Family Office Panelists: Give Trust Beneficiaries a Voice

When drawing up a trust, it helps to educate beneficiaries about the process or even include them in it, as it can instill in them a sense of ownership and help them to understand why certain controls are being put into place, according to panelists at the Foundation for Accounting Education’s Family Office Conference on Feb. 5.

A modified GAAP for private companies could affect contractors

The first proposed modifications and exceptions to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to be released on the recommendation of the new Private Company Council (PCC) could make life easier for construction contractors and their CPAs, by reworking how private entities calculate goodwill and account for intangible assets, according to a speaker at the FAE’s Construction Contractors Conference on Aug. 8.

Real estate experts cautiously optimistic about market

At the FAE’s Real Estate Conference on Jan. 9, a panel of chief financial officers in the real estate sector said they expect 2013 to be a year of good economic growth, mainly due to the development of a more conservative mindset in the industry when it comes to evaluating loans and investments. However, they also noted that there are several potential vulnerabilities to keep an eye on.

Conference speakers bust regulatory myths

Though the federal government, as the result of regulations such as the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III, is asking for additional data from financial institutions during the regulatory reporting process, there are several common misconceptions about some of its other requirements, according to federal officials who participated in a panel discussion on the regulatory environment at the FAE’s Banking Conference on Nov. 14.

FAE speakers offer tips for handling troubled investments

How might a savvy investor deal with a troubled investment? According to private equity attorneys Mitchell M. Brand and Andrew M. Kramer of Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C., both of whom spoke at the FAE’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference on Oct. 25, it entails having the right information and relationships—and the right information about relationships.

IRAs carry pitfalls in planning process

Estate planning can be difficult enough as it is, but add individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to the mix and CPAs may be looking at a minefield of potential tax liabilities and other hurdles, according to Ed Slott, a speaker at the FAE’s Personal Financial Planning Conference Nov. 13.

SEC approves final conflict mineral rules

In an attempt to curb the use of materials from areas typically associated with human rights abuses, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the final version of new regulations that require registered companies to conduct detailed examinations of their supply chain and disclose the audited results.

Panel: fraud deeply embedded in construction industry

With December marking 10 years since the AICPA issued SAS 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, in response to Enron and other scandals, the NYSSCPA’s Real Estate Committee used a recent technical session to question “fraud busters” about how pervasive deceptive accounting practices are within the construction industry.

PCAOB touts progress on China, but Society members skeptical

Though the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) didn’t quite get the cooperative agreement with the Chinese government that it wanted, it took a step forward in its relations with the country by brokering a deal that lets them watch Chinese regulators at work.

New EGC category has tempered advantages

Though businesses that are classified as emerging growth companies (EGCs), a new category created under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, face less stringent regulations than traditional companies when going public, it’s not an entirely free ride, according to speakers at the FAE’s SEC Conference on Sept. 20.

SEC: public lacks financial literacy

Most U.S. retail investors lack basic financial literacy—and their weak grasp of even elementary financial concepts is leaving them vulnerable to predatory investment fraud schemes, according to a study by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

State Medicaid to undergo paradigm shift

Though New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson has already made significant changes to the state’s public health system, netting billions in cost savings for the program during the last budget cycle, he’s not done by a long shot, he said in a speech at the NYSSCPA’s Healthcare Conference Sept. 13.

Temporary regulations change thinking on capitalizing expenses

Though the party was nice while it lasted, the days of 100 percent bonus depreciation are over, and construction companies need to know which expenditures must now be capitalized during the course
of business, according to Anthony F. Dannible, a speaker at the FAE’s Construction Contractors Accounting, Consulting, and Taxation Conference held Aug. 9.

PCAOB looks to improve relations between audit committees and auditors

A pair of releases from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)—one a discussion paper aimed at audit committees, the other a standard aimed at auditors—looks to improve the quality of communications between the two on both sides of the conversation.