CPA February 2012
The Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants
Green-up Your Practice
COSO Update Merger and Aquisition Activitiy
Avoiding Tax-Related Disputes The New CGMA
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FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
CPA FEBRUARY 2012
Volume 28 Number 2
Tips for Avoiding Tax-Related Disputes
Tax issues involving technical income tax, entity selection (Sub-C or S), and estate tax are frequently prone to disputes and claims.
by Ron Klein, J.D., CFE
Proposed Update to COSO Framework
The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) has issued a new exposure draft for public comments through March 31.
Merger and Acquisition Activity Expected to Rise in 2012
Increasing mergers can mean more business for business valuation experts. by Eddy Parker, CPA
Technologies to Green-Up Your Practice
Creating a New Worldwide Designation to Meet the Challenges of Global Business
Chair’s Message by Mark Anderson, CPA
Focus on Members
4 AZ CPA y FEBRUARY 2012
A Q & A About the CGMA with Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA and Charles Tilley, FCMA, CGMA.
Columns & Departments Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants 4801 E. Washington St., Suite 225-B Phoenix, Arizona 85034-2021 www.ascpa.com
Nine tweaks that can help improve your company’s efficiency in a paperless world. by James Bourke, CPA/CITP
The Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants
President & CEO
Copy & Advertising Deadline The first of the month one month prior to publication date. Board of Directors Chair Chair-Elect Secretary/Treasurer Directors
Mark Anderson Armando Roman Karen Abraham Anita Baker Rob Dubberly Megan Faust Julie Norton David Richardson Craig Robb Elva Vivas David Walser Corrine Wilson Neal Young Kevin Yeanoplos
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Conservative, Prudent Tax-Efficient Wealth Management Personalized services for high income, high net worth individuals and highly profitable business owners. • Investment portfolio management • Qualified plans / non-qualified plans • Implementation of CPA-advised investment strategies
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Registered Representatives offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group LLC, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Independent Financial Group, LLC and AXIOM Financial Advisory Group, LLC are not affiliated. Office of supervisory jurisdiction: 12636 High Bluff Dr., Ste. 100, San Diego, CA 92130.
Immediate Past Chair Julie Klewer AICPA Council Members Jim Buhr Rick Goldenson Chapter Presidents Southern Chapter Northern Chapter Southwest Chapter North-Central Chapter
Flo Zenblu CW Payne Jayne Wright Alyx Cohan
AZ CPA is published by the Arizona Society of Certified Public
Accountants (ASCPA) to provide information, news and trends in the profession of accounting. It is distributed 10 times a year as a regular service to members of the Society. The ASCPA, its members, board of directors and administrative staff assume no responsibility for advertisements herein. The ASCPA and the above people also assume no liability for business decisions made by readers in reference to statements and/or claims in advertisements within this publication. Opinions expressed by correspondents and contributors are not necessarily those of the ASCPA.
Arizona Society of CPAs 4801 E. Washington St., Suite 225-B Phoenix, AZ 85034-2021 Telephone (602) 252-4144 AZ Toll-Free (888) 237-0700 Fax (602) 252-1511
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by Mark Anderson, CPA
The Value of a Purposeful Self-Study Program Do you feel overwhelmed at the number of periodicals that tend to cross over your desk and rarely get looked at, let alone read? In one week I counted over a dozen magazines from the Wall Street Journal to The Journal of Accountancy that arrived in my mailbox. When I’m busy working on a task or project (which seems to be all the time), I find myself glancing at the cover to see if anything catches my eye, and then discarding it into an ever growing pile at the corner of my credenza. At a recent CPE class taught by popular instructor Walter Haig at the ASCPA offices, I heard a suggestion that resonated deeply with me. Haig stated that one of the top three things that will help keep a CPA at the forefront of the profession, while reducing the risk of litigation for professional negligence, is a purposeful self-study program. He went on to further explain that all of us subscribe to many journals and magazines that include valuable information but we rarely read or use them as we intend when we initiate the subscription. But if we can take these periodicals and incorporate them into a more structured self-study program, they can become a real asset in our professional education. I’m not suggesting that we read every article in every magazine that crosses our desk, but we could all probably do
Periodical AZ CPA Journal of Accountancy The Accounting Review Accounting Horizons Journal of Taxation
6 AZ CPA y FEBRUARY 2012
better than we do today in making those periodicals a key part of our learning and professional development. Haig suggested a process that included listing all the periodicals we subscribe to down the left side of the page (or spreadsheet) and a column for each month. Then simply track on a monthly basis the “reading” of each periodical. You can define “reading” in several ways, but I would suggest that it includes at a minimum a review of the contents page and a thorough reading of those articles that are pertinent to our practice or industry. Some may even choose to save key articles by tearing them out of the periodical or scanning to a file for future reference. Haig had a creative way to reward his employees who kept up with their selfstudy program each year by granting
3 3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3 3
them two days of paid CPE anywhere in the world accompanied by their spouse! Can you imagine how much your spouse would be checking on your self-study progress report with that kind of reward on the line? You may be thinking “what would a trip for two to England or Australia for two days of CPE cost.” But what you should be asking yourself is what it would cost if one of my associates did something (or failed to do something) that contributed to a malpractice insurance claim? As CPAs, we hold ourselves to a higher standard as professionals, and our clients and companies in turn expect the very best from us every day. In addition to the formal Continuing Professional Education and on-the-job training we all get each year, I would like to challenge each of you to expand and enhance your own personal selfstudy program using the Internet and the numerous professional periodicals available. And, if you can convince your partners or CEO of the value of this program, have a great trip Down AZ CPA Under!
