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CPA News February/March 2011

In this Issue:

·                     Chapter News

·                     Chapter Calendar

·                     CPE

·                     Fred’s Funnies

·                     Job Openings

·                     TSCPA News

 

CHAPTER NEWS

In Memory of a Member

In our series of member profiles, read about one of our Chapter’s founding members, Nelson Durst.  Nelson passed away on December 6, 2010, but he will be remembered fondly for his dedication to our profession, the Brazos Valley Chapter, and TSCPA.  He had been in declining health for the past few years, but he lived a long and happy life, over 94 years. He had been a resident of the Bryan-College Station area since coming to graduate school at Texas A&M in 1937.

Nelson became a Certified Public Accountant in 1940 and served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Society of CPAs and editor of its monthly publication, The Texas Accountant, in the mid 1940s. He left teaching in 1955 to start an accounting practice full time in Bryan, Texas. He was in partnership for many years with his friend and colleague Bob Wood. Nelson was devoted to serving his clients, who in most cases were or became his friends. In 2004, at age 88, Nelson finally retired from the CPA firm he founded and which still bears his name, Durst, Milberger, Nesbitt, and Ask, CPA.

His favorite universities were Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where he and his wife Annie endowed scholarships in memory of their parents and one in memory of Nelson's mentor professor M. L. Williams, and Texas A&M, where they endowed a scholarship in the School of Business. Some years ago, a former student arranged for a foundation to endow a Chair in Nelson's name in the Accounting Department at Texas A&M.

Nelson Durst will be sorely missed but we appreciate his long and fruitful life of service.  Brazos Valley Chapter made a contribution to the TSCPA Education Foundation in Mr. Durst’s memory.

The Eagle Financial Literacy Insert
Brazos Valley Chapter is co-sponsoring a Financial Literacy Insert in The Eagle on February 27.  Watch for it!  Chapter members contributed some of the articles.  It will also be part of the online edition, as are some of the Chapter’s advertising banners.

 

Focus on Successful Small Businesses

For the eighteenth year, The Bryan Rotary Club/Newman 10 Business Performance Awards will recognize the ten fastest-growing small businesses in Brazos County.  It would be impossible to overestimate the significant contributions and economic impact they have on the Brazos Valley.

Businesses are nominated for the Newman 10 Awards by customers, vendors, friends, employees, business associates, as well as self-nominations.  Nomination forms are available online at www.newman10.com, www.bryanrotary.org, www.bcschamber.org, and at the B/CS Chamber of Commerce office.

Nominated businesses will be mailed an application that includes the criteria to qualify for an award:  the business must be an independent, privately-held corporation, proprietorship or partnership with a five-year sales history, an increase in sales growth from the preceding fiscal year, annual sales between $50,000 and $25 million.  Information must be verified by a CPA.  Applications are then mailed to an economist at the Mays Business School who calculates the information and ranks the top ten businesses based on the percentage increase in sales.  All information is confidential, and only the percentage of sales growth is published.

This prestigious community economic development program is presented by The Bryan Rotary Club in cooperation The B/CS Chamber of Commerce and receives significant financial support from Newman Printing Company.  The deadline for nominations is March 23.

Note:  Ed Slovacek, CPA, was a Top 10 award-winning business in 2010.

 

Report on TSPCA Mid Year Board Meeting

Rodney Horrell, Chapter Vice-President, reports on the recent TSCPA Mid Year Board meeting

The TSCPA 2011 mid-year board meeting was held January 25-26, 2011 in Austin, Texas.  The Brazos Valley was represented by TSCPA Executive Board member Sandy Brown, TSCPA Director at-large Toni McBee, TSCPA Directors Kay Dobbins and Joe Dunn, TSCPA Treasurer-elect Tracy Stewart, TSCPA-PAC Committee Chairman Jim Ingram IV, Executive Director Linda Johnson, Chapter President Lyn Kuciemba, and Chapter Vice-President Rodney Horrell.

