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It has taken close to a decade for me to even begin to understand what comes with experience.  In navigating through our professional and personal lives, we struggle with understanding the journey and direct our focus solely on the destination.  This post is not another attempt to say that life is all about the journey. If you are still conducting this debate under the pretense of self-monologue, you have already missed the ship out of town. I am 31. To the baby boomers, I am the disdained “millennial.” To my colleagues, I’m likely just another guy.  For those that I meet that are younger, I probably have achieved a respectable level of success that is ...
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I am extremely honored and excited having received an invitation from the Indiana CPA Society to emcee the 2018 CPA Celebration . It has and continues to be a privilege to be part of such a forward-thinking and innovative organization and group of colleagues. Having served five years on the Leadership Cabinet, I really hope to participate again in the very near future. Soon after joining LC, I participated on the educational foundation board of trustees and got involved with the Fusion Network writing articles on trends, new ideas, and innovation in the CPA profession. I also commenced as a discussion leader for continuing education . Though I have been a ...
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“Will it happen or not? And if so when?” These are the frequent and common questions we receive from our clients and business owners. Along with potential optimism, also comes frustration among not only clients, but CPAs as well. Generally, CPAs look to assist and be proactive from a planning perspective, and to have their clients' or employer's best interests in mind. How do we advise people about the possibility of changes to a tax system and when could we actually see this take shape? Some refer to it as tax reform, while others consider it tax reductions depending upon your perspective. We have heard various details about proposed items regarding tax ...
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Over the years, I have written articles spanning many different areas. As I looked ahead and contemplated my next topic, I reached out to the Indiana CPA Society to see what might interest our readers. As I returned to the classroom this fall having taken a year off from teaching, I too thought of higher education. Upon recommendation from the Society and drawing inspiration from my new adjunct opportunities at the University of Saint Francis and Indiana Tech , I decided to share more of my higher education experiences.  The Journal of Accountancy recently discussed three myths that hold CPAs back from teaching college-level accounting courses . Myth ...
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Staffing continues to be a concern for the CPA profession. Numerous articles have been written about the war for talent. As an educator, the start of a new academic year always leads me to look for ways to inspire the best and brightest student to consider a career in accounting. Because most colleges and universities require all business majors and many non-business majors to take an introductory account course, we have the opportunity to identify and hopefully influence the students we want to attract. These students have a wide variety of academic and career options. Learning about debits, credits, and journal entries will not motivate these elite students ...
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With all the advances in technology, most employers provide for employees to work remotely from home. HR experts often cite this as a benefit of great importance to millennials and younger professionals when evaluating a prospective employer. That said, I often hear many employers and managers in my age bracket cite this practice as detrimental to client service and productivity. We all know there are “pros” and “cons” to everything, so I thought it might be worthwhile to take a closer look at the topic of telecommuting. According to a February 2017 article in the Harvard Business Review , many of the most-valued benefits for employees were ones that provided ...
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Breaking News: In businesses of all shapes and sizes, resources are limited. The degree to which resource limitations exist may vary depending on size and industry, but even the largest companies in the most prosperous industries have resource constraints. It is the task of management to determine how to allocate those resources to achieve the highest level of success in a given business. As CPAs, we are often consulted to assist in the allocation of these limited resources. Whether we are called upon to do this in a client’s business or in our own, the goal remains the same. However, simply because a business has limited resources does not mean that business ...
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It is hard to believe but in just a short 13 years the last Baby Boomer is going to be turning 65. As a father of two 13 year olds, those 13 years will go by fast. As the last of the Baby Boomers start to retire, it will be up to Generation X, Y (Millennials) and Z to lead our firms. For those of us in these generations (X, Y and Z), are you ready to lead your companies into the future? You will need to learn how to work with the other generations to have a successful business. Generation X and Y have been working side-by-side for many years now but both of these generations will have to learn how to work with the Z Generation (which by the way, are the children ...
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Identity theft has been a huge buzz word the past few years with tax-related identity theft becoming a prominent concern for tax firms and tax preparers. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, tax identity theft has been a topic of interest for me and I am always looking for ways to help combat it and help my clients avoid it. The reality, even if a client has not been a victim of it, tax identity theft has had an impact on them in some way. Let’s go over some of the changes the IRS has implemented because of tax identity theft, and how they impact not only us as tax preparers, but our clients. One such change is Form W-2 Verification. In 2016, about 2 million W-2s ...
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Thinking back over this past busy season, how many of your audits did you test 100 percent of the transactions before you issued your audit opinion? In addition, were there any of those that you were able to look at 100 percent of the transaction in a matter of minutes? Proponents of Artificial Intelligence (AI) claim this is exactly what AI can do when incorporated into a financial statement audit. Imagine the day when you can “click a button” and the software immediately looks at every transaction. We are not too far away from that day. So, the question remains what impact will AI have on the audit of the future? A huge pro of using AI in an audit is the ...
