F&image=https%3A%2F%2Ffarm9.staticflickr.com%2F8619%2F16458547687_ab5cb52355_z.jpg&type=application%2Fx-shockwave-flash&schema=flickr" width="420" height="260" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;"></iframe></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Kansas State University</h2> <p>On February 24, 2015, Bill visited Kansas State University for two special events. First, the K-State accounting faculty sat down with Bill and members of the KSCPA Board of Directors and Executive Committee for an intimate luncheon, where the focus was on the future of learning.</p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="width: 557px; height: 258px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/KUKSUBallhoff/02_ksu-001.jpg" alt="KSU" width="748" height="361" /></p> <p>Following lunch, accounting students and faculty joined together for Bill's presentation on the <em><strong>Top Five Mistakes Young Professionals Make.</strong> </em>He offered his advice on earning a CPA, understanding your values, being yourself, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and the advantages of engaging with associations and organizations outside your workplace.</p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="width: 548px; height: 230px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/KUKSUBallhoff/09_ksu-001.jpg" alt="KSU" width="749" height="330" /><img class="justified_center" style="width: 267px; height: 409px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/KUKSUBallhoff/04_ksu-001.jpg" alt="KSU" width="302" height="499" /></p> <p><iframe src="http://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fapps%2Fslideshow%2Fshow.swf%3Fv%3D107931&fv=v%3D107931%26offsite%3Dtrue%26lang%3Den-us%26page_show_url%3D%252Fphotos%252F58224886%40N02%252Fsets%252F72157650614343767%252Fshow%252F%26page_show_back_url%3D%252Fphotos%252F58224886%40N02%252Fsets%252F72157650614343767%252F%26set_id%3D72157650614343767%26jump_to%3D&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2F58224886%40N02%2Fsets%2F72157650614343767%2F&image=https%3A%2F%2Ffarm9.staticflickr.com%2F8612%2F16664875202_89a27b6fd4_z.jpg&type=application%2Fx-shockwave-flash&schema=flickr" width="420" height="260" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;"></iframe></p> <p>Overall, the KSCPA reached 250 students and faculty, and provided the opportunity to listen to and engage with a top leader in the CPA profession. All attendees received a copy of the February edition of <strong><em>Skyscapes</em></strong>, focusing on independent colleges and universities, as well as <em><strong>Why a CPA?</strong></em> business cards. The KSCPA is dedicated to growing the future of the profession, and will continue to reach out to our Kansas students interested in accounting with scholarships, grants, resources, networking, and informational opportunities.</p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Think You Don't Owe Sales Tax? Think Again. http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/772-think_you_dont_owe_sales_tax_think_again http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/772-think_you_dont_owe_sales_tax_think_again <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <h2>Think You Don't Owe Sales Tax? Think Again.</h2> <p>By Avalara</p> <p><span>When it comes to compliance, ignorance definitely isn’t bliss. Proving you don’t need to collect sales and use tax can often be more difficult and time-consuming that proving you do. Should the state express concern about exempt sales, claiming “I didn’t think I owed sales tax,” likely won’t save you from an audit. A smarter strategy is to be aware of where you might have tax compliance obligations and how it impacts your business. Here are four of the most common:</span></p> <p><span>1. Exempt Sales </span></p> <p><span>Even if you don’t sell direct to consumers, you may still be part of the transaction through a supply chain. As such, it is your job to reassure the state that you are exempt from collecting tax. This proof is typically in the form of an Exemption Certificate. Depending on your business, you may be responsible for both issuing and collecting certificates. The proper application of each exemption to each sale is critical. Without proper documentation, auditors could determine that you understated or improperly exempted taxable sales and that could cost you.</span></p> <p><span>2. Use Tax </span></p> <p><span>Use taxes are meant to minimize unfair competition between sales made in and out-of-state. Knowing when they are owed can be tricky. If your business purchases goods from another com- pany within the same state, sales tax is owed. If your company buys goods outside your state or online, you don’t pay sales tax, but you are required to pay consumer use tax for the storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property (TPP). Companies are responsible for self-assessing when use tax is accrued and to self-report on tax liabilities.</span></p> <p><span>3. Online Sales </span></p> <p><span>With “Amazon” tax laws yet to pass in the legislature, many companies think they don’t owe sales tax if they sell online. That’s often not the case. Many states are now requiring online sellers to collect sales tax. The way you deliver goods sold online, such as drop shippers, supply chain and online affiliates can also impact your tax obligation and trigger nexus for your business.