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1 INSIDE Public Accounting – Page 2

Williams-Keepers Merges in Fellow Missouri Firm

Columbia, Mo.-based Williams-Keepers LLC, an IPA 300 firm, has acquired Mid-Missouri Accounting Services of Mexico, Mo.

Established in 1989, Mid-Missouri Accounting specializes in accounting, tax, payroll and bookkeeping for independent grocers in Missouri and other small businesses and individual clients. Company founder Stephen Thoenen and most of the firm’s six-person staff will transition to full-time roles in the merged company and will relocate to Williams-Keepers’ Columbia office by the end of August.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for both companies and, most important, the clients we serve,” says Williams-Keepers chairman Jeff Echelmeier. “The combined talents of our companies add to our long-standing ability to provide businesses and organizations with a full suite of accounting, consulting and compliance services.”

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Prager Metis Promotes Hayley Mayer to Principal

Hayley Mayer

New York-based Prager Metis, an IPA 100 firm, has promoted Hayley Mayer to principal. Mayer has more than 15 years of experience with the firm and leads the client accounting services group.

“Hayley’s promotion is the result of her professional development and dedication to the success of the firm,” says national MP Lori A. Roth. “We are excited to watch her continue to grow, and look forward to celebrating many more of her accomplishments.”

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 Mitchell Wiggins Admits Carman Faison as Partner

Carman Faison

Richmond, Va.-based Mitchell Wiggins has announced the admission of Carman Faison to the partnership group.

“We welcome Carman to the expanded partner team at Mitchell Wiggins. She is a tremendous asset to our clients and we look forward to her contributions as partner at Mitchell Wiggins,” says MP Jeff Love.

Faison joined Mitchell Wiggins in 2005 after working in the commercial finance industry. She specializes in working with financial institutions, auto dealerships, nonprofits and closely held businesses.

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AICPA Warns Against Overconfidence, Updates Digital Assets Auditing Guidance

The AICPA has updated last year’s guidance on auditing digital assets.

The new material, contained in Accounting for and Auditing of Digital Assets, is based on professional literature and experience from members of the AICPA Digital Assets Working Group and AICPA staff, and is specific to U.S. generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). Digital assets are digital records on a distributed ledger that use cryptography for verification and security.

“This non-authoritative guidance goes a long way in helping auditors consider the potential risks unique to the digital assets ecosystem and the skillsets needed to conclude whether to accept or continue an engagement,” says Susan S. Coffey, AICPA executive vice president.

The practice aid provides auditors with information to consider when accepting or continuing audit engagements that involve digital assets. CPA firms should assess:

  • The current industry expertise and understanding of digital assets.
  • Management’s competencies and capabilities to maintain the entity’s books and records and secure its assets.
  • The client’s integrity and commitment to compliance with laws and regulations and its overall business strategy and the role the entity serves or intends to serve within the digital assets ecosystem.

“Overconfidence in the digital assets ecosystem is a real risk,” says Amy Steele, chair of Digital Assets Working Group. Steele is also an audit and assurance partner at Deloitte & Touche. “This Practice Aid is a great step at highlighting some of the unique challenges and considerations for auditors seeking to perform audits in this ecosystem.”

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AAM Virtual Conference Addresses New Ways to Drive Firm Growth

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) is offering early-bird pricing for its two-day virtual conference, Emerge, until July 22. Emerge is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (ET), Aug. 12 and 13.

Learn about new ways to lead teams, engage with clients, manage brands and drive growth under entirely new rules. Rapid change is providing new opportunities to connect, share transformational ideas, and identify actionable strategies to promote firmwide growth and prosperity. Be part of the conversation and emerge with new ideas.

Not an AAM member? Register with code IPAEVC20 and save $50. Group discounts are also available. Emerge will be recorded and available on-demand for all registrants.

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CST Group Launches Outsourced Accounting Company

CST Group of Reston, Va., an IPA 300 firm, has created a new outsourced accounting company, District Advisory, to help clients with day-to-day accounting, CFO oversight, financial modeling, forecasting and strategy.

“Many of CST Group’s long-established clients and other emerging businesses have been requesting the type of outsourced accounting services we now offer through District Advisory, and we are very pleased to join Zach to meet the demand,” says CST MP Joe Romagnoli, referring to Zach Giegel, the MP of District Advisory.

District Advisory offers dashboard financial tools and accounting system integration designed to improve decision-making with accurate and timely data.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, District Advisory has maintained online CARES Act resources and plans to offer integrated business solutions such as in-house marketing, recruiting and human resources management.