Focus on Members Keegan, Linscott & Kenon, PC promoted Bret J. Berry, CPA, to director of audit services. CPAmerica International, an association of large independent CPA firms, has named Scott T. Wallace, managing director of Wallace, Plese + Dreher, LLP, as the new chair of the board. Sandra Abalos, CPA, managing partner of Abalos & Associates, PLLC, has been named vice chair of the advisory committee of CPAConnect, the leading association for small CPA firms and a companion association to CPAmerica International. Joseph A. Losada, CPA, MBA, recently served as campaign treasurer for newly elected mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton. Traci Baker, senior manager of member activities at the ASCPA, was selected as International Association of Business Communicators-Phoenixâ€™s November Volunteer of the Month.
ASCPA Leaders Meet with Rep. Heather Carter (l to r): Craig Robb, CPA, Ralph Nefdt, CPA, Rob Dubberly, CPA, Mark Anderson, CPA, Lisa Daniels, CPA, Rep. Heather Carter, student Craig Cacheris, Anita Baker, CPA, Cindie Hubiak, CPA, Rick Goldenson, CPA, David Walser, CPA, Armando Roman, CPA, and David Richardson, CPA.
Robert K Minniti, CPA, was appointed to a two-year term as the chair of the American Board of Forensic Accounting, which is one of the advisory boards for the American College of Forensic Examiners (www.acfei.com). Christina Roderick, CPA, has joined Abalos & Associates, PLLC as a tax manager. Rebecca L. Pusch, CPA, has been promoted to manager, and Lea G. Broka, CPA, has been promoted to senior consultant for Fenix Financial Forensics LLC. Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. promoted the following employees: Staff Associate II: Heather A. Larson, CPA, Casey R. Good, CPA, and Jessica Lowder; Senior Associate: Melanie Askew, CPA, Christopher A. Goeman, CPA, and Megan Lausten, CPA.
Three lucky members attending an ASCPA CPE class, and seven other members who entered our online drawing, won pairs of tickets to the Insight Bowl in December.
Margaret Burke, CPA, is the new CEO of the Arizona Neurological Institute.
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
Newsworthy CPAs… “I was a pioneer in that I created an idea and I perfected it. But I would also not be where I am today if I hadn’t made the decision in 2002 to learn to use technology, search engines and, now, social media.” —Jerry Mills, CPA, CEO of B2B CFO, talking about his business in In Business Magazine “It’s so interesting to see what companies are really doing ... There are always plenty of challenges.” —Ralph Nefdt, CPA, managing partner of Grant Thornton LLP, talking about accounting and auditing in Phoenix Business Journal. CPAs Andrew Spillum, Donald Butler, Rick Goldenson, Lisa Daniels, Chuck Inderieden, Keith Forsberg, Ken Garrett, Dan Hughes, CPA, Curtis Hildt, CPA, Michael Greer, CPA, and Steven Keene, CPA, were all featured in an article explaining the effects of the tax code changes in Phoenix Business Journal.
Grant Thornton Donates Toys to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Members of the Grant Thornton team in Phoenix donated more than 200 toys to children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for the holidays as part of their G.T. C.A.R.E.S. community outreach program. In 2009, Grant Thornton’s Phoenix office launched Grant Thornton Community Awareness & Responsibility Expressed by Service—or G.T. C.A.R.E.S. Through G.T. C.A.R.E.S., Grant Thornton employees contribute time, money and experience to local organizations, charities, universities and associations like the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Other organizations that have recently benefitted from the program include: the UMOM New Day Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Homeward Bound, Breast Cancer Network of Strength and the United Way.
ASCPA MEMBERS “THRIVE” FOR FINANCIAL LITERACY
The ThriveTime Challenge is a state-wide initiative to help high school students become more financially literate. This initiative will culminate during Financial Literacy month in April 2012 with winners from schools across the state competing in a multiround competition at one location to be the first annual ThriveTime Challenge winner. ASCPA volunteers will serve as on site coaches. For more information and to volunteer visit www.thrivetimechallenge.com.
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Proposed Update to
COSO Framework Addresses the Changing Business Environment Since 1992, Internal Control-Integrated Framework has provided valuable guidance for companies when developing and assessing internal control systems. In fact, it became the most widely used internal control framework in the world. But with advances in technology and business operations, the time was right for the framework to be updated so it could remain relevant and useful. The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), which released the original document, has now issued an exposure draft for public comments through March 31. The proposed updated framework was revised in light of changing complexity and conditions to make it easier for companies to design and assess their internal control and, ultimately, gather reliable information for sound decision making and achieve their objectives. Companies using the proposed updated framework should be better equipped to improve their agility, confidence and clarity. However, companies that currently have effective internal control systems will not experience additional responsibilities under the clarified framework.
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
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COSO built on the strengths of the original document by adding timely revisions to address the impact of significant subsequent developments. The final proposal is based on insights and perspective from a broad range of professionals in industry, as well as representatives and observers from academia, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. While the revisions represent worthwhile enhancements to the guidance, companies should be aware of what the proposal will not change. The definition of internal control and the objectives of the framework, for example, remain the same. Internal control is still defined as a process intended to offer reasonable assurance of meeting three objectives: •Effective and efficient operations •Reliable financial reporting •Compliance with appropriate laws and regulations The new proposal also retains the five components of a system of internal control: •Control environment •Risk assessment •Control activities •Information and communications •Monitoring The new framework does not set a higher threshold for internal control system maintenance or design. It will, however, serve as a valuable internal control resource for all companies.
