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By Laura Davison, Bloomberg News (TNS)

A new tax created by Democrats to slow a record pace of stock buybacks has been largely shrugged off by corporations that see the 1% excise levy as a minor cost of doing business.

The tax on publicly listed corporations—created in President Joe Biden’s signature tax and climate plan and set to go into effect next year—makes it slightly more costly for companies to repurchase their shares. But the desire to use free cash to buy back shares appears to be stronger than any deterrent created by the tax.

“The buyback tax is bad policy, but it’s 1%,” Ron Bruehlman, the chief financial officer of health-care technology firm IQVIA Holdings Inc., told investors at a September event. “That wouldn’t be enough to greatly affect how we approach share repurchases, frankly. Even to affect it, period.”

Democrats had hoped that increasing the cost of stock buybacks would prod companies to use their cash on hand to raise workers’ wages or invest in new endeavors, bolstering the economy.

Chances of such an outcome might have been higher if early versions of the tax had come to pass. But proposals for a 2% levy and prohibiting buybacks unless companies met criteria like a minimum $15-an-hour wage didn’t materialize.

Corporations lobbied hard against those proposals, and the result was the smaller tax, with none of those strings attached.

“A lot of companies have factored that in,” Dave Camp, a former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who now advises on tax policy issues at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said of the 1% tax. “It’s part of the cost of doing business.”

Corporations that conduct large-scale buybacks stand to pay, collectively, a hefty chunk of the $73.7 billion congressional scorekeepers project the tax will generate over a decade.

Buybacks are on track for a record-breaking year—before the new levy, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had predicted a $1 trillion total. And there’s little sign that the tax is proving a decisive factor in curbing appetites.

Since congressional passage of the measure on Aug. 12, 16 companies in the S&P 500 Index have announced buyback plans, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The list includes Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot Inc. and T-Mobile U.S. Inc.

Instead, rising interest rates have been a constraint, with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Best Buy Co Inc. pausing some repurchases.

“We aren’t seeing anything that is driven primarily by the tax concern,” said Elena Romanova, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins. “Discussions are going to be driven by the business needs and the treasury needs of any particular corporation.”

Still, now the the levy exists, things could change.

Companies will be watching to see whether lawmakers move to boost the 1% rate, viewing the tax as a tempting dial to crank when they need an easy way to increase revenue without coming up with an entirely new tax policy, one bank executive familiar with planning around the tax said.

Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said members of his party will push to repeal the buyback tax when the GOP regains control of Congress. “At the end of the day this is really a tax on savers and retirees,” he said.

Buybacks became a popular way to increase value for shareholders in part because of favorable tax treatment. When companies pay dividends, stockholders are subject to paying tax on those distributions. But with a buyback, the operation can boost the value of the shares—enhancing shareholders’ wealth—without any taxes owed until the owners decide to sell, when they would owe capital gains.

“For decades, stock buybacks were heavily favored by the tax code, despite their skewed benefits for the very top and potential for insider game-playing,” Senate Financial Services Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a statement. “Our goal wasn’t to end stock buybacks all together—the stock buyback tax simply tries to reduce this preferential tax treatment in order to level the playing field and encourage more investment in workers.”

Salesforce Inc. is one example of a company doing the opposite of what Wyden had hoped. The cloud-based software maker announced its first-ever buyback of $10 billion this year, and Chief Financial Officer Amy Weaver told investors in September the company plans to allocate between 30% and 40% of free cash flow to buybacks going forward.

The biggest hassle for companies may be the compliance procedures to follow the rules governing the tax, said Scott Levine, a partner at law firm Jones Day.

The Internal Revenue Service has yet to issue any regulations on the buyback tax because it takes time to write those rules, creating a period of uncertainty for corporations.

“Obviously nobody likes a tax increase,” Levine said. “But 1% is not going to be enough to sufficiently move the needle.”


©2022 Bloomberg L.P. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.

