Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009's Top Challenges for Financial Executives

As difficult as 2008 has been, 2009 already has the earmarks of being even more challenging as finance chiefs bear the brunt of the global economic crisis.

FEI lists the top challenges for CPAs running businesses:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tips for a Tougher Tax Season

Unique economic times, late tax legislation, and uncertainty make preparation more difficult, reports WebCPA.

Year-end tax planning with clients these troubled days, however, is also rife with such issues as the AMT, stock options, expiring tax provisions, gift-giving, income and deduction shifting, and investment impacts. About the only certainty is change.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Accountants Rank Below Funeral Directors in Ethics

WebCPA reported recently on the public perceptions of the honesty and ethics of various professions and found that accountants rank below funeral directors, but above journalists.

The top-rated professions, in order, were nurses, followed by pharmacists, high school teachers and medical doctors, with close to two-thirds of respondents rating all those professions highly. Just over half of the survey respondents consider the honesty and ethics of clergy members and police to be either high or very high.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Despite Down Economy, St. Louis CPA Firms See Business Growth

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that although the economy is suffering, several accounting firms in St. Louis have experienced growth--including MPPW, RubinBrown, Brown Smith Wallace, RSM McGladrey, and BKD.

Read more here:^1736692&brthrs=1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Video on SEC Proposed IFRS Roadmap Available

On November 14, the SEC released for comment its proposed roadmap with milestones and a timeline for IFRS adoption for U.S. public companies in 2014.

Eligible early adopters could use IFRS for filings of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2009.

The 90-day comment period begins with the roadmap's publication in the Federal Register.

Arleen Thomas, AICPA Senior Vice President, Member Competency & Development, addresses the announcement in a 2-minute downloadable video.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Presidency Could Worry Tax Clients

President-Elect Barack Obama is expected to take a more regulated, Clinton-esque view on family limited partnerships and close any perceived "loopholes" that currently allow clients to transfer assets to minimize their tax burden, reports WebCPA.

Check out the article at:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New generation of workers want technology their way

Millennial generation students and employees (those aged 14 to 27) expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work and are increasingly choosing their place of employment based on how accommodating companies are to their personal technology preferences, according to a survey released today by Accenture.

Read more at:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Presidential Tax Plans

With the election less than a week away, SmartPros has gathered some resources to help you get up to speed on the candidates' tax plans.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are Schools Ready To Teach IFRS?

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that local universities’ accounting departments have begun preparing their curriculum in anticipation of the change in financial reporting procedures from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Check it out:^1717715&brthrs=1

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Learn More About Microsoft Office 2007

Wondering about the new features and capabilities of Microsoft Office 2007. Look no further!

The Missouri Society of CPAs has published an article written by frequent discussion leader Randy Johnston of K2 Enterprises.

The article walks users through the different features of this new application and helps you learn how to use it to maximum benefit!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Profession Applauds Financial Stability Bill

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon released an official statement about the recently passed bailout legislation.

He said "CPAs will roll up our sleeves to do our part to help individuals and businesses move forward...the AICPA is pleased Congress avoided calls by some for an immediate suspension of fiar value accounting rules."

He further stated: "Our longstanding position is that accounting standards ultimately should be set by the private sector."

See the full statement here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fair Value Accounting & Its Role In Today's Economy

Many questions have been swirling around fair value accounting and how it affects firms and companies during this economic crisis.

The AICPA has put together a "frequently asked questions" about fair value accounting and some of the questions surrounding it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Economy: What Do We Say When Asked?

Over the last few weeks, the subprime issue has escalated into a wide-reaching credit crisis that will change the economic landscape. Both the MSCPA and AICPA have received some inquiries from the media.

