NewsFlash Oct. 17, 2013

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FICPA Announces
CPA Insurance Marketplace

The FICPA recently announced the private CPA Insurance Marketplace for members! It’s the latest FICPA member benefit that saves our members time and headaches while shopping for and managing insurance. Enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2013.
  
The CPA Insurance Marketplace is available to sole practitioners, individuals and employees of members. Employer accounts with defined-contribution tools also will be available through the Marketplace.
 
Coverage effective dates begin Jan. 1, 2014. From that date on, all health-insurance plans available through the Marketplace will accept you at the standard rate – regardless of prior health conditions. Want to learn more? Visit our CPA Insurance Marketplace FAQ page at the link below.

Welcome to Insurance Choices Made Easy!

Learn More | Download Flyer | FAQ
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Florida’s Tax Climate Ranks High, Unemployment Low

At the beginning of October, Gov. Rick Scott, Florida’s chief executive, reported in his monthly newsletter that statewide unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent. The rate is down from 7.1 percent in May, June, and July – and down 4.1 percentage points since December 2010. Read the full newsletter.

The State Business Tax Climate Index, published by non-partisan tax research group The Tax Foundation in Washington, ranked Florida fifth in overall business tax. This bodes well for the recovery of Florida’s economy. Read the full Tax Foundation report.

Because of optimism regarding the financial stability of Florida’s economy, the Florida Legislature is looking to reduces taxes in the state. The House Finance and Tax committee met last week to discuss which taxes could be reduced or eliminated.

"What we're doing right now is trying to find out which taxes would do the greatest benefit to the individual taxpayer," Ritch Workman, chairman of the House Finance and Tax subcommittee, said in a recent article.

The FICPA Governmental Affairs Department will be following the activities and proposed legislation regarding any changes to Florida tax laws during the upcoming legislative session. Look for regular updates in NewsFlash as well as special legislative updates.

More information about legislative issues: Rivers Buford, FICPA Director of Governmental Affairs | (800) 342-3197, Ext. 203 | (850) 224-2727, Ext. 203 | govaffairs@ficpa.org


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Registration Website for HOAs and CAMs Goes Live

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) launched a new website where homeowners associations (HOAs) and community association managers (CAMs) now are required to register. DBPR created the website as part of recently passed state legislation (Chapter 720, F.S.), which requires CAMs, CAM firms or HOAs, in the absence of a CAM, to report information about the associations before the deadline of Nov. 22, 2013.

During the 2013 Legislative Session, HB 7119 made several changes to HOA governance, including the requirement for HOA associations to register with DBPR. The legislation also provided DBPR with authority to take administrative action against a CAM’s license for violations of state laws relating to condominiums, cooperatives and HOAs that are committed during the course of performing contractual community-management services.

Associations now may now register with DBPR at www.myfloridalicense.com/hoa. If you have questions about the one-time registration process, call DBPR at (800) 226-9101.

More information about legislative issues: Rivers Buford, FICPA Director of Governmental Affairs | (800) 342-3197, Ext. 203 | (850) 224-2727, Ext. 203 | govaffairs@ficpa.org


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Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Webcasting

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) announced it will be providing live video webcasting of the Board’s in-person public meetings, beginning with the Oct. 30-31 meeting.

Teleconferences, which are deliberative meetings held by telephone between in-person GASB meetings, will be audio-only webcast. Live webcasting of in-person public meetings and teleconferences will be hosted on the GASB website.

Read the press release here.


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How Can You Spot a Skimming Device?
My Fox Orlando.com

Do you know what skimming is? Wikipedia defines it as “the theft of credit-card information used in an otherwise legitimate transaction. Thieves can procure victims’ credit-card numbers by photocopying receipts, or by using a small electronic device (skimmer) to swipe and store hundreds of victims’ credit-card numbers.

