Navigating a Business Integration: Don’t Lose Your Way

Ira Rosenbloom

Ira S. Rosenbloom, CPA, is the chief operating executive at Optimum Strategies LLC, a consulting firm focused on helping small and medium-sized CPA firms.

By Guest Blogger, Ira S. Rosenbloom, CPA

The number of mergers and sales of CPA firms and acquisitions is on the rise in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. The parties involved in the process spend a great deal of time negotiating and creating the transaction, but they often fail to properly address the most critical element of successful transactions – practice integration.

Successful deals require alignment — on paper and in practice. Alignment is a function of integration; integration is largely a matter of communication. A merger or acquisition can be like a marriage: if communication is weak or inadequate, the union will be challenged and possibly doomed. Here are four essential practice integration steps that could be the difference between success and frustration: Continue reading

Handle with Care: Business Responsibilities for Sensitive Data

JoeFusco

Joe Fusco, CPA, CGMA, is director internal audit and special projects with Penske Truck Leasing & Logistics in Reading, Pa.

By Guest Blogger, Joe Fusco, CPA

The uniqueness of our individual sensitive data makes all of us potential targets for thieves and hackers. With recent personal data breaches at large retailers such as Target, Home Depot, and K-Mart, we are all feeling exposed to identify theft scenarios. Now is a good time to revisit your sensitive data protection practices.

From a business perspective, you must be proactive in protecting personal information. Not doing so can have dire consequences on business finances, customer/vendor relationships, and business reputation. Every business also has a legal vested interest in keeping sensitive data secure: simply put, it’s the law. Pennsylvania, for example, addresses through PA Act 73 P.S. §§ 2301 how businesses are to report a mishandling or loss of an individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with, and linked to, any one or more of the following data elements when the data elements are not encrypted or redacted: Continue reading

Take Control of Your Credit Cards

During the recent mega-recession, many Americans tightened their spending, increased savings, and reduced debt. As the economy recovers, personal debt is increasing once again. In the second quarter of 2014, the Federal Reserve reports that Americans are assuming more debt, and a portion of that debt is going toward borrowing to finance new cars, college tuition, and other consumer goods. “Other consumer goods” is what makes up a significant portion of the average U.S. household credit card debt of $15,607.

MeyerMLTV

Glenn Meyer, CPA, raises key points on what you should consider when deciding on a credit card: how you will use it; what’s in it for you; and reading the fine print.

The most recent issue of PICPA’s consumer newsletter, Money & Life, focuses on credit cards. The general consensus is that credit cards can be helpful to build credit for major purchases down the line. The key, though, is to use them sparingly, as a tool used as part of an overall financial plan. CPAs have put together credit card tips consumers should consider as more debt creeps back into everyone’s budget equation and credit card balances climb. Continue reading

Generation Y Isn’t So Different from the Rest of Us

YoungLeaders

Congratulations to all the PICPA Young Leaders Award winners, and thank you for being part of a generation whose courage and creativity are helping our workplaces evolve.

The PICPA’s 2014 Young Leaders Award winners were honored at the PICPA Leadership Conference on Sept. 29 in Harrisburg, Pa. As I watched these impressive PICPA members accept their certificates, I was reminded that many of them are part of what has become known as Generation Y, or the Millennial Generation.

There has been extensive writing about this group composed of those who were born between the early 1980s and about the year 2000. A large segment of this group has been part of the workforce for a decade, and a significant body of knowledge has emerged about their tendencies, preferences, needs, desires, and limitations. The writings concerning this demographic usually include a host of recommendations about how to adapt your workplace policies to accommodate the unique needs of Millennials – information that may help your company or firm attract and retain the best and the brightest.

The more I read about the tendencies of this group, however, the more I find that their needs and preferences are not so different from those of my colleagues across all generations. Continue reading

Do You Know the Health Insurance Options after Job Loss?

By Guest Blogger, Nicole Buzzard, CPA

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Nicole Buzzard, CPA is assistant controller at Erie Management Group LLC, a private equity investment management company.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that most individuals are required to have health insurance or potentially pay a penalty for noncompliance. But what if you have a job with health insurance and suddenly lose it?

The first option to consider is COBRA coverage, which is insurance through your former employer that is made available to you to purchase for a certain time frame, generally 18 months. Keep in mind, you could pay a high premium depending on your former employer’s plan. You may want to compare costs with your other options. Continue reading

It’s September, Reruns Are Over!

leadershipCPE

PICPA’s 2014 State of the Profession programs are coming up in October. View all the details at www.picpa.org/professionalissues.

I do not watch much TV anymore, outside of sports or the occasional news show. But anytime I did find myself with some spare time this summer where I could turn on the television to check out what was available, I found nothing but reruns of primetime shows on network channels, cable channels filled with prior year episodes of popular crime shows, and premium channels running the same movies that ran the day before. Clearly there is a connection between the drudgery of TV and the beautiful weather we experience throughout the summer.

But the season has turned, and there is a lot of “new” going around – new school year (and increased traffic), new television series and premieres, new car models, etc. And while PICPA’s fiscal year begins in May and numerous events take place over the summer, I liken that time to spring training. I always think of September as the beginning of the PICPA year. Everyone seems refocused after enjoying some vacation during the lazy, hazy days of summer, and calendars start to tighten up. Continue reading

Only You Can Redefine CPA Firm Partnership

Martin Bissett, founder of The Upward Spiral Partnership, has identified the most critical skills that partners are looking for from the next generation of practice leaders.

Martin Bissett, founder of The Upward Spiral Partnership, has identified the most critical skills that partners are looking for from the next generation of practice leaders.

There will be a huge opportunity for CPAs over the next 10 years if they want a career in public accounting. We all know that baby boomers are moving into retirement. What that means for CPAs, according to the AICPA, is that 50 percent of partners will retire in the next 10 years. Look around your office, what kind of opportunity does that translate into for you? Continue reading