Making Useful Updates One significant enhancement is the codification of internal control concepts introduced in the original Framework into 17 principles and supporting attributes that companies can use in managing risk and improving performance in an increasingly complex and fast-moving environment. Additional enhancements help companies address: •New expectations on corporate governance •The globalization of markets and company operations •New business models
•Greater complexity of laws, regulations, standards and rules •Expanded expectations for competencies and accountabilities •New attitudes and expectations on the prevention and detection of corruption With its principles-based approach, the proposed framework allows users to apply judgment in maintaining and improving internal control. It should offer managements and boards of directors the flexibility to expand the core framework’s use beyond financial reporting. It offers separate guidance on external reporting, addressing internal control over information not included in published financial statements. It should also allow users to apply internal control to a wide range of entities in different industries and at various organizational levels. Companies using the framework should be in a better position to spot and analyze risks and create workable approaches to them.
Details on Comments and Related Resources “The proposed framework is a significant enhancement to an important resource,” said Cindie Hubiak, CEO & president of the Arizona Society of CPAs. “Our members in business and industry and auditors should familiarize themselves with the proposal and offer COSO any comments they may have. In a rapidly changing environment, it’s beneficial to receive timely insights into necessary adjustments to or new perspectives on the internal control process.” Download the document and provide comments through ic.coso. org. Release of the final framework is AZ CPA expected in fall of 2012. Visit aicpa.org/COSO for additional information and tools on the updated framework. COSO consists of five organizations and provides thought leadership and guidance on internal control, enterprise risk management and fraud deterrence. The AICPA is a member of COSO.
Merger and Acquisition Activity Expected to Rise in 2012 by Eddy Parker, CPA
Good News for Business Valuation Experts Although merger and acquisition (M&A) activity declined during the last half of 2011 (but rose overall by 7.6 percent for the year), it is expected to be on the rise again in 2012. This will mean a corresponding increase in demand for business valuation experts and firms which offer this service. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal dated Jan. 2, 2012 and titled “On Wall Street, Renewed Optimism for Deal-Making,” a survey by Ernst & Young anticipates that “36 percent of companies plan to pursue an acquisition this year.” Additionally, the article states that since companies have ready access to cheap financing and large amounts of cash, companies will need to make acquisitions in order to drive growth in the face of a tepid economy.
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Is your firm positioned to take advantage of this opportunity? Mergers and acquisitions are just one of the opportunities within the valuation profession. Valuing a business due to transfer of ownership, divorce settlement, gift and estate tax determination, fair value accounting, ESOP valuations, economic damage calculations and expert witness or litigation support round out the list. In Accounting Today’s 2011 Top 100 Firms Magazine issue, more than 75 percent of the firms represented in the survey offering business valuation services reported significant growth within this area, making it the fastest-growing professional service niche. Adding a specialization like business valuation to your firm can help with client retention and acquisition, driving overall revenue growth. Here are several considerations in establishing a valuation practice: Begin with your current client base. When advising clients on tax planning or estate planning issues, you will see
Adding a specialization like business valuation to your firm can help with client retention and acquisition, driving overall revenue growth.
instances where a business valuation is needed. Good first-time valuation projects could be for small family limited partnerships or small businesses. Plan on spending a lot of time on your first valuations. Preparing checklists, learning how to comply with standards and setting up models will be time-consuming. Use caution with software valuation packages as some have been found to have significant errors in their models and report-writing modules. It is important to understand the models used to develop your valua-
tions as you should always assume you are preparing a valuation that will be defended in court. Offer valuation services to local firms that don’t have the ability to do valuations for their clients. Many small firms don’t have the staff or ability to do valuation work for their clients, so this is a good source of revenue once you establish yourself as someone who can do quality valuation work. Your network of peers and your reputation with them will be very important if you decide to pursue this route.
AC CCOUNTANT MALPRACTICE
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Ensure that engagements are performed in accordance with any applicable guidance. The AICPA issued Statement on Standards for Valuation Services no. 1 (SSVS1) in June 2007, effective for all engagements entered into after Jan. 1, 2008. All AICPA members are required to comply with SSVS1. For CPAs, this standard has been adopted by most state accountancy boards, so check with your state licensing agency to see which standards must be followed. Get a seasoned valuation expert to review your first reports. The report is often the end product that is seen by clients, and a well-written report can leave a lasting impression on clients and counsel. The report review, if done properly, will take several hours to perform, so plan on engaging a valuation specialist to do this work with the knowledge that you will have to pay for this review.
Get a valuation credential. The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) offer credentials available to CPAs and non-CPAs. The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential is available only to CPAs with an active license and is supported by the AICPA (visit aicpa. org/ABV for details). A credential will be a valuable marketing tool to hold you out as meeting minimum requirements for knowledge and competency in performing valuation work. A credential can also identify you as an expert in litigation proceedings. Market your valuation practice. In marketing your firm for valuation engagements, the end-user often is not the person who will hire the firm. Quite often it is the lawyer or other accounting firm that identifies the valuation specialists and engages them to do the valuation. Consider making presentations to local bar associations and bankers
associations to explain what valuation is and why they should hire an expert. Networking with other local accounting firms can lead to valuable referrals for new work. AZ CPA Eddy Parker, CPA, is technical manager of Forensic and Valuation Services for the American Institute of CPAs.
Demystifying Venture Capital Feb. 23 8â€“10 a.m. ASCPA Learning Center www.ascpa.com
Behind The Scenes withâ€ŚTaser Join us as we go Behind The Scenes at Taser, May 31, 2012! Hear from CFO, Dan Behrendt, who will share some of what makes Taser tick, tour their facility and even take part in a real-live demo! Stay tuned for more details and registration information, coming soon.