The AICPA and MSCPA suggest that when asked we focus on the following message points:
  • The subprime crisis was caused by complex market economics: a housing bubble, unscrupulous lending, borrowers with bad credit, and excessive leverage and risk-taking by major Wall Street banks that led to a cascading domino effect when subprime defaults created losses. The situation we now see unfolding largely points to a systemic problem on Wall Street. As in the past, we caution against a rush to judgment or the comfort of easy answers.
  • The CPA profession has worked with regulators and issuers to improve the quality of financial reporting in the U.S. broadly under Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Fair value accounting is an appropriate model for measuring asset values. There is a debate over its application and the SEC and FASB are weighing whether additional guidelines are necessary. The American Bankers Association has proposed changes and the accounting profession is participating appropriately and constructively in that dialogue. We will continue to work to protect investors and provide the markets with timely, important and transparent information on these difficult financial instruments. We will also welcome any additional guidance from regulators on assessing inactive markets.
  • In October 2007, the Center for Audit Quality issued a series of white papers to “articulate certain existing accounting practices and requirements of GAAP literature related to the specific issues addressed, with the intention of helping auditors understand the application of existing GAAP in the context of illiquid market conditions.”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Latest Analysis On Financial & Investment Markets

Everyone is watching the economic affect of all the latest changes in the financial & investments markets. The latest bailout of AIG is one of a number of situations of which the effects are unknown.

MSCPA's Business Intelligence Briefs give you day-to-day updates on the economy and the latest news--as well as indepth analysis from the authors--Dr. Chris Kuehl and Keith Prather, both managing directors for the Armada Corporate Intelligence.

You may have seen – or heard – Dr. Kuehl on Kansas City radio or television. He’s a frequent commentator and analyst for both KMBZ radio and Channel 41. He was a professor of international finance and economics for 15 years, teaching in Estonia, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hungary, and the United States.

Keith Prather has served as an active part of senior level strategic planning teams for Fortune 250 clients and has been actively involved in mergers and acquisitions, including pre- and post-merger strategic planning processes. He has extensive global experience and has coordinated an executive level education program in Taiwan.

Armada Corporate Intelligence conducts detailed analysis and assessment of the business environment and competitive landscape in order to provide strategic and tactical guidance. The aim is to provide actionable intelligence that can drive overall corporate profit maximization, return on investment, market expansion and penetration, niche defenses, and so on.

Click here to see today's issue of the MSCPA Business Intelligence Brief:

To read more about the Business Intelligence Brief, go to:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Missouri Foreclosure Rates

The company that reports on real estate trends, RealtyTrac, reports Missouri is 18th on the list of states with the most foreclosed properties, but one expert said residents shouldn't really be concerned.

Kansas City and St. Louis are 45 and 46 respectively on RealtyTrac's top 100 cities with foreclosed properties.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MSCPA is almost 100 years old!

The Missouri Society of CPAs celebrates its centennial during the 2009 calendar year.

To commemorate this significant occasion, CPAs throughout Missouri will gather together for celebratory events and reflect on our profession and association’s history.

An enhanced Annual Members Convention in June 2009, along with a once-only Membership Retreat in Key West, Florida in November 2009 serve as the major events!

The July 2009 issue of the ASSET will be completely dedicated to the MSCPA Centennial celebration. Content will include reflections on the past, lessons learned from leaders, and ways the profession has evolved over the years.

Members will have the opportunity to pen a short congratulatory note to be designed and published by MSCPA to appear in the ASSET in the commemorative issue or provide an ad that is either congratulatory in nature or about the advertiser’s own company history.

Firms/companies will also be given the opportunity to sponsor events and have their company stand out from the crowd among their fellow CPAs during the highest profile, most important MSCPA events of the century!

Already, MSCPA has received $10,000 in centennial sponsorships thanks to Rick Mills and Mayer Hoffman McCann/CBIZ.

The official MSCPA centennial website has already been launched--check it out at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tech Knowledge Gains in Importance for Top Finance Executives

Finance and technology go hand-in-hand in companies today, a new survey confirms.

Half (50 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently said other than knowledge of accounting and finance, information technology experience is most useful in their careers.

This is nearly double the response when this question was asked five years ago. Operations experience also ranked high, with 45 percent of the response.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

AICPA Study Reveals Pessimism About The Economy

AICPA reports that CFOs and senior-level CPAs surveyed remain negative about the economy.

For a third consecutive quarter, CPAs continue to foresee slowing economic growth ahead. They also report increased pressure on profits from rising costs without the ability to raise prices.

