2021 FICPA MEGA Conference

2021 MEGA breakdown: Our 5 tracks and keynote presentations

The 2021 MEGA Conference is a three-day, virtual event from June 9-11, with an additional half-day of complimentary, TED-style learning labs scheduled for June 8. 

You can register for entire conference or pick and choose individual days based on your particular areas of interest.

MEGA includes five specialized tracks, outlined below, encouraging attendees to "meet, engage, grow and achieve." Click the links below to review full schedule for each track.


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Department of Labor Update (1 AA)

June 9 | 8:10 - 9 a.m. 

Marcus Aron, Acting Chief, Division of Accounting Services, Office of the Chief Accountant, EBSA

Audits of employee benefit plans are neither simple nor risk-free. Find out what's expected of benefit plan auditors in meeting professional standards and regulatory requirements. Learn how to make your benefit-plan audits best in class and how to add value to your clients.


The CARES and SECURE Acts and 2020 Plan Year Audits (1 AA)

June 9 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.

John Burgess, Partner, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Recent legislation will affect benefit plan audits being conducted in 2021 for 2020 plan years. In this session, we'll review some of the key aspects of the legislation, along with IRS guidance, and how they will impact audit procedures.


Accounting and Auditing Update (1 AA)

June 9 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m.

Jodi Malis, Partner, Hancock, Askew & Co., LLP

Gwen Stoute, Assurance Partner, HoganTaylor CPAs + Advisors

This session will discuss the various accounting, auditing and reporting matters affecting employee benefit plans. Recognize accounting and auditing considerations for the upcoming audit season, including COVID auditing considerations. Preview the new upcoming accounting standards that will affect employee benefit plans.


Working in a Remote Environment - Panel Discussion (1 AA)

June 9 | 11 - 11:50 a.m. 

Moderator: Wendy Terry, Partner, WithumSmith+Brown

We will review auditing standards related to documentation to support a remote audit, and we will also review, at a high level, some risks associated with auditing remotely. Best practices that may be considered will also be discussed.

Panelists:

SAS 136: Forming an Opinion and Reporting on EBP Financial Statements (1 AA)

June 9 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m. 

Jodi Malis, Partner, Hancock, Askew & Co., LLP

Gwen Stoute, Assurance Partner, HoganTaylor CPAs + Advisors

SAS 136: Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA.  Gain an understanding of SAS 136 and prepare for the new performance requirements, including engagement acceptance considerations, risk assessment and response relating to relevant plan provisions and reportable findings, and required procedures relating to  ERISA section 103(a)(3)(C) audits. Learning objectives:

  •  Summarize what you need to know about SAS 136
  •  Identify new performance requirements and required procedures
  •  Review the new auditor's report

Peer Review Update (1 AA)

June 9 | 1:45 - 2:35 p.m.

James W. Brackens, Jr., CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Ethics and Practice Quality, AICPA

Examine recent developments in peer review, including results from the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative, emphasis in recently issued professional standards and related reporting requirements, and common issues that result in nonconforming engagements.


ADP & ACP - Why Plans Fail and What to Do About It (1 AA)

June 9 | 2:45 - 3:35 p.m.

Jason Chepenik, CFP

Joe DeBello, CRPS, QKC, QPA

This presentation will review common reasons why certain 401(k) Plans continue to have ADP/ACP Testing Failures causing thousands in taxable refunds to highly compensated employees year after year.  We'll cover why some of the most commonly recommended fixes are no longer effective in todays modern 401(k) plan. In addition, we will discuss some common as well as some not so common ways to address & resolve these failures.


Ask the Experts: Panel Discussion (1 AA)

Moderator: John Burgess, Partner, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

June 9 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m.

This is an interactive panel in which speakers at the Employee benefits Conference will answer questions from the attendees. Bring your specific and toughest questions and hear from the experts as they strive to deal with emerging issues and current service opportunities in terms that are practical and helpful. The panel will include representatives from the DOL, Peer Review and Industry Leaders.

Panelists:

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Economic Update (1 TB)

June 9 | 8:10 - 9 a.m. 

James Glassman, Managing Director - Head Economist, Commercial Banking, JP Morgan Chase

With uncertainty following the election, COVID disruption and a dynamic international landscape, planning for your business throughout 2021 could be challenging. Receive insight into the current economic environment and how it could affect your business in the year ahead.


Tax Reform 3.0, and Counting: State Income Tax Analysis (1 TB)

June 9 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.

