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September 21, 2011
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Brought to you by the American Institute of CPAs

  Letter from Carol 
  • A message from Carol Scott, vice president of Business, Industry & Government
    Source: AICPA
    Results of the third-quarter AICPA Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey are in and show a steep decline in CPA executives' confidence in the U.S. economy. Optimism has dropped to a 2 1/2-year low, and more than 60% of financial executives think the country might enter a double-dip recession. Pessimism -- driven primarily by concerns about the political process in Washington, continued unemployment and the size of the U.S. debt and budget deficit -- translated to an 8-point drop in the composite rating for our CPA Outlook Index, from 66 in the second quarter to 58. Full results of the survey are available at

    Many of you are aware that one of the AICPA's major volunteer initiatives is its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy effort, which involves educating consumers about their finances throughout the various stages of their lives. As part of this effort, the AICPA will publish its first consumer book on finance, showcasing CPAs' financial expertise. We are looking for contributions. The AICPA seeks CPAs to provide real-world saving and spending stories and tales of money struggles and triumphs that helped consumers get a better handle on their finances. Find out how you can submit a story for this exciting project.

    It's that time of year when many of you are planning to fulfill your continuing-education requirements and work on professional development. Kathy Johnson, CPA, has great ideas on how you can find opportunities of professional and personal development. Check out this month's 5 Tips for Training and Development. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Accounting and Reporting Update 
  Emerging Trends 
  • Pricing for growth in a still-shaky environment
    Companies must think more strategically about their pricing to thrive in this economy, said Greg Cudahy, managing director of Accenture's Operational Strategy practice. That means breaking down prices at the customer level, geographically, and understanding how each product adds to revenue and profit. Most companies face the additional challenge of continued budget cuts at a time when they're trying to expand, he said. Business Finance (8/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Lubrizol CFO: Data tools offer better forecasts amid uncertainty
    For chief financial officers, staying informed is key for navigating a volatile marketplace, Lubrizol CFO Charles Cooley said. "I have yet to talk to a CFO who has felt they have completely nailed their forecasting process," he said. He discussed tools used by his company to manage volatility and create sharper revenue predictions, including software for enterprise resource planning and rolling forecasts based on the latest sales data. Business Finance (9/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 4 mistakes that can slow your company's growth
    Chief financial officers are in a prime position to dissuade their companies from taking action that would stymie growth, but they must use arguments that consider overall business strategy, rather than cost alone. This article presents four common mistakes along with solutions for avoiding them. Among growth-killing missteps: pursuing projects that are outside the company's mission and scaling up too quickly. CFO Magazine (9/2011) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What it takes to be a top-notch finance pro
    The secret to excelling in the finance role is integrating your core competencies into a successful whole, Brenda Morris writes. That means having a plan, knowing your team's strengths and being able to make last-minute changes. Most importantly, rely on the people around you. "Listen to the team, engage them and empower them," Morris writes. (8/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Tax Corner 
  • Obama's jobs plan would extend deduction for equipment spending
    President Barack Obama's jobs proposal would extend a measure that has been in place since December known as "bonus depreciation," which gives businesses a tax deduction for the full value of their equipment purchases. Businesses would otherwise deduct those expenses over several years. "The real advantage is you get your money now, instead of piecemeal over several years," said Dan Meckstroth, chief economist with the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. (9/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership Lessons and Tips 
  • Why some companies eschew unemployed job applicants
    More companies are limiting their hiring to people who are already employed, leaving unemployed applicants out in the cold, writes Richard Alaniz, a senior partner at Alaniz and Schraeder. For some firms, the practice is a way to eliminate applicants with fewer skills and other qualities. In some cases, the policy could run afoul of state or federal law against discrimination. Instead, a better job description and screening procedure could help identify good candidates, Alaniz writes. AccountingWEB (9/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Companies lose focus on working capital as cash increases
    U.S. companies showed only slight improvement in working capital last year, which could be a side effect of having large cash reserves. The trend followed a period when many companies insisted on tighter payment terms and smaller inventories during the recession. The weakness in working capital could be a problem for some firms when it comes time to boost spending and hiring, experts said. CFO Magazine (7/2011) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Tech Topics 
  • How boosting IT spending can save governments cash
    Governments should think twice about cutting information technology spending to reduce deficits, Gartner Research Vice President Jerry Mechling writes. Investing in the right technology can reduce costs down the road in areas including policing and education. "To gain the productivity that the times urgently require, the percentage of the budget devoted to IT should increase, and total IT spending should probably also increase," Mechling writes. (9/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Survey: Say goodbye to workplace e-mail and hello to IM
    More than 50% of chief information officers predicted that technology such as instant messaging will replace e-mail in an office within five years, according to a Robert Half Technology survey. Real-time communication promises to improve workplace collaboration and problem solving, the firm said. Computerworld (9/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  BIG News and Events 
  • Learn firsthand how to implement ERM
    Enterprise risk management plays a vital role in helping enterprises of all types and sizes achieve their goals and objectives. Recognizing the importance of ERM, the AICPA in 2008 launched a strategic initiative and redefined how it identifies, assesses, mitigates and manages risk. Want to know more about the AICPA's ERM undertaking? Read this case study, The AICPA's Enterprise Risk Management Initiative, and learn how to apply the same methods to your organization. If you want more information about ERM and resources related to ERM, visit and consider attending Strengthening Your Enterprise's Risk Oversight for Strategic Benefit. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AICPA presents Outstanding CPA in Government awards to federal, state and local CPAs
    On Aug. 22, the AICPA awarded the 2011 Outstanding CPA in Government awards to Jeanette Franzel, CPA, of Washington, D.C.; Pamela Sharp, CPA, of Bismarck, N.D.; and John McCormac, CPA, of Woodbridge Township, N.J. The awards were presented by Ernest Almonte, CPA, past AICPA chairman and former auditor general of Rhode Island, at the AICPA's 28th Annual National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference. The awards recognize CPAs working in federal, state and local government who have contributed significantly to increased efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations and to the growth and enhancement of the CPA profession. Franzel received the federal award, Sharp the state award and McCormac the local award. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AICPA News 
  • Free webcast explores taxes, the jobs act, deficit reduction, extenders, etc. ...
    The AICPA invites CPAs to register for a free webcast, Taxes, the Jobs Act, Deficit Reduction, Extenders, etc. ... What You Need to Know. The live webcast, scheduled 11 a.m. to noon Eastern on Friday, will be rebroadcast from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern the same day. Join veteran tax-legislation expert Mel Schwarz, CPA, JD, LLM, to learn what is in President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act, the Republican alternative plan and other legislation that you should be aware of that might affect you, your business or your clients. As director of tax legislative affairs and partner at Grant Thornton and a former congressional staff member, Schwarz delivers insight that tax and financial professionals need. Register today! (No credits of continuing professional eduction are available.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • GAO issues updated Yellow Book
    As further described in the AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center communication GAQC Alert No. 173, which is open to all members, the Government Accountability Office released an interim version of an update to Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book, titled 2011 Internet Version of Government Auditing Standards. The main area of change relates to the Yellow Book's auditor-independence rules, although there are other changes. See GAQC Alert No. 173 for more detail about changes to the standards, the reason for an interim release and the effective date. If you want more information about the GAQC and resources related to the Yellow Book, visit LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order."
--Arthur Helps,
British writer

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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries. The AICPA has served as the voice of the accounting profession since 1887. Members in business, industry and government make up 42% of the AICPA's membership. The AICPA provides financial professionals practicing in business, industry and government with the tools and resources needed to move their organizations forward.

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