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In just a year, the promise of artificial intelligence has grown from a topic of science fiction movies into practical business applications. From the advent of first-to-market generative AI systems like ChatGPT, to highly specialized, accounting-focused systems, proponents of AI are fervent in their belief that the technologies will dramatically improve client services, firm management, small business accounting and many other areas of operations.
Several AI systems were among this year’s winners of the Tax & Accounting Technology Innovation Awards, presented annually by CPA Practice Advisor, a technology and practice management resource for public accounting firms.
The Innovation Awards were first presented in 2004, as a means to honor new or recently enhanced technologies that benefit tax and accounting professionals and their clients through improved workflow and efficiencies, increased accessibility, enhanced collaboration, greater accuracy, or other means. Nominated products or technologies must be less than two years old or have had new, significant features or enhancements during that time.
“The Tax & Accounting Technology Innovation Awards get more exciting every year as new solutions and features are developed. Our software vendors are working non-stop to create the tools we need to do our jobs more effectively,” said CPA Practice Advisor Editor-in-Chief Gail Perry, CPA. “We hope you’ll take the time to examine each of our featured products this year as you optimize your potential for achieving success in your business.” Perry also manages a tax practice and is the author of more than 30 books, including Mint.com for Dummies, Surviving Financial Downsizing, and Idiot’s Guide to Introductory Accounting.
The winners of the CPA Practice Advisor Tax and Accounting Technology Innovation Awards are selected from nominated products by an awards committee, which includes thought leaders and professionals engaged in various practice specialties across the accounting profession.
CPA Practice Advisor provides a variety of independent digital and print resources for accounting professionals, including practice resources, podcasts, reviews of practice technologies, interactive tools, and content that helps firms achieve greater productivity. Award winners are listed in alphabetical order.
Avalara Property Tax is a digital business solution for real and personal property tax management designed to improve tax compliance with automation. Property tax is one of the most challenging business compliance activities due to the complexities of preparing personal property returns and the downstream implications of assessments and tax bills for real and personal property.
All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia assess property taxes on real property (land, buildings, etc.). Additionally, 38 states and the District of Columbia levy a business personal property tax on tangible property—including supplies, equipment, etc. Further complications arise from many jurisdictions having different forms, due dates, terms, varying depreciation schedules, and transforming data from client systems.
Avalara’s new web solution enables accounting professionals to efficiently manage their clients’ entire property tax portfolio and compliance activities, from preparing business personal property renditions to handling and processing assessments, appeals, and tax bills. Pairing Avalara’s technology with its intelligent document management for property tax vastly increases practice accuracy and efficiency.
Accountants and professional service firms that manage property tax compliance for clients require solutions that maximize the client service experience and minimize the cost of compliance. Leveraging the automation of Avalara Property Tax, accounting professionals can simplify all elements of managing the property tax process and valuation to ensure clients only pay the necessary property tax while minimizing risk and maximizing ROI.
Avalara Property Tax is scalable and configurable to address business requirements while supporting large volumes of work to meet demanding workloads. Avalara Property Tax offers future-proof SaaS flexibility for all property tax compliance activities across real and personal property managed in one secure, central hub. And significantly, as part of the Avalara Platform, accounting firms can use Avalara Property Tax to automate clients’ property tax compliance alongside other tax compliance requirements.
BILL is the center of our customer’s day-to-day financial operations as a leader in financial automation software for accounting firms and the small and midsize businesses they support. Businesses rely on BILL to efficiently control their payables, receivables, spend and expense management. In the past two years, BILL has listened to customer feedback to create new features that bring greater control, efficiency and profitability to accounting professionals. BILL has launched three new features that help accountants provide their clients with improved cash flow visibility and more flexibility with payments. This included:
Invoice Financing: Invoice Financing allows customers to get paid early for outstanding invoices. Instead of waiting 30 days to get paid, customers can finance customer invoices and get money in as little as 5-10 minutes. For a 3% origination fee per invoice, they can receive advances on unpaid invoices. The process is fast and easy, and it doesn’t affect a customer’s credit score. Invoice Financing helps businesses have the money they need for their business to grow.
BILL balance: BILL balance is a financial account that can be used to hold funds and pay bills within one business day at no additional cost. Unlike wire transfers at a bank, customers can make these payments digitally anywhere, anytime, all while having the additional benefit of automatically reconciling with your existing accounting software.
Pay by Card (PBC): BILL subscribers can pay their vendors with a debit or credit card – even if the vendor does not accept cards. Paying a vendor by card can give your client more time to settle the debt on their credit card account, freeing up cash. As a bonus, customers still get to earn credit card rewards on all transactions.
Invoice Financing launched in January 2023, BILL balance launched in 2022, Pay by Card launched in July 2022.
Experience more visibility into a centralized and consistent source of truth on transaction categorizations. With out-of-the-box powerful machine learning, firms can now expect more visibility and interactivity with Botkeeper’s technology as it uses historical client details in combination with algorithms trained on millions of data points to intuitively auto-categorize clients’ transactions and directly sync them back to the general ledger system. This will allow firms to be prompted for review when needed and ensure they’re equipped with information that is accurate, accessible, and always reliable when serving their clients.
Gain deeper visibility into firm-wide operations on client work. Firms can adopt a sophisticated approach to project management across their clients, keeping their bookkeeping processes working in harmony without the need for multiple third-party integration tools. Workflow improvements and upgraded file structures will ensure that customer data is always consistent and up to date, even as the firm adds more clients, which means firms can scale with confidence.
More control over user access and permissions. Our upgraded experience gives system admins even more control of their data by making it possible to better control permissions for selected users and teams. This change gives firms a higher level of assuredness that their clients’ information is only visible to the staff team members who should be seeing it.
Use powerful reporting – purpose built for accounting firms: Firms need quick answers to their clients’ or even team members’ questions, which can be tricky to access when reporting begins and ends in spreadsheets.
Now, firms can bring multiple widgets and reports into a single picture to help teams focus on the metrics that matter most. See powerful business insights and even schedule reports to be delivered via email on a recurring basis. View the Janover case study for BOS impact across their firm: https://www.botkeeper.com/janover-case-study.
Fieldguide AI is the industry’s first secure and private AI solution that helps firms future-proof their business. The new solution allows firms to securely leverage the latest AI innovations to significantly reduce the manual work associated with engagements, so that staff members can focus on more critical and higher margin work. With the latest Fieldguide AI features, firms can increase engagement quality, margins, and staff retention, while allowing practitioners to leverage their professional expertise in more productive ways.
Fieldguide AI provides a set of AI capabilities purpose-built for advisory firms. It is a practitioner-centric AI, designed to enhance and automate the services that firms offer to their clients. It brings the magic of AI to team members as they write test plans, analyze evidence, and review client documents. Fieldguide AI performs routine tasks, similar to a junior associate, in order to elevate and empower teams to engage more frequently with clients and think critically about client risks.
Karbon AI is a GPT-powered artificial intelligence tool embedded within the award-winning accounting practice management software—Karbon.
Karbon AI’s first iteration focuses on making accountants more efficient with their email while improving the client experience they offer. Functionality includes the ability to summarize long email conversations and internal discussions, adjust the tone of email, assess the priority of inbox emails, and compose email drafts based on prompts and from within workflow tasks.