The TSCPA Treasurer’s Report showed that the state society remains in strong fiscal position.  Certain structural fiscal issues, however, relate to the future fiscal profile of the Society.  Over the last 10 years, expenses have increased less than 1% per year while revenue has actually declined slightly.  The State Society has kept expenses relatively flat in the face of significant health care costs increases by eliminating 10 state-level positions.  In addition, the Society is in need of a costly software upgrade to meet the existing and future needs of its members.  Dues have increased only $25, or a little over 1% per year, over that same 10-year timeframe.  As mentioned at the Annual Meeting, no dues increase is forthcoming, but there will be continued discussion on this and other fronts over the coming year as the Society looks to confront current fiscal realities.  Brazos Valley Chapter member Jim Ingram IV also briefed the membership on the current status of the TSCPA-PAC, including the importance of the state society’s engagement of lawmakers, who ultimately make decisions on laws which directly impact Texas CPA’s.

Members were apprised of a recent success: more favorable preparer tax identification number (PTIN) regulations for employees of CPA firms.   TSCPA, AICPA, and other state societies actively engaged the IRS in hopes of achieving more favorable regulations.  The IRS issued Notice 2011-6 earlier this month confirming that certain non-signing interns and other staff of CPA firms must still obtain a PTIN, but are exempt from IRS exam and CPE requirements which apply to non-CPA firm PTIN regulation.  The Brazos Valley chapter encouraged members to write your congressmen on this issue following our summer annual board meeting.  Thank you to those individuals and firms who did so and helped achieve these more favorable regulations. 

The AICPA and TSCPA have confirmed that they understand the IRS’s need for a useful way to identify and track tax preparers who have high error rates or who are engaging in fraud.  But concern remains that taxpayers must not be confused by the name used to describe tax preparers who have a PTIN, but are not CPAs, attorneys or enrolled agents. Taxpayers need to be able to distinguish between the professional capabilities and education of the different groups of tax preparers.  A scenario was provided where non-CPA/attorney/enrolled agent preparers could, in the future, advertise as “licensed tax preparers.”  In fact, Karen Hawkins, former Director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, in one speech while still Director, indicated “We are about, essentially, to create a new profession out there” when discussing the impact the IRS was having in licensing non-CPA tax preparers.  The TSCPA and AICPA continue to work closely on this issue to ensure transparency exists as it pertains to the competency of tax preparers.

AICPA President & CEO Barry Melancon provided an overview of current trends in accounting, both in the U.S. and worldwide, which have the potential to significantly impact accounting in the U.S.  For a fifth-straight year, a record number of students are majoring in accounting at our nation’s institutions of higher education.  This is important, given the reality that many CPA’s will be retiring in the coming years as our nation continues to age.  Two strengthening global trends, Sustainability and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), were also discussed.  In South Africa, auditors must attest to the financial statements, the sustainability/going concern of the company, and the company’s impact on sustainability of the environment.  The third attestation (environmental sustainability) is gaining steam worldwide as businesses are increasingly being asked to evidence their stewardship of natural resources and the environment.  It is also gaining steam in our country (albeit through the supply chain, not through regulation).  Wal-Mart has indicated that it will require all 100,000 global suppliers to report on their sustainability footprint (more at http://walmartstores.com/Sustainability/9292.aspx).  IFRS, which appears to have temporarily lost some steam in the U.S. due to the recession and changes in administration, none-the-less continues to gain traction worldwide.  There are now over 120 countries worldwide which have adopted IFRS.  Brazil, one of the world’s growing economies, adopted standards in 2010.  In 2011, standards are being adopted by Canada, India, and Korea.  Mexico and Malaysia will follow suite in 2012.  China and the United States remain the two significant economies thus far not committed to IRFS adoption.  Questions relative to IFRS are now appearing on the CPA exam.  The earliest IFRS could be implemented in the United States is 2015, as any implementation would be tied to a minimum four year compliance window, following adoption.  Other factors contributing to the changing landscape in accounting are the global economic crisis, regulatory reform, changing demographics (including an aging population), and public vs. private standards. 

Reports were provided by the TSCPA Chairman, Federal Tax Policy Committee, and Professional Standards Committee.  Attendees also spent valuable time with counterparts in other to discuss best practices in given peer groups.

