25th Annual Meeting Takeaways

This year’s annual meeting, held in Chicago, Illinois, was attended by over 30 attendees including members, prospects, and international guests. Below you will find a synopsis of the two-and-a-half-day conference.

State of the Profession and Disruptions for the Future
Lisa Simpson, Associate Director of Firm Service at the AICPA, presented a much-needed update into the state of the profession today and the disruptions that promise to transform accounting in the not-too-distant future.

Lisa addressed the new advances in technology that will radically change how accounting firms serve clients. Technology is projected to automate 49% of current activities such as data collection, data processing and predictable physical work. Cognitive technologies (artificial intelligence and machine learning), robots, data analytics and blockchain are the emerging technologies that will replace or eliminate mundane and predictable work.

While new technology will certainly disrupt the profession, it will also provide new opportunities for firms who embrace change.

In sum, the major takeaway from Lisa’s session was that firms need to embrace new technologies and evolve to thrive in the future.

“The pace of change will never be as slow as it is today.”

Blockchain’s Impact on the World of Financial Markets
We were excited to welcome Ron Quaranta, Founder of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, to talk to us about blockchain. In his session, Ron gave a high-level overview of what blockchain is, how it’s used in the global marketplace, and how it will impact the accounting profession.

Accountants will not need to know how blockchain works; this is the realm of developer specialists. Accountants will, however, be expected to understand what blockchain is and what the technology offers.

Furthermore, it will be essential for accountants to know how to advise on blockchain adoption and cryptoassets. To do this, accountants need to consider the impact blockchain will have on their clients.

IRS Update: New Regulations Impacting U.S. Businesses

Steven Miller, former IRS acting Commissioner and alliantgroup National Director of Tax, provided Congressional and IRS updates. Steven highlighted the areas where advisors will be spending most of their time trying to understand and comply with the new tax bill.

Accounting Firm 2025 – Automation and Its Impact on Your Firm

Anton Donde, of MyWorkPapers, provided insight about automation, specifically what it means and how it will impact accounting firms.

Throughout this session, Anton stressed the importance of being future-ready. It’s not a matter of if automation is going to replace mundane tasks, it is a matter of when. Anton provided a high-level overview of MyWorkPapers, a paperless platform that helps accountants prepare and manage their work. Anton reviewed the features and benefits MyWorkPapers software offers. If you are interested in learning more about this software, let us introduce you to Anton.

Engagement Letter Trends for New Service Lines

A well-written engagement letter is important for many reasons. In this session, Stan Sterna, the Vice President of Aon, shared how to tailor an engagement letter to accurately reflect the objectives, scope and limitations of the engagement and responsibilities of the CPA and client. Stan also addressed limiting risk by including specific terms and conditions.

Stan covered the key components of an engagement letter, as well as best practices for formatting and finalizing the engagement letter. Stan concluded his presentation with two relevant case studies.

Trends in Partner Agreements – Reaching Expanding Horizons
In this session, Peter Fontaine, Managing Partner of Newgate Law, explored the fundamentals of partnership agreements and how to build a lasting and flexible document that will guide your firm through succession. Peter has more than twenty years’ experience as a lawyer exclusively serving the accounting profession.

Peter began by covering the importance of a having a partnership agreement and gave an overview of what is wrong with today’s partnership agreements. He also provided the components of an effective partnership agreement.

Peter is happy to speak with our member firms that have questions about their partnership agreements. We will gladly provide an introduction.

Using Technology to Create an Experience for Your 1040 Clients

Tom Schlichting of SurePrep, a preferred CPAsNET partner, talked about using technology to create a better client experience. The goal should be to create an experience your clients want and one that will make you more productive.

Tom provided a high-level overview of TaxCaddy and how it will reduce costs while improving client service.

Growth Ideas to Help Firms Leverage Tax Reform

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the largest tax reform in several decades, presents many firms with substantial opportunities. In her session, Sarah Dobek, President of CPAsNET, shared ideas for firms to leverage tax reform to grow their tax and consulting practice.

Preparing Your Firm for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In an increasingly data-driven world, it has become common practice for companies to collect and store personal data. Recognizing that the rules and regulations surrounding data privacy needed updating, the European Union decided to evolve and strengthen previous directives. The result is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Effective May 25, 2018, failure to comply with the regulation will result in heavy fines; up to 4 percent of annual income or 20 million Euro.

In this session, Sarah Dobek, President of CPAsNET, provided an overview of what GDPR is, what it requires and why it should be on your radar.

If you would like more information or if you would like to submit a question to one of our speakers, please let us know. We will gladly provide an introduction. Our 25th Mid Year Meeting will be held November 7-9, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. More details and registration coming soon!

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