NewsFlash May 1, 2014

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House Votes on FICPA Legislation

On Monday, the Florida House of Representatives took the final vote on FICPA-supported legislation. SB 796 by Sen. Jack Latvala clarifies CPA licensure requirements and extends an amnesty period for licensees to complete the continuing-education requirements necessary to reactivate their license. Read more about the bill in the next edition of the FICPA's advocacy newsletter, IMPACT Report. To subscribe to IMPACT Report, email govaffairs@ficpa.org.

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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Scholarship Application Deadline Approaching

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Certified Public Accounting, encourages minority accounting students throughout Florida to apply for this year's Clay Ford scholarship. The scholarship is awarded each year to minority students studying to become CPAs. Since its implementation in 1999, the CPA Education Minority Assistance Program has awarded more than $1 million.

Last year's recipient was FICPA student member Edwin Valentin, who attends the University of Central Florida. He applied for the scholarship after learning about it from FICPA member Dave Dennis, who's been helping spread the word during visits to Florida college campuses.

"I truly appreciate the FICPA's work to increase awareness about the Clay Ford scholarship," Valentin said. "I'm very thankful for the scholarship and I look forward to representing and pursuing the profession in Florida, where I've had so much opportunity. I look forward to a long relationship as a member as well!"

Scholarship applications must be postmarked by June 1, 2014. For more information, including the application process and eligibility criteria, visit www.myfloridalicense.com/CPAscholarship.


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Image: Florida CPA Today - May/June

Legislative Wrap-up Issue of FCT is in the Mail

The May/June 2014 issue of Florida CPA Today (FCT), the FICPA's bi-monthly magazine, is in the mail to members this week. This issue has a recap of the FICPA's accomplishments during the 2014 Legislative Session. Also included are technical articles about federal tax issues that affect same-sex couples; motivating auditees to address audit findings; and client data breaches.

To plan the sessions and social events you'll attend at the FICPA Mega CPE Conference, check out the handy guide on page 34. And don't miss the new section – Of Course! – a CPE guide that we'll publish in each issue of FCT.

"Thumb" through the online version.


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What's Hot on FICPA Connect

To provide members with a place to communicate and collaborate with fellow CPAs throughout Florida, the Institute launched FICPA Connect. Your member login now grants you access to hot-topic discussion forums, group resources, personal blogs and more that help you get the answers you need.

Here are some of the most popular current threads on FICPA Connect. Join these discussions and others by logging in to connect.ficpa.org with your website member credentials.*

Limit on Deduction for Per Diem Rates
on 4/24/2014 at 2:00 p.m.

I have a client who has about 20 employee consultants that travel to client sites…[Read More]

New Exemption Becomes Effective
on 4/21/2014 at 4:20 p.m.

The Florida Legislature enacted a law that exempts the purchase of industrial machinery…[Read More]

Never Filed
on 4/15/2014 at 4:39 p.m.

This is not a joke…Knock, knock. Who's there? New client. New client who?…[Read More]

Visit FICPA Connect | Learn More
*Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Suncoast Scramble Takes Place Tomorrow!

Earn Complimentary CPE
Golfers will receive three hours of complimentary CPE while supporting the future of the CPA profession. Join us at the East Lake Woodlands Country Club for registration at 8 a.m. and CPE beginning at 8:30 a.m. Not playing golf? Earn your three hours of CPE for only $30. Visit the website to purchase your CPE.

Match Play – Register Now
Thanks to a generous matching donation, the FICPA Suncoast Chapter now is matching new-sponsor contributions dollar for dollar from now until the event. New sponsors can register now to have their contribution doubled. View the sponsorship brochure for more information about sponsorship opportunities.

Hole-in-One Putt Could Win You $10,000…
Practice your swing! Players will have the chance to putt a hole in one and win $10,000 or other great prizes, such as airline tickets, Callaway Irons or a $500 golf-shop credit.

Questions: Jason Zaborske, FICPA Educational Foundation Development Director | (800) 342-3197, Ext. 417 | (850) 224-2727 Ext. 417 | (850) 251-7274 | edfound@ficpa.org


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FSU Spring Accounting Conference (17 CPE)
May 15-16, 2014
Tallahassee

In the immortal words of George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." What better teaching tool is there than examining case studies? Break out your magnifying glass and get ready to examine the facts with a former inspector general and the director of auditing for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the Florida State University Spring Accounting Conference, May 15-16 in Tallahassee.

Join Magen Naret, CIA, CIGA, FWC director of auditing and James T. Knight III, former FWC inspector general to examine a four-year investigation involving two former FWC facilities management employees who concocted an elaborate scheme involving purchases and doctored receipts. Find out how the case unfolds and what you can do to identify and prevent fraud.

Plus, more great topics to choose from:

  • Private Company Council Update (1 AA)
  • Florida Sales and Use Tax: Current Topics (1 TB)
  • Accounting Apps for Your Smartphone (1 AA)
  • Lunch Presentation:  Legislative Update and How a Bill Becomes Law (1 TB) presented by Justin Thames, DPL, Governmental Affairs Manager, FICPA

Reserve your seat before May 5 to take advantage of our Early Bird special. Register today!

