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Now that I am 10 months into my role as chief financial officer at Concordia Educational Association (CEA) dba Concordia Lutheran High School , I want to share the inner workings of a private school and what role a CPA can play as both a leader and trusted business advisor. Liken to my days as a software consultant, overseeing the non-academic operations of a school can dramatically change my schedule each day. I love the variety! My role continues to evolve into what many colleges and universities refer to as a chief business officer. Not coincidentally, the role of the CFO in all forms of business continues to expand. There is no difference at an educational ...
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Technology is constantly evolving and changing our interaction with our clients. Think about how our processes have changed dramatically over the past 30 years or so, and how they may continue to change in the future. Trace the history of tax preparation Clients drops off the information and we interview Client drops off the organizer and faxes in the answers to our questions Client sends information to portal and we email questions and answers Trace the history of bookkeeping and financial statement preparation Client drops off one-write sheets and we call for answers Client drops off backup disc and they fax in the answers ...
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I believe we can agree, when asked to think of a creative or innovative profession or business, most at first would not say CPAs or CPA firms. But I believe, for example, that our professions response to the global market and ever-changing regulatory landscape are proof of how innovative we are as a profession. That said, the pace at which our world is changing today is going to require much more than a focus on growing revenue through new service offerings. In order to be resilient and remain relevant in the future we must develop a culture that supports and rewards innovation and creativity. When it comes to culture, lets look first at people. What motivates ...
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During the most recent Professional Issues Update last fall, Gary Bolinger introduced blockchain as an emerging technology. Did any of you fellow PIU attendees catch this? I listened and wondered what is blockchain, and also if Gary was off his rocker? I have heard of bitcoin but not blockchain. If you dont know what blockchain is, you should because it is going to change the way all businesses transact financial information in the future. Blockchain is widely known as the technology that underpins bitcoin, but it is a lot more than just bitcoin. Blockchain is the technology that backs distributed ledger technology, which is a trusted way to track the ownership ...
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At our firm, we just celebrated the half way mark for busy season. Sometimes we become so focused on reaching the end of busy season that we forget to embrace the journey. This happens in both our professional and personal lives. Instead, we need to pause, embrace the moment, and breathe. Too often, we are striving for the next milestone, the next deadline, the next achievement. We see life as a series of end dates vs. the journey. We believe that life will become less stressful and complicated as soon as our child sleeps through the night, the project at work is complete, or the next holiday is over. As soon as life will slow down. We forget that the majority ...
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In recent years, we have been hearing that the trend in the CPA profession is toward specialization. Even hyperspecialization. What does that mean exactly? It means CPAs are becoming less of a generalist and more focused on a specific field, industry or niche area in the accounting arena. That can be as broad as cost accounting and information systems or as specific as practice management in physician offices or cost segregation studies. More and more clients are asking for more specialized advice that not all CPA firms can provide. If you work in a small firm, there may not be enough staff to specialize or the partners have always been generalists and have ...
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Last year, I made the transition from public accounting to private corporate accounting. The time has flown by since then and Ive learned a lot of things along the way. Here are a few of them First, CPAs and other accountants work hard. Being in public accounting previously, I have to admit I felt superior to my friends in private. I thought I worked harder or was somehow better than them. Ive learned this year thats not true! Ive found private accounting to be just as intense and challenging as public. We may not have a tax season on this side, but we do have month ends and year end to keep us on our toes. Second, we all know tax season is a beast. With ...
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What is the overarching goal in a for-profit business? You can find the answer within the question profit. While organizations focus on client and customer satisfaction, product development and operational activities on a daily basis, business owners are primarily concerned with the bottom line. With a new year in full swing, businesses across the state are setting measures that they would like to achieve in 2017, and these goals, in some way or another, are designed to increase profitability. As CPAs, we are often tasked with the establishment and management of these profitability goals, both for our clients and in our own organizations. We have all heard ...
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For the last 15 years that I have been working as a CPA, Ive often heard many clients state that they either want to start their own business or have already started their own business. The question that always follows is what should I do now in order to have a successful business? That is where we as CPAs can provide significant value to clients as they embark on this journey. They often tell me how paperwork is not their top priority and they just want to be able to do what theyre good at and nothing more. In addition, there has always been a misconception that having your own business is easy, you make a lot of money, and you get to take off as much as ...
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Some may consider it a joyous event, while others dread its very existence. Nevertheless, the day has arrived. Its not the inauguration of a new President and that we can finally put another election cycle to rest (for now). Even more recent than this fact, is that the Internal Revenue Service, as of January 23, is now accepting and processing individual income tax returns. Along with a new filing season, this also brings potential identity theft schemes we are aware of and those that are currently being developed. So what is being done differently this year from prior filing seasons? In an effort to minimize this threat, the Internal Revenue Service has ...
