PICPA Set to Push Agenda as Legislature Returns


State legislators reconvene in Harrisburg today, Monday, Sept. 15, for the abbreviated fall legislative session.

State lawmakers reconvene in Harrisburg today, Monday, Sept. 15, for the abbreviated fall legislative session. Senators are scheduled to be in session for 10 days, while their colleagues in the House have 11 days on their calendar. The PICPA is geared up for this two-week blitz, and we hope to finish the 2013-2014 session on a strong note.

House Republicans want to take up some form of pension reform legislation, but with the November election only a few weeks away it is unlikely that we will see a floor vote on any proposal. Another bill drawing a lot of interest, House Bill 1177, would allow the city of Philadelphia to add a $2 tax onto the price of a pack of cigarettes. The annual $80 million in new revenue is earmarked to help the city’s financially distressed school system. A House vote on HB 1177 is expected in the near future. Continue reading

The Delivery of Financial Planning in the Digital Age

By Guest Blogger, Michael Kitces, MSFS, MTAX, CFP®
Pinnacle Advisory Group

Michael Kitces

Check out Michael’s session Future of Financial Planning in the Digital Age at the Personal Financial Planning Conference.

As financial planning begins its transition into the digital age, the tools and technology that we use to deliver financial planning will change. Increasing use of account aggregation platforms by consumers, like Mint.com, will mean that clients come to the first meeting with their financial lives already detailed, from a net worth statement to asset allocation details to a breakdown of cash flow. This allows planners to greatly expedite the planning process – plugging in data immediately in the first meeting to begin crafting financial planning projections live, with clients, who discuss and input their goals on the spot. The end result – an electronic plan will provide clients with actionable steps and recommendations and the ability to drill down for further detail. And the entire process will be completed not in a series of meetings, split up by a multi-week break for analysis, but instead in a single meeting, drastically enhancing the efficiency of the process for both parties. In turn, planners must add value not by just helping clients get their financial house in order but by delivering quality advice and a good planning experience. Continue reading

When Do You Need a CPA?

Five Events When You Should Consider Hiring a Professional

By Guest Blogger, Erica Beck, MBA, CPA

Erica Beck is a Tax Senior Associate at PwC and an Adjunct Accounting Professor at Peirce College.

Erica Beck is a senior associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Philadelphia.

You can learn how to do just about anything by searching the Internet and reading an article or watching a YouTube video. People have never been more empowered to tackle complex and challenging tasks on their own. For example, I installed my kitchen cabinets by watching a series of YouTube videos and reading a few online articles. While I support, and at times embrace, the “do-it-yourself” ethos, when it comes to certain things, it’s just better to let the professionals handle it. When I installed my kitchen cabinets, I hadn’t factored in the style of my range hood and needed to move all of my wall cabinets over to account for it. Additionally, my floors were sloped and no matter how hard I tried I could not get my base cabinets leveled. I ended up having to call a professional to correct what I had done.

The same holds true when you’re deciding whether or not to employ a CPA. Sure, there are certain things you can do on your own, but I believe there are several life events for which you would fare better by hiring a professional. Here are just five situations when you should really consider hiring a professional. Continue reading

CPE for CPAs: Learning How to Learn

In the classroom, use the breaks like baseball’s seventh-inning stretch when fans get up and bond for a few minutes. Yes, stretch your legs, but also take full advantage of the networking available to you.

In the classroom, use the breaks like baseball’s seventh-inning stretch when fans get up and bond for a few minutes. Yes, stretch your legs, but also take full advantage of the networking available to you.

Licensed CPAs in Pennsylvania are required by the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy to obtain 80 hours of continuing education every two years. Simple math dictates that this equates to approximately 40 hours per year, but our complicated lives dictate otherwise. Unfortunately, too many CPAs gather the required minimum of 20 hours of education in one year and then jam the remaining hours needed in the reporting year.

In a blog that I posted two years ago, “Living Tomorrow before Today,” I highlighted how technology was supposed to make our lives easier, but what it seems to have done is create an environment where we are continuously bombarded with more “stuff” to fill the time opened up by efficiencies.

Since CPAs spend over 1,600 hours of their lives (that’s 40 hours per year times a conservative 40 years of working) in a “classroom,” they should be selective about how they learn. Continue reading

What Business Valuation Practitioners Need to Know about Using Social Media

By Guest Blogger, Rod P. Burkert | Burkert Valuation Advisors LLC

What do business valuation practitioners need to know about using social media to effectively market their services?


Rod P. Burkert is with Burkert Valuation Advisors LLC and is a speaker at the upcoming PICPA Business Valuation Conference on Nov. 3.

“LinkedIn is, by far, the most popular social media platform used by business valuation and forensic litigation services (BVFLS) practitioners,” Burkert observes. He believes there are two reasons for its popularity: it is the easiest of all the social media to get started with since it deploys a familiar resume-style layout to gather and display content describing who you are and what you do, and because of its ease-of-use, LinkedIn is where most of our like-minded ideal prospects hang out.

“But that does not mean that everyone on LinkedIn is doing it well,” Burkert warns. He argues that using any social media poorly is not better than not doing it all. Continue reading

Which Tablet is Best for You?

By Guest Blogger, Will Fleenor, CPA, PhD | K2 Enterprises

TabletsThe iPad was introduced four years ago. Last year, 217 million tablets were sold. That’s a 51% increase over 2012. Even though 42% of American adults already own a tablet, it is predicted that 245 million tablets will be sold in 2014. The market is large, and there are many good choices.

The Decision Process Continue reading

CPAs, You Have the Power – Why Not Use It?

Through polls, surveys, and personal interactions with members, I have access to a lot of information regarding members’ impressions of PICPA’s services. Consistently, the top three benefits identified include CPE, advocacy, and engagement opportunities. It is no coincidence that these benefits align with our strategic priorities of professional development, engagement, and voice of the profession.

I am passionate about advocacy. Many think advocacy is restricted to representing members’ interests in Harrisburg, but it is so much more. It also includes giving voice to our concerns in Washington, D.C., at the State Board of Accountancy, at the Department of Revenue and other Pennsylvania agencies, with regulators, with standard-setters, and at the AICPA, among others. When the collective voice of more than 21,600 PICPA members speak on an issue, we can have an impact.

Cheri Freeh, PICPA past president, knows that CPA-PAC can help CPAs get inside the state capitol

Cheri Freeh, PICPA past president, knows that CPA-PAC can help CPAs get inside the state capitol

I am also passionate about the many members who assist with our advocacy efforts, whether it is serving on a committee or task force, providing testimony or input to a legislative or regulatory body, authoring articles and making presentations, or advancing thought leadership on emerging issues such as private company accounting standards or diversity within the accounting profession. Continue reading