NewsFlash Dec. 15, 2016

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E.M. “Jim” Campbell Jr. Passes Away
FICPA Past President
E.M. "Jim" Campbell Jr.,
CPA

FICPA Past President Jim Campbell passed away Dec. 11 following a short and valiant battle with multiple myeloma. Married to wife Geri Campbell for 62 years, Jim was an exceptional husband; father to two sons, Ned and Robert; grandfather to four; CPA and FICPA leader.

Known as one who hadn’t met a stranger, Campbell never stopped making new connections and renewing old ones.

His son and longtime FICPA past-staffer Ned Campbell said of his dad, “…he was one of the boys from old Florida and a loyal Gator fan in all kinds of weather – I attended Gator football games with him for 49 years.”

Jim was managing partner of Campbell & Associates, PA, CPA in Winter Haven and a 47-year member of the FICPA. He led by example, serving his profession through many FICPA positions including service as FICPA President (1986-87). During his tenure, President Campbell implemented plans for the FICPA’s first Accounting Show. He also worked toward repealing “Sales Tax on Services” legislation that would have imposed a 5 percent sales tax on all professional services in 1987.

A visionary, Jim held the first CPA-TV teleconference live in Washington, D.C., which broadcast discussion about the 1986 Tax Reform Act to 11,000 CPAs throughout the country. And, he reviewed and recommended changes to the AICPA’s “Anderson Committee Report,” a national committee addressing standards of professional conduct.

In lieu of flowers, Geri, Ned, Robert and the Campbell family have asked that memorial contributions be made to the FICPA Educational Foundation. Online donations may be made by visiting ficpa.org/Campbell  or, mail your check payable to the FICPA Educational Foundation at P.O. Box 5437, Tallahassee, FL 32314.


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Tax Pros Warned of Continuing Cyberthreats

By Jeff Stimpson
accountingtoday.com

The IRS and state tax agencies are warning tax professionals of the continuing threat from cybercriminals, and have launched a series of security tips to encourage stronger measures to protect taxpayer data.

The Security Summit partners note that cybercriminals worldwide are actively targeting tax professionals to steal taxpayer information to file fraudulent returns for refunds. The Summit group, a partnership between the public and private sectors, urged the tax community to take steps now to protect information before the 2017 filing season.

This week, the IRS, the states and the tax community sent out a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals during “National Tax Security Awareness Week,” as part of the ongoing Security Summit effort.

The Summit partners recently expanded their ongoing public awareness campaign by launching the “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself“ campaign. As part of this initiative, the partners will issue weekly security awareness tax tips through January aimed at tax professionals.

The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign comes as Security Summit partners have issued a number of alerts warning of cybercriminal efforts. Recent alerts have warned about:

  • E-mail phishing schemes posing as potential clients, trying to trick preparers into downloading malware.
  • Phishing e-mails that pose as IRS e-Services and attempt to steal e-Services users’ usernames and passwords.
  • Remote takeover schemes in which cybercriminals actually take control of preparers’ computers and file fraudulent returns.

The series of security awareness tips focuses on security measures that tax professionals can take to better protect taxpayer data and to guard against the ever-evolving nature of identity theft and refund fraud. The IRS also urges tax professionals to sign up for official IRS communications such as e-News for Tax Professionals.

To read the Accounting Today article, click here.


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IRS Lowers Mileage Rates for 2017

accountingtoday.com

The IRS has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, standard mileage rated for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

To read the full Accounting Today article, click here.


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Will Brexit, Trump Affect Global Accounting Standards?

By Ken Tysiac
Journalofaccountancy.com

Political decisions that may affect cross-border business policies in the U.S. and the United Kingdom so far have had no effect on international accounting standards, Hans Hoogervorst said recently.

In June, U.K. voters decided to withdraw from the European Union. Less than five months later, U.S. voters elected Donald Trump, who has vowed to renegotiate trade agreements and take a tough stance on immigration.

Both decisions widely were viewed as a backlash against globalism. But will they result in a retreat from global accounting standards?