By embedding artificial intelligence into Karbon’s practice management system, users can now leverage the power of GPT in the context of their own data and workflow without relinquishing privacy or security. They will also enjoy a productivity boost as they spend less time sorting through long email threads or stressing over the best way to respond to angry client emails, freeing them up for more valuable work.
As a truly connected practice management solution, Karbon is home to more context than any other tool in an accounting firm’s workflow, and it is open to vast possibilities with AI.
And email efficiency is only the beginning. Karbon AI will continue to evolve and expand what it can do with data across the collaborative workflow to automate more tasks, save more time, and add more value to accounting firms and their clients.
Digits AI combines the strengths of generative natural language interaction with unparalleled data security and the accuracy of its proprietary financial modeling. From instant report generation to automated categorization and the ability to answer questions about a client’s books in real time, Digits AI makes the full accounting pipeline faster and smarter. Digits AI truly represents the future of business finance.
HubSync Gateway levels the playing field for CPA firms, providing access to an end-to-end, customized audit and tax digital platform.
A centralized view provides: 360 visibility, real-time updates & status reporting, transparency, increased collaboration, and streamlined interactions. All while offering different views for internal teams, corporate and individual clients.
Once Accounting’s client integration platform revolutionizes accounting firm workflows. By offering real-time data, simplified processes, and automation, CPAs experience improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Clients benefit from proactive service, accurate financial insights, and timely tax planning. Once Accounting’s innovation drives success for professionals in the industry.
TaxPlanIQ is a revolutionary way for accounting firm owners to organize their clients’ tax strategies quickly and easily so they can demonstrate expertise, communicate value, and price.
Nominations for the 2024 Innovation Awards will open next spring.
Stampli, a provider of AI-powered accounts payable automation, today announced that it has raised $61 million in a Series D venture funding round led by funds managed by Blackstone, with the participation of existing investors Insight Partners, SignalFire, Bloomberg Beta, and NextWorld Capital. This latest funding round takes the total amount raised by the company to over $148 million.
Accounts Payable automation and B2B payments represent a massive and largely unpenetrated market. Put simply, every business has to pay bills, which means every business has an accounts payable function. Sizing the market opportunity, Deutsche Bank Research estimated in 2021 that AP automation and ePayments combined represent ~$70bn in US revenue opportunity, not including the international opportunity, which they estimated could be ~3-5x larger.
Launched in 2015, Stampli is one of the fastest-growing providers of accounts payable automation and ePayment services. In August alone, Stampli processed more than 1 million invoices totaling a collective value of more than $5 billion.
A model for AI in sensitive financial applications
Stampli’s 1,300 accounts payable automation customers trust its AI with invoice capture, expense allocation, approval routing, fraud detection, and more.
These activities are the final checkpoint before money is released, which means there’s zero tolerance for errors or hallucinations.
This safe and effective use of AI is significant because today’s CFOs feel immense pressure to embrace AI for faster workflows, lower costs, and fewer mistakes. But AI is infamous for issues with data security and unpredictable outcomes. Stampli’s success demonstrates that AI can succeed even in finance. Stampli also provides a blueprint for CFOs to maintain human validation of critical data as well as to ensure rank-and-file team members accept AI as a partner.
“Before we brought on Stampli, our AP team was nervous that the AI would be a threat rather than an asset to their jobs,” says Amanda Brown, Controller of Wenspok Companies, a $150M+ Wendy’s franchisee that operates 67 restaurant locations in 10 states. “But with Billy the Bot now performing such time-consuming manual tasks as coding invoices to the correct general ledger accounts, the AP team has seen their responsibilities shift to projects that add much greater value to the business. Today, we think of Billy as a team member, not an AI. Honestly, we love Billy the Bot and frequently refer to it by name.”
Stampli’s core promise: Implementation without disruption
The efficiency and cost benefits of accounts payable automation are widely known. For CFOs, the overriding concern in choosing a provider is minimizing the disruption of implementation to existing processes and the ERP systems, and ensuring the fastest time to value.
Stampli’s solution is designed specifically to eliminate implementation risk. Stampli builds its ERP integrations in-house to support the full range of native functionality, allowing customers to implement without reworking their ERP, changing their existing processes, or engaging expensive consultants; in addition, it reduces deployment time to days instead of months. Stampli’s adaptability makes it especially well-suited for complex multi-entity corporate structures, highly regulated industries such as healthcare, and businesses that have already automated their AP but are disappointed with their current provider.
“Stampli has reduced our invoice processing time by 75%, which has a strategic impact on cash flow management,” says Brown. “With a more accurate picture of our operating costs, Wenspok leadership can schedule major operational projects with confidence in budgeting and timing of cash flow requirements. At the tactical level, Stampli has created efficiencies across the board — not just on the AP team, but for all our operating team members outside of finance that we consult to validate the bills we receive. The average invoice approval time has dropped from 16 days to 2 days, and we think we will bring that number down even further.”
Stampli offers its fast implementation for more than 70 different ERPs, including systems from Sage, Oracle, Microsoft, QuickBooks, SAP, Acumatica, IBM and many others. Beyond Accounts Payable, Stampli offers an integrated suite of FinTech products, including Stampli Credit Card and Stampli Direct Pay.
Blackstone’s focus on AI and strategic finance
This investment in Stampli highlights Blackstone’s thematic focus on investing in businesses driving the digitization of the economy, as well as those enabling and benefitting from AI adoption. In Stampli, Blackstone sees a company that is well positioned at the intersection of these trends.
With stakes in more than 230 companies and 12,600 real estate assets, Blackstone uniquely understands the strategic necessity to automate legacy processes with the benefit of AI technology, and it is excited to partner with Stampli as it continues to work to ensure that its portfolio is equipped with the right tools and technologies needed to succeed.
Additionally, Blackstone has been an industry pioneer in its commitment to invest significant resources to streamline procurement across its portfolio and then garner strategic insights across spend categories from that data. Stampli stands to benefit from Blackstone’s reach and scale as it builds a best-in-class offering.
A software company’s conference is rarely complete without some announcements of improvements in the product, and Botkeeper did not fail to deliver on that front at the first (annual?!) Botkeeper conference, aptly named AI Unchained. Designed for current and would-be Botkeeper users, as well as those who just want to know more about the company and its product, Botkeeper’s September conference in Boston captivated more than 200 on-site and nearly 2,000 virtual participants with plenty of advice on how to run a successful (and very AI-ish) CAS (Client Advisory Services) practice with the help of vendor sponsors who shared their solutions as well as several accounting firm members who lent the voice of experience to the discussions.
The focus of the conference was on the nuts and bolts of running a CAS practice and cutting-edge technology solutions from vendors (see below), and there was plenty of information to digest. But the most captivating segments of the conference were in the areas of artificial intelligence, which is what Botkeeper has been about since Day One, and the exciting announcements that will impact Botkeeper users and their clients.
We witnessed a fascinating presentation by Ben Royce, AI expert, business development leader at Google, and all-around data evangelist wherein attendees received an informative dose of how generative-AI programs (or will we ultimately call them entities?) such as ChatGPT are likely catalysts for change in the accounting profession. And by catalysts for change, I’m not thinking about change like when in 2000 accounting firms started talking about “going paperless” and then 20 or so years later they are almost there. Generative AI is change that is around the corner. As in next week, next month, or, for the laggards out there, next year.