</span></p> <p><span>4. Sourcing Rules </span></p> <p><span>Sourcing rules govern which state dictates the taxability of a particular sale. Intra-state sales (those made within a single state) follow the taxing rules for the seller’s location or “ship from” address (origin sourcing). Conversely, sales between states (inter-state) bases taxability on the customer’s location or “ship-to” address (destination sourcing). If you do business in multiple states or operate as part of a supply chain, this can get complex quickly. </span></p> <p><span>It’s highly likely that sales tax touches your business in some way, even if it’s just to prove you don’t owe it. Failing to do so, could cost you. The average sales tax audit now costs more than $90,000. Automation is a smart, easy and affordable way to ensure you’re in compliance and protect your business against risk—whether you need to collect sales tax or not.</span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 2"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p><span>About <strong>Avalara</strong><br /> A privately held company, Avalara was founded by a team of tax and software industry veterans to fulfill a vision of delivering an affordable, scalable sales tax solution. Thus making what was not economically feasible in the past for mid-sized business not only affordable, but more accurate as well — all with the latest and most innovative technology available. From Bainbridge Island, close to Seattle, Avalara’s knowledgeable staff works tirelessly to help customers put the hassles of sales tax compliance out of mind. Avalara’s mission is to transform the tax process for customers by creating cost-effective state-of-the-art solutions. The company does so through integrated on-demand, Web-based software services that provide transparent transactions, accurate tax compliance, painless administration and effortless reporting. </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="page" title="Page 2"> </div> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT How President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal May Affect Your Clients http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/771-how_president_obamas_2015_budget_proposal_may http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/771-how_president_obamas_2015_budget_proposal_may <h2 class="x_MsoNormalCxSpMiddle" style="text-align: center;">How President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal</h2> <h2 class="x_MsoNormalCxSpMiddle" style="text-align: center;">May Affect Your Clients </h2> <p><a href="https://vimeo.com/120017598" target="_blank"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">2015 Proposed Budget: Pension & Retirement Changes</span></a> - Watch Jack Surgent sum up the proposed changes to pension and retirement plans in the proposed budget.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormalCxSpMiddle"><a href="https://vimeo.com/120017597" target="_blank"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">2015 Proposed Budget: Small Business Implications</span></a> - A recap of the small business tax issues included in the proposed budget.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormalCxSpMiddle"><a href="https://vimeo.com/120017596" target="_blank"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">2015 Proposed Budget: Individual Tax Proposals</span></a> - How individual tax rates would change under the proposed new budget.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormalCxSpMiddle"><a href="https://vimeo.com/120017229" target="_blank"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">2015 Proposed Budget: Estate Tax Changes</span></a> - A summary of how proposals would affect estate tax planning.</p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT 2015 Depreciation Key Facts & Figures Card http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/770-2015_depreciation_key_facts_figures_card http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/770-2015_depreciation_key_facts_figures_card <p align="left"><span><strong><strong>Depreciation Key Facts & Figures Card</strong></strong></span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span lang="EN">This valuable tool is a highly beneficial resource during tax season. It </span>provides current depreciation rate information in one handy, easy-to-use reference:</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Standard Mileage Rates</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Declining Balance Rates</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Bonus Depreciation Rates</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Code Sec. 179 Expensing</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Depreciation Periods for Common Assets and Businesses</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><span>·</span><span> </span><span>Depreciation Recapture</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal"><a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/cch-depreciation-card-2015.pdf">CCH Depreciation Card 2015</a></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Skyscapes Snapshot February 27, 