On Tuesday evening, attendees made the short trip to the Capitol, where the Brazos Valley attendees stopped by the offices for their elected officials.  This included discussions with District 14 Representative Fred Brown and with staff for District 5 Senator Steve Ogden, among others.  Elected officials and staff were briefed on current legislative issues important to CPA’s.

 

To learn more about the 2011 Midyear Board Meeting, follow the link http://tscpa.org/Content/51093.aspx, or contact one of the Chapter representatives listed earlier.

Please note that the next mid-year board meeting will be held January 20-21, 2012, in COLLEGE STATION.  I would strongly encourage Brazos Valley Members to attend the meeting and see first-hand what the state society is doing to safeguard your livelihood as a CPA.  Attendees will also better understand the resources and support provided by the TSCPA for all CPAs.  The most common piece of feedback I have heard from CPAs who have attended a state board meeting for the first time is that the attendee had no idea how much their state society and local chapter do for them and their certificate.

 

Chapter Calendar -- Save the date:  Chapter Annual Meeting May 10, 2011

 

CPE

Personal and Professional Ethics for Texas CPAs – May 11, 2011

College Station Hilton -- 8:30 a.m. - noon

Sponsored by TSCPA 

Details & registration:  http://www.tscpa.org/public/Catalog/CourseDetails.aspx?CourseID=11PPET438

 

Partnership/LLC Tax Update June 7-8

Speaker Steve Tillinger

College Station Conference Center

Details will be available soon. 

Contact Linda Johnson to register or for additional information. Linda@bvcpa.org

 

Job Openings

Financial Advisor

Briaud Financial Advisors is looking for a financial advisor who is dedicated to taking care of our clients' needs. The candidate should be highly motivated, thorough and very detail oriented. Any applicant should be able to prioritize multiple projects and enjoy working in a team oriented environment.

Any candidate must have the following to be considered:

·            At least 5 years work experience in a client service business preferably in some area of            financial planning

·            CFP®, CFA, CPA, or JD (with work experience in estate planning) required

·            If not a CFP® holder, in the process of earning the Certified Financial Planner designation (not necessary if hold a Personal Financial Specialist)

·            Demonstrated excellence in an area (i.e. academics, sports, previous job, hobby, etc.)

·            Excellent conceptual and problem solving skills

·            Good communication skills

·            An ability to navigate Microsoft Office including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.

Financial Advisor responsibilities include:

·            Completing a thorough analysis of a client's estate, tax, retirement, education, investment, and risk management situation

·            Proactive assessment of planning issues for clients

·            Regular reviews of client financial plans and investment allocations

·            Communicating financial planning and investment recommendations to clients in person, over the phone, and by email

·            Keeping current on all issues related to financial planning (tax code, estate laws, etc.)

·            Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Benefits provided include health insurance and 401 K plan among others

For consideration, please forward a cover letter and your resume via mail, e-mail or fax to:

Kimberly Breedlove

Briaud Financial Advisors

4444 Carter Creek Parkway #110

 Bryan, TX 77802

Fax: 979-846-5472

bfp@briaud.com

Paraplanner

Briaud Financial Advisors is looking for a Paraplanner (CSA) who is dedicated to taking care of our clients' needs. The candidate should be highly motivated, thorough and very detail oriented. Any applicant should be able to prioritize multiple projects and enjoy working in a team oriented environment. On the job training will be provided so no specific experience is required.

 Any candidate must have the following to be considered:

·            A bachelor's degree

·            At least 1 year work experience

·            CFP® or in the process of earning the Certified Financial Planner designation (not necessary if hold a Personal Financial Specialist)

·            Demonstrated excellence in an area (i.e. academics, sports, previous job, hobby, etc.)

·            Excellent conceptual and problem solving skills

·            Good communication skills

·            An ability to navigate Microsoft Office including Excel, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

·            Prior financial planning experience is desirable, but not required

 Paraplanner (CSA) responsibilities include:

·            Establishment or execution of new accounts, transfers, deposits/withdrawals, trades, and other admin items when needed

·            Contribution to the development & implementation of financial plans for new clients in support of financial advisors

·            Client interaction through answering inbound questions via phone, email, mail or meeting

·            Support of our financial advisors as needed

·            Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Benefits provided include health insurance and 401 K plan among others.   