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
Enthusiastic Entrepreneur Succeeds at Edward Jones
“Helping people work toward a comfortable retirement, save for children’s education and leave legacies for their families is life-changing work,” he says. “I love what I do.”
What Makes a Great Financial Advisor? A successful Edward Jones Financial Advisor possesses good people skills, honesty, a strong work ethic, determination and an ability to self-manage. “The majority of the leaders in our firm have worked as Financial Advisors – including our managing partner,” Scott says. “That understanding of the work from the top down helps align our efforts and promotes collaboration throughout the firm so that we can deliver the best client experience possible.”
Stacia Gehrke, Sr. Branch Office Administrator and Scott Nance, Financial Advisor, at their Edward Jones branch in Chandler. Scott Nance of Chandler, Ariz., was in high school when he first heard of Edward Jones. His family owned a grocery store in Excelsior Springs, Mo., and began investing with the firm when a branch office opened in the community. “I remember my dad really trusted his Financial Advisor and thought a lot of the firm,” Scott recalls. After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., Scott worked for three years at KPMG in Kansas City, Mo., where he became a licensed CPA. In 1998, he completed his MBA from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Wanting to get more experience before starting an Edward Jones career, Scott worked for eight years at Intel Corporation, where he was able to travel extensively, work directly with senior management and gain international management experience. “I moved up in my former career quickly but started to top out in terms of pay structure and the legacy I would be able to leave for my children,” he explains. “In 2005, my wife and I decided I should make the transition to a new career with Edward Jones. We have never looked back.”
Leading Reputation and Client-first Focus For Scott, the firm’s reputation, client focus and entrepreneurial opportunity made the decision to join Edward Jones easy. “I like the autonomy of building a business while working for a firm with a solid reputation and integrity,” Scott says. “The fact that Edward Jones doesn’t require me to focus on any particular product means that I can determine the best finan-
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cial solutions for my clients’ – not what makes the most money for my firm.” As a privately held partnership, Edward Jones has the freedom to manage its business differently. Without stockholder pressure, there is no need to manage toward short-term profits. So even in tough times, the firm is able to sustain long-term investments in the training, products, services and technology that support client relationships.
Top-notch Training While Scott had a background in finance, like many new Financial Advisors, he was not licensed, nor had he ever sold investments. Unlike most firms that grow from consolidations or mergers, Edward Jones chooses to hire and train its Financial Advisors one at a time. “The training at Edward Jones was phenomenal,” Scott says. “It’s not just traditional books and classrooms, it’s a hands-on process. The firm teaches you the skills and investment knowledge while other Financial Advisors in the region coach and mentor you.” The firm consistently ranks among leaders in the industry for its outstanding training to associates. Training magazine ranked the firm No. 11 among the top 125 companies in the nation – the firm’s 11th consecutive year on the list. However, Scott says, great training is only half of the recipe for success; the other half is work ethic. “It takes patience, discipline and commitment,” he explains. “The benefits of the face-to-face contacts you make your first few years in the business come three to five years down the road. Building relationships and earning trust take time.”
A Work/Life Balance Scott says he is thankful his 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son have grown up with his Edward Jones business. “My children have seen the results of hard work and sacrifice,” Scott says. “They remember putting stamps on my thank-you notes and my working evenings and weekends. But today I rarely miss a school or sports event; we have been able to travel internationally and, overall, enjoy a great quality of life.” The ability to maintain a work/life balance is among the reasons Edward Jones consistently ranks highly on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. In 2012, the firm ranked No. 5 in its 13th appearance on the list and was the highest-ranking financial services firm. Edward Jones also ranked No. 6 – an increase of 15 spots from No. 21 in 2010 – on the “Best Places to Work” list in the metro Phoenix Valley. This is the firm’s ninth appearance on the list, which is sponsored by the Phoenix Business Journal.
Growing to Serve More Client Needs Edward Jones is highly motivated to grow. Millions of individual investors are juggling their investments and the responsibility of planning for their retirements. Many of them could use Edward Jones’ help. The firm plans to continue to aggressively grow in 2012, looking to add more than 70 Financial Advisors in the greater Phoenix area alone.
If you are interested in learning about the Financial Advisor position, visit www. edwardjones.com/phoenix or contact Scott directly at 480-895-3254 or scott.nance@ edwardjones.com.
Tips for Avoiding Tax-Related Disputes By Ron Klein, J.D., CFE
Tax issues involving technical income tax, entity selection (Sub-C or S), and estate tax are frequently prone to disputes and claims. Tax engagements represent about 55 percent of all CAMICO claims when measured by frequency. Income tax issues can become so technical that clients, even some sophisticated clients, simply cannot understand all of the nuances. This often limits how much the CPA can expect the client to decide, much like a patient seeing a doctor about a complex condition. The problem and treatment are so critical that the client will ultimately go with the treatment the tax practitioner recommends. A jury will also see that the client was relying upon the expertise of the CPA, and the jury will expect to see expertise and communication from the CPA in an engagement. Many risk management principles are based on the high expectations the public has for CPAsâ€”expectations that are often expressed in the form of jury verdicts, sometimes
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
referred to as jury or claims standards. Some of those standards include: • getting it right and avoiding the unsuccessful result; • advising, informing and warning clients of significant matters, especially risk and how to avoid it; • documenting and retaining records; and • exhibiting CPA-like behavior such as independence, objectivity and expertise. Loss Prevention Tips: Jury standards provide risk management guidance to the wise CPA. To manage a jury’s expectation that the CPA is an expert who documents and retains records, the CPA can appropriately define the scope of the engagement in the engagement letter and provide the client with written guidance describing the pros and cons of major tax decisions. Careful screening of the firm’s clients and engagements will help the firm avoid “engagement creep,” where the expertise required for the engagement begins to extend beyond the current service provider’s competencies. All clients and engagements should be reevaluated at least annually to confirm that the firm is appropriately staffing the services required by the engagement. Client screening, when combined with the hiring, retaining and training of competent staff, is the foundation of risk management and firm success. There are also high-risk clients and engagements. Both can be identified with careful client screening. Much of the information needed to screen a new client can be obtained by: • running credit checks, • examining previous financial statements, • reading the prior CPA’s management letters, and • interviewing the client, the client’s key personnel, banker, legal counsel, prior accountants and auditors. The CPA’s job is to advise and warn the client about alternatives and their possible benefits and risks. Once the choices are made, document the reasons and the client’s involvement. The CPA
16 AZ CPA y FEBRUARY 2012
Careful screening of the firm’s clients and engagements will help the firm avoid “engagement creep,” where the expertise required for the engagement begins to extend beyond the current service provider’s competencies. may also get a second opinion from another tax specialist, much like a doctor getting a second opinion from another specialist.