Mark Holcomb, Partner, Dean Mead & Dunbar

Chris Oatis, Managing Director - SALT, Grant Thornton LLP

Corporate income taxpayers and states, alike, continue to evaluate state tax implications of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Now, they must also grapple with the impacts of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by Congress in March 2020, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA) passed in December 2020. Explore current state conformity issues with the TCJA, CARES Act and CAA, and how these federal tax laws impact state corporate income taxpayers.  Consideration will also be given to contemplated future changes in federal corporate income tax laws, and their potential impact on state tax systems.


Trending Multistate Tax Cases: The Impact of Your Businesses' Footprint - Part 1 (1 TB)

June 9 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m. 

Marshall Stranburg, Former Deputy Executive Director, Multistate Tax Commission

Jordon Goodman, Attorney, Horwood Marcus & Berk

This two-part presentation will get the audience up to date on recent state and local tax cases and statutory changes that will affect their client's business. The discussion will cover such topics as when a state can impose its taxing jurisdiction on an out-of-state business and what taxpayers can do to protect themselves. Learn the latest in apportionment issues, paying particular attention to sourcing of sale other than tangible personal property, including cost of performance, market-based sourcing and alternative apportionment. Examine the latest in retroactive law changes and how best businesses can avoid historical liability. Explore latest in qui tam and class actions that are becoming popular by non-tax enforcers. Examine the latest in transaction taxes both from a nexus and situsing perspective. Look at ways to comply with state law and hopefully avoid double taxation. Finally, the latest in audit developments and how best to prepare our clients for the more aggressive state audits.


Trending Multistate Tax Cases: The Impact of Your Businesses' Footprint - Part 2 (1 TB)

June 9 | 11 - 11:50 a.m. 

Marshall Stranburg, Former Deputy Executive Director, Multistate Tax Commission

Jordon Goodman, Attorney, Horwood Marcus & Berk

This two-part presentation will get the audience up to date on recent state and local tax cases and statutory changes that will affect their client's business. The discussion will cover such topics as when a state can impose its taxing jurisdiction on an out-of-state business and what taxpayers can do to protect themselves. Learn the latest in apportionment issues, paying particular attention to sourcing of sale other than tangible personal property, including cost of performance, market-based sourcing and alternative apportionment. Examine the latest in retroactive law changes and how best businesses can avoid historical liability. Explore latest in qui tam and class actions that are becoming popular by non-tax enforcers. Examine the latest in transaction taxes both from a nexus and situsing perspective. Look at ways to comply with state law and hopefully avoid double taxation. Finally, the latest in audit developments and how best to prepare our clients for the more aggressive state audits.


Pandemic in Multistate Income Tax (1 TB)

June 9 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m. 

Kevin Herzberg, Partner, Grant Thornton

Karen Lake, CPA, Associate Director of Tax Services, Berkowitz Pollack Brant

Kenneth Rios, JD/MBA, Principal, Tax, Kaufman Rossin

Explore the changes in multistate taxation due to shift in our economy to survive the pandemic.


Multistate Tax Controversy: Practitioner and Industry Insights (1 TB)

June 9 | 1:45 - 2:35 p.m 

Shawn Williams, Partner, Shawn M. Williams, CPA LLC and Adam N. Sabin, CPA, Tax Manager, Citrix Systems, Inc.

Get practitioner and industry perspective to protect yourself and your clients from non-Florida, multi-state audit assessments.  Examine the audit experience, hot topics and systems that help audit outcomes and sustain return positions.


The Adoption of Data Analytics Within Your Tax Department (1 TB)

June 9 | 2:45 - 3:35 p.m. 

Aaron Fell, Manager, Grant Thornton, LLP

Brian Howsare, SALT - Exp Manager, Grant Thornton, LLP

With all of the technology that is being introduced at such a rapid pace, it can be difficult to understand what the benefits are and if they can be incorporated to your tax department. During this session, we will break down the current tax technology landscape and focus our attention on one of the areas that’s having a big impact; data analytics. This can often be viewed as an all encompassing area so attendees will see how to break down the overarching term and understand where each component fits into the tax deliverable lifecycle. Attendees will get a look into some of the market leading tools, the role each one plays, and where they can be inserted to the lifecycle. The Grant Thornton speakers will then demonstrate how a tax department, with a lack of a technical software background, can begin the digital transformation journey by focusing on the adoption of some common tax use cases. Participants will get a glimpse into how they can evaluate their current state and begin the move towards a more automated future state, all while becoming self-sufficient in the utilization of these tools.


Florida Tax Litigation Hot Topics: Panel Discussion

June 9 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m. 

Moderator: Glenn A. Bedonie, Owner, Glenn A. Bedonie, CPA, PA

This panel will discuss recent cases, rulings, audit and collection disputes, legislation and other "issues" that have been prominent in the last 12 months at the Florida Department of Revenue, focused on the areas where taxpayers have been most affected.

