CalCPA presented the following annual awards at the recent Council meeting in Las Vegas.

  • Public Service Award: William J. Harrison, CPA
  • Firm Public Service Award: Gilbert Associates, Inc.
  • Distinguished Service Award: Donald A. Driftmier, CPA
  • Outstanding Educator Award: Nancy Mangold, Ph.D., California State University, East Bay

For more information on each award winner, check the August issue of California CPA when it comes out Aug. 1

IRS Updates List of Pre-approved Retirement Plans

The IRS has updated the list of 403(b) pre-approved retirement plans that have received an IRS favorable opinion or advisory letter. A favorable opinion or advisory letter for a 403(b) pre-approved plan means that the IRS has determined that the plan satisfies the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) (these requirements are specifically outlined in the opinion or advisory letter).

Employers eligible to sponsor 403(b) retirement plans for their employees may want to consider adopting a pre-approved plan that has received a favorable letter instead of a having an individually designed plan.

Staffing Concerns Are Dominant Issue for CPA Firms in 2017

Finding and retaining staff are the top issues facing CPA firms this year, and talent pool challenges are expected to have the biggest impact on public accounting practice operations over the next five years, too, according to an AICPA survey.

“Finding qualified staff” was the No. 1 issue in every firm-size segment except sole practitioners, where it ranked No. 3, according to the 2017 CPA Firm Top Issues Survey, sponsored by the AICPA’s firm practice management section. Likewise, “retaining qualified staff” was a top five issue in every grouping except sole practitioners.

Recruitment and retention were leading concerns the last time the survey was conducted in 2015, too, but the challenge appears steeper as the profession continues to gain strength in a growing economy.

Survey: Auditors OK with SOX, But Challenges Remain

Protiviti’s annual Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey indicates a new set of challenges facing public companies amid their compliance efforts. PCAOB audit requirements, new revenue recognition standards and cybersecurity concerns were cited by survey respondents as factors that will influence SOX compliance efforts in 2017.

However, companies are seeing the benefits of their SOX compliance work, with 70 percent reporting that their internal control over financial reporting structure has improved and 50 percent realizing continued improvement of business processes.

PTINs Now Issued Without User Fees

In June the IRS resumed the issuance of PTINs without charge. On June 1 the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) authority to require the use of a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), but enjoined the IRS from charging a user fee for the issuance and renewal of PTINs. As a result of this order, PTIN registration and renewal was suspended on June 2, 2017.

The IRS is working with the Department of Justice to determine on how to proceed regarding fees previously paid for PTINs. As additional information becomes available, it will be posted on the IRS’ Tax Professionals page.

CalCPA Leadership Institute Application Period Open

Leadership comes in many forms. Gain insight into what type of leader you are by taking part in CalCPA Leadership Institute.

Discuss, analyze, reflect and build your leadership skills through this program, during which you’ll learn leadership fundamentals and identify personal leadership styles, as well as gain insight on strategic planning, goal setting and client management, among other topics.

The 2017-18 program will be held Nov. 9-10 in San Diego, Dec. 6-7 in Burlingame and Jan. 16-17 in Sacramento.

Interested? Grab more information and an application online. Applications are due Aug. 31.