The latest news, and the Accountants Con;dence Index
The 2012 Top New Products
Protecting yourself from your clients
WithumSmith+Brown goes viral
Readers sound off on Miller & Bahnson vs. the AICPA
The Taxpayer Advocate reports on the IRS’s burden
Jones & Luscombe explore the new ‘repair regs’
First principles of digging deeper into ;nancial data
the spirit of accounting
Miller & Bahnson on the end of IFRS adoption
The resources you need for a strong PFP practice
special report: nonpro;ts
Serving nonpro;t organizations can be a pro;table niche
— once you know which nonpro;ts you want to serve
Case studies: Social media
Software survey: Entry-level accounting
Time to check out checklists
Gale Crosley on how one ;rm found its ‘market hole’
Deliver for your customers
Jody Padar on the opportunities of the 1099-K
25 VAR News
33 New Products
Everything old is new
In a decade-plus of helming this publication, I often marvel at how many of the issues and trends impacting the profession the day I took o;ce in September 2000 have returned front and center. Remember application service providers, or ASPs? Ten years ago, the early vendors of hosted
environments were derailed by 9-11 and the inevitable security concerns that followed. Today, can you
name ;ve people who haven’t heard of the cloud or Software-as-a-Service?
What about non-CPA ownership of a ;rm? ;e concept of moving ahead with what was then termed
“multi-disciplinary” ;rms, an overarching practice owned and operated by professionals with di;erent
credentials — i.e., accountants, lawyers, physicians — was kicked around for several years. ;ere were
numerous white papers (many of which appeared within these pages) and one-day conferences devoted
to the subject, and then, much like my retirement account, the momentum
gradually disappeared, overshadowed both in scope and importance by,
among other things, the spate of accounting debacles such as Enron and
Along those lines, I was recently asked to moderate a panel by the New
York State Society of CPAs that focused on non-CPA ownership of ;rms, with
the panelists divided into pro and con factions.
While the discussion centered around New York and whether the time
had come to relax its non-CPA ownership rules (New York is currently one
of six jurisdictions that do not allow for non-CPA ownership; for those
keeping score at home, the others are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, the
Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands), 48 other states, under
the Uniform Accountancy Act, require that a “simple majority” of a CPA
As with most debates, there’s ammunition on both sides to break or
retain the six-territory prohibition. Proponents will quickly point out
that the accounting ;rm of today is far di;erent than 30 years ago, o;ering a variety of client services
that were non-existent then. Many ;rms now have in-house business development managers and
marketers, the majority of whom probably are not CPAs. Why should those folks not be allowed to rise
through the ranks to shareholder level?
One could also argue that typical CPA services, such as audits, have evolved with the 21st century
;rm and may require input from multi-disciplinary channels. If you recruit and hope to retain those
professionals, would someone remain with a ;rm for very long knowing they had no opportunity to
rise to ownership status?
How about ownership succession? In New York and the ;ve other states/territories, what if the current
owners wanted to leave a minority interest in the ;rm to a family member who is not a CPA?
Conversely, opponents of the measure proclaim that non-CPA ownership presents an inherent con;ict of interest as it pertains to the revered CPA mantle of “trusted advisor.” For example, if a business
development manager was also a shareholder/owner, would their mission of generating higher revenues
undermine the ;rm’s commitment to establishing client trust or the public interest?
I’ll let far brighter minds than mine sort this issue out, as this nostalgic wave of revisiting past trends
Just as long as we don’t try and resurrect Cognitor.
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