“Of course, it is too early to tell, but for now we see no immediate consequences,” Hoogervorst, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) chairman, said at the AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington.

Hoogervorst acknowledged it’s possible the longtime trend toward growing global investment and trade may be interrupted following the recent political developments. But he said even if cross-border transactions are reduced, the rationale for common accounting standards is strong as multinational corporations continue to do business and investors keep seeking investment opportunities throughout the world.

Meanwhile, Hoogervorst said Britain already has signaled support for continued use of IFRS following Brexit.

“While the U.K. has decided to leave the EU, it has not yet decided to leave the world,” he said. “The Brexiteers are indeed very keen to be seen as pro-free trade and pro-globalization.”

Although the IASB and U.S. standard setter the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) no longer are participating in joint standard-setting activities as they have in the past, Hoogervorst said the IASB’s relationship with FASB is cordial. He expects it to continue to remain cordial and said he believes President-elect Trump has other concerns that are more pressing than global accounting standards.

Russell Golden, FASB’s chairman, echoed Hoogervorst’s support for continued cooperation between FASB and the IASB.

“We will continue to engage with the IASB and other national standard setters,” Golden said. “We expect to have joint meetings with these standard setters in 2017 to talk about our respective priorities and future initiatives. Such relationships help us improve financial reporting, while at the same time bringing us all closer to common solutions around the globe.”

To read the Journal of Accountancy article, click here.


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Seven Best Corporate Gifting Practices for the Holidays

By Sabine Vollmer
cgma.org

Not too long ago, companies handing her several bottles of wine worth $300 as a Christmas gift was not unusual for Brenda Bayer, CPA, CGMA. Less than five years ago, however, the company she has worked for in different roles the past decade rolled out a detailed and explicit corporate gifting policy.

She emailed companies about the policy change when it took effect. “Now, I hardly get any gifts anymore,” she said.

That makes her most recent job at the company much easier. As head of HR, IT, procurement, and shared services for the North American unit of Engie, a French multinational electric utility, Bayer cannot receive or give gifts at all.

For anybody in Engie’s procurement team, giving or receiving gifts “creates the wrong perception and compromises the team’s independence in searching for vendors,” she said.

Most companies, especially multinationals such as Engie, have long had anti-bribery policies. Corporate gifting is not synonymous with bribery. Still, corporate gifts should be carefully evaluated, Thomson Reuters suggests. With the holidays approaching, businesses should consider implementing gifting policies regardless of company size. For those with a policy in place, this is the time to remind employees of best corporate gifting practices.

“Expressing appreciation to customers can be fine, but you have to know that in today’s context, gifting is viewed with caution,” Bayer said. “Companies are challenged to appreciate customers without crossing boundaries.”

Generally acceptable gifts include items of nominal value bearing the company logo, meals, and perishable gifts, according to Thomson Reuters. Not acceptable are, for example, gifts to government officials, requests for charitable donations, and lavish gifts.

At Engie North America, any gift valued at more than $30 requires approval from a member of the executive team and documentation before it can be received or given, Bayer said.

To enforce a corporate gifting policy, compliance officers need to ensure the guidelines are effectively communicated to employees, according to Thomson Reuters. Also helpful, Bayer suggested, are leadership oversight, occasional internal audits, and more frequent spot checks in countries where bribery and corruption are a problem.

Gifting policies vary from company to company, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Thomson Reuters recommended these seven best corporate gifting practices:

  1. Ensure a gifts-and-entertainment policy is in place, no matter how small the business.
  2. Designate gifts-and-entertainment approvers who can interpret and make decisions according to the company’s policy.
  3. Implement a cost threshold. Any gift that surpasses the set price point must be approved by a designated manager. Typically, $100 to $250 is a relatively standard threshold, but this differs across countries.
  4. Implement a widespread tracking system to record gifts given or accepted.
  5. Get prior approval for any gifts to a government official, compliance officer, or senior executive.
  6. Consider capping the number of gifts given to a single individual in a year and, similarly, the number of gifts an employee can accept.
  7. Never accept cash gifts or anything that could impact a business decision, such as obtaining or retaining a business advantage.