Botkeeper CEO and founder Enrico Palmerino used the conference main stage as his platform for making some major announcements. First, he shared the news that planning solution Jirav is now partnering with Botkeeper, and the power of Jirav’s forecasting/budgeting/reporting/dashboarding/analyzing/planning/kpi-ing solution will be incorporated into the Botkeeper advanced package at no extra cost to users later this year. Jirav CEO and cofounder Martin Zych reminded us that the purpose of accounting and finance is “to connect people with data so that they can make smart decisions.” It’s that decision part that requires the financial mind, enhanced by a product that can help the financial pros analyze and make projections for their clients based on a business’s financial activity. “We’re going to go where accounting ends and finance starts,” said Zych as he described the new partnership.
Following that announcement, Palmerino welcomed to the stage Tara Seppa, Google national director of startups and digital native growth, and shared the news that Botkeeper is now leveraging Google to deliver CAS insights. “Imagine a world where AI will review your clients’ financials and then offer advice and recommendations to you, the trusted advisor, to review, edit, and send to your client. Not only would you be their accountant and their advisor. No, something better. You would be at the center of their financial universe.”
Called Insights, the new feature will provide key advice, KPIs, summaries – all derived from the client data – leaving it to the accountant to sift through and serve the client with information that will be most useful. “Think of it as your storytelling ally,” explained Palmerino. “Able to quickly decipher, review your client financials, and serve up the key advice, KPIs, summaries to you as a trusted advisor, so that you can curate what the AI has identified and only pass along those things to your client that you see fit.”
“We see a future where accountants and AI work hand-in-hand,” Palmerino continued. “We see a future where reconciliations and month-end reviews happen automatically and only the key discrepancies, the variances, are surfaced to you to review. Botkeeper’s newest package, Infinite, is a standalone pure tech solution, marking our evolution into a company that puts tech at the forefront of everything we do.” More than just a strategic move, Botkeeper refers to this as a metamorphosis.
“Infinite is your co-pilot,” explained Palmerino. “Even as you scale, it ensures you remain agile, competitive, and always on the cutting edge, offering tools and technologies that enhance your service and allow you to make your mark. This is a holistic approach to client engagement.”
New automated features of Infinite, Botkeeper’s tech-only BOS (Botkeeper Operating System), include easy onboarding, an activity hub for communication, automated journal entries, automated bank reconciliations, automated month-end review, transaction manager to push transactions directly into a QuickBooks Online or Xero ledger, customizable dashboard and reporting for displaying client business insights, a document manager, a workflow tool, and a password manager. Built for the small- to medium-sized accounting firm, Infinite release date is not yet announced, but it appears beta will begin in fall 2023.
Botkeeper’s AI Unchained conference was sponsored by: ADP, AICPA-CIMA, Alwyn, Avalara, BILL, Expensify, Intuit, Jirav,, Peerview Data, Ramp, Reach Reporting, Right Networks, Rippling, Snyder, TriNet, and Xero.
Client demands and expectations are shifting. Accountants report that there’s been a shift to advisory services to better meet the needs of clients and also improve revenue. Relationships are changing, too.
This is what I call “client relationships 2.0.”
Accounting firms must start to enhance trust and expand their offerings to keep clients around. Clients have many options, especially with virtual services, so it makes sense to do everything you can to retain clients by becoming an integral part of solving their problems.
If you exceed expectations and build trust in your accountant-client relationship, you’ll be better able to grow revenue and reduce client turnover in the process.
The Power of Diversified Services
Sit down and think about your client’s needs. You may offer bookkeeping services to a business with $5 million in annual profits. The owner may use you for their business needs, but why not offer wealth management to them?
Expanding your offerings to meet a broader range of needs will empower you to:
Solve client pain points
Increase overall revenue
Boost client retention
You can also offer financial planning services to the business owner. Can they really afford that second holiday home? Can the person afford to retire early? Should they invest in a new business venue this close to retirement?
Often, your clients have needs they don’t realize you can solve.
And if you can’t or don’t offer a service they need, consider how you can partner with a third partner who can. Your client will benefit from a more complete service while you profit from the partnership.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
If you can offer these additional services, consider strategically implementing them into your offerings. For example, you might find that most of your clients will benefit from tax planning services.
You can then add these services and begin offering them on a case-by-case basis. Slowly rolling out your offerings to clients will allow you to get a feel for the service and the processes that go along with it.
Communication is Key: Educating Clients on New Offerings
Communication is the foundation of trust. To build trust with your new offerings, you must prioritize communication with clients and understanding their needs and goals before educating them on your new offerings.
Doing so will allow you to introduce new services to clients without making them feel overwhelmed. You can focus only on the services that will meet their needs and will add value.
Have conversations with your clients. Ask about their needs and what they want to achieve to see where you can add value. Think about past conversations as well. If your client previously spoke about wanting to achieve ABC and you now offer a solution for that, you can offer it.
If you start introducing and educating clients on services that won’t interest them, you’ll start losing their trust. Why? Because it’s clear that you’re not paying attention to what they share in your conversations and don’t understand their needs.
Building a Client-Centric Culture
Understanding your client’s needs is an important piece of the puzzle, but for you to build trust with your new offerings, you must focus on building a client-centric culture.
How can you do that?
Start by ensuring that your services are tailored to the individual client’s needs and goals.
Next, make sure that your team is trained to adopt a client-first mentality. When your team takes a client-first mentality, this ensures that clients receive a consistent and personalized experience every time.
If your goal is to build client trust through your expanded offerings, client feedback will be essential. Knowing what your clients love about your services and what you could improve will help you shape and transform your offerings for the better.
As you improve your offerings, clients will feel valued because you’re listening to their feedback. In other words, they’re being heard. And that helps strengthen their trust in you and your services.
Create a feedback loop. Encourage your clients to provide feedback, and really pay attention to what they have to say. Use their comments to improve your services and strengthen the trust you’ve built together.
Rinse and repeat this process.
Never stop gathering feedback and improving your services.
Expanding your offerings will help you build trust with clients, but you have to take the right approach. Prioritizing communication, building a client-centric culture and gathering feedback will help you strengthen that trust while meeting your client’s needs and adding value.
John Graziano, CPA, PFS, CFP® is president of FFP Wealth Management, a financial planning and management firm. He also actively mentors more than 80 accounting firms across the country. To get in touch with John or his team, please do so here.
Starting salaries for roles in tax services are projected to increase an average of 3.6% in 2024, while audit and assurance services will see starting salaries likely go up an average of 3.8% next year, according to a CPA Practice Advisor analysis of public accounting pay data provided by specialized staffing firm Robert Half.
Robert Half’s salary guide for 2024 was released on Monday, featuring starting salary projections for a plethora of roles in accounting and finance. In the public accounting category, Robert Half provides projected 2024 starting salaries for eight positions: four in tax services and four in audit and assurance services.
Firms that are upfront about a role’s salary range can improve their hiring prospects. According to Robert Half research, 42% of workers expect to see a salary range in the job posting, and 57% would take themselves out of consideration if the employer doesn’t provide it upon request. In addition, 83% of managers say they include salary ranges in job postings, with 63% saying doing so helps their firm attract the best job candidates and 60% noting that it gives their firm a competitive advantage.
