May 22, 2017

The Technical Resources in Your CPA Network

By Michael D. Colgan, PICPA executive director and CEO

PICPA State Tax Committee 2017If you are a CPA, the PICPA has you covered when it comes to professional and technical issues such as state tax amnesty, heightened concern about cybersecurity, and pending federal tax reform. The need for immediate updates is something to which we have all become accustomed, whether it’s daily news feeds, photos from fun events, or professional updates. It’s how we consume information in 2017. At the PICPA we have nearly 1,400 volunteers who give back to the profession through volunteer service on committees, on task forces, or through leadership positions. Many of these CPAs serve on technical committees that do long-range planning for conferences and the Pennsylvania CPA Journal, while others provide webinar programs, blogs, and podcasts to provide immediate updates.

In just the past week, we provided a free webinar with members of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR) to answer members’ questions about the state tax amnesty program. The program created many pain points for members, and our goal was to both alert the DOR and provide some valuable updates to members to facilitate client service. John Kaschak, a PICPA member and deputy secretary for taxation at the DOR, was one of the DOR representatives who answered members’ questions about the program. Jason Skrinak, a State Tax Committee member, joined the webinar to monitor the incoming member questions and group them to help facilitate discussion. You can find a recording of the session on our Government Relations resource page along with the Q&A the DOR developed for CPA tax practitioners.

Last weekend the world was hit by the WannaCry ransomware Internet scheme. When we heard about it, how many of us started thinking about our own company’s cybersecurity risks? We released a podcast on “Cybersecurity Challenges and Solutions for Local Governments.” A speaker from the Government Accounting and Auditing Conference provided some tips that can apply to local governments as well as businesses. In addition, we have a webinar scheduled May 24 on Data Privacy and Security geared toward public accounting firms and other professional service organizations. We also have more than a dozen On-Demand programs on cybersecurity issues affecting a variety of industries. Search our course catalog for a complete listing of courses, webinars, and On-Demand products.

Our State Tax Committee is closely monitoring Pennsylvania’s budget process so that they can adjust the State Tax Conference agenda to reflect any policy changes that will affect tax rates or planning opportunities. This will be no small feat, considering the budget probably won’t be passed until late June and the conference is scheduled one month later.

Our Federal Tax Committee is keeping an eye on proposed tax law changes, and plans to offer a webinar as soon as the ink dries on the bill. Member Bob Duquette is following this issue, and he has committed to providing a webinar on a timely manner. You can follow his blogs “Why We Need True Tax Reform” and “Massive Middle Class Tax Relief Is Just Around the Corner! Really?” for his ongoing analysis. Our Pennsylvania CPA Journal Editorial Board has mapped out content for the next year, and when tax reform occurs we will adjust the publication schedule or develop a bonus edition. Matt Melinson, our State & Local Tax column coordinator will also be looking at state tax issues affected by any federal tax reform.

These are just a few of the many examples of how your colleagues and subject matter experts are working to keep you updated. I think you can say your PICPA colleagues have your back. If you want to expand your network and share your knowledge, consider joining a committee or, if you have an idea for a webinar, podcast, or blog, let me know at mcolgan@picpa.org and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with the PICPA team members who can make it happen.

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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.