• When Are New York CPAs Considered to be “Active” Practitioners? (And What Are Their CPE Responsibilities?)

    By:
    Jennifer Winters, CPA
    |
    Aug 27, 2015
    Understanding at what point CPAs are considered to be “active” and when they have continuing professional education (CPE) responsibilities can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for those New York CPAs who are no longer working in a public accounting firm—whether they have retired, taken an accounting or financial position in an enterprise outside a public accounting firm, or simply left accounting altogether and have entered a new profession.
  • CPA, Private Eye? Not in NY, Thanks to Society Legislative Win

    By:
    Robert Busweiler
    |
    Aug 24, 2015

    In June 2013, the New York Department of State quietly asserted, in a letter responding to a formal inquiry by a regional firm, that a CPA performing forensic accounting investigations in New York state needs to obtain another license--for a private investigator. According to a state department attorney at the time, the services a forensic accountant provides to clients fell within the statutory scope of private investigation, thus the requirement for dual licensure. That’s when the NYSSCPA began petitioning the legislature and for an exemption, said NYSSCPA Executive Director Joanne Barry.

  • New Law Streamlines Form 990 Extensions

    By:
    Alonza Robertson
    |
    Aug 22, 2015

    Things just got a little less cumbersome for CPAs filing returns for non-profit organizations. A new bill, signed into law last month by President Obama, includes a streamlined, automatic 60-day extension request process for federal tax filings of Form 990. The NYSSCPA's Exempt Organizations Committee had made the recommendation to the IRS in a 2014 comment letter.

  • War Story: When a Co-Trustee Falls Short

    By:
    Ron Klein, J.D., CFE
    |
    Aug 21, 2015

    “War Stories” are drawn from the claims files of Camico, a CPA-directed insurer and risk management program for accountants, and illustrate some of the dangers and pitfalls in the accounting profession. All names have been changed.

    In this edition, we explore the risks involved in trustee services. Claims experience shows that one of the most common sources of risk in trusteeships is a lack of understanding of—or appreciation for—the duties and responsibilities of a trustee. CPAs should ensure that they are educated and competent in the skills needed to render trustee services before attempting to offer them. 

  • It’s Time: Society Urges IRS to Make Changes to 41-Year-Old Form 990-PF

    By:
    Chris Gaetano
    |
    Aug 17, 2015

    Form 990, which tax-exempt organizations are required to file annually, was dramatically redesigned in 2008 to account for the changing needs of its users. However, the less-often filed Form 990-PF, which tax-exempt private foundations and nonexempt charitable trusts are also required to submit, remains unchanged; it’s the same form the IRS rolled out in 1974, the year President Nixon resigned from office.

  • CPA Roundtable

    By:
    Jason Wong
    |
    Aug 14, 2015

    In our latest CPA Roundtable, we asked hiring managers: What’s the most unprofessional thing a job candidate has done during an interview? Have your own interview horror story? Weigh in on Twitter, at #CPARoundtable and tweet us @nysscpa. We may publish your response in an upcoming issue. 

  • To Conduct a More Effective Meeting, Focus on the Planning

    By:
    Jason Wong and Chris Gaetano
    |
    Aug 11, 2015

    Meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the workday, but for many professionals, they aren’t always worth the effort: In a recent survey of 2,066 employees conducted by Harris Interactive, respondents said they spent 4.5 hours a week in general status meetings, up from 4 hours a week when the poll was conducted four years ago. More telling, though, is that over one-third of respondents called these mandatory powwows a waste of time, with three in five staffers admitting that they tune out or do other work during meetings. 

  • PCAOB Looks for Middle Ground in New Plan to Name Audit Partner

    By:
    Chris Gaetano
    |
    Aug 7, 2015
    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is trying a new tack in its years-long effort to make available the names of audit engagement partners, as well as information about other accounting firms that participate in the audits of public companies: It wants to create a special form solely for those disclosures that firms would file with the regulator within a month after they file audit reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Ready for Your Close-up? Get Set to Make Your TV or Radio Debut

    By:
    Alonza Robertson
    |
    Aug 4, 2015

    What do local TV stations and newspapers, national business and finance magazines, websites like CNN Money and Yahoo Finance, and trade outlets like the CPA Practice Advisor and Accounting Today all have in common? They regularly seek out NYSSCPA members to serve as experts for their stories. In the past year, there have been hundreds of media opportunities for CPAs just like you to deliver the Society’s and profession’s message about tax planning, the Affordable Care Act, tax inversions, DOMA, audit quality, non-profit governance and estate planning, among other topics.  But do you know how to distinguish between the topic matter and the topic message?

  • Survey: NYSSCPA Members See Clear Value in Society Committees

    By:
    Nereida Gomez and Keith Lazarus
    |
    Aug 3, 2015
    You join for the networking, appreciate the opportunity to sharpen your technical skills and see it as a chance to give back to the profession. Those are just a few of the reasons why members said they serve on one or more of the NYSSCPA’s 61 technical committees, when polled by the Society in May. The survey drew responses from nearly 100 members who work in public practice for small, medium and large firms; for-profit companies in industry; and as sole practitioners. The NYSSCPA plans to use the results to make enhancements to committee administration and to establish new statewide groups. 