While salaries are expected to rise in 2024, increases are likely to be more measured than in recent years, according to Robert Half.
“For some professionals, that might be a reason to look for other opportunities. This is not lost on hiring managers, many of whom continue to increase compensation to retain key staff and better compete for top talent in a tight hiring market,” Robert Half said in the salary guide.
CPA Practice Advisor analyzed starting salary projections from Robert Half’s 2023 and 2024 salary guides to determine how much average starting pay is expected to increase next year for each of the eight positions featured. The results were:
Senior manager/director: 7.8%
Senior tax associate: 4%
Tax associate: 2.8%
Overall average increase: 3.6%
Audit and assurance services
Senior manager/managing director: 4%
Senior associate: 0.9%
Overall average increase: 3.8%
In its annual salary guide, Robert Half provides starting pay ranges by percentile, based on a candidate’s experience. For the 2024 salary guide, there are three salary percentiles with the following descriptions:
25th percentile: New to the role, with little to no experience; requires more than casual instruction or supervision to perform day-to-day duties.
50th percentile: Has the experience to consistently perform core responsibilities without direct supervision; very comfortable with processes and subject matter associated with the role.
75th percentile: Value to the organization goes far beyond the ability to perform normal job duties; has rare qualifications that enable consistent contribution in unique ways; ready for next career level when available.
Below are the projected starting salaries in public accounting for 2024, according to Robert Half (25th/50th/75th):
Below are the starting salaries for each of the eight public accounting roles in the 2024 salary guide, listed by percentile, compared with 2023’s starting salary projections from Robert Half (2023 -> 2024) so we can see how big the starting pay increases are expected to be by position and by percentile (in parenthesis):
Senior manager/director tax services
25th percentile: $118,500 -> $124,500 (5.1%)
50th percentile: $146,250 -> $159,500 (9%)
75th percentile: $175,750 -> $192,000 (9.2%)
Manager of tax services
25th percentile: $92,750 -> $92,750 (0%)
50th percentile: $112,750 -> $112,750 (0%)
75th percentile: $131,000 -> $131,000 (0%)
Senior tax associate
25th percentile: $65,250 -> $67,250 (3.1%)
50th percentile: $78,500 -> $83,250 (6%)
75th percentile: $90,500 -> $93,250 (3%)
25th percentile: $51,250 -> $52,750 (3%)
50th percentile: $63,000 -> $64,750 (2.8%)
75th percentile: $72,750 -> $74,750 (2.7%)
Senior manager/managing director, audit and assurance services
25th percentile: $116,750 -> $121,500 (4.1%)
50th percentile: $144,500 -> $150,250 (4%)
75th percentile: $167,500 -> $174,250 (4%)
Manager, audit and assurance services
25th percentile: $80,000 -> $90,000 (12.5%)
50th percentile: $100,000 -> $106,250 (6.2%)
75th percentile: $114,000 -> $124,750 (9.4%)
Senior associate, audit and assurance services
25th percentile: $57,250 -> $57,750 (0.9%)
50th percentile: $72,000 -> $72,750 (1%)
75th percentile: $82,000 -> $82,750 (0.9%)
Associate, audit and assurance services
25th percentile: $48,500 -> $49,000 (1%)
50th percentile: $59,750 -> $60,500 (1.2%)
75th percentile: $68,750 -> $69,500 (1.1%)
“Fewer college students are graduating with accounting degrees, making it especially hard for public accounting firms to find entry-level candidates. Competition for experienced talent is also an issue, as many public accounting employees leave for corporate jobs with more manageable workloads. Audit and bookkeeping professionals at all levels are also in high demand,” Robert Half said in the salary guide. “Successful strategies for landing skilled accountants include offering competitive salaries and allowing staff to work from home at least a couple of days per week. Managers in public accounting are typically more open to remote and hybrid work options than those in other segments of finance and accounting. Firms that don’t allow staff to work off-site tend to struggle most with hiring.”
By Katelyn Washington, Kiplinger Consumer News Service (TNS)
Since receiving funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS has ramped up tax enforcement for millionaires, but data show the agency has yet to crack down on a separate set of wealthy non-filers. Lawmakers, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), want the agency to increase compliance efforts for high-income earners who aren’t paying taxes.
“I urge the IRS to initiate enforcement actions against every single millionaire non-filer,” Wyden wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. In the letter, Wyden refers to these non-filers as “wealthy tax cheats.”
The chairman also urged the IRS to “utilize the enforcement tools available to it for instances of willful millionaire non-filers.” These tools, according to Wyden, include referrals to the Department of Justice for civil or criminal prosecution, liens, and levies.
Wealthy tax cheats owe $65.7 billion
IRS data from 2017 to 2020 reveal that 1.4 million wealthy individuals failed to file federal tax returns. These unfiled returns are tied to an estimated $65.7 billion in unpaid taxes. In his letter, Wyden reminds the IRS that willful non-filing is a federal crime, adding that millionaires “know better,” given the tax professionals and advisors the wealthy have access to.
Data also show that many of these non-filing millionaires aren’t one-time offenders. For example, 10,272 of the millionaires identified failed to file more than one year of required tax returns.
So, what is the IRS doing about wealthy non-filers? Not enough, according to Wyden, though the senator commended the IRS for tax compliance the agency has achieved to date.
Wyden billionaire income tax investigation
Wyden’s tax compliance investigation revealed that only a small percentage of millionaire non-filers have been subject to the IRS’s strongest enforcement tools.
Only 31 of the more than 10,000 millionaires who failed to file tax returns for multiple years were under criminal investigation this year.
About 154 repeat millionaire offenders were criminally investigated in the past.
The investigation identified 8,729 multimillionaire non-filers, each with the potential for $500,000 in unpaid taxes.
Of the wealthiest non-filers (2,000 taxpayers), only two were criminally investigated, and just 58 were subjected to liens and levies.
Will the IRS investigate more millionaires?
The IRS has already been successful in collecting $38 million from high-income individuals. As Kiplinger previously reported, the agency isn’t done going after what it refers to as millionaire tax evaders. The IRS currently has a list of 1,600 millionaires and 575 businesses it’s looking into.
Will Wyden’s concerns prompt the agency to add more wealthy “taxpayers” to that list? It seems likely, given the IRS’s intensified efforts to improve tax compliance, reduce the tax gap, and restore fairness to the U.S. tax system.
All contents copyright 2023 The Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.
Hundreds of certified public accountants across Illinois participated in the Illinois CPA Society’s 14th annual CPA Day of Service on Sept. 23, 2023, with others still planning activities later this fall.
Goodwill and good times were plentiful as nearly 900 CPAs in their matching CPA Day of Service T-shirts took part in a wide variety of individual and group charitable and community service activities in support of the communities and causes they care for. Assisting at animal shelters, preparing meals at food banks, feeding the homeless, making children’s backpacks, and running marathons were just some of the countless activities that brought much-needed aid and support to the organizations the volunteers spent their time with.
“The CPA Day of Service’s motto, ‘A good day for doing good,’ rang true once again. We had a phenomenal turnout, with about 25% more volunteers participating this year, which just goes to show how much care and compassion CPAs have for the communities they live and work in,” says Geoffrey Brown, CAE, Illinois CPA Society president and CEO. “It was really rewarding to get out among some of these groups and see the impacts they’re making. We thank our members and their friends, families, and colleagues for coming together across Illinois to serve their communities.”