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As a college educator who spent over 30 years in the business workplace, I commonly hear discussions about how to improve recent college graduates/new staff’s critical thinking skills. A quick Google search of “ Employer Critical Thinking ” yields well over a millions hits on this topic. A quick survey of the results yields two certainties: 1) Many employers do not think new graduates have proper critical thinking skills, and 2) “Critical Thinking” is tough to define. Revealing articles include the following: Wall Street Journal ( Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply -Aug. 30, 2016) Forbes ( These are the Skills ...
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Just this past May, as a CPA exiting busy season, inevitable reflection ensues regarding the past year. Either irony, fate, or pure coincidence led to ESPN’s 30 for 30 series premiering their documentary “One and Not Done” covering the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program. Despite your feelings or biases towards the leader of basketball in the Bluegrass State, there are some considerable lessons to be learned in being an engaging leader from the school’s coach John Calipari. Brief background, super quickly: John Calipari fought through the assistant coaching ranks to become the head coach at UMass at the age of 29. After the program ...
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Innovation in a CPA firm or an accounting department? That may sound like an oxymoron. In today’s world we must become innovative to survive. At the May 2017 INCPAS Leadership Cabinet meeting we heard a large firm encourage all of us to invest in innovation. The dollars a national or large regional firm has may not be attainable to a small firm or business, however we can all allocate some of our resources to “innovation.” Please take a few minutes to read the May 2017 Journal of Accountancy article Innovation showcase: CPA employers on the cutting edge . The article points out “even in the fairly traditional world of accounting, some employers of CPAs ...
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Among the many issues impacting my community is the continuing trend of seeing our best and brightest leaving for college and not returning to the region to begin their careers, purchase a home, start a family or to start a business. I came to Richmond in 1992, and the issue of dealing with “Brian Drain” has seemingly been on the list of challenges facing our community for 25 years, and sadly it does not appear we are having much success in overcoming the problem. In April 2017, Purdue University, in partnership with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Lilly Endowment, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and Indiana INTERNnet, hosted Indiana’s Talent ...
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In September 2016, I discussed how the role of the CFO continues to evolve . During my tenure at Concordia, my role has shifted from chief financial officer to chief business officer (CBO) to reflect my responsibilities more accurately. I shared a one-day glimpse in the spring 2017 CPA IN Perspective . Like many of you, my days can vary considerably throughout the entire day and evening. Helping lead an organization such as Concordia Educational Association (dba Concordia Lutheran High School ) is exhilarating given its very unique structure. Back in March, I introduced and painted a picture of some of my role in “ The CPA as a Leader and Trusted Business ...
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The bank account is open, the name is on the building, the product is ready to be sold, and the CPA and attorney have been hired. The small business checklist has been completed. Initially, a small business owner may be the only person working in the business to keep costs down. However, as the business begins to grow I will get questions such as: “If I need help and would like to hire someone, do I have to set them up as an employee?” and “Can I pay them cash and issue them a 1099?” In these instances, I refer to this 20-point checklist from the IRS for independent contractors.  These questions are adapted from court cases and rulings, ...
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INCPAS has been focusing on Innovation now for a while, and when my time came to contribute to the Smoke Detector blog, I had just opened up the Indianapolis Business Journal ’s Innovation issue. What timing, right? It is their third annual Innovation issue, which is truly inspiring. I just find it amazing the discoveries and creations from all types of companies, non-profits, schools and individuals. There are office buildings that give control to each individual’s space for lighting and temperature (for those of us that work in these environments, temperature is always an issue!), apps that can help you reserve a parking space or just to find open ...
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Cybersecurity … a term we continue to hear more and more. In a blog I wrote earlier this year on the 2017 trends and predictions for the CPA profession, I identified cybersecurity as being a top priority in 2017. This prediction seems to hold true. In the first five months of the year, two white papers have been published specific to cybersecurity and the CPA profession. In February, the AICPA published a white paper on the top cybercrimes including how CPAs can protect themselves and their clients. In May, the Center for Audit Quality published a white paper titled The CPA’s Role in Addressing Cybersecurity Risk . The remainder of this blog will highlight ...
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I am a financial accountant and will never forget the time I was sitting in one of my final classes before finishing my Master’s Degree. I was talking to a tax accountant who was also finishing her degree and she confided in me that she could not understand why anyone would work toward an accounting degree and sit for the CPA exam if they were not going to do tax. Well I have to say that, while I do some income tax out of necessity, that is just a tiny piece of what I do. My true passion is overall business functionality and helping to increase margin, improve cash flow, and decrease administrative costs. One of the biggest challenges for businesses ...
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“How’s a milkshake machine salesman build a fast food empire with an annual revenue of $700 million…” That is the story of how an individual forged a partnership with two brothers in establishing a famous restaurant known as McDonald’s and is depicted in the movie “The Founder.” The brothers developed an efficient system to provide meals in a quick manner , while the other individual, Ray Kroc, developed methods in franchising the restaurant. So both parties were innovators in their own way. Today if someone were to mention the word “innovation,” they generally associate it with technology. However, the reality is these two are neither synonymous nor interchangeable. ...
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