Having helpful, always-on tools to give your clients the information they need to make more-informed decisions is a key component of delivering advisory services to your clients. With the new Intuit Tax Advisor (ITA), the process is easier than ever—and right at your fingertips.

Thanks to the seamless integration between ITA and Intuit ProConnect Tax and Lacerte Tax, you’ll get vital insights and strategies to help your clients. Bringing tax prep and advisor tools under one roof, ITA allows you to create personalized tax planning that offers value-added services to your clients, including tax savings and powerful, straightforward reports.

“When more and more people are in need of advisory services to help them make significant financial decisions, ITA can help tax professionals differentiate their services and power prosperity with industry-leading change,” said Barry Pennett, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit ProConnect Group. “There is a clear need and appetite for creating more value for clients and firms, and ITA is designed to do just that.”

To get a sense of the value and impact this tool can have, here are some of the biggest benefits regarding ITA.

Automated Data + Powerful Integration = Time Savings and Accurate Tax Projections

With the integration between Lacerte and ProConnect Tax, client data is automatically mined to bring significant time savings to your practice and more accurate tax projections for your clients. In the process, all legislated tax law updates are incorporated into the software’s planning and projections, with built-in compliance.

All of this not only reduces audit risk, but also eliminates the time it takes to perform cumbersome tasks that keep you from helping your clients run and grow their businesses.

“Based on customer feedback, we designed Intuit Tax Advisor to help advisors save time and scale their planning services to more of their staff,” said Jorge Olavarrieta, vice president of product management and design at Intuit ProConnect Group. “Tax professionals can simplify proactive tax planning and advisory services with ITA to replace the current process of cobbling together tax planners, spreadsheets, and reporting applications.”

Personalized Tax Planning Strategies

Packed inside ITA is an endless number of strategies that can take your practice—and your clients—to the next level.

For example, ITA gives you hundreds of potential triggers in your clients’ tax data that show smart strategies for you to implement for your clients. Whether you choose to use them or dismiss them is your call, but you can also create your own strategy in minutes, and save and modify your strategies at any time. In addition, you can try different tax scenarios to see their implications, as well as explore the ITA’s library of strategies, where you can plug and play everything from hiring your kids to 401(k) contributions.

Customizable, Client-Friendly Reports

As you gather these recommended tax strategies and estimated tax savings projections for your clients, they will be automatically populated in a customizable, client-friendly report for you to share with your clients. This allows you to illustrate your personalized tax planning strategies and estimated savings plan for them, turning something complex into something easy to understand.

Before sending out the report, you can customize it in a professional way with your firm brand. Choose logos and colors that represent your practice, and update it year-round as things change or you’re feeling creative.

Simple Pricing

When it comes to pricing for ITA, it’s simple. To start generating custom tax plans for a client, customers just need to purchase a client credit. One client credit equals unlimited tax plans for that client within a calendar year. Customers are eligible to reserve three free client credits.

More Resources to Get You Started

ITA is a win-win for you and your clients. With ITA, you get the foundation to offer transformational tax advisory services that help your clients save time, save money, and strategize for long-term growth. In doing so, these value-added services will boost profits and productivity for your practice, while also bringing measurable savings and more accurate planning to your clients.

To check out the new tax advisory resources library for a step-by-step guide to offer tax advisory in your practice, visit And for more information on Intuit Tax Advisor, visit

It has been more than two years since the coronavirus pandemic forced accountants to leave their work cubicles behind for their new home away from home—which was, well, their homes. And even though many public accounting firms and corporate accounting and finance departments are starting to make their employees come back to the office and become familiar with their cubicles again, a lot of these same companies are continuing to allow their staffs to work from home two or three days a week under a hybrid work model—and others have gone the remote route permanently.

But the continued remote work environment has cyber criminals licking their chops, as they look to exploit vulnerabilities in companies’ security infrastructures and target employees through phishing emails and other schemes in order to gain access to their login information.