Among the organizations supported by CPA Day of Service volunteers this year were Bernie’s Book Bank, Big Shoulders Fund, Equestrian Connection, Feed My Starving Children, Fit-2-Serve, Glenwood Academy, Habitat for Humanity, Heart House, Holiday Heroes, Lambs Farm, Matthias Academy, Meals on Wheels, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Olive Branch Mission, PAWS Chicago, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and more.
Small businesses (SMBs) are a busy bunch. On any given day, they might be fulfilling orders, engaging with customers in-person, managing staff, doing their books — plus dozens of other tasks. Most would relish an opportunity to gain back an extra hour, or save some extra money.
Luckily, those goals (and others) are attainable thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and marketing automation. These technologies can help small businesses work more efficiently, drive more sales, and improve the ways they are marketing themselves – without making it more of a headache or a time suck.
We recently published a report at Constant Contact called, Small Business Now: An AI Awakening, that outlines how SMBs are thinking about AI and automation, and some of the results that early adopters are seeing. With insights from nearly 500 small businesses across the U.S., the study reveals how these technologies can enhance marketing effectiveness and help SMBs save time and money.
If you’re curious about how AI can impact your business, here are the 10 stats about AI that you should know.
Challenge Accepted: 60% of SMBs say their biggest challenge is attracting new customers, while 39% say it’s marketing to their target audience.
Peaked Interest: 74% are interested in using AI or automation in their business, and 55% reported that their interest in using these technologies grew in the first half of 2023.
Off to the Races: 26% are already using AI or automation, and the top use cases are social media (52%), generative content creation (44%) and email marketing (41%).
Proven Success: 91% of the small businesses polled say AI has helped make their businesses more successful.
Reaping the Benefits: 60% of small businesses that currently use AI or automation in their marketing say they have saved time and are working more efficiently.
First step, Social Media: SMBs say the easiest places to start leveraging AI technology are social media, content creation, and analytics.
Financial Gains: 28% of SMBs expect AI and/or automation to save them at least $5,000 in the next year.
Increasing Efficiency: 33% of small businesses estimate they have saved more than 40 minutes per week on marketing by using AI or automation.
Top Concern: 44% of small businesses noted data security as their top hesitation about using AI.
Value Recognition: The more SMBs use AI, the more they value it.70% of SMBs would be willing to pay more to access AI and automation.
So, what do all these stats mean? I’m glad you asked.
AI is here to stay. The small businesses who are currently using tools powered by AI overwhelmingly agree that it is making their businesses more successful. They are working more efficiently, saving money, improving customer experiences, and growing quicker.
So, if you’re an SMB who is either starved for more time in your week, or you want to improve the way you engage with your customers without adding extra marketing work to your plate, don’t write off AI as a passing trend. Give it a try and you might be surprised about the results you see.
Dave Charest is the Director of Small Business Success for Constant Contact, a digital marketing and automation platform that has helped millions of small businesses and nonprofits become better marketers.
AAM Virtual Conference and Upcoming Member Resources Center on Navigating the Future of Intelligent Technologies
The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) announced a series of upcoming resources dedicated to improving members’ understanding of AI, driven by AAM’s fourth annual one-day virtual conference, Emerge, on October 4, 2023. This year’s programming focus on Intelligent Technologies will address their impact on the future of accounting firms, and the approaches firms can take to transform their efficiencies and growth journeys with these technologies.
Emerge allows accounting growth professionals to network and collaborate with AAM’s chain of marketing, business development, and growth strategists while they take in informative sessions presented by minds at the forefront of the intersection of AI with marketing and the accounting profession.
New for the 2023 Emerge conference is the opportunity to partake in two hands-on workshops: an AI ChatGPT and Prompt Engineering Workshop and an AI Policy Workshop. The AI ChatGPT and Prompt Engineering session will teach participants how to leverage generative AI, particularly ChatGPT, to improve efficiency in daily product activities and will also focus on how to engage the full potential of Large Language Models (LMM) through masterful prompt engineering. In the AI Policy Workshop, attendees will receive guidance on all the areas a firm’s AI policy should address, followed by a 30-minute hands-on working session through an AI policy worksheet. Participants will walk away with clear next steps to advance this initiative and finalize a concise, enforceable AI policy for their organizations.
Additionally, AAM members have the option of joining a networking “circle” of members that meets monthly to discuss the multiple impacts and case uses of AI.
“AAM fosters a collaborative environment, which is essential and resourceful now more than ever,” commented Rhonda Clark, executive director of AAM. “As an organization, we are committed to exploring the power of AI to foster a deeper knowledge and understanding among our members through avenues such as Emerge, as we know that embracing AI is not an option but is imperative for those seeking to shape the future of their firms.”
AAM’s Emerge conference is open to both members and non-members and includes panel discussions, networking breaks, and hands-on workshops. Additional information, including the full agenda, speaker line-up, and registration information, is available on the Emerge website. Members of the media are also invited to attend Emerge on October 4, 2023, to learn how leaders in the accounting marketing space are incorporating the transformative potential of AI into their daily work and into their firms’ futures. Those interested can explore the Emerge session agenda here.
The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) is an international association boasting a network of marketing, business development and growth strategists. The association was formed in 1989 to elevate the profession and advance the careers of growth professionals in the accounting profession through education, community, thought leadership and leading-edge resources. Learn more about AAM at www.accountingmarketing.org.
Base pay for 11 positions in public accounting is projected to rise 4.9% next year, according to a CPA Practice Advisor analysis of salary data provided by LHH Recruitment Solutions.
The global talent solutions provider recently released its 2024 Salary Guide, which includes pay expectations for numerous positions in accounting and finance. According to LHH, there is more optimism heading into 2024 than there was this time last year as 2023 approached.
“Heading into 2023, many were bracing for an almost certain recession. However, despite these concerns, the labor market simply maintained a slow, but steady pace of growth. This resilience has led to a more cautiously optimistic outlook: hope for a possible ‘soft landing’ of reduced inflation without a recession and massive unemployment,” LHH said in the salary guide.
In its 2024 salary guide, LHH Recruiting Solutions provides salary data for employees in three tiers based on experience:
Low: Zero to two years of experience in that position or one similar.
Medium: Three to nine years of experience in that position or one similar.
High: Ten or more years of experience in that position or one similar.
Here are its salary expectations in public accounting for next year (low/medium/high):
CPA Practice Advisor reviewed LHH’s salary projections for 2024 and compared them with the staffing firm’s salary projections for these 11 public accounting positions in its 2023 Salary Guide to see how much base pay is expected to increase next year. The analysis revealed that base pay is expected to increase 4.9% in 2024 for all 11 positions and across all experience levels.