  • PRESIDENT'S COMMENTARY: Bringing Young People to the Profession

    By:
    Joseph M. Falbo, CPA, NYSSCPA President
    |
    Aug 1, 2015

    This summer, many of our chapters participated in an important Society tradition: They gave high school juniors throughout the state a glimpse into our profession through the NYSSCPA’s  Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession program (COAP). A free summer program held on 11 college campuses, COAP is designed to teach students about the breadth and depth of accounting as a career choice, through workshops, field trips and interaction with businesses and firms in their own communities. Now in its 28th year, COAP is just one of the ways in which we introduce the next generation to the opportunities afforded those who hold a CPA license, but it serves another key purpose. With a keen focus on underrepresented populations in our professional community, it gives us an opportunity to ensure that as the face of the country changes—and as technology moves us toward being a true global village—the CPA world keeps pace. 

  • DOL Moves to Take EBP Audit Standards Setting from AICPA

    By:
    Chris Gaetano and Colleen Lutolf
    |
    Jul 28, 2015

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is calling for federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to establish standards for employee benefit plan (EBP) audits, as well as require additional education for the CPAs who perform them. The call comes after a recent agency study found that 39 percent of EBP audits contained major deficiencies. The study, issued in May, examined 400 of the 81,162 EBP audits filed by approximately 7,300 firms in 2011. Audits were categorized by the size of a firm’s employee benefit plan audit practice, which the DOL pointed out was not necessarily reflective of the size of the firm overall.

  • Speaker: As World of Estate Planning Changes, Firms Must Change, Too

    By:
    Chris Gaetano
    |
    Jul 28, 2015

    The world of estate planning is changing rapidly, as firms face a smaller client pool and stiffer global competition. But according to Jonathan G. Blattmachr, a speaker at the FAE’s recent Estate Planning Conference, there are ways to navigate the shift and even leverage it. Blattmachr, whom the New York Times has called “one of the nation’s most influential estate tax lawyers,” is a principal at Pioneer Wealth Partners.

  • Call for Nominations: 2015 Urbach CPA Community Builders Award

    By:
    Alonza Robertson
    |
    Jul 27, 2015

    Do you know a CPA in New York state who has demonstrated exemplary leadership to community-based charities? Or perhaps you fit the bill? Nominate yourself or a colleague now for the 12th annual Michael H. Urbach, CPA, Community Builders Award, presented by the NYSSCPA and the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON). 

  • IRS Hoping to Use Web to Meet Budget Challenges, But Security an Issue

    By:
    Chris Gaetano
    |
    Jul 24, 2015
    Fresh off a tax season that the IRS itself has characterized as miserable, with the strapped service able to field just a fraction of the calls it received, an official speaking at the Foundation for Accounting Education’s IRS Practice and Procedures Conference said the agency was trying to find ways to work better with its diminishing resources.
  • Four Best Practices for Responding to Data Theft

    By:
    Randy R. Werner, CPA, J.D., LL.M./TAX
    |
    Jul 24, 2015

    An external auditor was brought in to audit the financial statements of a multistate grocery store chain. During the engagement, he uploaded payroll and pension plan data for some 5,000 employees onto his laptop, which he planned to encrypt once he got back to his office. On his way there, he stopped for lunch at a restaurant and left his laptop in the car. When he returned, the doors had been unlocked and the computer was missing.

  • CPA Roundtable

    By:
    Chris Gaetano
    |
    Jul 23, 2015

    The NYSSCPA’s NextGen Conference for new and aspiring CPAs takes place later this week. In your opinion, what do up-and-comers in the profession agonize about needlessly? Conversely, what areas should they probably give more thought to? Here's what some CPAs had to say. 

  • Have You Considered Serving on the Society’s Nominating Committee?

    By:
    John J. Lauchert, CPA, NYSSCPA Secretary/Treasurer
    |
    Jul 15, 2015

    Are you interested in helping to select who will serve on next year’s NYSSCPA Board of Directors? If so, consider serving on the Society’s Nominating Committee. This year’s 11-person Nominating Committee will be recommending a president-elect, four vice presidents, a secretary/treasurer, five at-large directors and directors from the Mid Hudson, Northeast, Queens/Brooklyn, Rockland and Utica chapters. These nominees are then presented to the membership in a proxy/ballot that is sent out in April.

  • Three Risk Management Concerns Your Firm Should Address

    By:
    Randy R. Werner, CPA, J.D., LL.M./TAX
    |
    Jul 14, 2015

    The fundamental principles of risk management for CPAs have remained remarkably consistent over the years, despite the variety and complexity of changes that continue to take place in regulatory and professional standards. This constancy is mainly due to the high expectations the public has for CPAs. Their assumptions of how CPAs should conduct themselves affect the way CPAs are perceived in the world of professional liability, where jurors, judges and arbitrators generally have a limited understanding of the accounting profession.

  • NYSSCPA Weighs in on the Future of Peer Review

    By:
    Staff Reports
    |
    Jul 7, 2015
    The AICPA’s ambitious plan to revolutionize the 35-year-old peer review process with a near-real time engagement monitoring tool is being positioned to improve practice monitoring overall, but the NYSSCPA has identified some aspects of the proposal that need attention. 

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