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Early last fall in my Federal Taxation class, some of the students were upset at the high cost of the most current version of the tax textbook I adopted, due to the many significant permanent changes made in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act , enacted in December 2015 (e.g., Sec. 179 deduction, permanent research and experimentation credit, S Corporation 5 year built-in gains tax period, etc.). This act obsoleted last years version of the same text. I assured them though, that if the 2016 Presidential election went as currently predicted, they could resell their current 2016 textbooks since I would not predict any ...
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The CPA profession is continually evolving in response to the changing world. The profession must continue to adapt to the changing needs of clients and organizations in order to maintain relevance. With a new year upon us, what are some predictions for the CPA profession in 2017? A recent blog written by Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Board of Directors shared her perspectives on what the new year may bring. Some of you may remember Kimberly from her presentation at the Societys Leadership Cabinet/Emerging Leaders Alliance meeting last May. She identified five trends and predictions shaping the profession in 2017. Ill call them ...
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Its a new year and theres a new political and economic environment on the horizon. For much of 2016, those of us participating in the CPA Center of Excellence (r) Online Community talked about being innovative. My question is, do we currently have the ability to recognize when we are being creative and innovative? My normal day is immersed working in spreadsheets, and talking about that work in spreadsheets with people who love spreadsheets. Our long-term outlook has really evolved too. We work to find ways to make these dope spreadsheets even better. Sounds pretty creative. Well the fact is, if some innovative thought is going into what creates ...
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As with every year, several topics arose during 2016 that garnered the attention of our profession. We have an informative library of well-written articles on our CPA Center of Excellence(r) Online Community , which made narrowing the selection a fun exercise. From bold challenges and opportunities to success stories and initiatives, here is a look back at what I think were the top 10 blog topics for the year. #10 Developing the Next Generation I always strongly encourage students to intern at some point during their academic journey. In fact, I recently published an article discussing this very topic. During the spring semester of my senior ...
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I asked a breakfast networking group a few weeks ago, What do you think of when you think of a CPA? We all know the stereotype. Weve heard it from our families, friends and business acquaintances for years. CPAs are all about the numbers and love nothing more than being stuck behind a desk with a good 10-key and a copy of the Internal Revenue Code. While deep down this may be true for some, it seems safe to assume that, like most stereotypes, this one is generally incorrect. As our profession continues to evolve to serve an expanded role in an ever-changing business environment, it may be more important than ever to understand how we, as CPAs, can be more than ...
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As we come across the last few weeks of the year, many of us are juggling activities: finishing up projects, covering for co-workers who may be on vacation; as well as, working through your inbox, catching up on calls and catching up on the office small talk. This could equate to logging many work hours that are not necessarily considered quality work. In addition, we can look at our personal to do list over the holidays. Activities pile up and it is up to us to prioritize on the work that counts to get the true fulfillment of a hard days work. The article Nobody Cares How Hard You Work demonstrates how perceived long hours can overshadow work content ...
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Change is never easy. However, to improve and progress, change is necessary. From my time serving on the AICPA Council, it was very apparent Indiana was a leader in the profession. This is again true with the historic rule change adopted by the Board of Accountancy in July, signed by Gov. Pence in September, and enacted in October. Indiana became the first state to allow competency-based education to count toward CPA license renewal. The rule making process takes time. The new rule, originally proposed in 2015, adds not only competency-based education but also verified experience serving in a non-compensated ethics capacity as two new options to meet ...
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Back when our daughter began to talk, we would continually stress to her, the tone of your voice can make a big difference in how people respond to you. The response or feedback from another person could vary significantly based upon the smallest of characteristics such as pitch, amount of stress within ones voice, and emotion. When beginning our careers, it seems were consumed with learning the technical aspects of our roles, while the need to enhance other skills, such as communication, tend to be forgotten. Too often most of us probably interpret communication to be verbal or written, overlooking the inclusion of visual and auditory components. As stated ...
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The year 2016 has been a memorable one. The Olympic Games last summer represented the best in the world. However, what is it that makes Olympic athletes great? The athletes are professionals regardless of how their countries support them, and that is also what CPAs are. More than anything, professionalism is what young CPAs can learn from Olympic athletes. So what does a professional look like? First, is the personal responsibility for preparation. It takes years to develop your skills, discipline to practice, and belief that you can do it. It has to be a personal goal coupled with a lot of perspiration. Most of the time is spent in the early hours ...
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During the past several years, our profession, like many others, has identified the need for an orderly and effective transition of leadership to the next generation of professionals as a critically important business issue. While much attention has been focused on this issue recently, the need to attract, retain and develop human capital in an organization is not a new issue. So why do so many organizations continue to struggle with the recruitment and development of the next generation of leaders? I contrasted the differences between succession planning and transition activities with respect to leadership development in my February 2013 blog, Succession ...
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