NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR MONDAY - 8.22.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Aug 22, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Lou Grassi (Nassau)
Accounting firms grow staff and services
Buffalo Business First
Growth-minded CPA firms are taking advantage of baby boomer retirements in their ranks to merge, acquire, specialize and hire their way into a greater share of the market. The strategy coincides with changes in the industry that favor value-added services such as niche consulting. The result is firms that hardly resemble those of the not-so-old days that relied on the traditional staple of tax and audit work.

Urbach CPA Community Builders Award
Firm News - Aug. 19, 2016
Accounting Today
NEW YORK - The New York State Society of CPAs and the New York Council of Nonprofits Inc. are looking for nominees for the 13th annual Michael H. Urbach CPA Community Builders Award, which recognizes CPAs who have demonstrated exemplary leadership to community-based charities. Nominations are due by August 26; for more information, visit NYCON at www.nycon.org or call (800) 515-5012.

Michelle Staebell (Rochester)
Dealing with student loan debt
WROC Rochester First
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student loan debt has exceeded $1 trillion nationally.  That's why CPA Michelle Staebell, with the New York State Society of CPA's says it's important for recent college graduates to understand their debt, and prioritize.  But the saving should start early, well before college graduation. Staebell recommends students get summer jobs to learn the importance of a budget, and help save up money.

Other Accounting and Finance News Stories

In Scramble for Yield, Pension Funds Will Try Almost Anything
Wall Street Journal
Some pension funds are seeking to profit from others’ fear. Pension funds in Hawaii and South Carolina are plying an arcane options strategy called cash-secured put writing. In a typical trade, the investor sells a contract, known as a put, to someone who owns stocks and is willing to pay up for protection in case they decline. If, within a certain time, the shares fall below a given price, the investor buys the stocks at that price, or covers their lost value.

Former EY Accountant Gwen Jorgensen Wins Gold Medal in Triathlon
Accounting Today
Gwen Jorgensen, a former tax accountant at Ernst & Young, won the gold medal on Saturday at the Triathlon in the Rio Olympic games. Jorgensen took time out from her job to train full-time for the games. She previously competed in 2012 at the London Games. She explained her work vs. workout routine to Accounting Today's Danielle Lee back in 2012, saying, “When I was working, I'd wake up, swim from about 5:30-7 a.m., run for about an hour, head to work at Ernst & Young, come home, go for a bike ride, lift, and go to bed. Now that I'm on a leave, I'm able to recover more in between workouts...and sleep in more, which spoils me.”

When REITs Leave, Financial-Sector Funds Could Lose Some Yield
Wall Street Journal
Yield-hungry investors could be in for a surprise next month when certain financial-sector funds cut much of their stakes in dividend-heavy real-estate investment trusts, with some experts pegging the possible cut in yield at as much as 0.20%. The estimated dividend yield for the financial sector based on Aug. 1 data is 2.28%, but that’s expected to fall to 2.08% after real-estate stocks move to their own sector, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Broker-Dealer Audit Deficiencies ‘Continue at a High Level,’ PCAOB Says
AccountingWEB
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) identified deficiencies in 77 percent of the audits of broker-dealers inspected in 2015, according to a report released by the US audit watchdog on Aug. 18. The PCAOB also found deficiencies in the work of 96 percent of the audit firms inspected last year under the board’s interim broker-dealer auditor inspection program.

Bitcoin is still an inaccessible, obscure experiment—but Bitcoin 2.0 could change our lives
Quartz
Five years ago, bitcoin was an obscure and esoteric online currency, used by few and understood by fewer. Today, after half a decade of sturm, drang, and drama—not to mention multi-million dollar hacks and grandiose proclamations—it is … an obscure and esoteric online currency, used by few and understood by fewer. Despite the breathless prophecies of countless pundits, neither death nor revolution have come to pass.

Revised Fees Proposed for Installment Agreements
Accounting Today
The IRS has proposed higher user fees for taxpayers who enter into installment agreements. The proposal, which would take effect on January 1, is one of several user fee changes made this year, is in line with a law that requires federal agencies to charge a user fee to recover the cost of providing certain services to the public that confer a special benefit to the recipient.

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