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


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  • Data Analytics Brings Lasting Change to World of Auditing

    Discussing their feature from the winter 2020 Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Christopher T. Kosty, CPA, and Matthew Kraemer, CPA, of Schneider Downs & Co. Inc. in Pittsburgh, explore audit data analytics. Specifically, they talk about the details of a recent exposure draft on the topic, its benefits over traditional sampling, and its effect on recent accounting standards updates regarding revenue recognition and leases.
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  • Robotic Process Automation Set to Revolutionize the Accounting Industry

    In a preview of his feature in the winter 2020 Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Adam Costa, CISA, CCSP, a robotic process automation (RPA) solution architect for Schneider Downs & Co. Inc. in Pittsburgh, offers a crash course on RPA, including the ways it is different from standard spreadsheet software, how structuring data helps CPA firms and other businesses, and the areas of accounting that are already seeing significant gains from this emerging technology.
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  • SOC 2 and Data Security’s Impact on Insurance Companies

    Independent security reporting through SOC 2 is critical to the protection of sensitive data. Rich Sowalsky, CISA, senior manager with Baker Tilly Virchow & Krause LLP’s Risk, Internal Audit, and Cybersecurity Group in Philadelphia, discusses SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria and high-level ways service organizations and CPAs can enhance a control environment. Sowalsky will speak at greater length at PICPA’s 2019 Insurance Conference, Dec. 4-5 at Penn State Great Valley in Malvern, Pa.
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  • Strange Bedfellows: Dissecting the CPA/Cannabis Industry Business Relationship

    Cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, but its use is gaining wider acceptance among state governments for both medical and recreational purposes. This adds up to a sticky situation for CPAs who may be deciding on establishing a business relationship with those in the marijuana industry. To discuss the status of cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania, as well as the ethics and risk management considerations for CPAs, we are joined by Stan Sterna, vice president of Aon Insurance and a licensed attorney, who has provided risk consulting advice to accounting firms for over 20 years.
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  • It’s the Thought that Counts: Retain Your Employees by Thanking Them

    Bolster your benefits package? Introduce flexible hours? Bump up a salary or two? No doubt, these are effective ways to keep your employees happy, but according to Liz Farr, chief content creator for Farr Communications, one of the best ways to help retain valued employees might also be one of the easiest and cheapest: simply saying “Thank you!” In this episode, Farr discusses ways to thank employees, whether these programs are more important to younger staff members, and what it says to your talent roster when you don’t prioritize recognition.
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  • The Advantages and Disadvantages of ESOPs

    CPAs with clients who are exploring succession planning and exit strategies may want to consider employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Mark Flinchum, Mark Kossow, and Andy Manchir discuss the advantages and disadvantages of ESOPs for companies, sellers, and employees. Flinchum and Manchir are co-chairs of the ESOP Services Group of Katz Sapper & Miller in Indianapolis, Ind., and Kossow is a member of Clark Hill PLC in Princeton, N.J.
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  • Forensic Accounting and Business Valuation: Explaining Them to Judges and Juries

    Communicating complex financial issues to nonfinancial professionals is essential for CPAs working in forensic accounting and business valuation. Chris Mercer, founder and CEO of Mercer Capital in Memphis, Tenn., specializes in how accounting professionals can better talk to judges and juries. Mercer will speak on this issue and what you need to know about buy/sell agreements when working with attorneys and referral sources at PICPA’s 2019 Valuation and Forensic Accounting Conference on Nov. 18 in King of Prussia, Pa. Mercer provides a preview of these critical topics in this episode.
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  • Business Transformations and the Important Role of CFOs

    The expertise of CFOs can play a major role in an organization’s decision to undergo a strategic business transformation. So, it is important to be fully informed on types of transformations, reasons to undergo them, and the pitfalls you may run into along the way. For this reason, we spoke to J. Stephen McNally, CPA, CFO of PTI Family of Companies in Toledo, Ohio, who gave us insight based on a career of spearheading such projects.
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  • Retirement Planning: Transitioning to the Distribution Phase

    Shifting from accumulation to the distribution phase in retirement poses various challenges for personal financial planners. Jamie Hopkins, JD, LLM, CFP, director of retirement research for Carson Wealth, discusses these challenges and the reasons to focus on safety in a decumulation portfolio. Hopkins will speak at greater length on this topic at PICPA’s 2019 Personal Financial Planning Conference on Nov. 7 at Penn State Great Valley.
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  • CPA License Under Attack: Help Protect It from Threat of Deregulation

