25th Mid-Year Meeting Takeaways

Our 25th Mid-Year Meeting concluded on November 9th, 2018. Over 20 attendees including members, prospects, and partners attended the one-and-a-half-day conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Below is a synopsis of the session highlights.

The 2018 Rosenberg Survey

Sarah Dobek, President of CPAsNET, facilitated a highly interactive session that utilized results from the 2018 Rosenberg Survey to help attendees understand the financial metrics that are most important in driving firm profitability.

First, Sarah brought to mind the reasons why we benchmark; to:

  • measure your firm’s performance,
  • understand what you do well and where there is an opportunity for improvement by analyzing your performance against peers and best in class, and
  • change your firm’s performance by setting goals and taking actions.

Next, we moved on to the Top Findings from the 2018 Rosenberg Survey (based on 2017 numbers).

This session concluded with key observations of what the elite firms are doing and a member roundtable discussion around CPAsNET member firm results.

Not-for-Profit Update

We welcomed Robert Durak of the AICPA to deliver an NFP update that focused on the FASB accounting standards that significantly affect NFPs. Robert is the AICPA’s lead person on accounting and attestation matters affecting private companies.

Much of Robert’s presentation focused on the FASB ASU 2018-08, which provides guidance on determining whether a transaction should be accounted as a contribution or as an exchange transaction. This determination is crucial because significantly different accounting and financial reporting rules apply to each transaction.

Robert spent time explaining that guidance is needed because it was unclear how to make the contribution/exchange determination. According to Robert, The ASU 2018-08 could result in more grants and contracts being accounted as contributions than under current U.S. GAAP. It could also make accounting for the grant or contract as a contribution less costly than applying FASB ASC 606.

Robert also addressed the importance of determining whether a contribution is conditional or unconditional. Throughout the presentation, Robert posed realistic scenarios that allowed attendees to understand how to make such a determination.

Robert explained the key points in determining between a contribution and an exchange transaction.

Becoming a Best Firm to Work For

Recruiting and retaining top talent is a significant struggle for accounting firms. We invited Daniel Hood, Editor-in-chief at Accounting Today, to review the results of Accounting Today’s 2018 Best Firms to Work For Survey. Dan highlighted the management practices, HR and benefit policies, firm cultures, and retention strategies that can make a firm an employer of choice.

Dan talked about the value to firms of being named to a Best Firms list.

Next, Dan explored the benefits that set Best Firms apart.

There are specific characteristics of Best Firms. Dan provided examples of some of the activities and programs Best Firms to Work For offer.

CPAsNET is excited to announce that we will be participating in the 2019 Best Firms to Work For Survey. More details will be released soon. The survey will open in the Spring of 2019.

Cyber Security: Best Practices for Accounting Firms

Martin Straub of SimplePowerIT led a session on cybersecurity best practices for CPA firms. Martin led a career in the accounting profession as an auditor for Weyerhaeuser until he decided to combine his passion for information systems and financial audits. Martin served as Technology Director for our Washington member firm, Cordell Neher and Company for twelve years before venturing out to start his own company. SimplePowerIT delivers frustration-free technology solutions to regional businesses and nonprofits. Martin also provides internal IT support for Cordell Neher and Company.

Martin began this session with an overview of the cybersecurity landscape, including the threats and challenges to CPA firms. Martin challenged attendees to think about

  1. all the bad things that could happen to a CPA firm,
  2. how likely it is that any given thing could happen, and
  3. how bad it would be if it did happen.

Martin also provided attendees with a framework and formula for calculating risk.

Both interactive and informative, this session was an eye opener for attendees that are not being proactive about their network security. Martin stressed the importance of incorporating cybersecurity into your firm culture and training employees on how to identify and respond to cyber threats.

Cybersecurity can be overwhelming for firms with limited resources. Martin suggested 5 specific steps firms can start with.

If you would like to talk to Martin about cybersecurity, we are happy to provide an introduction!

Leadership Training Toolkit

Mickie Lara, Senior Consultant at GiANT Worldwide, closed our mid-year meeting with a training session around leadership – specifically addressing how to lead teams in the digital age.

Mickie provided attendees with the essential tools every great leader needs to become a leader that people want to follow. If you missed this session but are interested in leadership development yourself, we can provide you with a link to the recording.

If you would like more information or have a question for one of our speakers, please let us know. Our 26th Annual Meeting will be June 19-21, 2018. More details are coming soon!

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