Skimming commonly occurs in restaurants or bars, where the skimmer has the victim's credit card out of his or her immediate view.[1] Thieves also may use a small keypad to unobtrusively transcribe the three- or four-digit Card Security Code, which isn’t present on the magnetic strip. Call centers are another area where skimming easily can occur.[2] Skimming also occurs at merchants such as gas stations, when a third-party card-reading device is installed out­side or inside a fuel dispenser or other card-swiping terminal. This device allows a thief to capture customers’ cred­it- and debit-card information, including their PIN, with each card swipe.[3]

The recommendation is that if you are suspicious or unsure about a device, don’t use it. Walk away and use another ATM.

Read the article and watch the video from my Fox Orlando.com here.


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Florida State University Fall Accounting Conference
Nov. 7, 2013
Tallahassee

Time is Running Out!
Don’t miss your chance to attend the Florida State University Accounting Conference on Nov. 7. Time is running out to reserve your seat for this great event.

Enjoy these great CPE sessions:

  • What Should Employers Expect from Health Care Reform 2014 (1 TB)
  • Fraud: To Catch a Thief (3 AA)
  • Technical Accounting Update (1 AA)
  • Tax Reform: Are You Ready? (1 TB)
  • Up or Down, What’s Next? (1 TB)
  • And much more!

Earn eight CPE hours and save money! Enjoy a jam-packed day of networking, high-quality CPE, knowledgeable instructors and an empowering lunch presentation from FSU Head Baseball Coach Mike Martin Sr. Take advantage of our early-bird pricing and save up to $55 when you register before Oct. 28!

Staying in Tallahassee overnight? Reserve your room with the SpringHill Suites by Marriott before Oct. 25 and pay only $109 per night, plus tax.

Register Now | More Information | View Brochure
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Elder Planning Symposium
Nov. 7, 2013
Ft. Lauderdale

At the 2013 FICPA Elder Planning Symposium, highly rated speakers will discuss the latest on topics important to your elder practice, such as:

  • Advance directives and end-of-life planning
  • Financial tools
  • Life insurance
  • Elderly exploitation
  • Social security
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Marketing to the elder niche
  • Medicaid
  • Practice management

Get more from the symposium by attending our optional, eight-hour seminar at the same location on Friday, Nov. 8. Instructor Rebecca J. Whitener will help you:

  • Identify who is entitled to retirement benefits, and in what amounts
  • Learn what factors to consider in determining when to take benefits
  • Understand the taxation of Social Security benefits and how this impacts other income-tax planning
  • Be aware of Medicare and prescription drugs

Register for the 2013 Elder Planning Symposium and the optional seminar to master the knowledge that can retain and increase your clientele!

Register for Symposium | Register for Optional Seminar | More Information | Brochure
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Tech Tip
Word 2013 – How to Configure Grammar and Style Settings

http://www.groovypost.com

Microsoft Word 2013 comes with basic grammar checking enabled. If you know where to look, however, you can also turn on additional style and readability checks.

Get started by Clicking File, Options. Click Proofing and scroll down to the Grammar section.

To enable the defaults for style checks, click the down arrow under Writing Style and choose Grammar & Style. To fine tune the various Grammar and Style checks, click the Settings box. There are tons of options.

Enable Readability Grammar Check. The Word 2013 readability check is disabled by default. To enable it, check the box under the Proofing area. To see it in action, while inside the document click the Review tab, Spelling and Grammar (or press F7).

With the Show readability statistics enabled, all the document stats will display, including Passive Sentences %, Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

Now that you know where to look, customizing the grammar and style settings is one of the first things you should do after installing Word 2013.The features are solid and will help you create more professional documents.

Review instructions with images here.

This Tech Tip is brought to you by the Business and Technology Section ... IT solutions for today's CPAs. For more information and to view an archive of previous Tech Tips, please visit us here.

Are there specific topics you’d like us to cover in Tech Tips? Email suggestions to communications@ficpa.org.


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In Memoriam
James Claude East - Oct. 5, 2013
James H. Self - Aug. 3, 2013


Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash Oct. 31, 2013.

Comments or Suggestions?

We are interested in your comments or suggestions. Please email communications@ficpa.org.

LAST UPDATED 10/17/2013