Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Forget! Virginia CFO Award Nominations Due May 14

Know any great CFOs? Nominations for the 2010 Virginia Business CFO Awards are due May 14, 2010.

The winners will be announced at a special awards gala July 1, 2010, at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. The winners will also be profiled in a special cover story in an issue of Virginia Business magazine as well as various VSCPA publications.

Complete your nomination online at or download a form and mail it to Publisher Bernie Niemeier at 1207 East Main Street in Richmond, VA 23219.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Financial Services Regulation: What’s at Stake for CPAs?

The Senate is in the throes of a debate regarding financial services regulation reform. Several issues being debated could greatly impact CPAs, and the VSCPA, AICPA and other state societies are working together behind the scenes to communicate the profession’s thoughts and concerns to legislators. Here are some of the top issues:  
  • The CPA profession is currently working to ensure a carve-out for CPAs from oversight under the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, should it be established.
  • There will potentially be a provision to increase aiding and abetting liability from a “knowing” standard to a “knowing or recklessness” standard for cases brought before the SEC. We are working to limit lowering the current standard of liability for CPA firms and to prevent plaintiffs’ ability to sue CPAs in civil cases. We feel the SEC, under its broad enforcement powers, already has the necessary authority to pursue the appropriate parties for aiding and abetting effectively.
  • There is a proposal to exempt from audits of internal controls under SOX 404b any SEC filers with less than $75 million in market capitalization. The profession is opposed to any changes to SOX audits of internal controls because investors of all companies, regardless of size, deserve the same protections.
  • There have been discussions of proposals to diminish the independence of private sector accounting standard setting under FASB. The profession is adamantly opposed to any proposals to allow regulators or legislators to change accounting standards.
Senate Republicans agreed yesterday to start a full-scale debate on toughening financial services regulation, which means we’re likely to see news in the coming weeks. CPAs, and the organizations that represent them, must remain part of the conversation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Technology Tip: iPad's PDF Power

By Ed Zollars, CPA

The Apple iPad has gotten a lot of press, most of it looking at the device as a consumer device. But if you have a lot of PDF based materials (manuals, reference books, etc.) that you need access to on demand in your position, the device, along with an application like GoodReader application from Good.iWare, can be the perfect PDF reference platform.

Even the base model's 16GB is enough to load up a huge library of PDF documents. The inexpensive add-on application (available in the AppStore) allows the user to organize the files in a traditional folder structure, and the entire Adobe based bookmarks/table of content can be easily accessed. The speed of the device is much faster than that of e-ink based book readers, making it a fully acceptable PC substitute for accessing this material. The real world 10 hour battery life means it's not likely to run out of power, even if you are using it all day away from a power supply.

The iPad, along with other recently released gadgets (including the flurry of Android based phones), will be part of my presentation on "Gadgets & Gizmos to Simplify Your Life" at the VSCPA Industry Conference, May 26–27 at The Williamsburg Lodge.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Virginia Confor—maybe

Virginia tax conformity, which in previous sessions of the legislature passed as a standalone piece of legislation, got caught in the budget process this year.

Those looking for the exact conformity provision need to look around page 370 in the Virginia budget, where it was finally passed on April 21 in the veto session of the legislature. The new conformity language will be in effect as soon as Gov. Bob McDonnell signs HB29, which is the amended 2008–2010 budget bill.

Confor—maybe depends on whether any of the now nonconforming provisions apply to you or your clients.

First, Virginia’s fixed-date of conformity to the terms of the Internal Revenue Code have advanced from December 31, 2008, to January 22, 2010. This allows the contributions for Haiti relief, extended by Congress, to also apply to Virginia.

Second, there are exceptions, four of which are detailed below:

  1. Virginia has not adopted the bonus depreciation provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. This creates a difference between federal and state depreciation for those who have adopted bonus for federal purposes. Reminder that bonus is mandatory on the federal return and failure to attach an opt-out schedule means you have adopted bonus. This further creates a problem when completing the Virginia return. Great care should be used when dealing with pass-through entity tax situations.
  2. Virginia did not adopt the five-year net operating loss carry back loss provisions in the Internal Revenue Code. Virginia retains the two back and forward 20-year provision. This, again, creates federal and Virginia differences.
  3. Virginia did not adopt one portion of the cancellation of indebtedness rules put in the Internal Revenue Code. Section 108(i) was not adopted in Virginia in the same manner as in the Internal Revenue Code. For IRS purposes, this provision allows cancellation of indebtedness income realized in 2009 or 2010 to be spread over five years beginning in 2014 for the 2009 income and 2015 for the 2010 income. For Virginia, the 2009 income is recognized for tax purposes over a three-year period beginning in 2009. Thus, again, there are differences between federal and state filings. Remember this is only a timing difference.
  4. Lastly, the Section 199 deduction for federal was increased to 9% of eligible expenses beginning in 2009. Virginia froze the percentage at 6%. Thus, the Virginia deduction for manufacturers is two-thirds the amount claimed on the federal return.