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Annapoorani Bhat Joins PYA Executive Team

Annapoorani Bhat

Knoxville, Tenn.-based PYA, an IPA 100 firm, has admitted Annapoorani Bhat as a strategy and integration consulting principal.

Bhat, a member of the executive team, specializes in valuation and related consulting services for companies in the health sciences sector. Her primary area of expertise is in the valuation of businesses and assets for financial reporting, regulatory compliance and internal strategic planning purposes. She provides valuation consulting services to facilitate mergers, acquisitions, affiliations and the financial reporting of acquired intangible assets.

PYA President Marty Brown says her achievements are a testament to years of hard work and dedication. “Our clients have come to know what we know – that her knowledge, skill and experience enable us to better serve them with their transactions needs.”

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IPA Pulse Survey: Growth Amid Turmoil

Accountants frequently speak of wanting to be trusted advisors for their clients, and the COVID-19 crisis provided a crucial test of that aspiration. So how did they do? More than 100 MPs weighed in on client feedback and other revelations in the wake of the pandemic in IPA’s latest pulse survey.

One of the topics the June survey covered was a potential upside arising from the pandemic – that is, amid lingering client attrition and/or cash flow issues, how many firms have seen an uptick in business from both existing and new clients to help offset some of these challenges?

Almost 66% of survey respondents reported having gotten new unique business from their existing clients during the crisis, much of which was related to PPP work, but some crisis management and cybersecurity consulting as well.

Meanwhile, 85% of respondents reported earning new business from new clients over this span (much of it again PPP-related), thanks in part to increased exposure from webinars and thought-leadership pieces they offered during the early weeks and months of the crisis.

Catch up on more insights from this IPA Pulse Survey:

Pandemic Priorities

Watchdog in U.K. Tells Big 4 to Do Better

The U.K.’s accounting watchdog is challenging the Big 4 to improve audits after releasing evaluations that showed more than 60% of audits at PwC and KPMG were dismissed as unsatisfactory, Bloomberg reported.

The Financial Reporting Council’s latest annual review is based on a sample of audits. FRC determined that 65% of PwC’s audits were unsatisfactory. KPMG’s percentage was 61%. Deloitte scored the highest, with 24% needing improvements, and EY’s evaluation showed 29%, according to Bloomberg.

“We are concerned that firms are still not consistently achieving the necessary level of audit quality,” David Rule, the FRC’s executive director of supervision, said in a statement. “The tone from the top at the firms needs to support a culture of challenge and to back auditors making tough decisions.”

The reports were released a week after FRC decided the Big 4 must split their audit units from their advisory arms due to conflict of interest concerns.

Richard Murphy, an accountant and economics professor at City University in London told Bloomberg, “It’s an outright failure of the audit profession and regulators. There has been a rapid decline in auditing standards which will increase costs for investors relying on the accounts for information and lead to more company failures at a time when society can least afford it.”

Auditors are under the microscope since the collapse of U.K.-based Carillion, Thomas Cook, Patisserie Valerie and German payments provider Wirecard.

The FRC said it was dissatisfied with the Big 4’s record of standing up to the management of their clients. “Firms’ senior management need to be clear that taking difficult decisions is an appropriate response to improving audit quality, even if it might sometimes mean delaying or modifying opinions, and ultimately losing some audit engagements,” the FRC said, The Financial Times reported.

The FRC has placed KPMG under special scrutiny because of its poor performance in previous evaluations, and it plans to evaluate a larger number of PwC audits after this year’s test results.

Additionally, the FRC studied some of the Big 4 audits of the listed Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 350. Deloitte came out on top with 90% of its FTSE audits rated good. EY scored 78%, PwC 67% and KPMG 58%.

KLR Admits Three Partners

Providence, R.I.-based KLR admitted three professionals to the partner group on July 1: Sandy Ross, Michael Garcia and Francheska Pimentel.

“We are very proud to acknowledge these three outstanding leaders who go above and beyond for our clients, colleagues and community,” says Alan Litwin, managing director. “They are our future.”

Ross, of the nonprofit services group, joined KLR in 2001. She is known for excellent client service, and enjoys working with executive directors and board members to help them better understand the financial reporting process and the nonprofit organization.

Garcia, of the enterprise solutions group, joined KLR in 2019. He focuses on helping entrepreneurial businesses with accounting, bookkeeping and outsourced services. He is also known as an expert on the CARES Act.

Pimentel, practice leader of the international tax group, joined KLR in 2015. An internationally known speaker on international tax issues, she is an expert on global mobility issues.

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