Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Announcing “Ancient Finances”, my newest blog

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Silver Roman denarius. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Ancient Finances will explore finances and money during the Viking age and Roman Empire. Lots of posts on other blogs addressing those topics have been cross-posted to the new blog. This includes lots of discussion of the loot Alexander the Great lifted during his rampaging world tour.

I’ve been having loads of fun reading about the Viking age and am intrigued by finances and money during the Roman Empire.

Why a new blog?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 16, 2017, 8:37 am at 8:37 am

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Accountants coping with change. PTIN fees tossed out. New audit report from PCAOB.

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Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

A few interesting reads for accountants.

  • If we keep learning, robots will free us up from dreary work but won’t take away our jobs
  • Federal court keeps PTIN requirement in place but overturns the fee requirement
  • PCAOB expands standard auditor’s report

5/30/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Robots aren’t stealing our jobs. They’re setting us free. – Mr. Sheridan describes how we as accountants could thrive as computers take away the basic number crunching parts of our work.

Those tasks we do that can be automated will shift. That will leave the strategic thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and anticipation to us.

In my little brain, I have a way to describe this – So let’s say you have a program that can review 100% of disbursements instead of you drawing a sample of 40 or 60 items. Cool.

In any client that still uses humans to run their organizations, how many exceptions do you know think you will need to address?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 8, 2017, 8:20 am at 8:20 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Description of Scutum, a Roman Legionnaire’s shield.

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This shield is flat. It is also protected on the edges by metal.  “Shield of Roman legionairies ‘Scutum’, after AD 100. Athens War Museum, replica” by Dimitris Kamaras is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Adrian Goldsworthy provides a good description of a Roman shield, called a scutum, in his book The Complete Roman Army on page 129. A well-preserved shield was found at Dura Europus that dates from the 3rd century.

The shield is 3’ 3” tall by 2’ 8” wide in a curved shape.

It is two inches thick, consisting of three layers of wood glued together.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 7, 2017, 9:08 am at 9:08 am

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Comments on changes to financial statement presentation during 2017 CalCPA Not-for-profit conference, part 2

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are a few of the comments from CalCPA’s May 24, 2017 Not-for-profit conference about major overhaul of financial statement presentation that I thought would be of interest to others in the nonprofit community. This post addresses ASU 2016-14. Part 1 addressed tax, revenue recognition, and single audit update sessions.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Accounting update – The first presenter is a FASB staff person. While comments made are the presenter’s opinions, we ought to pay attention to such a person’s opinions. Another disclaimer is the following summaries are from me.

ASU 2016-14 is the document changing not-for-profit financial statement presentation. We all need to get to the place where ASU 2016-14 or 16-14 easily rolls off our tongues.

ASU 2016-14:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 2, 2017, 15:52 pm at 3:52 pm

Posted in Accounting

Brain stretching accounting articles for CPAs

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Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Here are a few articles to stretch your brain when you are ready for some mental exercise:

  • Is the double-entry accounting system broken?
  • What is the recidivism rate for white-collar criminals and how could that affect my audits?
  • What  possible changes are on the horizon for the audit opinion?

5/17/17 – Tom Selling at The Accounting Onion – Double-Entry Accounting and Modern Times – As a real brain stretcher, consider whether our double-entry accounting system is fundamentally broken.

Work with me a minute while I highlight and summarize a few ideas from the article.

A basic concept of double-entry accounting is that debits on the left side of the balance sheet represent all the assets of the entity. This includes all of the resources that are available for the entity to use in order to make money and all the assets against which creditors have a claim.

On the credit side, liabilities represent all of the claims against the organization. The equity section represents the value that belongs to the owners.

Prof. Selling points out there’s a variety of problems with using the statement of financial position as a representation of economic reality.

He points out and then moves past the idea that not all debits are assets and not all credits are liabilities. That’s easy to understand.

More significantly is that not all assets are reflected as debits and not all liabilities are reflected as credits.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 1, 2017, 9:43 am at 9:43 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Logistics for a Viking force in the field – part 2

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A Viking army would need somewhere around 180 tons of grain to feed an army of 1,000 warriors during a 3 month siege. Image Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Let’s take another look at logistics for a Viking army. In about 868, Ivar the Boneless, one of Ragnar Lothbrok’s four sons, fortified Nottingham.

A fun book, The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth, described this campaign and its logistics.

King Burghred of Mercia combined forces with King Athelred of Wessex to deal with the Viking invasion. The allied forces advanced on Nottingham where the Vikings were patiently waiting behind their fortifications.

The Vikings tried to avoid attacking in battle. Instead, their preferred tactic was to draw an attack and then respond with a withering counterattack. They excelled at defense.

Short version of the story is Ivar was better supplied than the Saxons, whose soldiers faded away to go home and take in their harvest.

The siege ended when Ivar accepted an unspecified, though presumably really large bribe, Burghred acknowledged Ivar, and Ivar headed north to York.

The book describes the logistics of surviving a siege.

With 1,000 warriors, an army the size of Ivar’s required 4,000 pounds of flour and 1,000 gallons of water a day. That would be 4 pounds of flour and 1 gallon of water per soldier.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 31, 2017, 6:56 am at 6:56 am

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Helpful comments from 2017 CalCPA Not-for-profit conference, part 1

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are a few of the comments from the May 24, 2017 Not-for-profit conference presented by California Society of CPAs that I thought would be of interest to others in the nonprofit community. Since all comments are the opinion of the speaker, neither their name nor organization will be mentioned. The ideas mentioned can stand or fall on their own.

This is the first of two posts. The next discussion will address changes in financial statement presentation outlined in ASU 2016-14. In this post: tax, revenue recognition, and single audit.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Tax update:

  • It might just be possible that filing a form 1023 or 1023-EZ is so easy that people can get exempt status for an organization without knowing the requirements to properly operate a charity and maintain exempt status. In examinations to follow-up on exempt status, the IRS is finding a lot of charities are out of compliance.
  • One of several focuses of the IRS is filing of FBARs, those forms used to report overseas bank accounts. One ripple effect of chasing money laundering is the impact on charities who have overseas accounts. Even though there is minimal risk of those accounts being used for tax evasion the FBAR filing requirement still apply. As a reminder, the deadline for filing FBARs is now April 15 with a six-month extension available.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 30, 2017, 7:46 am at 7:46 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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