For consideration, please forward a cover letter and your resume via mail, e-mail or fax to:

Kimberly Breedlove

Briaud Financial Advisors

4444 Carter Creek Parkway #110

Bryan, TX 77802

bfp@briaud.com

Fax: 979-846-5472

 

FROM TSCPA

Outstanding Accounting Educators

Deadline:  March 1

Educators teach, inspire, mentor, and encourage their students. Again this year, TSCPA will recognize the state’s top accounting educators for classroom excellence and contributions to the accounting profession with its Outstanding Accounting Educator Awards. If you have an admired colleague or favorite professor, nominate him or her for this prestigious TSCPA award. Winners will receive $500 and a plaque at the Accounting Education Conference in October. Award nominations must be submitted by March 1.

Guidelines and the nomination form are located at http://www.tscpa.org/Content/50282.aspx.  For more information, e-mail Donna Fritz at dfritz@tscpa.net or phone 800-428-0272 x 201 / 972-687-8501.

Financial Literacy

The New Year is a great time to bring TSCPA’s free workplace financial literacy program into your office. ValueYourMoney.org helps you educate non-CPA employees on money matters via downloadable materials like newsletter articles, flyers for bulletin boards, table tents for break rooms, and paycheck inserts. Speeches and PowerPoint presentations are also available for employee seminars. Check out the newest resources on budgeting and preparing financially for a disaster at http://www.valueyourmoney.org/.

 

Let a Student Shadow You

You can help mold a young person’s career choice! Job Shadowing is an educational activity focused on providing an up-close look at the world of business. It gives students across America the opportunity to “shadow” a workplace mentor through a normal day on the job, letting them see how the skills learned in school relate to the workplace.

For students, Job Shadowing can become the link between academics and careers. For employers, it offers both an introduction to the employees of tomorrow and the opportunity to help students explore career options – and to share what it will take to achieve their goals.

Members in industry are especially encouraged to participate, not only to benefit their employers, but also to expose students to the wide variety of job responsibilities available to them as CPAs in the world of business.

All it takes is a willingness to arrange for a few students to visit your work site so they can see how the real world works. Get all the info you need, and find out how to sign up, at www.jobshadow.org.

Get IRS Information Online

Obtain up-to-the-minute information on tax and IRS changes by visiting the TSCPA Tax Issues online community at the link below. After logging in as a member, you’ll find links to a variety of resources. http://www.tscpa.org/Content/resource/membercommunities/taxissues.aspx

You can also receive the tax issues e-newsletter (at no charge, as a member benefit) by sending a subscription request to pwyatt@tscpa.net.

Raising the Profession’s Profile in Your Community

As part of TSCPA’s effort to connect CPAs with community service opportunities, the Society has prepared a list of five ways you can make a difference where you live.

1.         Sponsor a team or take part in a tournament for charity. Bring along your spouse, children, friends, and co-workers for added fun.

2.         Let a high school student see what being a CPA is all about by participating in Junior Achievement’s Groundhog Day job shadowing program. Get more information at www.jobshadow.org.

3.         Help low-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns by participating in the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. To locate the VITA site nearest you, call 800-829-1040. 

4.         Join the local board of a nonprofit organization that helps those in need. (To broaden your skill set and get a break from the tasks you perform at work, don’t hesitate to request volunteer assignments in areas other than finance.)  

5.         Tutor students in math or reading as they prepare for statewide testing.

 

Financial Literacy

If a personal finance resolution tops your list or the list of someone you know this New Year, stop by www.ValueYourMoney.org. TSCPA’s free consumer financial literacy website features practical articles and helpful resources to get your finances on track. Be sure to check out the downloadable financial fitness wall calendar on the homepage under Personal Finance Tools. Also, visit the Parenthood section for information about the children’s book club, which promotes literature to help them learn that money really doesn’t grow on trees.

Membership Recruitment

The autumn recruitment campaign has come to a successful close. TSCPA welcomed 370 new CPA members and 443 new student/candidate members. Many thanks to those who recruited!