Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Frequently asked questions about SSARS 21

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For a limited time, the AICPA’s Center for Plain English Accounting is making three of their reports available for free. You can find them here.

Of particular note is SSARS No. 21: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. There are 22 Q&A that can help you get oriented on a new way to do reviews, comps, and preparation engagements. Also provides good implementation ideas.

Might want to check it out quickly and archive a copy since there is no comment on how long these items will be made available on a complimentary basis.

Looks like the CPEA has some good resources. Seems like a good idea to have their voice inside the AICPA world. However, at an annual membership cost of $795 for a firm with five or less professionals, I won’t be joining anytime soon.

Written by Jim Ulvog

July 30, 2015, 6:53 am at 6:53 am

Posted in Compilations & reviews

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Frequently asked questions about the overhaul of Nonprofit accounting

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FASB has released three in a series of FAQs about the exposure draft that will drastically change accounting for all nonprofit organizations.

  • The first Q&A provides background and general discussion. One of the main goals of the exposure draft is to improve reporting and disclosures about liquidity. The FAQ links to the exposure draft and a May 2015 webcast discussion.
  • The second Q&A goes into some detail on specific issues.
  • The third Q&A explains some alternatives available within the exposure draft.

Watch for more FAQs in the future.

Written by Jim Ulvog

July 28, 2015, 8:37 am at 8:37 am

Posted in Accounting

Employee vs. Independent Contractor – Dep’t of Labor proposal would changed definition of employee

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Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. Although the context of my discussion is how this issue applies to charities, the issues are of even more importance to for-profit businesses.

In response to the rapid growth of what is called the “gig economy” or freelancers, the Department of Labor has issued an interpretation which tightens the definition of who is an employee.

I think it would be wise for the finance team and leadership of charities to look at this issue.

While this is aimed at companies like Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, and any other tech company that pays freelancers on an ad hoc job-by-job basis, it clearly applies to traditional businesses. This applies to charities.

It might be wise to think about how your charity is handling the independent contractor issue.

The Wage and Hour Division of DOL issued Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1 (access to this copy provided by the WSJ.)

The Wall Street Journal explains Employees vs. Independent Contractors: US Weighs In on Debate Over How to Classify Workers.

The WSJ article explains that DOL believes many independent contractors should be moved to employee status. The DOL believes the definition of employee is far broader not only than what many employers believe but is even broader than what many courts have ruled.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

July 23, 2015, 9:07 am at 9:07 am

Posted in Accounting

Update for auditors

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A touch of humor before more serious thinking.

5/9 – Reddit – “These auditors are tying things out just for the sake of doing more work. They’d tie their shoelaces together to test the existence of both their feet.” – Humor you will only appreciate if you have audit experience. If you’ve been an auditor, this is superb.

5/4 – Edward Trott at CFO magazine – Exceptions for Private Companies Are Damaging the GAAP BrandRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

July 8, 2015, 8:44 am at 8:44 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

Fellow CPAs, we need to step up our audit game

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Today I listened to the rebroadcast of 2015 Peer Review Update. Check out the class if you have the chance.

Update 7/7: The next rebroadcast will be July 20, 2015. Link is here. If that link has expired or disappeared, this page has a long list of all upcoming events in peer review.

Heard several few things that distressed me.

In particular, we CPAs collectively need to improve the quality of the work we are doing in the audit arena.

Consider a few points. This is what I heard from the presentation. I haven’t gone back to source documents to verify the numbers or explanations. This is what I heard and jotted down in my notes while listening to the session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

June 29, 2015, 14:27 pm at 2:27 pm

Disclosure of open tax years is now only required for a nonpublic entity that has material unrecognized tax benefits

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Disclosing which fiscal years are open to audit by tax authorities has been required for nonpublic companies for several years. An explicit requirement came into play with Technical Practice Aid 5250.15.

Effective March 2015 that TPA was deleted. The requirement now is based on a comment buried in the Basis for Conclusions of ASU 2009-06, which says disclosure of open tax years is only needed when there are material unrecognized tax benefits.

Impact of TPA 5250.15

That requirement has produced a standard comment on all nonpublic entity financial statements that looks something like this:

The entity files income tax returns with the U. S. and (state) governments. With few exceptions, the entity is no longer subject to U.S. federal and state income tax examinations by tax authorities for years before 20×1.

The AICPA has deleted TPA 5250.15. That type of comment will not be required unless the entity has material unrecognized tax benefits.

What changed?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 26, 2015, 9:49 am at 9:49 am

Posted in Accounting

Thoughts on jumping into cloud computing

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Bruce Schneier has a series of articles that ponder the risks and rewards of jumping into cloud computing. That is the concept of storing your data and computing power with an on-line service provider.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because the same issues apply in a CPA firm. You may find this discussion helpful for your clients who are pondering a jump to the cloud for major applications.)

Some things to consider:

6/10 – Schneier on Security – Should Companies Do Most of Their Computing in the Cloud? (Part 1) – The answer is complicated. The efficiencies and cost savings are real and a major advantage.

On the other hand, there may be legal issues, such as your government creates far higher privacy standards than the country where your data will be stored or another country places severe restrictions on data you store there. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

June 22, 2015, 8:54 am at 8:54 am


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