This is a brief summary of the conformity provisions included in the budget bill. For more detailed information, tune in to the webcast on the afternoon of May 11 when a member of the Virginia Department of Taxation and I will discuss the conformity bill and how to handle amended returns, as well as what disclosures will need to be included.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Honor Top CPA Financial Leaders: Virginia CFO Award Nominations Due May 14

Nominations for the 2010 Virginia Business CFO Awards are due May 14, 2010.
This prestigious program is designed to honor CFOs (or those holding equivalent positions) whose ingenuity and dedication have led to success for their company, their staff and their professional career. Virginia Business will recognize five winners in the following categories:

Virginia publicly traded company
Large Virginia private company (100 employees or more)
Small Virginia private company (fewer than 100 employees)
Large Virginia nonprofit/government agency (100 employees or more)
Small Virginia nonprofit/government agency (fewer than 100 employees)

All nominations are due May 14, 2010. The winners will be announced at a special awards gala July 1, 2010, at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. The winners will also be profiled in a special cover story in an issue of Virginia Business magazine as well as various VSCPA publications.

The VSCPA remains dedicated to protecting and promoting the image of the CPA profession and all our members. That’s why we partnered with Virginia Business magazine to help launch the CFO of the Year Awards program in 2006 to recognize outstanding achievement in financial stewardship for Virginia-based organizations.

Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to highlight the CPA financial leaders by nominating yourself or a colleague to represent the “best of the best” of Virginia’s CFOs. Being nominated for the Virginia CFO Awards not only creates positive publicity for the CPA profession, but also enhances peer recognition and improved company morale, and may generate new business opportunities.

Complete your nomination online at or download a form and mail it to Publisher Bernie Niemeier at 1207 East Main Street in Richmond, VA 23219.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2010 is Virginia Financial Literacy Month!

April 2010 is Virginia Financial Literacy Month! The VSCPA participates in the month as part of its award-winning Financial Fitness campaign to improve the financial health of all Virginians. The VSCPA hopes the commemorative month, along with other outreach activities, will build awareness for the importance of wise money management as well as encourage other Virginia organizations to make a difference in financial education.

This is the fourth year that the VSCPA has participated in Virginia Financial Literacy Month. I’m very excited this year because the Society is doing some new activities using social media as well as our annual public service events.

Financial Fitness Workshops
To celebrate Virginia Financial Literacy Month, the VSCPA is holding free financial literacy workshops for the public led by experienced VSCPA members. A virtual workshop titled "Exercise Your Financial Future" will be held on Tuesday, April 6. The workshop designed for women called “Money-Wise Women” will be held on Thursday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Richmond CPA Center in Innsbrook. Feel free to pass this info along to your clients. They can register at

Financial Fitness Day
The VSCPA will hold a statewide “Financial Fitness Day” community service event on Saturday, April 24. Volunteer CPAs will man informational booths from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wal-marts, shopping malls and other locations across Virginia to offer free resources and materials to the public. Booths will be set up in Charlottesville, Dulles, Fairfax, Harrisonburg, Martinsville, Norfolk, Richmond and Virginia Beach. Visit the Financial Fitness website for exact locations.

Social Media
The VSCPA launched a Financial Fitness Facebook page to share important money management resources with the public. We also created a Financial Fitness Twitter account to share quick tidbits of financial information. New for this year, we’ll be tweeting a financial tip every day in April!

The VSCPA and its members are very passionate about this important issue. We continue to grow our financial literacy initiative to educate Virginians of all ages on money management and fiscal responsibility topics. None of these programs would be possible without the VSCPA members who volunteer their time.

Would you like to get involved with financial literacy? The VSCPA welcomes new volunteers for tax and financial literacy programs year round. If you’re interested in volunteering, please fill out this online form.