Entity Selection Entity selection issues generally involve decisions about Sub-S or C Corporation selection or conversion. Clients make choices about S corporation elections because they believe the benefits of their choices outweigh the detriments. But sometimes events occurring after the choice make it less beneficial than originally planned, exposing the CPA to liability. CPA liability often results from inadequate consultations with clients before these decisions are made. For example, a consultation covering conversion choices should occur (which may not result in an S election) when a closely held C corporation holds substantially appreciated assets. Loss Prevention Tips: Provide the client with a full consultation describing all negative and positive tax ramifications involved, and document the consultation in an “informed consent” letter, providing a brief summary of the issues discussed. Also, provide an area at the bottom of the letter which: 1) allows the client to indicate they have read and understand the summary letter; and 2) provides the client an opportunity to affirmatively indicate whether they want an S election. Informed consent is always important but more so in these situations because of the technical nature and the limited ability of the client to discern the pros and cons. Documentation will prevent the client from later asserting that your firm is responsible for unexpected events or less-than-optimal results.
Estate Tax Planning Estate tax claims involve estate tax planning issues, late filing or payment penalties. In estate tax planning, there is generally a long period between the time that estate planning decisions are made and the time that the results of the decisions are known. Memories of the CPA’s advice and the client’s decisions fade over time, making documentation of the advice and decisions all the more important. Making matters worse: heirs typically aren’t involved in the planning and may allege that the decisions weren’t understood by the deceased. If the CPA is dealing with disappointed, litigious beneficiaries after a client dies, documentation of the original planning/decision-making process becomes the CPA’s primary line of defense. Loss Prevention Tips: Implement a policy to detail all planning advice in informed-consent letters, outlining the pros, cons and options in terms the client will understand, and obtain client consent. Effective informed-consent letters clarify that the CPA advised and informed, and the client decided. With this letter, it is difficult for claimants to make a case that the CPA made the decisions. Tax professionals must be certain of their competency in this area and be sure to document reliance upon the attorneys drafting the estate plan. Also be sure to document which professionals are responsible for each aspect AZ CPA of the plan. Ron Klein is vice president-risk management counsel with CAMICO (www. camico.com). He leverages his extensive knowledge and expertise in CPA professional liability issues to help CAMICO policyholders practice sound risk management.
Green-up Your Practice
Nine tweaks that can help improve your company’s efficiency in a paperless world. by James Bourke, CPA/CITP By now your firm or business has likely adopted technologies that have the “ability” to not only enhance profitability and increase realization but also help green-up the environment. Contrary to popular belief, many of us are still generating a significant amount of paper and in some cases, more paper than in years past. There is no question that migration from a paper-based office to a paperless office has the potential to increase realization, boost productivity, streamline the sharing of information within your organization and enhance your ability to protect confidential and private information that may be contained on those documents. However, that same migration will more often than not result in the utilization of more paper and related resources. For many that have made the migration, they would probably agree that they likely see as much—if not more paper today—than they did five years ago. Why is that? As companies go from a pure paper-based environment to a paperless environment, they will often implement a combination of applications and tools to accomplish this task. They include: • A document-management application • A “Portable Document Format” (PDF) tool such as Adobe • Portable and/or stationary scanners • Dual monitors These tangible components are critical to the successful implementation of a paperless solution for a CPA. However, the missing piece is generally a “retooling” of the manual workflow process involving the flow of data from point of entry through point of delivery. When an organization invests in a paperless solution, time needs to be spent examining the various functional workflows that currently exist. A workflow process that was functional and efficient in a paper-based environment can end up being terribly inefficient in a paperless environment. AZ CPA
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
Tax Practices By examining the tax area of a firm, a significant reduction in the generation of paper can easily be realized. Here are some best practices in the tax area that can help your firm go from that legacy environment that you have practiced in since starting your practice, to a “greener” 2011 and beyond. Research: The days of paper-based research are over and have been over for quite some time. This area of the practice has made the leap to go “Green” and has done it well. I get a chuckle when I walk into a library or conference room at a CPA firm today. Many of these firms still have the traditional paper-based books from organizations such as RIA, CCH, BNA, etc. However, instead of being functional, these old publications line the walls and bookshelves within the firm as decorations and memories of a time gone past. Nearly every firm that I meet with has migrated to web-based solutions from each of these vendors and have eliminated the tremendous paper waste that was experienced by all of us in continually updating these libraries (some weekly). Preparation: Although firms have done a good job in jumping into one of the server- or web-based tax preparation solutions, many have not done a good job of eliminating the generation of paper throughout the process. Historically many firms followed this process … Early January, the firm prints an organizer, places it in an envelope and mails it to the client. By mid-February the client stops by the office along with their organizer (often unopened) and their source documents. CPA firm staff photocopies source documents and places them in a new file folder to house the current-year tax information. CPA firm staff key-in information into tax application and generate a paper copy of the return. CPA firm reviewer marks up paper copy of return and sends it back to preparer for revisions. CPA firm staff makes reviewer changes
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and reprints paper copy of return and sends reprinted return back to reviewer for final review. CPA firm reviewer either approves reprinted return or sends back to preparer (step five again) for additional changes, resulting in another reprinted return. Once ready for processing, administrative staff duplicate return, with one copy for the federal government, one copy for each state/city, one copy of the client and one copy for the firm file. Final package is assembled, signed off and mailed to the client. The above nine steps don’t assume that the issuance of “corrected” 1099s, additional information from the client or late arriving K-1s, will require reruns, resulting in the reprinting of multiple copies of the returns once again. As sad as this is, many reading this article may be thinking the above ninestep workflow process is pretty close to their workflow process today. This may also be coming from a firm that has implemented many state-of-the-art technology solutions and tools to help with the process. As previously indicated, the tangible components are one piece of the solution, while a retooling or re-education of your staff is the “more-critical” other piece of the “Going Green” solution.
