Accounting & Auditing | Legislative / Regulatory | Taxation | Technology & Social Media

What’s keeping CPAs up at night?

MACPA PIU 2010The tsunami of taxes, regulations and standards changes coming at them, their businesses and clients!

They also do not feel the recession is over and are worried about the state of the fragile economy.

That is the feedback from more than 1,000 CPAs as I wind down the fall series of our town hall / profesisonal issues updates (worth four hours of free CPE for MACPA members) and several keynotes across the country. You can see my presentation on by clicking here.

What is amazing to me is this: As if the changes are not enough, there are already changes to the changes to report -- thus the purpose of this post.

The top 5 federal tax  and regulatory issues are as follows:

  1. The FTC red flags rule goes into effect on Dec. 31, 2010 ($3,500 penalty).
  2. Tax preparer regulation and the new IRS PTIN requirements.
  3. 1099 reporting pequirements.
  4. Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (and 1099 provision for rental property).
  5. Expiration of the Bush tax cuts ... or not?

Here is the latest updates on these (good news / bad news):

FTC Red Flags: The U.S. Senate has voted to exempt CPAs in CPA firms with the passage of S 3987 Red Flag Program Clarification Act on the evening of Nov. 30. Small businesses and non-profits will still have to comply by Dec. 31. Here are resources to help small businesses comply and the sample written policy (ITPP) sample written policy.

1099s from the health care act: Efforts to repeal this (including our own Sen. Cardin) failed in the Senate for the second time this year. (See our post on CPA Success.) We will have to try again next year before it takes effect in 2012.

Bush tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, 2010. This is still being discussed. I find it interesting that the word "millionaire" now means $250,000 and up. Must be some sort of new math?

And the top 6 accounting standards issues all involve convergence. As I like to say, there may be 50 ways to leave your lover but only six ways to converge global accounting standards with the U.S.!

  1. SEC -- mandated switch to IFRS for public companies (decision in 2011)
  2. FASB-IASB convergence workplan (from the 2002 Norwalk agreement)
  3. FAF Blue Ribbon Committee on Private Company Standards
  4. Auditing Standards Board "clarity project" with IAASB
  5. Professional ethics -- PEEC -- IFAC convergence of ethics
  6. Global sustainability standards -- IIRC (see my post at FEI)

FASB-IASB convergence update: Just received from FASB, this special edition for private companies covers the latest fast-moving developments in upcoming standards. It starts with this: "Three Far-Reaching Exposure Drafts -- A Call for INPUT." This is just the first round, so stay tuned and pay attention.

You'll find more great coverage on all of the FASB developments by Edith Orenstein over at the FEI Reporting Blog.

So what are we doing about all of this?

  • The MACPA has been advocating on your behalf and working with the AICPA (which has done a remarkable job) for the past year on all of these issues (red flags, PTIN, 1099s, etc).
  • The MACPA is forming two special task forces to deal with these rapidly changing issues -- one for federal taxes and regulations and another for accounting standards.
  • And we have not even covered the state issues! Make sure our voice is heard by attending CPA Day in Annapolis on Jan. 19. Register here (and get two more hours of free CPE).
  • Let us know if you want to be involved or have suggestions for us to help you deal with the tsunami.

We finish up our town hall meetings with a quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn: "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf."

Hang ten, fellow CPAs. We are with you!