    The importance of the CPA license within the business community should be well understood, but that is not the case. Recently, the CPA credential is among the licenses that have come under attack as part of a movement to deregulate professions whose jobs influence public safety. At the Sept. 19, 2019, PICPA Leadership Conference, CPA Conversations cohost Jim DeLuccia and I spoke with Skip Braziel, vice president of state regulation and legislation for the AICPA, and discussed this movement and what Pennsylvania CPAs can do to halt its momentum.
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  • Charities Behaving Badly

    Laura Solomon, JD, following up on her presentation from PICPA’s 2019 Not-for-Profit and Government Accounting Conference, discusses charities behaving badly. She highlights major changes to corporate governance over the past year, commonly neglected fiduciary duties, the risks facing charities with outdated governing documents, and much more. Solomon is the founder of Laura Solomon & Associates in Ardmore, Pa., a law firm devoted to representing charitable and other tax-exempt organizations and philanthropic individuals.
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  • Qualified Business Income Deduction’s Impact on Your Clients

    The qualified business income deduction, or QBI, was one of the most popular changes to the tax code in 2017. Stephen J. Slade, CPA, tax director of Wouch Maloney & Co. LLP in Horsham, Pa., dives into the restrictions and exceptions and what they really mean for your clients. Slade also addressed this topic for CPA Now.
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  • Section 163(j) Under TCJA

    Section 163(j) packs a mighty punch for being just one section of the tax code. Daria Palaschak, CPA, MST, partner in the tax department of Sisterson & Co. LLP in Pittsburgh, discusses the significant changes to the limitation on the deduction of business interest expense brought on by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
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  • Never Underestimate the Value of Firm Culture

    How does Sandra Wiley, president of Boomer Consulting Inc., define firm culture? As she tells us in the latest episode of CPA Conversations, it’s more than getting a half-day Friday every other week. In fact, it could be the thing that turns your best and brightest from one-year wonders to long-term employees. Get her insight on hiring, retention, training, and more.
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  • CPAs: Enhance Your Value through Management of Legal Fees

    There are many ways by which CPAs can benefit their employers. According to Michael Cade of MFCCoach LLC in Morrisville, an emerging avenue is through the management of company legal fees. Learn why CPAs are uniquely qualified for this responsibility. Check out more of Cade’s insight at
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  • Special Revenue Recognition Considerations for Construction

    To preview their Oct. 16, 2019, presentation at the PICPA Construction Industry Conference, John Bieber of National Glass & Metal Co. Inc. and Tony Stagliano of CBIZ Inc. joined us to discuss the ways in which treatment of the revenue recognition standard is unique to the construction industry, plus differences for public and private contractors.
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  • Financial Negotiations Are Important, but Don’t Forget Well-Designed Integration

    In a preview of “Practice Integration Imperatives,” his Practitioners column from the fall 2019 Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Ira Rosenbloom of Optimum Strategies LLC tells us why coming up with a well-designed integration plan could be just as important as getting the financial details right when going through a CPA practice transfer or merger.
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  • How Tax Reform Is Affecting the Construction Industry

    The ripples of tax reform have reached CPAs working in the construction industry in a big way. Emily Gunther, CPA, CCIP, a principal with CLA LLP in Plymouth Meeting Pa., discusses Section 199A, business interest, and much more. Gunther will speak at greater length on this topic at PICPA’s 2019 Construction Industry Conference on Oct. 16 in Malvern, Pa.
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  • The CPA's Role in Long-Term-Care Planning

    Long-term care is a subject many would rather not think about, but not doing so could be costly. Phil Sirolli, CPA, a wealth transfer adviser with Valley Forge Financial Group, clarifies some common misconceptions about long-term-care planning, outlines insurance options, and explains why CPAs need to have this conversation with clients.
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  • Delay or No Delay: CECL Set to Keep Financial Institutions Busy

    While the current expected credit losses standard is expected to be delayed by the FASB, it will have a sizeable effect on financial institutions in the near future. In a preview of their presentation at the Sept. 17 PICPA Financial Institutions Conference, Allison Minnis of Crowe LLP and Tim McPeak of Abrigo join us to talk implementation status among industry sectors, common difficulties confronted during the process, and the prospects of the aforementioned FASB delay.
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