Below are the projected 2024 average base salaries for each of the 11 public accounting jobs, listed by experience, with a comparison of 2023’s projected salaries (2023 -> 2024) for those same roles:
Accounting services associate
Low experience: $63,443 -> $66,539 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $77,489 -> $81,271 (4.9%)
High experience: $91,235 -> $95,688 (4.9%)
Accounting services senior associate
Low experience: $65,051 -> $68,226 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $78,508 -> $82,340 (4.9%)
High experience: $114,675 -> $120,271 (4.9%)
Audit/assurance services associate
Low experience: $57,087 -> $59,873 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $72,233 -> $75,758 (4.9%)
High experience: $85,871 -> $90,062 (4.9%)
Audit/assurance services senior associate
Low experience: $71,853 -> $75,360 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $83,701 -> $87,786 (4.9%)
High experience: $100,844 -> $105,766 (4.9%)
Audit/assurance services manager
Low experience: $85,499 -> $89,672 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $113,121 -> $118,642 (4.9%)
High experience: $133,650 -> $140,173 (4.9%)
Audit/assurance services senior manager
Low experience: $98,771 -> $103,592 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $125,492 -> $131,617 (4.9%)
High experience: $139,339 -> $146,140 (4.9%)
Tax services associate
Low experience: $52,930 -> $55,513 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $58,982 -> $61,861 (4.9%)
High experience: $68,390 -> $71,728 (4.9%)
Tax services senior associate
Low experience: $76,862 -> $80,613 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $86,650 -> $90,879 (4.9%)
High experience: $89,624 -> $93,998 (4.9%)
Tax services manager
Low experience: $89,405 -> $93,071 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $104,808 -> $109,105 (4.9%)
High experience: $131,059 -> $136,432 (4.9%)
Tax services senior manager
Low experience: $105,428 -> $109,751 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $125,296 -> $130,433 (4.9%)
High experience: $153,950 -> $160,262 (4.9%)
Low experience: $155,063 -> $162,630 (4.9%)
Medium experience: $220,793 -> $231,568 (4.9%)
High experience: $314,557 -> $329,909 (4.9%)
“With automation streamlining processes, increasing productivity, and ensuring greater data integrity, today’s top accounting and finance professionals must be more than number crunchers,” LHH said in the salary guide. “Skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and relationship-building are in higher demand as firms and in-house departments look to build teams of strategic analysts and consultants.”
Venning & Jacques, Inc., one of the most respected accounting and tax firms in Central Massachusetts, recently announced an ownership change and rebranding of the firm as Venning. This strategic move marks a significant milestone in the firm’s growth and evolution, positioning it for even greater success in the future.
The firm merged with Agawam, Massachusetts-based accounting firm, Corbin & Tapases on September 27. The staff and clients of Corbin will join under the new Venning brand.
The combination of the two firms may result in the “largest minority-owned CPA in the United States,” said Hannah Paige Michels, the marketing manager at Venning. “Our ownership is made up of minorities, so focusing on empowering minority communities and employing minorities at Venning is encompassed in our mission.”
Operating since 1978, the reputation of Venning & Jacques is cemented on the quality of its professional services and the diverse expertise of its people. The rebranding to Venning, finalized in October, represents a bold step forward as the firm plans to expand its service offerings to better serve members of the community, and looks to strategically acquire other like-minded firms and staff members.
“We are thrilled to announce the ownership change and rebranding of our firm as Venning,” said Jerry Bankowski, CPA, outgoing President and Shareholder of Venning & Jacques, Inc. “This exciting development represents our commitment to growth and innovation while remaining dedicated to the principles of trust, professionalism, and community that have been at the core of our practice for decades.”
Key highlights of the rebranded Venning include:
Expanded Service Offerings: In addition to traditional accounting and tax services, Venning now offers an expanded range of services, including comprehensive payroll, seamless 401(k) for businesses and their employees, transaction advisory services, and general CFO services.
Streamlined Operations: The acquisition and rebranding also comes with new, innovative technology that streamlines the firm’s operations and processes, enabling a more efficient approach to clients’ needs.
Commitment to Excellence: Among its broadened offering of services, the firm’s commitment to excellence remains unchanged. Venning retains the best and brightest talent with a people-first culture that powers exclusive expertise. Clients, partners, and employees can expect a seamless transition as the firm begins operating under the name “Venning.”
Community-forward Focus: Just like its founders, Venning continues to strengthen its cornerstone of community through meaningful action in local community affairs and aims to become the largest minority-owned and operated CPA firm in the United States.
As of Sept. 1, 2023, interest on federal student loans is accruing again after being waived, along with loan repayments, since the March 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, individuals with federal student loans must begin planning to start repaying these debts for the first time in more than three years. With this in mind, and with October being National Financial Planning Month, it’s the perfect time to study up on some smart money management tips.
The resumption of student loan repayments is likely to be a burden for many, but the reality is there’s time to plan accordingly. The administration is providing an “on-ramp period” from now until Sept. 30, 2024, which is essentially a grace period, as missed payments until then won’t result in individuals being reported as being in default. However, interest will accrue on student loan balances. In other words, it’s best to begin repayments promptly while reevaluating long-term financial plans. Consider these tips that may help:
Put payments—and savings—on auto. Electing to have portions of the direct deposit of your paycheck automatically diverted toward loan repayments and savings is a great budgeting practice that’ll help you repay your loans on time while also setting aside money without having to think about it.
Redirect discretionary spending. Cutting back on unnecessary spending is a great way to dampen the hit of student loan repayments—and it’ll afford you more savings, strengthening your financial future in the long run.
Apply for an income-driven repayment plan. Federal Student Aid’s income-driven repayment plans set your monthly student loan payment at an amount that’s intended to be affordable based on your income and family size. Individuals who qualify may be able to lower their monthly payments or earn loan forgiveness after a certain number of qualifying payments.
It’s not easy to forecast what your financial future might look like or what your needs will be. However, a CPA—a certified public accountant—can help guide you through formulating a long-term financial plan. The Illinois CPA Society’s free “Find a CPA” directory can help you find the trusted, strategic advisor that’s right for you and your family based on location, types of services needed, and languages spoken. Find your CPA at www.icpas.org/findacpa.
Sikich will acquire the assets of Four Leaf LLC, a technology services firm leveraging scalable software solutions to rapidly deliver user-friendly applications to state and local government entities and their constituents.
“County and local government sectors, particularly emergency services managers and crews working to save lives, need faster progress in their digital transformation journey and we now are solidifying our position in this vital area,” said Partner-in-Charge of Sikich’s technology teamMike Kean. “The addition of Four Leaf is another key step toward expanding our offering in the government space and broadening our capabilities in helping clients succeed as they confront constantly changing technology needs.”
Specializing in systems integration for state and local governments, Four Leaf leverages modern Software as a Service and Platform as a Service solutions to help government entities maximize scalability and extensibility for their mission critical systems. Four Leaf deploys Salesforce, Tableau, MuleSoft and other tools to maximize collaboration and efficiency in emergency services and non-emergency support services. An example of its success has been creating award-winning applications to assist the State of California in responding to and recovering from major disasters.
“We anticipate strong synergy in teaming with Sikich and leveraging the firm’s vast talent pool, broad range of offerings, and national reach for all levels of government,” said Eric Scully, founder and CEO of Four Leaf, who will join Sikich as a partner. “Government entities such as state and local emergency management agencies are finding themselves at a crossroads in the face of unprecedented natural disasters. They have an immediate need to engage in digital transformation and adopt modern technology to replace aging legacy systems and costly paper-driven processes. As part of Sikich, our clients will have access to our complete solution suite and an extensive customer community to unlock the true potential of modern technology in execution of their missions nationwide.”