Panelists:

Cryptocurrency: Regulatory Pitfalls (1 TB)

June 10 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m. 

Michael Dobson, Policy Director and Special Legal Advisor, Florida Department of Financial Services

Explore the regulatory hurdles facing bitcoin transactions in the state of Florida.


Florida Property Taxation and the Going Concern (1 TB)

June 10 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m. 

Robert E.V. Kelley, Jr., Attorney/Shareholder, Hill Ward Henderson

Many businesses are unknowingly paying excessive property taxes because they are unable to distinguish between the value of their goinq concern and the taxable real estate and FF&E. Examine the law in Florida pertaining to property tax assessments and the intangibles inherent in a business going concern. Gain an understanding of how to counsel clients to avoid over paying property taxes.


All You Need to Know About Florida Sales and Use Tax (1 TB)

June 10 | 11 - 11:50 a.m.

Jeanette Moffa, Associate Attorney, Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, PA

James Sutton, CPA, Esq., LLM, Shareholder

Florida sales and use tax is the most complicated and misunderstood tax in the state.  Most companies and their tax professional learn about the tax the hard way - during an audit. Learn about Florida sales and use tax from two attorneys that do nothing but sales and use tax controversy.


Florida Legislative Update (1 TB)

June 10 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m.

French Brown, IV, Shareholder, Dean Mead & Dunbar

Justin Thames, Director of Governmental Affairs, FICPA

Exploring and discussing the tax changes occurring during the 2021 Florida legislative session.


Deep Dive of Multistate Sales Tax Economic Nexus Thresholds (1 TB)

June 10 | 1:45 - 2:35 p.m. 

David J. Brennan, Jr., Esq., Associate, Moffa, Sutton & Donnini, P.A.

Examine problems practitioners and clients face when encountering economic nexus issues, as well as other current hot topics in the area.


Who Moved My Sales Taxes? (1 TB)

June 10 | 2:45 p.m. - 3:35 p.m. 

Elizabeth Ginori, CPA, Partner, Boyer Ginori CPAs LLC

State and local jurisdictions are expanding tax bases for sales and use taxes and other consumption-based taxes.  We will discuss how these bases are being expanded and how different industries are being impacted.


Sales Tax Roadmap for E-Retailers

June 10 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m.

Scott Peterson, Vice President, U.S. Tax Policy and Government Relations, Avalara

A E-retailer must know everything about sales tax that a physical store retailer must know multiplied by 45.  Being an E-retailer isn't a one-state process, but is instead an every state process. E-retailers will learn:

  • When and where they must register to collect sales tax
  • What it means to start collecting sales tax
  • How to know what products and services are taxable
  • The differences between states in the process to file a tax return and make a tax payment

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Best Practices for CPA Firms to Manage Cash Flow and Get Paid Quickly (1 TB)

June 10 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m. 

Erika Segal, Associate Brand Manager, CPA Charge

Just as important as completing your work is getting paid for that work! In this webinar we'll discuss how you can tackle your current billing and collections while also making smart steps for driving cash flow in the future. Let's face it, we all want to get paid faster and more reliably, and this course will help you do just that.


Reasonable Compensation Section 199A: Opportunity or Threat? (1 TB)

June 10 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m. 

Kevin Cross, MST, EA, CPA, Account417, LLC 

What does the qualified business deduction (QBI - IRC 199A) have to do with reasonable compensation at the low end for small S corporations? More than meets the eye.


The Silent Equity Partner You Never Knew You Had

June 10 | 11 - 11:50 a.m.

Michael Dringus, Business Development Director, Merchant Advocate, LLC

Learn what you need to know about the unregulated merchant credit card processing industry, including the payment processing ecosystem; the lifecycle of a transaction, rates and pricing, coding and optimization and much more.  Examine facts about security and data breaches through a variety of case studies.


Hot off the Press! What Employers Need to Know About the COVID Vaccine, Health and Safety in the Workplace (1 TB)

June 10 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m. 

Carrie Cherveny, Senior Vice President, Strategic Client Solutions, HUB International

The state, and federal agency guidance and regulations regarding COVID workplace safety along with employer vaccination programs has been evolving rapidly. Learn the most up-to-date, current, and accurate employer regulatory requirements, obligations, and limitations along with operational best practices.  Discuss new OSHA regulations along with guidance and updated information issued by the CDC, EEOC, and DOL. 

Professional Standards, Jury Standards, and Managing Risk (1 TB)

June 10 | 2:45 - 3:35 p.m. 