In addition, 62 percent of CPA respondents said they were pessimistic or very pessimistic about the economic outlook over the next 12 months.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So...What Is Web 2.0 Anyway?

Wondering about all the talk about blogging, social technologies, and more?

Our counterparts in Maryland have developed a blog to help CPAs learn more about Web 2.0 concepts and strategies.

You may not think you'll ever want to twitter, blog, or facebook someone...but the younger generations and future employees you'll be working with will.

It might not be a bad idea to take a look and begin learning about it. The explosive growth of Web 2.0 and social technologies have proven that it is not only here to stay, but continue to grow!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Who Will Teach Our Future CPAs?

The Accounting Doctoral Scholars program has been created to help reverse a shortage of Ph.D. accounting faculty in U.S. colleges and universities.

The program seeks to encourage persons with significant public accounting experience to become PhDs in the audit and tax disciplines.

To date, more than 70 of the country’s largest firms, along with several state CPA societies, have committed a total of $15 million to the program.

The MSCPA Board of Directors voted at it's last meeting to contribute $25,000 to the Accounting Doctoral Scholars program. We are really happy to do our part to help this crisis in accounting education.

The program will be administered by the AICPA Foundation. Read the press release. For further information contact, 919-402-4524 or visit

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do You Feel Burned Out?

Some 78 percent of American workers say they feel burned out, according to a survey published this week by and reported by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Check it out...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Declared Disaster Areas In Missouri

New information is available regarding the declared disaster areas here in Missouri. The IRS has posted several links that will be helpful to CPAs.

Here is the direct link to the Missouri Disaster information:,,id=184421,00.html

This is the link to the disaster self study. The test is on the honor system.,,id=147154,00.html

We also have a Disaster Relief resource page for Tax Professionals:,,id=150578,00.html

Thursday, June 19, 2008

IFRS: Will Be In U.S. In Three To Five Years!

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon predicts that international accounting standards will be adopted in the U.S. in the next three to five years. Surveyed CPAs say they need that long to prepare. Are you ready?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is Missouri Losing A-B?

It’s definitely the talk in St. Louis....and throughout the country as well.

Will InBev takeover St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch?

Despite A-B's 148-year family heritage and CEO August Busch IV's recent statements that it's not for sale, the family holds just 4% of voting stock and can't block a takeover.

A takeover of A-B, which has 48.5% of the $90 billion U.S. beer market, would extend a global consolidation trend as the industry faces slower growth and higher costs.

Read the St. Louis Business Journal article about it:

Read about St. Louisians’ feelings on the topic:

Friday, June 6, 2008

New IFRS Website Will Help CPAs Learn More About The Impending Standards

You can run, but you can’t hide. It’s nearly impossible to deny that the United States will be moving toward the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which will become the global standard for the preparation of public company financial statements.

AICPA has created a new website to help practitioners better understand these standards and prepare for their introduction here in the U.S.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New 2009 Maximum Contribution Amounts for HSAs

New guidance has been issued on the maximum contribution levels for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and out-of-pocket spending limits for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) that must be used in conjunction with HSAs.
  • For 2009, the maximum annual HSA contribution for an eligible individual with self-only coverage is $3,000.
  • For family coverage, the maximum annual HSA contribution is $5,950.
  • For 2009, the maximum annual out-of-pocket amounts for HDHP self-coverage increase to $5,800 and the maximum annual out-of-pocket amount for HDHP family coverage is twice that, $11,600.
  • For 2009, the minimum deductible for HDHPs increases to $1,150 for self-only coverage and $2,300 for family coverage.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's All About Recruiting New Talent...And It's Only Going To Get Worse!

Recruiting and retaining top talent to the profession is by far the biggest concern for CPAs both in public practice and industry.

In fact, it has been the number one concern for firms for the past 10 years, according to the AICPA PCPS/MAP Top Issues Survey.

And only exacerbating the problem are the retirements of the Baby Boomers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 35 million workers will retire by the year 2010. Between 2010 and 2030, the American workforce is expected to shrink by 10 percent.

The CPA profession must recruit a disproportionate number of future CPAs in order to replace the workforce shortage expected in the coming two decades.