To read the CGMA Magazine article, click here.


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Seven Things Millennials Should Not Say to Supervisors

Show you’re ready to take responsibility and dig in.

By Cheryl Meyer
journalofaccountancy.com

Most CPAs, no matter their age, have said things they regret, either out of frustration or because they didn’t mull over their thoughts or articulate them properly. Some people also fall into bad habits, using certain words or phrases that are deemed less than professional. For instance, established leaders sometimes say the wrong thing to Millennials.

Millennials face even greater challenges. They have grown up in an era of instant contact, with emails and texts often taking precedence over phone calls or in-person encounters. As a result, they and other digital-leaning individuals may find themselves at times underprepared to pilot the nuances of certain tricky professional, in-person situations that arise in the workplace. When that happens, even the most well-intended might say something too quickly or fail explain the true meaning behind our words.

Here are seven things Millennials – and for that matter, all employees – should avoid saying to their supervisors, and why:

“I don’t want to do this. It really isn’t going to help me.” While most new CPAs expect to be handed a certain amount of grunt work, a declaration like this “does not help to grow and nurture trust,” said Brian Wing, a senior vice president and CFO at global tax services firm Ryan, who has heard this statement. “It sends a message of self-focus, not one of growth and support of the organizational goals.” Instead, say, “By when do you need this completed? I want to meet your expectations.” In addition, you may want to ask how your particular contribution fits into the bigger picture of the firm and offer to add some analysis to improve the work product.

“This type of interaction would absolutely increase standing by demonstrating a willingness to over-deliver and learn,” Wing noted. 

“I deserve a promotion.” This announcement sounds demanding, even if it wasn’t intended that way, said Vicki Rich, a leadership, business, and career coach with Reach Next Level. Instead, say, “I really want to make a difference and am excited to get to the next step,” she added.

“I’m unhappy in my current role.” Saying this “doesn’t help the manager fix the problem,” noted Michael Chelena, CPA, a 26-year-old senior associate at RSM US LLP, an audit, tax, and consulting services firm focused on the middle market. Instead, he said, take time to settle in and learn the ropes. When you’re ready, ask your supervisor, “Is there a new way I can be challenged at my job?”

“I need to leave early Friday for another commitment.” Many firms offer flex time, but some young CPAs can be “too quick to tell what they need,” Rich said. Instead, focus on what your supervisor and workplace need before you focus on your own wishes or wants. Make sure you get your work done first and foremost. “That’s a way to build trust,” she added.

“I can’t work with this person anymore.” This statement “comes across as negative or that you are not a team player, having trouble working with certain people,” Chelena said. Instead, be positive, and ask a supervisor if there is a way for you and your colleague to work “more cohesively together,” he added. That signifies a willingness to collaborate. 

“Look, you can find the file on the shared drive.” Such a statement, if made when a manager asks his or her employee for a file or document, points to self-focus and lack of accountability, Wing said. “The reality is I wouldn’t have asked for the file if I had it, and I’m pulled in 1,000 directions and I need some help.” Instead, the young CPA should reply, “Sure, I’ll send that to you right away.”

“My mom wants to call you to talk about my review. Is this OK?” This one may seem ridiculous, but it is a real question that Wing has been asked. Sharing news with parents is fine, but involving mom and dad in professional discussions undermines the value and maturity of the employee, he said. Instead, he advised, ask politely, “Could you and I talk about my review? I want to make sure I understand the review and have a plan to exceed expectations.”

To read the Journal of Accountancy article, click here.


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Membership Roundup

Save 50 Percent on Membership!
FICPA membership now is half off! It’s a great time to add newly hired staff as members and start their year off right. Also, newly certified receive an additional half off.

For more information contact our Member Service Center at (800) 224-2727, Ext. 1, or membership@ficpa.org.