Duncan B. Will, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, Loss Prevention Manager, Accounting and Auditing Specialist, CAMICO

Did you know that some of the top liability issues facing the CPA profession today continue to be many of the same issues/themes from the past two decades?   

  • Develop a better understanding of CPA liability risks — the real world of CPA malpractice  
  • Gain a greater awareness of the jury rules by which CPAs will be judged 
  • Learn practical ideas to avoid claims: in common tax engagements, involving business clients and regarding failure to prevent/detect an embezzlement

Becoming a CPA Financial Planner (1 TB)

June 10 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m.

Shawn J. McCabe, MBA, CFP, Director, CPAlliance

CPAs are some of the world's most trusted advisors. Clients seek advice from their CPAs well outside the realm of tax compliance, accounting, and auditing. Given the profession’s long-standing Code of Professional Conduct, objectivity, due care, and high ethical standards, CPAs make some of the most highly sought after investment advisors and financial planners around. Learn the basics of the investment advisory and financial planning business and provide and overview of what it takes to become a CPA Financial Planner.


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Acceleration of Change (1 TB)

June 10 | 8:10 - 9 a.m.

Erik Asgeirsson, President and CEO, CPA.com

Erik Asgeirsson, President & CEO, CPA.com will provide an environmental scan of today's circumstances and the pivotal response by CPA firms during times of crisis. 2020 accelerated adoption of new technology and evolved the CPAs' role with their business clients; it essentially hit fast-forward to deliver what we were on track to experience in 2025 - five years sooner.  The events of 2020 forced a new normal upon us, proving that yesterday's best-practices are not sufficient to navigate the acceleration of change that we are experiencing today. While technologies are maturing at an exponential rate, organizational structure are being turned upside down and processes remain stubbornly linear. These phenomena have been in motion for years, but advisory services have been catapulted to the front lines and have never been more critical to the future of organizations.  Attendees will learn to identify top accelerants and emerging technology trends; understand the growing advisory services opportunity and how it is impacting firm business models; and discuss the most pressing issues facing the accounting profession.


Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (1 TB)

June 11 |  8:10 - 9 a.m.

Randall Croom, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management, Stetson University

Explore key issues related to equity and inclusion at work, and how individuals and organizations can manage these issues successfully to create long-term value.  Also discussed is alignment between equity and inclusion issues and positive organizational values.


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Attestation Standards (SSAE) Update (1 AA)

June 11 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.

Bruce Nunnally, CPA, CGMA, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC

Four recently issued SSAE Standards made significant changes to Examinations, Reviews and Agreed-Upon Procedures engagements. Get up to date on these changes and the exciting new service opportunities available to practitioners.


SSARS Update and Activity (1 TB)

June 11 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m. 

Bruce Nunnally, CPA, CGMA, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC

SSARS 25 is effective in 2021. Get the detailed impact of its changes as well as ongoing activities of the Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC).


Common Blunders in Applying Recent Accounting Standard (1 AA)

June 11 | 11 - 11:50 a.m. 

J. Edward Grossman, CPA, Principal, CliftonLarsenAllen

Explore accounting and financial statement presentation errors and omissions often seen in the application of recent, and some not so recent, accounting standards.


GASB Update (1 AA)

June 11 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m.

Lisa Parker, Project Manager, Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

Get the latest information on what you need to know from GASB for 2021.


What's New With Peer Review (1 AA)

June 11 | 1:45 - 2:35 p.m. 

Paul Brown, CPA, Director of Technical Services, Florida Institute of CPAs

There have been many changes in peer review over the last year or so. We will cover those changes along with Enhancing Audit Quality initiatives for the last year and upcoming year that will affect peer review. We will also take a look into the AICPA Peer Review Standards Task Force clarity project and what that means for firms.


COVID-19: Latest Issues for Accounting and Auditing (1 AA)

June 11 | 2:45 - 3:35 p.m. 

Steven Morrison, CPA, CFF, Partner-in-Charge, Audit Quality Group, CohnReznick LLP

For over a year, auditors and preparers have been dealing with COVID-19 related accounting and auditing matters. Learn about some of the new A&A topics emerging in 2021 in an up-tempo format with an emphasis on audit quality.


The Working Remotely, COVID, Fraud Cocktail: Sounds like Happy Hour for a Fraudster (1 AA)

June 11 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m.