CFO Magazine reports that more companies are hatching plans to compensate for the impending crush of retirements by senior executives. They say the impact on corporate well-being will be most severe in the senior executive ranks, which are chock-full of people in their 50s and 60s who, unlike most others in their generation, can afford to retire.

Read more:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good news for the CPA profession!

AICPA just released its 2008 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits study.

Several positive and interesting trends were revealed in the study:

  • Accounting enrollments are up almost 19 percent as compared to the last survey in 2003-04. This translates to the highest accounting enrollment in almost four decades!
  • Hiring reported by CPA firms is up 83 percent from 2003.
  • Candidates sitting for the CPA exam is moving toward parity with pre-2004 levels (2004 is when the exam changed to computer-based and takers declined drastically).

To view the entire report, go to:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Economic Stimulus? Americans Divided On What To Do With Rebate

AICPA conducted a survey with regard to what Americans plan to do with their rebates. Here’s a summary of the responses:

28% plan to save it
27% plan to spend it
25% plan to pay down debt with it

Interestingly, the study showed those most likely to save their rebate were single, while retirees and married individuals are more likely to spend it. Those most likely to use the rebate to pay down debt are working mothers.,_according_to_aicpa_survey.pdf

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Have you switched over to Vista yet?

Windows Vista is the first major upgrade of the Windows operating system in four years. Randy Johnston, a frequent CPE instructor for MSCPA, wrote an article about Vista and the benefits the new system has for CPAs.

Check it out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Have you ever listened to a podcast?

Now you have the chance to listen to special podcasts just for CPAs!

A January 2008 Arbitron-Edison Media Research study found that podcasting use is rising and now reaches 18 percent of the US population, up from 13 percent a year ago. An estimated 23 million, or 9 percent of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month.

You don’t need an iPod to listen to a podcast. A podcast is nothing more than a digital audio file, just like any other song or MP3 file on your computer.

MSCPA will now post weekly podcasts on federal tax issues. This week, take a moment and listen to the podcast on “Tax Litigation: Learn From These Case Studies.” It’s only 20 minutes long…and you can work on other items while you listen.

Keep checking back to MSCPA’s home page for each week’s new podcast!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


It’s the talk of every CPA in Missouri. And it’s no's true! The IRS and the Missouri DOR have extended the tax return filing deadline to May 19 for victims of the recent flooding.

MSCPA has only received the official notices below:



Calls have been made to both our local IRS stakeholder liaison office and the Missouri Department of Revenue for further clarification. We will post information to this blog and to the MSCPA website at as soon as we get it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

IFRS: Coming to America!

Are you ready for it? It’s coming…

The AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy recently published an article detailing the new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are expected to be adopted here in the United States in 2009.

Check it out!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Help Your Missouri Clients & Businesses Affected by Flooding

The AICPA has prepared two documents to help individuals and businesses affected by the recent storms and flooding here in Missouri.

Financial Planning: A Guide To Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Recovery: A Guide To Financial Issues

In addition, special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the president declares their location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes.

Click here for more IRS information regarding disaster assistance:,,id=156138,00.html

Local announcements for Missouri can be found:,,id=99344,00.html

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Economic Stimulus Payment Schedules and On-line Calculator

On Monday, March 17, 2008, the IRS released IR 2008-44 identifying the schedule in which Economic Stimulus payments will be distributed for returns filed by April 15, 2008. In addition, the IRS announced the availability of and on-line calculator to help taxpayers determine whether they are eligible to receive an economic stimulus payment as well as the amount.,,id=180247,00.html

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Hiring Resource For Missouri CPAs!

MSCPA promises not to make this blog a continuous vehicle for promotion of its own programs; HOWEVER, the new MSCPA Career Center has taken off and is proving to be a huge resource for Missouri CPAs!

Firms and companies have clearly revealed that recruiting talent is the number one priority! MSCPA is thrilled to become the clearinghouse for Missouri CPA jobs and candidates through its MSCPA Career Center.

The site launched just over a week ago...and 16 jobs have already been posted.

