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The CPA Conversations podcast series focuses on accounting-related news and hot topics.


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  • Firing a Client for the Good of Your Firm

    “You're fired.” They are words that are incredibly tough to hear, and they are probably just as difficult to say if you are a person in charge of making personnel decisions in a competitive marketplace. But what if you are saying it to a client? For CPA firms whose instinct it is to hold onto every client, it could seem to be a counterintuitive decision. However, the decision to drop a troublesome client is one that could have benefits that go beyond the financial bottom line.
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  • How CPAs Can Advise on Qualified Opportunity Zones

    Qualified Opportunity Zones have been a much-discussed topic since they were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Two PICPA members from Drucker & Scaccetti in Philadelphia – Chris Catarino, CPA, MT, and Steven Rossman, CPA, MST – discuss the regulations and how CPAs can advise clients on these new investment incentives.
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  • Tax Benefits for New Parents

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought several changes and expansions to the tax benefits available for parents and those with dependents. Sean Brennan, CPA, MBA, president of Brennan and Company CPA PC in Philadelphia and chair of PICPA’s Federal Taxation Committee, discusses the child care and dependent care tax credits, as well as why CPAs shouldn’t disregard the earned income tax credit.
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  • Corporate CPAs as Financial Literacy Champions in the Workplace

    A recent study revealed that 7 out of 10 American workers say financial problems are their most common stressor. Nearly 40 percent dwell on these issues at work, undoubtedly affecting productivity. PICPA member Anna Jungclaus, CPA, CFO of Equal Measure in Philadelphia, explains how corporate CPAs are in a unique position to teach financial literacy to employees. Corporate CPAs can help assuage their fears and, in turn, help them become more productive workers and citizens.
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  • To Supply or Not to Supply: Responding to Requests for Comfort Letters

    Often, a CPA will receive a request for a “comfort letter” when a client is seeking a loan or is taking part in one of many other types of financial transactions. Despite a strong relationship with the client, it would not be wise to jump into fulfilling such a request before taking several precautions. To let us know what some of those steps would be, we spoke with Suzanne M. Holl of CAMICO Services Inc.
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  • Successful CRM Switches Require Leadership Buy-in, Interdepartmental Insight

    The optimal customer relationship management system can bring big benefits to all sorts of organizations. When it’s not getting the job done, you must make the switch to a new one. To help you make the right choice, we sat down with Deanna Perkins, a solutions adviser with Boomer Consulting Inc. Her company recently made a switch, and she offers insights from her own experience.
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  • Building a Book of Business in the Modern World

    The public accounting world is changing, and not just through technology. The skills one needs to excel at building a book of business – an important aspect needed to achieve the status of partner – have evolved. Amy Franko, founder and president of Impact Instruction Group and author of The Modern Seller: Sell More and Increase Your Impact in the New Sales Economy, joined us to discuss the definition of modern business development, the five skills CPAs need to become expert at selling, and how best to learn what it takes.
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  • Unconventional Ways to Find New Clients

    When it comes to searching for new clients, the office is not the only place CPAs can be found on a daily basis. They go to the gym. They go out to lunch. They overhear people on the train. Well, according to Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.’s Bryce Sanders, those places can be just as effective for expanding your book of business as your workspace. Get these tips and more on our latest episode of CPA Conversations!
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  • Marketing Matters: Best Practices for Small CPA Firms

    Effective marketing is a plus for all firms, but it can be especially vital for small practitioners. From online reputation management, to engaging websites, to leveraging your local listings, Hugh Duffy of Build Your Firm Inc. walks us through what small CPA firms can do to optimize their marketing efforts and help the business thrive.
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  • Protect Employee Benefit Plan Information from Cybercriminals

    Social Security numbers. Medical data. Financial information. The volume of personal information kept inside employee benefit plans is huge, and that is why these plans make such ripe targets for cybercriminals. It falls to employee benefit plan sponsors to make sure the bad guys are kept out. In a preview of “Cybersecurity for Benefit Plan Sponsors and Auditors,” her column from the summer 2019 Pennsylvania CPA Journal, JulieAnn C. Verrekia, director of quality control for Torrillo & Associates LLP in Glen Mills, discusses techniques hackers use to get employee benefit plan information, resources for plan sponsors looking to strengthen their security, and why auditors of employee benefit plans have to stand ready to ward off would-be infiltrators.
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  • Fill in the “Missing Middle” for an Effective Business Succession Plan