Waste No More There are so many ways to cut down on the generation of paper and waste in this process. A simple tweaking of those nine steps can be: If your firm still wants to go down the organizer route, you can take advantage of one of the online electronic organizer solutions offered by many of the vendors in the space or simply print an organizer (in PDF format) directly to a client portal, allowing the client to access the digital copy of the organizer remotely and securely. By mid-February the client can still stop by the office (as many still prefer the face-to-face meeting on an annual basis) and drop off their source documents. Your administrative staff scan source documents and place them in a document management solution.
Your administrative staff can use one of the new scan-and-populate technologies to auto-populate the tax-preparation application and then firm staff can keyin the remaining information. No hard copy is printed. Your reviewer reviews the prepared tax return on one of your dual monitors and annotates or digitally notes changes required to be made. Your staff makes reviewer changes and notifies administrative staff that return is ready to be assembled after changes have been reviewed. No hard copy is printed. Once ready for processing, administrative staff print return to PDF and prepare for publishing on the client portal and in the firm’s documentmanagement solution. In addition, only the necessary forms required for client signature or governmental filing would be printed manually. Your staff verifies the PDF file and publishes it to the client portal. Final (much smaller) package is assembled, signed off and sent to the client, with the client complete final deliverable via a portal.
Best Practice I will be the first to admit that there are many ways to increase efficiencies in the above nine steps, but the point of this presentation is to show how easy it is to get a little bit greener within each of our practices. By putting a little bit of thought into each step, best practice steps can be developed easily to cut down on the flow of paper and the generation of waste. Tax is only one of the many areas of the practice that can benefit from such an exercise. Nearly every area of our practice results in a paper-deliverable and multiple-printed drafts leading up to that final product. The technologies are readily available. We just need to examine the flow of work through the process to help create a truly paperless environment AZ CPA within our profession. James C. Bourke, CPA,CITP/CFF, is a partner at WithumSmith+Brown in New Jersey where he is director of firm technology. He currently serves on AICPA Council and the Chair of the AICPA CITP Credential Committee.
Creating a New Worldwide Designation to Meet the Challenges of Global Business A Q&A with Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA and Charles Tilley, FCMA, CGMA A new designation, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), was launched around the world on January 31, 2012 through a joint venture of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The CGMA is a new global designation that recognizes CPAs working in a range of management accounting roles in businesses, industries and governments worldwide. Those with the new designation play a critical role in helping organizations of all sizes achieve sustainable business success. Management accountants, in today’s ever-more complex business environment, have greatly expanded their roles as business partners and must have the ability to synthesize and interpret a wide range of non-financial and financial information. The CGMA signals to employers that the designee has built upon core financial expertise and business acumen and is committed to continually developing his or her management accounting competencies.
CGMA designation-holders have access to a new resource-rich website, www.CGMA.org, featuring a global online community of peers, thought leadership papers, practical business tools, CGMA Magazine and Newsletter and other resources to help them stay up-to-date on important professional issues, drive critical business decisions at their organizations and chart the best course to meet their professional objectives. AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA and CIMA chief executive Charles Tilley, FCMA, CGMA—a former London partner of KPMG and Group Finance Director of investment banks Hambros PLC and Granville Baird—discuss the new designation, its development and the role of management accountants in the following interview.
Why have the AICPA and CIMA created the CGMA designation? [Barry C. Melancon]: Combining the AICPA’s expertise with CIMA’s more than 90 years of management accounting leadership is an effective way to create value for our members. For our 140,000-plus members who work in business, industry and government, the CGMA will complement their U.S. CPA and will elevate their value to their employers. The CGMA is poised to be the global designation for management accounting, and this joint venture with CIMA further enhances the position of the U.S. CPA as a worldwide leader. [Charles Tilley]: We are here to help people and organizations be successful by creating a global standard for management accountants. At the same time we’re bringing our resources together—our intellectual property and our people―and I’m quite convinced that one plus one will equal more than two. What we’re doing is we’re bringing together two large communities of people—CIMA’S 183,000 members and students and the AICPA’s collective 370,000 membership—together, we are over half a million professionals focused upon driving successful organizations.