Check it out, bookmark it, and come back often:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2008 Economic Stimulus Act: Incentives For New Construction

Great news for taxpayers who are embarking on a new construction project or are adding leasehold improvements in 2008 - the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was officially signed into law on February 13, 2008, and with it, 50% bonus depreciation is back for a limited time.

For more information go to:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Missouri CPAs and the Legislative Process

On January 22 and 23, the MSCPA and many of its members continued a very effective CPA Day tradition in Jefferson City by visiting their elected representatives and hosting a Legislative Appreciation Night for the senators, representatives and the members of their legislative staffs. If you were there, your contribution of time and energy strengthened the constructive relationship we enjoy with our legislators.

If you weren’t there, please consider getting involved with the legislative advocacy activities of the MSCPA in the future months before the 2008 elections. I believe you’ll find it very interesting and rewarding.

In addition to your contributions of time and energy as members of the MSCPA, I invite you to contribute financially to process of supporting current and future candidates for election to the Missouri General Assembly who will be willing to listen to the concerns of CPAs in Missouri and of our clients. If you have contributed to the Missouri CPA Political Action Committee in the past, please continue and encourage other CPAs in your firm and your community to do the same. Your support is much appreciated.

If you haven’t contributed to our PAC in the past, please begin a tradition of contributing. Your support will make it possible for the PAC and its members to:
Strengthen the voice of Missouri CPAs at the Capitol, which ensures the opportunity to effect positive change for our profession in Missouri
Inform legislators about our views before they vote on bills that could impact our profession and/or our clients
help elect candidates who support CPAs and business issues
make our profession more visible at the Capitol.

Contributions (payable to Missouri CPA PAC) can be sent to P.O, Box 419042, St. Louis, MO 63141-9042.

If you have any questions about our PAC, please call me at 314-432-6700

Mark E. Mersmann
Mark E. Mersmann, CPA
Chair, Board of Trustees
Missouri CPA PAC

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Economic Stimulus Act of 2008

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 which has passed the house and senate and is waiting for the presidents signature revives “bonus” depreciation by amending §168(k) to substitute “December 31, 2007” for “September 10, 2001” , “January 1, 2008” for “September 11, 2001,” “January 1, 2009” for “January 1, 2005” and “January 1, 2010” for “January 1, 2006.” It also increase the amount of bonus depreciation allowed from 30% to 50%.

As we are all aware when bonus depreciation was originally enacted Missouri decided not to conform to the federal change. This non-conformity caused no end of confusion and complications for 2001 returns and beyond. At that time the MSCPA was passive in the General Assembly on this issue and it passed before most practitioners were aware of what happened.

If the membership of the tax committee agrees we should draft a letter to the Governor and key legislative leaders of both parties recommending that Missouri conform to the federal act this time. We should also ask that the society make conformity a legislative priority of its lobbying efforts this year. If it looks as if Missouri will not conform we should at least make sure that there are no unresolved issues such as not adjusting basis upon disposition. Which would then have to be addressed in later years.

The text of the bill can be found at:

David A. Ruth, CPA
Professional, Tax Operations
Jefferson Wells International

Friday, February 8, 2008

Don't Be Stressed!

Feeling stressed, especially with busy season approaching? According to Bloomberg News columnist, Matthew Lynn, there are three reasons why we are all so stressed at work:

1. Hyperactivity – in the modern office, rushing around like a hamster on steroids is a badge of honor.

2. Round-the-clock business culture - consumers can get what they want whenever they want it…good for them…but not so great for the producers.

3. Politeness and consideration – we’ve forgotten how to treat coworkers, suppliers and customers.

Believing work is stressful because we make it that way, he suggests it’s might be time to relax a bit…or at least not shout at each other!

Conni Ochs
Triad Advisory Group LLC

Monday, February 4, 2008

Welcome To MSCPA's New Blog!

Your source for continuous information and profession news is MSCPA! And we're happy to bring a brand new resource to our CPA members here in Missouri.

Utilize this new blog to inform your fellow CPAs about profession-related information, tax season tips, management strategies, or any other topic that you would like.

Posters must register with Google...and we ask that you use professional decorum with all your posts.

We look forward to writing with you on this brand new resource!

Jim O'Hallaron
President & CEO
Missouri Society of CPAs