NewsFlash Feb. 6, 2014

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Image: Chief Justice Ricky Polston Swears in Lieutenant Governor
Chief Justice Ricky Polston
Swears in Lieutenant Governor

Chief Justice Ricky Polston
Swears in Lieutenant Governor

On Feb. 3, Former State Representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera was sworn in as Florida's 19th lieutenant governor by FICPA member and Florida Chief Justice Ricky Polston. To read more, see the upcoming issue of IMPACT Report – the FICPA's new advocacy e-newsletter. IMPACT Report is complimentary to all Florida CPA/PAC members. If you're not already a part of the PAC, click here to join now.

For non-PAC members interested in receiving IMPACT Report, please email govaffairs@ficpa.org.


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Be an Influencer
Become a Key Person Contact

To develop strong grassroots relationships with members of the Florida House of Representatives, Senate and Cabinet, the FICPA has created the Key Person Contact (KPC) Program. KPCs are CPAs who have personal relationships and are centers of influence with elected officials.

KPCs act as liaisons between the FICPA and state officials, creating a line of communication to relay technical and general information about legislative issues affecting the CPA profession. The 2014 Legislative Session is just around the corner – now is the time for you to let us know who you know.

Click here to update your information.

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


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Florida to Pilot IRS Identity Protection Program

As part of its comprehensive identity theft strategy, the IRS is offering a limited pilot program to help taxpayers who filed their returns last year from Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia. This additional layer of security for identity theft would be available to taxpayers who need an Electronic Filing PIN (e-file PIN) to submit their tax return this year. 

Under the pilot, any taxpayer who filed a tax return from one of those three locations last year and obtains an e-file PIN this year from the IRS may be offered an opportunity to apply for an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). The IRS encourages taxpayers who are offered this opportunity in this pilot program to complete the process to get the IP PIN.

The IRS selected Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia for the pilot because those are the locations with the highest per-capita percentage of tax-related identity theft. The pilot is an expansion of the current IP PIN program, which (generally) has been used only for victims of identity theft. The pilot is not limited just to identity theft victims. 

Taxpayers selected for the pilot will be asked a series of questions online to verify their identity. The IRS will not issue an IP PIN to a taxpayer unless that person’s identity has been verified. Filing a return without an IP PIN should not delay processing the return.

Most taxpayers do not need an e-file PIN to file their taxes. In some cases, taxpayers must obtain an e-file PIN if they need to e-file a tax return or other electronic forms, but do not have their Self-Select PIN or Adjusted Gross Income from their 2012 tax return to verify their identity. In these cases, taxpayers may request an e-file PIN on the IRS website.

Following the pilot, the IRS will carefully assess the results and performance before deciding how to proceed with the program.

Read the entire article here. Or, to read a related news-press.com article featuring FICPA member Byron Shinn, click here.

Read more.


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National Meet the Firms Week
Feb. 3-7, 2014

Ready to connect with leading accounting students and promote your upcoming summer and fall internships and entry-level jobs? Register for National Meet the Firms Week!

As a sponsor, the FICPA is teaming up with CollegeFrog to host this online event. As an employer, you will receive the following:

  • A digital resume book featuring every student who lives in or wants to move to your state
  • An opportunity to host an online information session about your firm that will be promoted to thousands of students
  • Free access to CollegeFrog through Feb. 11
  • Access to webinars on effective recruiting techniques
  • The ability to showcase your firm to more than 14,000 students

Students spend hours researching career opportunities online, so don't miss your chance to get in front of thousands of students from every accounting program in the country!

Want to meet Florida’s future accountants? Register now – it’s fast and free!
Questions: James Hosman with CollegeFrog | (850) 375-6263


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Pay Trends for 2014: Salary Increases Hold Steady
SHRM

Average base pay increases for 2014 will remain at 3 percent for the second year in a row in the U.S. – roughly one percentage point below pre-recession levels – according to the seventh annual Compensation Planning Survey by Buck Consultants. However, more employees are likely to receive less than 3 percent than receive more than 3 percent because of greater pay differentiation based on performance, a finding also noted recently by other experts.

“Employers continue to be cautious with their salary budgets,” said David Van De Voort, a Buck principal. “What’s more, performance ratings got tougher and average promotional pay increases stagnated.”

Buck's survey of U.S. employers, completed in August 2013, looks at pay increases in 2012 and 2013 and planned increases for 2014. Among the key findings:

  • Salary increases associated with being among the highest-rated employees on a five-point scale increased to 4.3 percent in 2013 from 4.1 percent in 2012.
  • Respondents provided larger base pay increases for employees with particular skills and for those in IT and medical professions, while fewer respondents provided larger increases to workers in sales and engineering than was the case in the prior year's survey.
  • As a result of the Affordable Care Act, 8 percent of respondents have capped work hours of part-time employees, with an additional 12 percent considering taking this action. Eight percent are providing incentives for employees to obtain benefits via another source, and an additional 9 percent are considering this approach.
  • Talent retention remains employers’ top HR priority, while employers project no increased hiring activity for 2014. Just 19 percent of respondents anticipate adding workers in 2014 – the same as in 2013.