Sikich’s national technology consultancy helps companies across industries – including life sciences, finance, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services – improve productivity and performance with innovative digital strategies and technology solutions. Sikich is a leader in digital transformation, which includes cloud and emerging technologies, and has one of the deepest, most diverse solution portfolios in the middle market. Sikich’s solutions include business applications and workplace productivity, security and compliance, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and robotic process automation.
The transaction is scheduled to close on Sept. 30.
The number of job openings and quits in the United States has been on a downward trend for several months, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is good news for employers overall. However, it doesn’t mean CPA firms are finding it any easier to staff available positions — or hold on to the valued employees they already have in place.
Robert Half’s research on U.S. hiring and employment trends found that 95% of hiring managers in finance and accounting face challenges in locating skilled candidates available for hire. This finding is not surprising in a profession where unemployment rates for many in-demand roles, including accountants and auditors, typically trend well below the national average.
However, the inability to find professionals who meet critical job requirements is likely to become more problematic for firms that want to expand their teams in the months ahead. Based on our research, a strong majority (67%) of employers across industries are looking to build up their teams to support business growth. In finance and accounting specifically, nearly two-thirds (66%) of the hiring managers we surveyed said they want to hire talent for new jobs. And about one-third (32%) said they would be hiring to address vacated positions in their organization.
But here’s another headline: A separate survey of U.S. finance and accounting professionals that Robert Half conducted found that 41% of finance and accounting professionals are either looking for a job already, or they plan to do so within the next few months. That means while CPA firms are working hard to expand their teams in a difficult hiring environment, any near-term gains they make to increase headcount could be diluted as other employees decide to launch a new job search and leave.
What can employers do to counter this trend? Our research provides some answers that can help CPA firms with hiring and retention. Robert Half has learned that many workers in finance and accounting are keen to seek a new role for one or more of the following three reasons (multiple responses to this survey question were allowed).
1. More than half of industry professionals want to secure a higher salary
For 55% of workers in the finance and accounting profession, the top reason to pursue a new role right now or in the near term is the desire for a higher salary. This figure is lower than what we saw in similar research findings that we released in the first half of 2023. But it is still a substantial number of finance and accounting employees who feel they aren’t earning enough compensation now — or could land a higher salary somewhere else.
Pay dissatisfaction is a common job search motivator for workers in any industry. But it’s important to acknowledge that many professionals are highly focused on compensation in an uncertain economy that is still trying to move on fully from the pandemic’s disruption. Meanwhile, many employers continue to lean hard on their top people while they work (or wait) to address critical staffing gaps, perhaps asking for more from them while not necessarily bumping up their pay in return.
Now is a good time to review employee salaries to confirm that your CPA firm is paying competitive compensation, especially for those workers who are in hard-to-staff roles and have specialized skill sets. Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide can help you gauge whether your organization’s pay practices are in line with current industry trends, including in your local market.
Better benefits and perks are a focus for many finance and accounting job seekers
In our recent hiring and employment trends survey, 37% of finance and accounting professionals said they were seeking a new job because they wanted to secure better benefits and perks. No doubt, many CPA firm leaders upon reading that finding will let out a big sigh as they wonder how to compete against larger organizations equipped to offer more generous packages than they can.
First, most CPA firms, large or small, have a lot to offer today’s workers across the various generations represented in their workforce. For example, Robert Half’s research on the multigenerational workforce found that Millennial professionals want autonomy to make decisions at work. In response to that preference, your business could offer Millennial employees more opportunities to spearhead new projects, take on stretch assignments, engage in leadership development programs, and more. (And fostering a learning culture at your firm can benefit everyone on your team.)
Keep in mind that traditional benefits, like health insurance and retirement savings plans, can go a long way toward attracting and retaining finance and accounting professionals. And don’t overlook the power of compelling perks such as flexible schedules, generous vacation time and paid parental leave. Take stock of what your business is offering to employees now, how that compares with what competitors are providing, and make strategic adjustments where you can, if needed.
Remote work is a top job search motivator for one-third of workers
If your employees are telling you that they want to work remotely, listen. One of the lasting impacts of the pandemic is the realization by many professionals that they can be just as productive working at home as they are at their employer’s office — even more so at times. Plus, the ability to work from home gives every worker a better chance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Taking a hard line with employees and insisting that they return to the office on a full-time basis can be risky for hiring and retention — not to mention workforce morale. About one-third (34%) of finance and accounting professionals surveyed by Robert Half said they are motivated to search for a new job because they want remote work options.
Even if your CPA firm can’t offer fully remote arrangements for some or all of your employees, you can still find common ground with all your staff by offering flexible work. This can help you boost retention and attract talented workers specifically looking for employers open to some level of remote work. That includes younger workers — your organization’s future leaders. In fact, Robert Half’s research on the multigenerational workforce found that Gen Z professionals value the ability to work when and where they want to more than any other major generational group in today’s workforce.
There’s another benefit to offering remote work that you may not have considered: It opens the door to recruiting talent from anywhere, including highly skilled contract professionals. CPA firms often turn to these resources when they want to access specialized skills or need extra help during busy periods like tax season. But many employers of finance and accounting talent also find that using this approach throughout the year can benefit their business.
Engaging contract professionals allows employers to access the talent they need whenever they need it, cover critical staffing gaps while they work to recruit new talent, and ease the burden on their core staff so they can stay satisfied and avoid burning out. And 64% of the U.S. hiring managers we recently surveyed said they intend to bring in more contract professionals for finance and accounting roles in the coming months as they work to overcome their recruiting challenges.
Steve Saah is the executive director of the finance and accounting permanent placement practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized financial talent solutions service. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. He is responsible for leading U.S. operations, based in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. He was named executive director in 2017, previously serving as director of permanent placement services.
Saah has been with the company since 1998, where he started as a recruiting manager, following a career as an internal auditor and assistant controller. He is a noted expert, author and presenter on career, management and hiring trends, particularly those affecting the accounting and finance fields. Saah earned a finance degree from Virginia Tech.
There are a myriad of challenges and changes in the tax codes affecting their business clients each tax season. With an economy still trying to gain more certain footing, businesses facing new market conditions, and a constantly evolving IRS, the business and tax advisors at KBKG have identified three of the most significant changes the IRS has implemented, each of which can have strong impacts on businesses.
Here are the three most complex issues as KBKG outlines:
Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
The IRS recently suspended accepting new ERC claims through at least December 31, 2023, because of the increasing number of fraudulent claims and malpractice of the ERC program. Those that have already submitted an ERC claim can anticipate a longer processing time, as the IRS continues to file through the fraudulent claims. If it is believed that an already filed claim is erroneous, those that have submitted can withdraw the claim, even if it is already under audit. Those still looking to file an ERC claim can continue to do so under the strict guidance of the IRS and through a certified tax professional, like KBKG.
174 Research and Expenses
To pay for the tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, beginning in 2022, Section 174 Expenses need to be amortized over 5 years (15 years for international), increasing many businesses’ taxable income. This change was always meant to be something that was corrected via legislation, leading many in early 2023 to believe that there would be a repeal. This impacts the Sec. 41 R&D Tax Credit in the following ways: The R&D Credit utilizes Section 174 expenses as the basis for the credit. With uncertainty around, and unwillingness to increase taxable income, many who qualify for the R&D Credit were hesitant to claim for the 2022 tax year or waited, in the hope of a repeal. Many still believe there will be a repeal of the amortization. However, it likely won’t be retroactive for 2022 and will apply for 2023 at earliest.