2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/769-skyscapes_snapshot_february_27_2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/769-skyscapes_snapshot_february_27_2015 <p><a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/skyscapes_snapshot_02_27_15.pdf">Full Interactive Skyscapes Snapshot</a></p> <p><img class="justified_center" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/skyscapes_snapshot_02_27_15.jpg" alt="Skyscapes Snapshot" /></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Tabor College Students Visit the Statehouse http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/768-tabor_college_students_visit_the_statehouse http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/768-tabor_college_students_visit_the_statehouse <p dir="LTR" align="JUSTIFY"><img class="justified_center" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/TaborCapitol/secretary_clark_and_tabor_students.jpg" alt="Secretary Clark and Tabor Students" width="350" height="225" />On February 23, 2015 the KSCPA hosted Tabor College business students for a day at the statehouse. The group arrived at 10:00 and went to the Capitol. After observing the House of Representatives, the group met with Secretary of Administration Jim Clark, CPA. Secretary Clark described his responsibilities as Secretary of Administration and how he accepted the position.</p> <p dir="LTR" align="JUSTIFY"><img class="justified_right" style="float: right;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/TaborCapitol/representative_rhodes_with_tabor_students.jpg" alt="Rep Rhoades" width="257" height="285" />After meeting with Jim, the group meet with Representative Marc Rhoades. In that meeting, Representative Rhoades described the iniatives that he is working on in the 2015 session, including a Kansas Reading Iniative that he has been working on for several years.</p> <p dir="LTR" align="JUSTIFY">Following their meeting with Representative Rhoades, the group took a tour of the Capitol dome. The tour took the group up 296 stairs and outside the top of the Capitol. The tour gave the group a unique look at the restoration of the Statehouse, as well as the architecture of the dome itself.</p> <p>Lastly, the group met with Senator Les Donovan, chair of the Senate Taxation Committee. Senator Donovan shared the bills that his committee is working on. He also discussed the importance of CPAs in the community.</p> <p> </p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Privately Speaking – Insights on Private Company Growth by KPMG http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/767-privately_speaking-insights_on_private_company http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/767-privately_speaking-insights_on_private_company <div class="page" title="Page 2"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Privately Speaking – Insights on Private Company Growth</h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;">by KPMG</h2> <p><span>The </span><span>Privately Speaking </span><span>series investigates the growth appetite and plans of private companies, based on quantitative survey data, interviews with private CEOs, </span><span>and perspectives of KPMG’s private markets specialists. This issue examines private companies’ current growth opportunities and challenges, and provides some strategies that may help to drive profitable growth. </span></p> <p><a class="file pdf" href="/writable/files/2015/kpmg_privately_speaking_-_issue_1_powering_profitable_growth.pdf">Powering Profitable Growth</a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Seven Keys to "Five Star Client Service" http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/766-seven_keys_to_five_star_client_service http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/766-seven_keys_to_five_star_client_service <p><span>By </span><strong>Jon Hubbard</strong><span>, Boomer Consulting, Inc.</span></p> <p>Every firm understands the importance of client service. However, most firms struggle with establishing a consistent level of client service among all levels of the firm. Why is this? I have asked many Managing Partners this question and the most common answer I hear is that the firm lacks a culture of providing great client service. I then follow up with another question, "how would you describe a firm that has a culture of client service?” Most answers are similar to:</p> <ul> <li>Everyone in the firm understands what great client service is</li> <li>Everyone in the firm talks about client service</li> <li>Everyone in the firm understands the client’s needs and puts the client first</li> </ul> <p>These answers are correct and I would suggest that there are many additional correct answers. I then ask, "okay, so how do you become that type of firm?” The most common answer is, "that’s been our problem, I don’t know.”</p> <p>I would submit that most firms struggle with consistently providing a high-level of client service because they are focusing on external clients first and not internal clients. Internal clients are those within your firm. Those you work with every day and have thousands of conversations with each year. If your internal team is not providing a high-level of client service to one another, how could you expect them to consistently provide a high-level of client service to the firm’s external clients?