Read full article here.

Additional information from Robert Half.

Read more.


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Important CPA Health Insurance Enrollment Deadlines

The CPA Insurance Marketplace is the latest FICPA benefit that’s saving our members time and headaches while shopping for and managing insurance. Enrollment is open now! 

Make note of these important private-exchange application deadlines to secure your desired coverage-effective date.

Application Completion Deadline

Desired Coverage-effective Date

Dec. 19, 2013

Jan. 1, 2014

Jan. 15, 2014

Feb. 1, 2014

Feb. 15, 2014

March 1, 2014

March 15, 2014

April 1, 2014

March 31, 2014

May 1, 2014

The CPA Insurance Marketplace is available to sole practitioners, individuals and employees of members. Employers can set up defined contribution strategies, allow employees to shop for their own benefits and make one consolidated payment each month.

Enroll now at the link below or visit our CPA Insurance Marketplace FAQ page to learn more. Welcome to Insurance Choices Made Easy!

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


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CPAs in Industry Conference
March 20-21, 2014
Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale

Join us at the CPAs in Industry Conference on March 20-21, 2014 to stay on top of late-breaking developments that give you a competitive edge in your specialized industry. You can earn up to 17 CPE credits and choose from two convenient locations: Tampa or Ft. Lauderdale.

Enjoy informative sessions from nationally recognized speakers such as Robert Durak, CPA, CGMA at this enriching conference. Join Durak in his session Financial Reporting Framework for Small to Medium Sized Entities (1 AA) to discuss important topics such as the AICPA's new financial reporting framework; key financial reporting topics; and how to begin implementation for SMEs. Durak brings a unique inside perspective from his role as director of private company financial reporting for the AICPA. Don't miss this engaging discussion from one of the AICPAs brightest.

Plus, more great topics to choose from:
Hot Topics in Sales and Use Tax (1 TB)
Skeletons in Your Closet – What Now? (1 TB)
Management Accounting for Growth (2 AA)
Mergers and Acquisitions – Don't Lose Sight of Why You Bought Them (1 TB)

Where can you find training tailored to your needs and earn 17 hours of CPE? Only at the CPAs in Industry Conference! Register today.

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


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Health Care Industry Conference
April 24-25, 2014
Orlando

Your clients have been watching the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) closely. The rules are changing, the oversight is increasing and the system is getting more complex. CPAs have opportunities to provide value-added services, including:

  • cost reduction
  • tax work
  • bottom-line guidance for reimbursement changes
  • and more

The 2014 FICPA Health Care Industry Conference prepares you for a changing market. Sessions will cover the employer perspective on health care reform, the changing role of the CFO and more.

Add to your benefit by attending our four-hour ethics course and the two-hour, pre-conference workshop, “Medicare Cost Reporting Reimbursement Strategy,” on Wednesday, April 23. Can you provide the PPACA guidance your clients are seeking?

Register for Conference with Optional Workshop | Register for Ethics Course | View Agenda | Learn More
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Tech Tip
How well do you know your Smartphone?

Take this test and find out now.

  1. Can you name five ways to protect your smartphone’s battery life?
  2. Can leaving a smartphone recharger plugged into your automobile’s cigarette lighter 24/7 damage your recharger?
  3. Can calling 911 on a smartphone cause any problems?
  4. Can you come up with at least two business reasons for using your smartphone’s camera?
  5. Besides calls and text, what’s the top use of a smartphone?

Answers

  1. Reduce the screen’s brightness by at least 10 percent; set the screen to go blank in fewer seconds; turn off Bluetooth when it’s not needed; disable the Wi-Fi (unless you plan to connect); and download and install a battery-saving app (such as Juice Defender for Android smartphones).
  2. Yes. You should unplug your recharger cable when not in use.
  3. Yes. Operators for 911 cannot pinpoint the location of a smartphone immediately. They must triangulate the location, which takes about six minutes.
  4. After a successful meeting, take a picture of the whiteboard before you leave the room. Snap a picture of your airport parking space or hotel room number to help you remember them. Take pictures of your customers’ products, buildings and employees to help you remember them and to share with your office when you return. Document the parties present at a business dinner.
  5. Sixty-five percent of smartphone users say keeping up with email is their top smartphone use, after calls and texting.

How did you do? To learn more about technology, the FICPA invites you to attend a technology course, conference or webinar, or get involved in the Business Technology Section and FICPA Connect. Why not sign up today?


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In Memoriam
Michael S. Leone - 01/28/2014


Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash Feb. 20, 2014.

Comments or Suggestions?

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

LAST UPDATED 2/5/2014