Green Building Tax Incentives (179D Deduction and 45L Tax Credit)
To maximize a claim for Green Building Tax Incentives, candidates must pay employees with prevailing wages, which can result in increased labor and project costs. Trying to qualify a project for Green Building Tax Incentives can result in increased costs, as energy-efficient materials typically cost more money. Tax-exempt entities can also benefit from the 179D Tax Deduction through a design rebate received from the project’s designer.
Tax service providers such as KBKG help clients navigate complex matters including the Employee Retention Credit, 174 Research and Expenses, and Green Building Tax Incentives like the 179D Deduction and 45L Credit. Due to the intricacy of these tax programs, KBKG only employs trusted IRS experts, CPAs, and accounting professionals who adhere to a strict code of ethics and provide solutions for clients with integrity at the forefront.
“KBKG has built a reputation in our industry by cultivating the best talent, understanding our clients’ needs, and exceeding their expectations,” said Gian Pazzia, CEO at KBKG. “The reason clients continue to partner with us is because their results are reflected in our values.”
Established in 1999 with offices across the U.S., KBKG provides turn-key tax solutions to CPAs and businesses, including Employee Retention Credits (ERC), Research and Development Tax Credits, Cost Segregation, Green Building Tax Incentives (45L Tax Credits and 179D Deductions), Transfer Pricing for multinational businesses, and more. KBKG has offices established throughout the country with employees located nationwide to better assist its partners and clients.
By Kelley R. Taylor, Kiplinger Consumer News Service (TNS)
If you’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan or a “Swiftie,” you might have wondered recently whether Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are dating. But all the excitement and talk about Taylor’s appearance at an NFL game has also raised questions about what Eras Tour tickets have to do with taxes.
So, to sort out some of the confusion, here’s what you need to know about how reselling concert tickets (not just those for Swift’s tour) might impact your tax bill.
Ticketmaster, StubHub tickets and your taxes
It’s not uncommon to come across Eras Tour, Beyonce Renaissance Tour, and other tickets being resold on platforms like StubHub and Ticketmaster, particularly during times of high demand. Assuming, for instance, Swift’s tour tickets originally sell for around $449, ticket resellers can profit substantially from selling coveted seats for $1,300 or more. That’s where tax comes in.
You may be subject to new IRS reporting requirements if, as in that example, you resell your ticket(s) online and profit at least $600. Form 1099-K reporting rules apply if you sell goods or services online and receive payment through third-party payment networks like Stripe, PayPal, Venmo, and others.
Why is this an issue now? A $600 online sale wasn’t a significant concern for so many casual sellers before.
That is mainly because the threshold for IRS 1099-K reporting used to be $20,000 and more than 200 business transactions.
Now, a single $600 transaction can trigger the reporting requirement.
This is the new “$600 rule.” Last year, the IRS delayed the implementation of the rule. That delay was supposed to give payment networks more time to prepare to send millions more 1099-K forms and online sellers more time to understand the new requirement.
New $600 rule for online sales 1099-K reporting
Many businesses are subject to 1099-K reporting requirements. A few examples include popular platforms like Etsy, Depop, eBay, Poshmark, etc. (But this is far from an all-inclusive list.) If you need clarity on whether you will receive a 1099-K for 2023, most of these sites have information on their websites that can help.
However, personal transactions (e.g., personal payments to friends and family) on payment networks, including Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, etc., are not considered “payments for goods and services.” The 1099-K third-party payment network reporting rule doesn’t apply to payments made that were gifts or other personal money payments to family and friends.
Unless something changes legislatively (some groups are asking Congress for 1099-K relief for casual online sellers), the $600 rule will apply for the 2023 tax year (i.e., federal income tax returns that are normally filed in April 2024). That means if you received payment (for goods or services) of $600 or more through online platforms this year, you will likely receive a 1099-K form by January 31, 2024, to use when you file your 2023 federal income tax return.
Will you have to pay taxes on your ticket sales?
Receiving a 1099-K doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to pay taxes on your ticket sales. For example, on its website, Ticketmaster tells sellers that the 1099-K “just provides the total gross transactional amount processed by Ticketmaster during that calendar year.” As always, your tax liability depends on several factors, including taxable income, tax deductions, and credits.
However, whether you receive a 1099-K or not, it is important to report any taxable income on your federal income tax return as required by the IRS. (This typically includes profits from reselling concert tickets.)
If you are worried about the impact of your online selling on your tax liability, consult a trustworthy tax professional.
All contents copyright 2023 The Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.
By Katelyn Washington, Kiplinter Consumer News Service (TNS)
The IRS has granted Louisiana tax relief to areas of the state impacted by seawater intrusion. Affected taxpayers now have extended tax deadlines of Feb. 15, 2024, to file certain tax returns and make tax payments. The tax deadline extension for Louisiana follows tax relief for several other states this year, including tax extensions for Maine and Massachusetts.
On Sept. 26, President Joe Biden approved the request by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare seawater intrusion of the Mississippi River as a Federally Declared Emergency. Seawater intrusion threatens residents’ drinking water supply by making it unsafe to consume.
“I’m grateful to the Biden administration for making this request a priority and responding quickly to help the people of South Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said in a press release following the declaration.
Louisiana tax relief
Following President Biden’s declaration, the IRS announced Louisiana taxpayers affected by the seawater intrusion now have until Feb. 15, 2024, to file certain tax returns and make tax payments that were originally due from Sept. 20, 2023, to Feb. 15, 2024. These extensions include (but might not be limited to) the following:
Quarterly estimated tax payments originally due Jan. 16, 2024, are now due Feb. 15, 2024.
Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns that were originally due on Oct. 31, 2023, and Jan. 31, 2024, are now due on Feb. 15, 2024.
Corporate tax returns with original filing extensions of Oct. 16, 2023, and Nov. 15, 2023, are now due February 15, 2024.
Individuals who were granted original tax filing extensions of Oct. 16, 2023, now have until Feb. 15, 2024, to file 2022 tax returns.
Note: Because tax payments tied to 2022 tax returns were due on April 18, 2023, the extended tax deadlines don’t apply to these payments.
Areas affected by Louisiana saltwater intrusion
Taxpayers who live or have businesses in the below areas of Louisiana currently qualify for IRS tax relief. However, additional parishes may be added to this list in the future. Information regarding the latest federally declared disaster areas can be found on the IRS’s disaster relief webpage.
The IRS will grant tax relief to qualified taxpayers automatically. However, taxpayers who live outside of the areas but qualify for relief (such as those with documents located in the above parishes) should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.
Some taxpayers impacted by the saltwater intrusion may receive a late filing or payment notice. This can happen if the IRS doesn’t have a record of you living in the affected area (for example, if you recently moved). In this case, taxpayers should call the number provided on the notice for relief.
Is the Louisiana tax deadline extended?
Louisiana hasn’t announced tax deadline extensions relating to the seawater intrusion. However, the state usually grants tax filing extensions to taxpayers automatically when granted one by the IRS. Taxpayers should contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue to see if an automatic extension applies or if local tax relief is available.
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