Busy season has begun. Are you ready? As the work starts to heat up, rest assured the AICPA has your back. Once again, practitioners can turn to the Institute and the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) for tools that can help you be more productive and efficient. At the same time, the Institute works tirelessly to advocate for laws and regulations that are in the best interests of CPAs and their clients and that can minimize complexity and other challenges.
The Right Resources, Right on Time
Tools you should keep in mind as the season begins include:
- Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit for Sole Proprietors and Small Firms. This special version, which is tailored specifically to your needs, delivers the tools and information you need to make the most of busy season. It’s divided into three sections. The tools in the Educate section focus on articulating your value, differentiating your firm and ensuring client satisfaction. The Engage section enables you to keep clients informed about key issues and demonstrate your knowledge and concern for them. The Promote section offers cost-effective tools to raise your visibility and attract new clients.
- Firm inMotion e-Toolkit. Inspired by the CPA Horizons 2025 project, this online resource contains tools to help you anticipate trends affecting the profession and your own firm so you can determine how best to address them. Featuring successful ideas and practices from innovative, new era firms, the resource includes transition tips and customizable tools for firms of all sizes to download and put to work immediately.
- Exploring SSARS No. 21 Toolkit. This standard, which became effective on December 15, 2015, brought about the most significant changes to professional standards in decades. To help you make sense of the guidance and put it to work, the toolkit features an implementation checklist, learning resources and information to help you gauge the impact on clients and client communication tools.
AICPA resources will continue to be updated during filing season and beyond based on new developments and member implementation issues. As you wrestle with busy season, the AICPA will continue to assess member needs and create the tools required to address them.
Advocacy in Members’ Interest
You’re probably aware that the AICPA team in Washington, D.C., maintains close ties with decision makers in Congress and at key regulatory agencies. Here are some examples of our achievements that will have an impact this busy season.
Tangible property rules. In a major victory for the profession, the Internal Revenue Service in Notice 2015-82 accepted the AICPA’s recommendation that the de minimis safe harbor limitation for taxpayers without an applicable financial statement should be raised to $2,500 from $500 per invoice or item, beginning this year. Earlier last year, in Revenue Procedure 2015-20, small businesses were spared a significant administrative burden when the IRS allowed relief, also advocated by the AICPA, allowing taxpayers to prospectively apply the final tangible property regulations.
Tax Extenders legislation. The AICPA urged Congress to address several provisions that were set to expire at yearend in order to end uncertainty for business and individual taxpayers. Thanks to our continuing advocacy, lawmakers have now extended or made permanent a wide range of beneficial tax rules.
These victories demonstrate the AICPA’s strong commitment to advocacy on behalf of practitioners and the public. In fact, enhanced advocacy efforts are a key part of the Institute’s current proposal to evolve its joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. As AICPA Chairman Tim Christen wrote in his November letter to members, the proposal would integrate AICPA and CIMA operations, management and strategy through a new association that would expand on AICPA member benefits to provide more resources and an even stronger voice to defend against onerous and unnecessary regulations. The AICPA board and Council will consider whether to authorize a member ballot on the proposal, with voting starting after busy season. In April, you’ll hear more about the opportunities and the benefits of a deeper relationship with CIMA.
This is a productive and profitable time of year for CPA firms. I wish you the best of luck as the season begins!
Carl Peterson, CPA, is the AICPA’s Vice President of Small Firm Interests. Have questions for Carl? Contact him directly at email@example.com or 651-252-4618.