Update Your Profile Online
Is your FICPA profile current? Start the New Year by updating your personal and company information here.


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Women to Watch Awards: Nominations Now Open

 

 

Through Jan. 15, 2017

The Women to Watch Awards recognize leading ladies who go above and beyond to accomplish their goals and make a difference. Nominations are now open!

Do you have someone in mind yet? To qualify for these awards, nominees must be members of both the FICPA and the AICPA and not currently serving on the Women in Leadership Committee. We will announce the 2017 award recipients at our Women’s Leadership Summit in June. The deadline of Jan. 15, 2017, will be here before you know it!

These awards were created by the American Institute of CPAs to recognize outstanding women in the accounting profession. Since 2010, we at the FICPA have presented our own Women to Watch Awards to honor the outstanding women who shape our organization and the profession as a whole.

Nominate Now | Meet Our Past Recipients | Learn More | Women’s Leadership Summit
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Benefit the FICPA Educational Foundation with Your Holiday Shopping on Amazon

We all love shopping online on Amazon. While you’re there, you can contribute to scholarships for Florida’s deserving accounting students through the FICPA Educational Foundation by using AmazonSmile.

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know – the same products, the same prices and the same service – and participating is at no cost to you. Here’s how it works:

  • Click the link below to visit the FICPA Educational Foundation’s AmazonSmile webpage.
  • Log in to your personal Amazon account.
  • Make sure the FICPA Educational Foundation is your charity of choice. If you already have a charity of choice, you will be prompted to switch. If you do not want to switch immediately, you can search for “Florida Institute of CPAs Educational Foundation” to make the switch at any time.
  • Start shopping! The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the FICPA Educational Foundation (if selected as your charity of choice).
Make sure that you’re on AmazonSmile rather than the regular Amazon website (you’ll see smile.amazon.com at the beginning of your browser’s address bar) so that your purchases benefit the Educational Foundation.

Visit AmazonSmile | Learn More and See Detailed Instructions

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Wish You Knew the Secrets of MBAs?

The FICPA has partnered with The Business Learning Institute to deliver training on this essential competency for the future of your career.

These courses are designed for busy professionals like you who want to understand the key concepts to deal more effectively in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly complex business environment.

You will learn the key elements and components of a traditional MBA while looking strategically at an organization from a holistic perspective to improve business planning and decision-making.

You will also learn to recognize how different business processes drive results, as well as identify the effective use of key performance indicators to motivate, measure, evaluate and improve results.

The MBAexpress provides business savvy in customizable increments. Choose an individual model, a pre-packed bundle or select modules for a customized program.

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


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35th Annual International Tax Conference
Jan. 5-6, 2017
Miami and Online

 

 

There’s only one conference in Florida that you can trust to provide the knowledge needed for your multinational organization or clients.

Time is flying these days, but it’s not too late to register for our 35th Annual International Tax Conference from Jan. 5 - 6, 2017. Join us in Miami or online with the Simulcast to earn up to 16 CPE credit hours while learning everything that’s new and coming soon to the ever-changing realm of international finance.

If you’re new to this specialty, you’ll get a running start at our International Tax Boot Camp. Go over the basics of international inbound and outbound taxation the day before our full conference at the same location to earn up to 6 CPE credit hours (separate registration required).

Register for the Conference or Simulcast | Register for the Boot Camp | Learn More
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Tech Tip
How to Remove the Paste Box from Microsoft Word 2016, 2013 and 2010

http://www.groovypost.com/

Most of us use the basic Microsoft Office commands of copy and paste on a daily basis. However, often is annoying when the Paste Options pop up each time something is pasted into a Word document or Excel sheet. The pop-up menu has a few useful options, but it mostly gets in the way and lingers longer than necessary. Are you fed up with the Paste Options pop-up? Let’s get rid of it!

To view the article with images, click here.


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In Memoriam

E.M. “Jim” Campbell Jr. – Dec. 11, 2016


Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash Dec. 29, 2016.

Comments or Suggestions?

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