    According to Paul Lally, lead partner of the business transition group for Wipfli LLP, the “missing middle” is the gap between the entrepreneurial vision that sparks a business’s formation and the long-term vision that ensures a company’s survival. In a preview of “Cross Over the Missing Middle to Secure Succession Plan,” his column in the summer 2019 Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Lally joins us to discuss the psychological reasons why business owners push off succession planning and why it would benefit them to think about it from the minute they open the doors.
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  • Unraveling the Mysteries Behind Cryptocurrency

    The term cryptocurrency might sound futuristic, but it is quickly emerging in the present as an opportunity for many in the public and investing community. It’s vital that CPAs and financial planners know what they are, why they are attractive to clients, and what the risks are. To go into detail on cryptocurrencies, we talked to Matthew May, COO and founder of full-service financial firm Acuity.
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  • The Benefits of Benchmarking for School Districts

    In a preview of his presentation at the May 30 PICPA Pennsylvania School District Conference, Dr. Timothy Shrom discusses the benefits of benchmarking for school district business officials, value-added strategies that exist to help school districts improve the process, and steps to take to ensure benchmarking efforts net useful results.
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  • Artificial Intelligence: Accounting Profession Must Prepare for Impact

    In a preview of the feature he coauthored with John Alarcon and Cory Ng in the upcoming digital-only special edition of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Accounting and Technology: PICPA’s Guide to an Evolving Profession, Troy Fine, manager, risk advisory services, for Schneider Downs & Co. Inc. in Pittsburgh, discusses artificial intelligence and machine learning. He shares how we use it in everyday life, the conveniences it can bring to the accounting workplace, and steps CPAs will have to take to remain relevant in an increasingly technological workplace.
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  • Not Just Data: Leverage Cloud Computing for Hiring and Retention

    Most have long been aware of the benefits cloud computing in the area of data storage. But are you familiar with the positive effect it can have on hiring and retention. To bring these aspects to light, close management software provider FloQast delivered Cloud Technology Advances the Accounting Profession: A Survey of Accounting and Finance Professionals. Mike Whitmire, in fact, discusses the report in the upcoming digital-only Pennsylvania CPA Journal special edition, Accounting and Technology: PICPA’s Guide to an Evolving Profession, which will be released April 25. In this podcast, Blake Oliver, director of product marketing for FloQast, goes deep into the HR benefits of cloud computing.
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  • Employers Look to Value-Based Purchasing Strategies for Health Care

    Employers are increasingly dissatisfied with their health care benefit expenses, and many are looking to value-based purchasing strategies to achieve a better bang for their buck. This has the potential to greatly disrupt the way health care is financed and delivered. To learn more, we talked to Neil Goldfarb, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health, who will discuss the topic at length at the June 11-12 PICPA Health Care Conference.
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  • Cybersecurity: Beyond the Fundamentals

    CPAs working in not-for-profit and government accounting fields are increasingly getting more responsibility with regard to cybersecurity and the protection of financial data. This topic will be explored at greater length at PICPA’s 2019 Government & Not-for-Profit Conference on July 22-23, but Sassan Hejazi briefly explains some of the next-level thinking needed to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Hejazi is a director of technology solutions with Kreischer Miller in Horsham, Pa.
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  • For Leaders, Diversity Is Good but Inclusivity Is Better

    While the accounting profession is making strides in its attempts for greater diversity in the workplace, it’s not going to matter if accounting leaders do not work on the inclusivity part of the equation. Staff’s thoughts and opinions once they have settled into the office matter greatly when it comes to retention. In this episode of CPA Conversations, we talk to Mike Fetzer of consulting firm Culture Factors to find out the benefits of inclusive leadership and how individuals can best develop this important skill.
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  • Adding Value to Client Relationships in the EBP World

    Benjamin Hall, vice president and managing director of JKJ Retirement Services in Newtown, Pa., and Susan Diehl, QPA, CPC, ERPA, president of PenServ Plan Services Inc. in Horsham, Pa., discuss adding value to client relationships in the world of employee benefit plans. Both Hall and Diehl will be joined by Melissa Kurtzman of Littler Mendelson and Jill Gilbert, CPA, of RKL LLP to discuss this topic at greater length at PICPA’s 2019 Employee Benefit Plans Conference on May 21 in Malvern.
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  • CFO Involvement Is Key in an Organization’s Digital Transformation

    Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation: everywhere you look, business processes are becoming more digitized. According to a recent report from RSM US LLP, CFOs need to take a larger role in driving the strategies of their organizations when it comes to technological progress. To discuss the report, we spoke with Bill Kracunas, a principal with RSM, about his takeaways from the responses.
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