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


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Accel: Florida's YCPA Leadership Forum (7 CPE)
June 11, 2014
During the Mega CPE Conference in Orlando

Are you interested in becoming a leader in the CPA profession? Do you have staff members whom you'd like to develop into leaders for your firm? Accel 2014 will prepare young CPAs to enter the fast-paced, rapidly-changing leadership environment and teach the skills they need to stay ahead of the game!

Interactive dialogue with Accel's Leadership Forum Coach, Dan Griffiths, CPA, CGMA and other participants will address thought bridging; strengths in teams; strategic thinking; giving and receiving feedback; and development planning. Accel will empower the next generation of CPAs to become leaders in their organizations, communities and the CPA profession.

Accel is one of the four Pro-X events taking place during the Mega CPE Conference and is open to CPAs who are 35 and younger. Click the links below to learn more and register.

Register for Accel through Mega CPE Conference | View Agenda and Learn More | Explore Everything at Mega CPE Conference
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Emerald Coast CPE Retreat (8 CPE)
June 27, 2014
Panama City

Whether you're planning a getaway to the beach or just saving the drive with CPE close to home, the Emerald Coast CPE Retreat is your chance to relax and learn.

The Emerald Coast CPE Retreat, our newest event, is a collaboration between the FICPA and the Alabama Society of CPAs. Earn up to four Accounting & Auditing and four Technical Business credit hours while networking with CPAs from Florida and Alabama. The Emerald Coast CPE Retreat is your chance to relax and learn in style.

Take a look at a few of the great sessions:

  • What's Going on with the Standard Setters?
  • Federal Tax Litigation and Expert Witnesses
  • The Exposed Clarified Compilation and Review Standards
  • What's So Special About a "Special Needs Trust?"

Don't miss your chance to attend this high-quality CPE event. Register Today!

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


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Tech Tip
Protect Your Devices Against Heartbleed

groovypost.com

Heartbleed, which looked like another "change your password for this little security flaw" situation, has turned out to be something much more serious. Here's some advice on protecting yourself and your data against it. NOTE: The FICPA website was not affected by Heartbleed.

What Is Heartbleed?

It's a security gap in Open SSL that has been in the wild for the past two years, but recently was brought to the public's attention. In a simple language, it could be used to steal security certificates and make you think a fake site is the one you were planning to visit.

Estimates say no less than two-thirds of the Internet could be affected, but not many situations in which it was exploited have been revealed. Even so, it's better to be safe than sorry – so all affected sites need to apply the patch, revoke their security certificates and issue new ones.

To find out more up-to-date details about this bug, check out heartbleed.com. What can you do to protect yourself?

Check Sites You Use on a Regular Basis

The good people at LastPass – probably the best password manager out there – are providing a Heartbleed Checker here. It allows you to check whether Heartbleed has affected a site you're using, and gives advice if it has.

Type in the address of the site and follow the instructions. I did this for Facebook and was told I should change my password if it was changed more than a week ago.

Use this tool before changing passwords because, if the certificate hasn't been changed, the password switch won't do any good because it potentially was compromised.

Other sites to bookmark and check often include this constantly updated list of affected sites on Mashable. A list also is available on GitHub.

Protect Your Browsers

Set your web browsers to check for server certificate revocation. Internet Explorer should be set to check by certificates by default, but double check. Go to Internet Options > Advanced. Then scroll down to the Security section and see if Check for Server Certificate Revocation is checked. If not, check it, click OK and restart IE.

In Google Chrome, make sure the setting is enabled. Go to Advanced Settings, then scroll down to the HTTPS/SSL section and make sure Check for Server Certificate Revocation is checked.

If you're a Mozilla Firefox user, there are add-ons that help keep you safe. A good one is called Heartbleed-Ext and you can find it here. It will tell you if the site you're visiting is vulnerable.

Microsoft and Apple Services Safe

Microsoft services are largely unaffected by the Heartbleed bug. Company execs announced in the following blog post:

that Microsoft Account, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Yammer and Skype, along with most Microsoft Services, are not impacted by the OpenSSL "Heartbleed" vulnerability. Windows' implementation of SSL/TLS is also not impacted. A few Services continue to be reviewed and updated with further protections.

Good news, isn't it? Apple has also said, in a statement to Recode, that iOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable software and key Web-based services were not affected.

Android 4.1.1 is Affected

Google released a statement saying that just one version of Android is affected by the Heartbleed issue – Android 4.1.1, but the company has distributed patching information to its partners. It has also patched all of its services against the problem. Just to make sure, the good people at Lookout, responsible for one of the best Android security suites out there, Lookout Mobile Security, have released a little app which will check the Open SSL version on your phone and tell you whether you're affected or not. You can install it from here, in the Google Play Store (it's free).

Or, if you're a Windows Phone 8 user, you can install this handy app, called Heartbleed.

Conclusion

Heartbleed is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. However, if you follow some of these simple instructions, you should be ok, as everyone has taken measures to solve the issue.

Also, as we've brought up several times on this site: Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all of the services you use that provide it. We've shown you how to do it for a lot of popular services listed below. Also a great site to monitor is twofactorauth.org. It has a list of sites that offer 2FA and it's continuously updated.

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.


Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash May 15, 2014.

Comments or Suggestions?

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

LAST UPDATED 5/1/2014