Journal Article
  • A Year Like No Other

    The first couple of months of the new decade went by fairly smoothly, and then our worlds were rocked by COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in rampant illness and death, shut down life as we know it, crashed our economy, and made working from home the new business-survival model. What many thought would be a few weeks of change turned into months. Soon, we will hit a year. Schools and businesses have closed or turned to online and hybrid solutions. Being resilient and adaptive have become our new norms.
  • 2020 Pennsylvania Election Recap

    The 2020 election will be remembered for three things: the coronavirus pandemic, the delay in counting caused by millions of mail-in ballots, and the failure once again of pollsters to accurately gauge the leanings of the electorate. This year was the first presidential election where Pennsylvanians could vote by mail (beyond absentee ballots), and nearly 3 million mail-in ballots were cast in the commonwealth.
  • ACFE’s Look at Occupational Fraud

    The 11th biennial Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse was issued by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) earlier in 2020. Since its inception in 1996, the study has focused on occupational fraud and abuse, which is defined as “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.”
  • Employee Benefit Plans and the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Employee benefit plan sponsors, administrators, and auditors have spent much of the past year addressing the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on plan operations, administration, and audits. But we can’t rest easy: the effects of the pandemic could continue well into 2021 and beyond.
  • Check M&A Agreements before Taking CARES Act Benefits

    When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, taxpayer-friendly opportunities were aimed at quickly getting cash into the hands of businesses who needed it most. One method of accomplishing this included the temporary reintroduction of net operating loss (NOL) carrybacks. While this was certainly a welcomed benefit, some taxpayers who were involved in a merger or acquisition in 2018, 2019, or 2020 may need to review their old agreements to make sure the benefits of their NOLs are preserved.
  • Whistleblowing Strategies and Implications

    A 2019 report states that 15% of organizations typically do not recover funds lost to fraud and another 64% recover less than half their losses. In addition, 58% of professionals in charge of combating fraud say their organizations currently have inadequate levels of anti-fraud staffing and resources. One method to combat this problem is to encourage whistleblowing, or “the disclosure by organization members of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action.” This column discusses these programs and considerations for CPAs and those charged with governance.
  • Blockchain and the Future of Auditing

    Often considered synonymous with cryptocurrency, blockchain may actually open up accounting to the world of triple-entry accounting. This is something the profession has been working toward since the dawn of the internet. Now it is being made possible through blockchains.
  • What Factors Determine a Professional Liability Premium?

    As a CPA, there’s a good chance you have professional liability insurance, either on your own or through your employer. However, you might not know what exactly it covers and what determines the premium you pay. This article provides some insight on these questions to help you become a more informed insurance consumer.
  • The Case for Working in the Office

    These days, home is not just where the heart is; it’s also where your office is … and daycare … and the gym. The precautions of social distancing may provide an element of commuting convenience but there is an undeniable corresponding chaos. On our bad days at the home office, commutes and cube farms begin to look a little more appealing. There are clear and convincing reasons why remote work is here to stay, but there are also benefits that should not be ignored from team use of commercial office space.
  • Time Running Short on 2020-Specific Planning Opportunities

    Now is the time for CPAs to connect with their clients for financial planning before this year’s opportunities are gone. Given the outbreak of the pandemic, subsequent legislative action passed in the CARES Act, labor cutbacks, and volatility in financial markets, the end of 2020 has become a prime moment when you can assist clients and, when possible, take advantage of a favorable planning environment.
  • DOR vs. AG: Who Gets Final Say on Tax Statute Interpretation?

    In the unusual case of Synthes USA HQ Inc. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court resolved dueling interpretations between the state Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Office of the Attorney General regarding apportionment sourcing of service revenues. The outcome of the case has potentially wide-ranging implications for corporate net income tax and personal income tax apportionment via pass-through entities. The deference given by the court to the DOR may also impact future tax controversies and settlements.
  • Obligations to Produce Records in Response to a Subpoena

    Tax return preparers have certain obligations regarding confidentiality. Failure to adhere to these rules can subject preparers to civil and criminal liability, possibly causing irreparable reputational harm.
  • SSARS 25: Big Benefits to Early Adoption

    AICPA’s Accounting & Review Services Committee issued SSARS No. 25, Materiality in a Review of Financial Statements and Adverse Conclusions, in February 2020 – fewer than 50 days before the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. While the standard does not require application until reporting periods ending after Dec. 15, 2021, there are strong arguments for early adoption of SSARS 25 for 2020 review engagements.
  • Comfort with the Uncomfortable: CFO Leadership

    Recently I had a conversation with a coworker about professional development to help them prepare to move beyond their current role. The exchange took me back to how unprepared I felt some 10 years ago when I stepped into the CFO role for the first time. There was no textbook I had read or class I had taken that prepared me for the pace and randomness of the CFO role. One can certainly learn from others if you have a good mentor or teacher, and reading articles and attending CPE do help take some of the mystery away over time. In the end, though, the best way to learn is through the experience of being in the role. This column has been prepared to help those who aspire to be CFOs someday understand some of the dynamics they may encounter when stepping into that role.
  • Have a Plan to Pass the Torch for Succession Planning Success

    Having a well-thought-out succession plan is critical to the long-term viability of a business. Yet, according to PwC’s 2019 U.S. Family Business Survey, only 58% of family businesses have succession plans, and most of those are informal.
  • The Past, Present, and Future of Consolidation in Public Accounting

    In many ways, the KPMG transaction was the catalyst for a wave of mergers and combinations that has taken place across the accounting profession over the past 30 years among firms of all sizes. In this feature, we look at what motivates “the urge to merge” and examine the implications of continuing consolidation within the profession.
  • Growing Debts and Deficits Pulling Down Our Future

    What’s the difference between “equity” and “resilience?” In real terms, essentially nothing: equity is resilience. Equity gives you, a company, or a government the ability to take a hit – a hit like a recession or a pandemic. The big question now is whether or not the United States has the equity to return to normal after a crisis. To consider this issue, I explore the growing U.S. debt, the concomitant reduction in equity, and the implications of debt growth on government and the economy as a whole.
  • Corporate CPAs: A Beacon of Ethical Behavior

    In all likelihood, I’m guessing your CEO and board usually set financial targets that call for significant sales growth – perhaps even when the core product line has been in decline for years. You and your finance team are expected to deliver this growth while also planning for reduced costs and delivering increased income on the bottom line. If you hit headwinds, you better protect the bottom line at all costs, right? Wall Street and other stakeholders will not be forgiving if you miss the targets you’ve communicated.
  • Becoming a Creative CPA with the WonderRigor Paradigm

    Having mastered rigor, are we, as CPAs, already halfway to becoming our best creative selves? James Caruso reached out to Nixon and the two have come together to discuss the WonderRigor creative framework, how it can be used to apply a creativity competency to accounting, and why CPAs are already more creative than they think.
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