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AICPA members are particularly interested in the AICPA’s advocacy efforts. Can you talk about how advocacy plays into the AICPA-CIMA joint venture? [Melancon]: The AICPA and the state CPA societies have been extraordinarily effective in influencing legislation on both the state and federal levels. We want to extend our impact even further. Increasingly, international rule-makers and regulators have an indirect impact on the U.S. This was most recently evidenced by the PCAOB’s concept release which, if adopted, would mandate auditor rotation. That issue was also raised last year by the European Commission. In such areas and so much more, the U.S. CPA will benefit by the joint venture leveraging AICPA’s and CIMA’s combined global footprint to advocate for and on behalf of the U.S. CPA anywhere in the world as well as key public interest issues. Through the combined voice of the world’s two leading accountancy organizations, we will have a very important voice on the global stage to proactively address the critical issues for our profession and the public.
What would you say to both CIMA members and CPAs in management accounting about why they should pursue the CGMA designation? [Tilley]: When you have the CGMA designation, you are telling your employer and others that you understand the language of business from multiple perspectives and know how to connect the dots like no other financial professional. For those of us elsewhere in the accounting world, we know that as a U.S. CPA you will have committed to developing and maintaining your skills, your ethical standards and your integrity. The CGMA will expand these to include the additional and specialized skills and standards you need in business, industry and government and will show that you are an experienced business partner who can help drive organizational success. [Melancon]: We envision the CGMA as a new type of designation that re-
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When you have the CGMA designation, you are telling your employer and others that you understand the language of business from multiple perspectives and know how to connect the dots like no other financial professional. mains focused on a constantly changing world. Demographers tell us that young professionals, particularly in developed economies, will have multiple careers and different opportunities in their lives. For some it will be physical relocation and for others changes in job classification. For our young professionals now in business, industry or government, or who start their career in public practice, this is a designation that will evolve with them throughout their professional lives, creating value for members and their employers and, ultimately, creating value for the people who use the services CGMAs provide. For CPAs in business and industry who for years have asked for additional support in underscoring their value and contribution in the business world, this credential and its associated resources is a long-sought solution.
How will businesses benefit from the CGMA? [Tilley]: These days, it doesn’t matter if yours is the smallest organization in the world, you can still be selling anywhere else in the world through the Internet. As a result, global standards and principles are really important. Through CGMA, we’re offering global recognition of a standard of management accounting, a standard of our members’ skills and expertise. A number of CIMA case studies make it clear that this is what employers want. For example, Shell wants a global standard
so that when they move their management accountants around the world, they know those people have the same skills and standards. The CGMA proposition includes a virtual network where people can share problems and issues. The best people to answer your problems are people who have done the same thing and have managed to crack that particular problem. [Melancon]: The role of the management accountant is frequently underestimated; it is much more than a simple accounting commodity. Management accountants can be found at every level of an organization and are at the center of a forward-looking discipline combining both accounting and business expertise. The CGMA is a single designation that benefits large and small, public and private employers across the globe. Business owners and decision makers will confidently recognize the CPA-CGMA designationholder as a highly skilled business strategist, who can be trusted to guide critical business decisions and drive strong and sustainable performance anywhere in the world.
What is your vision of the future and what does success look like? [Melancon]: We say the CPA is the trusted business advisor and 50 percent of the CPA population works in
business, industry and government. Some of them are in the C-suite, but even if they’re not, a very important aspect of their skill set is being at the decision-making table. We see a group of people who bring trusted information and thinking into that process. The future is you—the trusted business strategist—being recognized for your ability to critically look at opportunities, to think differently and broadly, and bringing the discipline, ethics, commitment and competencies to that decision-making table. [Tilley]: Success means widespread recognition of the value of management accounting. So many organizations have made poor decisions, mainly through a lack of information, analysis or proper thought. Management accounting ensures that external and internal data are complete and properly analyzed; ensuring that management and the boards can make decisions based upon a complete set of information. We envision more organizations, both in the private and in the public sector, recognizing the value of management accounting, what it brings to the quality of their decision-making and of their governance and oversight. As a benefit of the CGMA, the world will have betterrun organizations in both the private and the public sector. AZ CPA
Order Your 2012 Arizona Tax Guide Order the only comprehensive guide on Arizona taxes from the leaders in tax education, the ASCPA’s Phoenix Tax Workshop. Tax experts Ed Zollars, Ira Feldman and Pat Derdenger are contributors to the guide. The Arizona Tax Guide includes: Arizona Income Tax, Sales and Use Tax, Arizona Property Tax, and Unclaimed Property in a printed book or a pdf document. Spiral-Bound Book: Members of ASCPA, Phoenix Tax Workshop, State Bar of Arizona or Enrolled Agents: $89 Nonmembers: $109
The CGMA is available to qualifying AICPA members. Members of the Arizona Society of CPAs who are also members of the AICPA can save $50 off the annual CGMA registration fee. For more information about the CGMA, visit www.CGMA.org.
Electronic PDF: Members of ASCPA, Phoenix Tax Workshop, State Bar of Arizona or Enrolled Agents: $79 Nonmembers: $99
Go to www.ascpa.com/taxguide to order Register online at www.ascpa.com
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Classifieds Business Opportunities/ Practices for Sale
WE BUY CLIENTS—Our CPA firm is seeking to buy clients in increments of one to a small practice in the Scottsdale and Phoenix Metropolitan area. Our staff has been practicing in public accounting for over 30 years and specializes in the small to medium size business needs. We emphasize business accounting and taxes. We are located near Thunderbird and Scottsdale Rd. If you are downsizing or retiring and want an easy transition, please call us today. Ask for Kara at (480)-990-2727. Wanted: CPA Practice—No brokers/commissions. Cash purchase. CPA with 10+ years experience. Very high client retention. Interested in buying Phoenix practice. Email Brandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outstanding Audit & Consulting Opportunities!—Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C. , recognized leaders in governmental and non-profit auditing and financial consulting, seeks motivated CPAs for Associate and Management positions for our growing Audit & Consulting Divisions in our Phoenix and Tucson offices. Nationally recognized on the “25 Best Small Companies to Work for in America” list by the Great Place to Work Institute for the past five years, H&M offers a dynamic culture with outstanding career growth opportunities. A BS in Accounting and at least two years of accounting or auditing experience specializing in governments/non-profits along with CPA designation is required. recruit@ heinfeldmeech.com.
