News Articles

<< Older Articles
Newer Articles >>

2017 Pension Plan Limitations Announced

Published on November 28, 2016

The IRS has released cost-of-living adjustments for the dollar limitations for pension plan contributions and other retirement-related items for tax year 2017.

The contribution limit for 401(k)s remains unchanged, at $18,000 for 2017. However, income ranges for eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional IRAs and to Roth IRAs, and to claim the saver’s credit, all increased.

The phase-out ranges for when taxpayers or their spouses who were covered by a retirement plan at work were also changed for 2017:

Read More >>

Employers Face New W-2 Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed

Published on November 28, 2016

Employers and small businesses have a new January filing deadline for W-2s, the Internal Revenue Service warned, adding that it must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law accelerates the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. The new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15.

Last December’s PATH Act enacted the new requirement that employers file their copies of the W-2 submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new deadline also applies to certain 1099-MISCs.

Read More >>

5 steps to strengthen internal controls at small businesses and not-for-profits

Published on October 25, 2016

Internal controls may lag at smaller organizations as managers sacrifice them for the sake of service delivery, particularly at cost-conscious not-for-profits and start-up organizations.

Yet the risks are too great to ignore. Consider that the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in its Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse: 2016 Global Fraud Study found that businesses with fewer than 100 employees are more vulnerable to occupational fraud. The median annual fraud loss for religious, charitable, or social service organizations was $82,000. This amount does not take into account the cost to the organization’s reputation. Because charitable organizations are in the public eye, the occurrence of fraud, or even allegations of fraud, can significantly affect an entity’s ability to attract support.

Read More >>

Fraud risk management guidance updated by COSO

Published on October 25, 2016

Managing the risk of fraud is a challenge for organizations of all sizes.

A typical organization loses 5% of revenues in a given year as a result of fraud, according to the 2016 global fraud survey results contained in the Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.

But governing boards, senior management, staff at all levels, and internal auditors can deter fraud in their organizations by following guidance contained in a newly updated Fraud Risk Management Guide published by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), of which the AICPA is a member. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) is a co-sponsor of the report.

Read More >>

3 Trends Driving Changes in Accounting

Published on October 25, 2016

The accounting sector has arguably been slow to adopt new technology, eschewing new, and often unproven, technology for older, tried and true tools. However, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin’”.

With the changes to the audit threshold among other things, accounting firms are finding themselves reassessing and looking to expand their client services in order to continue growing their businesses. A big part of achieving this is improving efficiency. It’s becoming harder to ignore the potential gains in efficiency and revenue that can be achieved with the right technology. As a result, those in favor of change have reached a critical mass. The following are the top technologies enabling this change:

Read More >>

Accounting for Cooperative Business Combinations

Published on October 25, 2016

The cooperative landscape continues to change throughout the country as agribusiness organizations consolidate. Historically, consolidation has been a result of distressed cooperatives or privately held businesses looking to combine with a stronger company. Today’s environment is much different — cooperatives with strong balance sheets are consolidating to improve customer service, reduce overhead, upgrade technology, or address leadership changes as management ages.

One of the first questions that should be asked early in the process of a cooperative merger is, “What impact will this combination have on my cooperative’s balance sheet?” To answer this question, the management and board of directors for both cooperatives will need to consider several factors.

Read More >>

Eight Practices That Help Prevent Fraud in Your Agribusiness

Published on October 25, 2016

Agribusinesses that become victims of employee fraud tend to place unrestricted trust in those they shouldn’t — including the credentialed controller or CFO they hired to help run their business. In fact, sometimes the individual who commits fraud is a long-term employee in a finance role. These individuals have the capability of doing the most damage, so it is important to use financial and operational protocols that remove opportunities for fraud.

Fraud in agribusiness
As an agribusiness, you may have been a victim of internal fraud, and it occurs more frequently than you might imagine. Though the patterns of theft and the results were all different, the victims shared five similar shortcomings:
• Leadership failed to establish a tone of vigilance in the organization.
• Employees did not know how to report suspected fraudulent activity.
• The part-time or absentee owners trusted their fraudulent employees completely.
• They either did not have internal controls in place at all or those they had were not followed.
• The perpetrator was caught by chance, not through systematic fraud controls.

Read More >>

Continued Rise Projected for Accountants' Starting Salaries in 2017

Published on September 20, 2016

Starting salaries for U.S. accounting and finance positions will continue to rise in 2017, reflecting high demand for skilled professionals, according to a new salary guide.

Increases in starting salaries will range from 3.0% to 4.3% in 2017, depending on the position, according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide.

The prediction trails the unusually high forecast for 2016, when the guide said starting salaries in accounting and finance would rise 4.0% to 5.3%, depending on the position. But the magnitude of the projected increase for 2017 doesn’t indicate a decrease in competitiveness in the job market, said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

Read More >>

Avoiding Cost Segregation Recapture Tax

Published on September 20, 2016

Here are some ways to lower any depreciation recapture when disposing of a property. Savvy tax professionals who recommend cost-segregation studies are well aware of the recapture tax rules that require taxpayers to pay back any tax deductions for accelerated depreciation when the property is sold. After all, in the right situation, the net present value of those tax savings far exceeds any recapture tax payback. While the effects of a cost-segregation study can magnify recapture issues, tax professionals should consider a number of worthwhile opportunities to reduce or avoid recapture tax that is realized upon sale of property.

Read More >>

The Risks of Intercompany Accounting

Published on September 20, 2016

Companies that botch the accounting for transactions between different legal entities within their organizations can make their financial reporting slipshod.

Deloitte polled more than 3,800 professionals, most of them people who work in accounting and finance, during a May webcast. It found 25.6 percent of the respondents indicated their company’s intercompany accounting framework was still “developing.” That is, it was a goal they still wanted to achieve, but their companies had not yet standardized their governance.
Another 42.5 percent said their company’s intercompany accounting framework was “defined.” In other words, they were aiming to achieve consistency in intercompany accounting but were still working on doing so. Only 9.2 percent of the respondents indicated their company’s intercompany accounting could be described as “leading.” That is, it “provides a holistic perspective, with efficient systems and communication across critical functions.”

Read More >>
<< Older Articles
Newer Articles >>