</p> <p>Only when you first focus on internal client service will your culture begin to change. Your entire firm needs to understand the concept of internal client service. There needs to be a common language and understanding of what it means to provide a high-level of client service to one another.</p> <p>As part of the <a href="http://boomer.site-ym.com/?page=HomeFiveStar">Five Star Client Service</a> program, we walk firms through the 7 keys to creating a Five Star Client Service culture. The principles listed below are based on the same principles Five Star hotels and restaurants use to achieve high-quality service. If your firm focuses on the 7 areas below, you will begin to see a cultural shift happen and your firm’s level of client service will rise.</p> <h3>#1 – Connecting (Relationships)</h3> <p><em>"Meaningful relationships are developed through ongoing communication, which fosters trust, care and confidence. Proactive connecting builds relationships.”</em></p> <p>Building a strong internal team within your firm requires you to build strong working relationships through open and honest communication. The best way to start building strong, professional relationships is to practice the principles 2-7 listed below. </p> <h3>#2 - Taking the Order</h3> <p><em>"Expected results are created in the mind before they are produced.”</em></p> <p>Every successful job or project begins with proper preparation and communication. Your firm should work to anticipate each other’s perspectives and needs while asking the right questions to ensure "the order” is being taken correctly.</p> <h3>#3 - Delivering the Order</h3> <p><em>"Perceptions of value for intangible services are created through emotions.”</em></p> <p>Delivering the order focuses on making sure all parties understand the service that’s been performed and the benefits that have resulted. Consistently delivering the order well begins to make your firm a great place to work.</p> <h3>#4 - Ascertaining Satisfaction</h3> <p><em>"Long-term relationships are sustained from meeting, and then exceeding, stated and unstated needs.”</em></p> <p>Ascertaining satisfaction is making sure your team understands how their efforts are perceived by those they are serving and if expectations were met.</p> <h3>#5 - Offering Dessert</h3> <p><em>"The law of the harvest – you reap what you sow.”</em></p> <p>Offering Dessert is one of the most fun parts of belonging to a high-performing, strongly branded firm. It bonds relationships and enhances your firm’s culture. The best firms seek opportunities to offer dessert.</p> <h3>#6 - Collecting the Check</h3> <p><em>"The perception of value is highest at the moment of delivery.”</em></p> <p>Internal and external clients value services the most at the time of delivery. Collecting the Check is the appropriate time to set the stage for the relationship’s future and build ongoing satisfaction.</p> <h3>#7 - Recovery</h3> <p><em>"Long-term trust and respect is built on taking responsibility for your actions.”</em></p> <p>Recovery is the systematic steps we take to reestablish a relationship after we make a mistake or create a problem.</p> <p>Creating a Five Star Client Service culture isn’t always easy, but it can be fun. I’ve had the privilege of taking firms through the <a href="http://boomer.site-ym.com/?page=HomeFiveStar">Five Star Client Service</a> process and it’s always a joy to see all levels of the firm engaged in becoming "Five Star.” High-performing team members want to work in a Five Star Client Service culture. If your firm could improve in the area of client service, have your internal team start practicing the 7 keys list above.</p> <p> </p> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Skycapes Snapshot February 20, 2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/765-skycapes_snapshot_february_20_2015 http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/765-skycapes_snapshot_february_20_2015 <h2>Full interactive <a class="file pdf" style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5;" href="/writable/files/2015/skyscapes_snapshot_02_20_15.pdf">Skyscapes Snapshot</a></h2> <p><img class="justified_center" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/writable/images/News/2015NewsImages/skyscapes_snapshot_02_20_15.jpg" alt="Skyscapes Snapshot" width="431" height="557" /></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT Experience WCOA: Session Videos Now Available http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/764-experience_wcoa_session_videos_now_available http://www.kscpa.org/about/news/764-experience_wcoa_session_videos_now_available <p><span>In November 2014, the CGMA designation, powered by the AICPA and CIMA, sponsored the World Congress of Accountants in Rome. More than 3,500 attendees participated in three days of discussion on hot topics, issues and trends affecting the profession. </span><a href="http://www.cgma.org/Resources/Videos/Pages/WCOA2014-Videos.aspx?cm_em=mary@kscpa.org&cm_mmc=CGMA:CheetahMail-_-cgma-_-FEB15-_-CGMAAdvantage_021215_AIFEB15_ADDON" target="_blank"><span>View a sampling of videos on CGMA.org</span></a><span>, including the CGMA session "Businesses thriving in disruptive times," featuring CFOs from Yahoo!, British Telecom, EY and Royal Dutch Shell.</span></p> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:00 EDT