TAX PREPARER—CL and Company CPAs PC—Seeking professional with individual 1040 tax preparation experience. Independently motiviated individual who works well with clients and has an eagerness to learn. http:// www.clandcompany.com/ CONTROLLER—Grand Canyon Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit cooperating association, seeks a highly motivated individual to serve as Controller in their Accounting department, located at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The Controller candidate should have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or business administration, and 3+ years of progressively responsible experience as a Controller. Knowledge of non-profit accounting, restricted funds, and retail accounting desired. To request an application or a complete copy of the position description, please contact: Ted Gwin, Grand Canyon Association, P.O. Box 399, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023, tgwin@ grandcanyon.org, (928) 638-7039.
After 25+ years serving non-profits, closely held businesses and the individuals who run them, Brenda Blunt is pleased to announce the establishment of her own firm
Call José Herrera at
Brenda A. Blunt, CPA, PLLC Brenda offers a wide variety of tax, accounting and business consulting services including tax planning and compliance, strategic planning, multi-entity structures, and planned giving. Brenda has especially deep experience in the not-for-profit area working with hundreds of local and national not-for-profit
(602)324-4741 or e-mail: email@example.com
organizations, consulting with attorneys and other CPA’s regarding their NFP clients and recently having served on the steering committee for the NFP practice group of a top-10 national accounting firm. As a result, she is recognized for her expertise addressing exempt status, UBIT, public charity status, private foundation, compensation reporting, related entities and other issues unique to not-for-profit entities. Brenda is a member, and the initial chair, of the ASCPA NFP Section Steering Committee and a frequent national and local speaker on topics of interest to not-for-profit organizations.
Brenda A. Blunt, CPA, PLLC One East Camelback Road, Suite 860,Phoenix, AZ 85012 602-692-6856 – BrendaBluntCPA@cox.net
SEPTEMBER 2011 y AZ CPA
Is your firm moving? Did you get a promotion? Do you have a new hire in your firm? Announce it here with discounted ads in the AZ CPA for our members only. We will even create the ad for you at no additional charge. “Thank you to the ASCPA for the beautiful ad. I have already received a number of comments on it and have even been contacted (within days of it hitting the street!) by a potential new client.” —Brenda Blunt, CPA
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Partner Level Auditor—Growing Denver CPA firm with significant audit and SEC practice is seeking a Partner-level Auditor or a Senior Manager with SEC experience to join our firm. Responsibilities include: •Direction and oversight of engagements • Technical advisor to firm and clients • Supervising and training of audit managers and staff • First partner and concurring reviews Professional Requirements:• CPA wth 10+ years experience • Experience managing and leading audits • Strong audit and SEC technical knowledge/ experience • Ability to manage direct reports. We offer an attractive compensation package such as: Simple IRA plan, bonus plan for new business development, personal time off and CPE with other professional development opportunities. Please send resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Controller —Perform accounting activities for specialized, complex and/ or functional areas. Requires expert knowledge and professional application
of accounting principles, practices and techniques. Maintain overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of the accounting department. We offer an extensive benefit package including medical, HSA, dental, group life and disability insurance. We match employee 401-K contributions up to 4% of pay and all plan participants are 100% vested upon enrollment. Generous vacation and sick time are earned after one year of employment. Apply online at www.gedaz.com/employment. Golden Eagle and SPIKE Beverage are Equal Opportunity Employers and provide a drug-free work environment.
Office Space TUCSON OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE—Our dynamic office sharing arrangement located midtown in Plaza Palomino is expanding and we have room for additional accountants. Our newly remodeled suite will have approximately 1,500 square feet available (can be divided/space planned) and will be completed summer 2012. Newly negotiated lease reflects current market rent. Benefits of our well-equipped office include shared occupancy expenses (extensive tax & accounting library, receptionist, conference rooms, telephone, internet, scanning/copying equipment) as well as camaraderie. Please visit www.cpatucson.com to learn more about our energetic group. Contact Rob Groll at email@example.com or Dave Lotz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520.321.1334.
We All Benefit From a Larger ASCPA We are asking for your help to spread the word about the rewards of being part of the ASCPA. If you know of a CPA who is not a member, please encourage them to join. As a token of our appreciation, you will receive two movie theater tickets for every CPA who you refer who joins. We thank you for all you do for the profession. Please contact José at (602) 324-4741 or email@example.com for more information.
Check Out Our Career Center The ASCPA Career Center is a one-stop shop for employers and job seekers alike. Whether you are looking for the perfect job or searching for the perfect candidate, we make it easy for you. Members can post their resume and look for jobs. Employers can post a job or look at member’s resumes. Go to Career Center at www.ascpa.com
Services PROPERTY TAXES TOO HIGH? I’ve been doing property tax appeals for over 13 years, both real estate and personal (business) property. We produce refunds for 80% of new clients and the average refund is 20% of the tax paid plus interest. Arizona CPA. Contingency fee only. I’m on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter & My City. Website: www. asmrconsulting.com. Call John at ASMR Consulting LLC, (480) 204-1289.
FEBRUARY 2012 y AZ CPA
Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants 4801 E. Washington St., Suite 225-B Phoenix, AZ 85034
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