• Charging and Sentencing Trends of Criminal Tax Cases

    The U.S. Sentencing Commission, which provides sentencing guidelines, collects substantial amounts of information on sentencing, including dozens of data points for every criminal case. The data are publicly available, permitting an analysis of specific categories of crimes, including tax crimes.
  • Data Breach! What Should Be Disclosed?

    What do Uber, Equifax, and Target have in common? All were subjects of data breaches that compromised corporate records with resulting damage to the companies and account holders. The problems caused by a data breach are often compounded when the breach is not disclosed in a timely fashion.
  • Digital vs. Analog: Two Generations’ Different Styles of Work

    Even as online information and digital applications proliferate, the paperless office remains a fairy tale. Paper-based tools and physical things are alive and well – they may even be making a comeback, as chronicled by David Sax in The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. Choosing tools for individual workflow and productivity is deeply personal, but could it be generational? The two of us (Lauren, a millennial, and Jim, a Gen Xer) discuss how we work and debate the merits and implications of the digital and analog alternatives.
  • Lease Modifications

    As defined by ASU 2016-02, a lease modification is a change to the terms of a contract that results in a change in the scope of, or consideration for, a lease. An example would be a change to the terms and conditions of a contract that adds or terminates the right to use one or more underlying assets or extends or shortens the contractual lease term. A modification must be evaluated to determine the requisite application of lease accounting.
  • Accounting Automation: A Threat to CPAs or an Opportunity?

    For years, business pundits have predicted the demise of the accounting profession as technology replaces work traditionally performed by the industry. According to The Hackett Group, since 2004 the median number of full-time employees in the finance department at large companies has declined 40 percent, to about 71 people for every $1 billion of revenue.
  • New Depreciation Rules Affect Mergers and Acquisitions

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modifies rules related to depreciating tangible property, net operating losses (NOLs), interest expense limitations, and the taxation of foreign income. One area that remains mostly untouched are the rules related to taxable and nontaxable reorganizations, spin-offs, incorporations, and liquidations.
  • 2021-2022 PICPA President Finds Opportunities Among Challenges

    I am the biggest fan, cheerleader, and promoter of the accounting profession, which is why I am so delighted to represent PICPA’s 20,000 members. I am extremely honored and proud to serve as PICPA president for the 2021-2022 year. Though my presidency will kick off remotely, I hope to meet many of you face-to-face at some point during the year.
  • PICPA Springs into Action in New Legislative Session

    Ordinarily, the Pennsylvania General Assembly can be slow and methodical. Moving policy options through 203 members of the Pennsylvania House, 50 members of the Senate, plus staff is fraught with significant administrative and logistical hurdles. Add a pandemic to the equation, and the process takes on a new level of complication. However, the pace of activity in the first quarter of 2021 was more of a whirlwind for the PICPA government relations team.
  • Five Valuation Questions When Planning Your Succession

    Valuation is critical when preparing for a business transition, whether it’s an acquisition by an outside party or a transfer of ownership to a family member or key employee. Valuation is a broad and subjective concept, and critical factors can be interpreted differently. This can lead to a disparity in valuation opinions. As such, it is important to start the valuation process with a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts.
  • Tax Uncertainty Causing M&A Disruption

    After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020, and several new regulations, we once again find ourselves on the path of tax reconfiguration arising from President Joe Biden’s agenda. Biden’s tax plans, as they currently stand, are quite comprehensive, with several new provisions to go with the reversal or undoing of the tax code adjustments enacted a few short years ago.
  • Independence Considerations and COVID-19

    COVID-19 has been full of challenges, but it has also created opportunities for CPA firms to provide new professional services. According to a recent poll, 55% of accounting firms created new services as a result of the pandemic. Some nonattest offerings include advisory services related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, cybersecurity consulting, cash flow management advisory, business continuity, bankruptcy or restructuring consulting, assistance with insurance claims, and tax strategy consulting.
  • The Geometry of Fraud and Improving Risk Management

    Financial and occupational fraud is a serious problem in the United States, resulting in nearly $2 billion in losses every year. With the onset of COVID-19, this problem has only been exacerbated because it created additional opportunities for fraudsters.
  • Ping-Pong Planning

    Tax planning these days feels like playing ping-pong. Last year at this time, I wrote an article on the changes related to required minimum distributions under the December 2019 Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act and the March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Other changes will come when the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expires in 2025 and tax law reverts to previous rates.
  • SSAE 19 Offers Agreed-Upon Procedure Efficiencies for Governments

    The AICPA’s Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagement (SSAE) No. 19, Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements, applies to reports dated on or after July 15, 2021. SSAE 19 provides flexibility to a practitioner’s ability to perform agreed-upon procedures engagements by removing the requirement that the practitioner request a written assertion from the responsible party.
  • CPAs and Automation in SOC 2 and IT Audits

    The traditional way of doing information technology (IT) and SOC 2 audits is going away, and it’s happening really fast. Automation is here, and it’s having an impact. But that doesn’t mean CPA firms cannot adapt and enhance their practices, deliverables, and value. Embracing automation, and the tools that facilitate it, are the key.
  • Ensuring Equal Entrance into the CPA Profession

    The rigor of the Uniform CPA Examination is a considerable hurdle for those pursuing a career in accounting. For a subset of candidates, though, it is the testing environment itself that poses the greatest challenge. For those candidates, accommodations based on a proven need can be provided.
  • Managing the Risks of Remote Accounting Work

    When managing a virtual workforce, building a remote-work policy is crucial. This document must spell out the objectives of virtual work teams and define which employees are eligible and the conditions under which they should work.
  • Sustainability Reporting Gaining Traction

    Sustainability reporting, or social accountability as it is sometimes called, is receiving increased attention. It has been defined as encouraging companies to go beyond their legal responsibilities to invest in and improve their human capital, physical environment, and relations with diverse stakeholders. In this column, we look at the importance of social accountability in the minds of corporate leaders, review the research that investigates the performance of companies that embrace sustainability reporting, and discuss disclosure frameworks.
  • Where Are We with Client Noncompliance Issues?

    Noncompliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR) pertains to suspected or identified noncompliance, including fraud, by CPAs. How this knowledge or suspicion impacts a current or successor CPA firm within the constraints of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct confidentiality guidance of ET 1.700, as well as a range of nuanced state laws and regulation pertaining to client/employer confidentiality, has been at the core of the profession’s years-long wrestling with NOCLAR issues.
  • Managing a Whistleblower Investigation

    Whistleblower investigations come in all shapes and sizes, and they occur irrespective of the quality of a company’s compliance program or internal controls. In this feature, I will examine investigations from the assumed point of view that the whistleblower is a company employee or third party alleging a potential violation of company policy through an established internal whistleblower process.
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