Kevin Cross, MST, EA, CPA, Account417, LLC 

Fraud while working remotely? No way. Well yes fraud is a chameleon, it adapts to any and every situation.  During troubling times we can always expect new and creative fraud to occur but also these dicey times give rise to the discovery of existing fraud. In the words of Warren Buffet, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out." Frauds that might be hidden in the good times may be concealed for months or years, but unfortunately, COVID is revealing the cover up and the money stolen. Interestingly enough, Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme was uncovered during the last recession in 2008.  Explore the small compromises and the ethical dilemma surrounding these choices, low hanging fruit.  The Enneagram personality types that may be able to detect, deter, and fudge.


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How Leading Firms Evolve: A Fireside Chat - Panel (1 TB)

June 11 | 9:05 - 9:55 a.m. 

Jasen Stine, Tax & Accounting Education Leader, Intuit, Inc., Panel Moderator

Some 76% of firms desire to have greater than 30% of their revenue from advisory, but only 19% of firms are delivering at that level today. Join us for a fireside chat with various leaders from firms across the profession as they discuss key trends - technology, hiring and managing talent, firm culture and mindset, etc. that continue to shape successful client relationships. By attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key ways leading firms drive meaningful change in how they operate internally
  • Leverage similar approaches in how leading firms look at the technology and people they hire to carry out the firm’s vision.
  • Gain best practices that you can implement in your own firm right away
  • Outline the steps you need to take over the longer-term to become a leading advisory firm

 The Dilemma of Social Media and Cybersecurity Risks to CPAs (1 TB)

June 11 | 10:05 - 10:55 a.m. 

Christophe Réglat, President/CEO, Coaxis International, Inc.

From closed Facebook groups to LinkedIn profiles, the rise of social media as a business tool has opened the door to untold ways a firm’s business continuity and its client information can be put at risk. In addition to exploiting users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, these “free” social media platforms offer a gateway for cybercriminals to up their social engineering game using sophisticated hacking tactics Now more than ever, CPA firms need to have protections and policies in place to thwart cyber-criminals at their own game. This presentation is designed for all types of CPA practices. No prerequisites required.


Technology and Tax Prep: How AI and Machine Learning Make Tax Season Less Taxing (1 TB)

June 11 | 11 - 11:50 a.m. 

Amanda Agiullard, CPA, Agiullard Accounting

Tax season is a lot of work, especially if you are doing it manually. The tax process of the future is automated, using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Explore how to get started on the tax automation journey, and how cloud accounting plays a central role in the process.


Client Accounting Services Advisory Tools

June 11 | 12:50 - 1:40 p.m.

David Bergstein, CPA, CITP, CGMA, Chief Innovation Officer, Bergstein CPA

This session will focus on helping attendees identify the various "Advisory Service Apps" that permeate the Client Accounting Services space and how they can be utilized to transition from compliance work to advisory services. The future of accounting is all about leveraging AI, automation, and autonomous tools in your practice to minimize compliance work.


The Simple Complexity of Automation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

June 11 | 1:45 - 2:35 p.m.

This session is for accountants to understand the basic foundations of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and the immense value that this technology brings not only within innovation of technology but the innovation of your business holistically.


Are Your Business Payments Safe? (1 TB)

June 11 | 2:45 - 3:35 p.m. 

Did you know your current check processing is posing risks and exposing your AP payments to payment fraud risks? With internal and external threats on the rise, accounting teams have no time to lose in mitigating the risks of payment fraud, safeguarding sensitive banking information, and ensuring the integrity of the accounting system.  Electronic payment solutions, such as virtual cards and ACH transactions, provide greater protections than paper checks, mitigating the risk of payment fraud.  Learn how your company can help your accounts payable team can eliminate check writing and start making secure vendor payments today.  

  • Discuss growing payment fraud risks to your organization  
  • Highlight recent payment fraud incidents that have impacted businesses  
  • Learn how to safeguard your business payments through ePayments

Technology's Role in Changing the Accounting Profession

June 11 | 3:40 - 4:30 p.m.

Jim Bourke, CPA, CITP, CFF, CGMA, Partner & Managing Director of Advisory Services, WithumSmith+Brown

Explore technology’s role in keeping our profession functional and relevant. The recent pandemic forced change onto our profession and with that change came massive disruption on how we do business and collaborate with our clients. We will all agree that selecting the “right” technologies was a recent differentiator in an organization’s ability to survive. Some in our profession struggled with client service, some encountered challenges with a remote workforce while others did not miss a beat. Jim will share his perspective on what he witnessed during this period of change – the good and the bad, and he’ll share some of the best practices for technology in our space around technology and innovative solutions in this new world.

You’ll walk away from this session with a new appreciation and awareness about some of the unique technologies that are ready to take our profession to the next level as well a clear directive to your IT support personnel on the technologies and platforms that should currently be under consideration to allow your practice to function whether your staff are working in the office or working remotely.

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