Membership in the AICPA offers a wide range of resources, information, tools and initiatives designed to help CPAs succeed professionally and personally. What exactly are some of the most significant AICPA efforts to improve the various environments in which CPAs work? Read this special feature to The CPA Letter to find out.
Professional Information, Tools and Assistance
* Get immediate access to news and special features about the latest developments affecting the accounting profession through AICPA Online (www.aicpa.org). Members can obtain valuable information on standards and other professional and technical matters and news releases, as well as access online newsletters and magazines. In addition to providing a spotlight on important new AICPA initiatives and the latest hot issues for the CPA profession, the site has a wealth of archival content on professional and Institute activities.
* Members can connect to timely information, valuable resources and important advocacy efforts for their specialized areas through several online community Web sites. They are the Accounting Education Center (www.aicpa.org/ceae); the Business Valuation and Forensic & Litigation Services Center (www.aicpa.org/bvfls); the Financial Management Center (www.aicpa.org/ fmcenter); the Information Technology Center (www.aicpa.org/infotech); the PCPS Firm Practice Center (www.aicpa.org/PCPS); the Personal Financial Planning Center (www.aicpa.org/pfp); and the Tax Center (www.aicpa.org/tax).
* The Technical Information Hotline offers valuable assistance with difficult technical questions. It provides non-authoritative responses to member queries about accounting, financial reporting, auditing, attestation and accounting and review services. The hotline encourages members to submit questions in writing electronically. Questions may be sent to the hotline online at www.aicpa.org/members/div/infohot/index.htm. Members may still access this free service by calling 888/777-7077 or faxing 212/596-6233. Under newly expanded hours, the toll-free number will be staffed till 6:00 p.m., ET, throughout the year. During busy season (Jan. 15 through Apr. 15), hotline staff answer e-mail until 7:00 p.m., ET.
* The Professional Ethics Division's Ethics Hotline offers valuable information and can act as an ethics sounding board for members in all areas of employment. In addition, members who notice, suspect or are aware of significant deficiencies in the work of another member should contact the hotline for guidance. The hotline's e-mail address is email@example.com and its toll-free number is 888/777-7077.
* The AICPA library service, located at the University of Mississippi, gives members access to a comprehensive collection of literature related to all aspects of the CPA profession. The staff provides valuable reference and research assistance to AICPA members. Call 866/806-2133 or e-mail aicpalib@ olemiss.edu. Or, search the library catalog online at www.ole miss.edu/depts/general_library/aicpa.
Valuable Publications with News You Can Use
* The Journal of Accountancy, the leading accounting publication for CPAs, business executives, accounting professionals and educators, covers the latest news, industry trends, compliance standards and official releases. As part of its new format, it now offers more tax and technology coverage, interviews with high-level compliance and government officials and articles from distinguished business writers. It is sent free to members and is available online at www.aicpa.org/ Magazines+and+Newsletters/Journal+of+Accountancy.
* In response to member feedback, The CPA Letter (www.aicpa.org/TheCPALetter) now offers two enhancements to the newsletter's existing online version: articles in Web-page format and an article index by topic. These improvements mean members have easier, faster access to the articles of greatest interest to them.
Small Firm and Private Company Issues
* Are one-size-fits-all GAAP accounting standards always appropriate for private businesses? To address that question, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the AICPA embarked on an initiative to adapt the FASB's current standard-setting process to better meet the financial reporting needs of private company financial statement users. The most recent step in that process has been creating the Private Company Financial Reporting Committee (www.pcfr.org) to examine the issues. The committee, which held its first meeting in May, consists of four CPA practitioners, four financial statement preparers and four users of private company financial statements.
* The PCPS Technical Issues Committee continues to act as an advocate for small firms and their clients in the standard-setting process. In 2006, TIC wrote 14 comment letters to groups including the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Auditing Standards Board, Professional Ethics Executive Committee and Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Standard setters seek out TIC's input and carefully consider or implement TIC's suggestions. For more information on TIC, go to http://pcps.aicpa.org/Resources/Technical+Issues+ Committee+and+Communications.
* To help members with the challenge of implementing a significant new standard, PCPS created a SAS 112 Toolkit. This resource, which centers around Statement on Auditing Standards No. 112, Communicating Internal Control Related Matters Identified in an Audit, not only provides information for members but also contains letters and presentations CPAs can use in explaining the SAS to clients. It can be found at http://pcps.aicpa.org/Resources/Keeping+Up+With+Standards /SAS+No+112+Toolkit.htm.
* While CPA firm partners believe compensation is the main element in a new recruit's decision to join and stay with an organization, young professionals say growth opportunities are the principal factor when they pick a firm. Those differing perspectives were among the key findings of the PCPS Top Talent Study, which unveiled the differences and agreements in firm and staff expectations (www.aicpa.org/pcps).
* The Small Firm Corner (www.aicpa.org/pcps) offers insights into emerging issues affecting practitioners and practical advice on tackling tough practice problems. Each column highlights free AICPA resources specially designed for small practitioners.
* PCPS launched new benefits to help its member firms address practice management challenges. The online Practice Management Forums feature a live PowerPoint presentation and question-and-answer session led by a well known speaker discussing common practice or technical problems. Seasonality Success, Winning Strategies for Profitable Firms is a quarterly electronic newsletter that contains practical tips to help practitioners achieve profitable busy seasons.
Fraud Prevention and Detection
* The AICPA Antifraud & Corporate Responsibility Resource Center provides the tools, technical information and guidance CPAs need to combat fraud, whether they serve as auditors or in business or the academic community. This center (www.aicpa.org/antifraud) has resources to help educate the profession, investors and others about fraud, promote ethics and integrity in the workplace and establish clarity in reporting procedures.
* If you work with audit committees or serve on them, you can benefit from several AICPA resources. The Audit Committee Matching System provides members with opportunities to serve on boards of directors and, as a public service, matches qualified, credentialed candidates with boards and their audit committees. Three Audit Committee Toolkits--corporate, not-for-profit and government--contain a broad sampling of checklists, questions, reports and guidelines developed to help audit committees achieve best...