“When you move to remote work, anything that was a potential weakness in your internal control system or your security architecture or your cybersecurity plan now becomes completely apparent; that’s when it becomes abundantly clear that you have gaps, either on the functional side or on the security side,” Darren Guccione, CEO and co-founder of Keeper Security Inc., said during a webinar. “Because at the start of it, cyber criminals are always looking for ways to capture login credentials. One of the easiest and lowest technology methods of stealing login credentials is through a phishing attack.”

According to a 2022 survey of C-suite leaders by HelpSystems, 29% of respondents cited business email compromise or phishing as their greatest concern, but 43% said the biggest danger to their company and data is ransomware or malware designed to steal data or extort money.

Ransomware rears its ugly head

After getting an employee’s login credentials, cyber criminals can move within a network to find sensitive data, such as financial accounts and client information. That data can then be sold to identity thieves on the dark web or held for ransom against the victimized firm.

A ransom cyber incident was brought to light recently when two accounting firms were among several victims of a large-scale computer hacking scheme in the United States conducted by three Iranians between October 2020 and August 2022. The three men now face federal charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, intentional damage to computers, and transmitting demands, according to an indictment unsealed in September.

In one instance, the hackers launched an encryption attack last February and March, causing a New Jersey accounting firm’s network to connect with their server. The cyber criminals demanded a ransom of $50,000 and allegedly told the firm, “If you don’t want to pay, I can sell your data on the black market. This choice is yours.” It is unknown whether the accounting firm paid the ransom, but federal authorities said some of the victims did pay ransoms, while others contacted the FBI or local law enforcement.

The average cost of a data breach for companies increased to $21,659 per incident last year, with most incidents ranging from as little as $800 to more than $650,000. But 5% of successful ransomware, phishing, and other attacks cost businesses $1 million or more. 

Ransomware breaches increased by 13% within the last year—representing a jump greater than the past five years combined, according to a 2022 report from Verizon. In addition, external bad actors are approximately four times more likely to cause breaches in an organization than internal personnel.

The Verizon report also revealed that people are the weakest link in an organization’s cybersecurity defenses. When you include human errors and misuse of privilege, the human element accounts for 82% of analyzed breaches over the past year, rather than cyber thieves exploiting flaws in computer systems.

In addition, cyber criminals have used the pandemic as an opportunity to capitalize on people’s strong interest in coronavirus-related news by luring people to fake malicious websites, clicking on malicious links, or providing personal information online or over the phone under the guise of COVID-19. Many of these scams attempt to impersonate legitimate organizations, such as the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization, by offering fake informational updates and even promises of access to vaccines—all for a price. These so-called social engineering attacks accounted for 25% of total breaches in 2022, according to Verizon.

“When there is a mass amount of movement or migration to remote work environments and a greater number of endpoints, as well as a greater level of anxiety, this is as much about the physical and the psychological as it is about just general architecture. It involves everything,” Guccione said. “There’s a state of panic, there’s a state of uncertainty, there’s transitioning—there’s so much going on that cyber criminals really gravitate toward situations like this because they always want to attack the lowest-hanging fruit and any companies they view as a potential weakness.”

Most common entry points for cyberattacks

Changes in information technology infrastructure brought about by remote work, such as a move to cloud solutions, has shifted the focus of cyberattacks, according to a new report from Hiscox and Atlas VPN.

Cloud servers is now the No. 1 way in for cyberattacks, with 41% of companies reporting it as the first point of entry—a 10% increase from the year before. Cloud servers has replaced corporate-owned servers, which was the leading attack entry point, or vector, in 2021. 

Corporate-owned servers now occupies the third spot on the list, according to the report, with 37% of businesses reporting this as the main cyberattack entry method. Meanwhile, the second spot now belongs to business emails, as 40% of companies named it the main access point for attackers.

“If you get a spam email or an email that looks legit but is asking you to do something like upload some information or change a password or even transfer funds, make sure you have a policy in place to make a verbal verification for that. No client is going to be upset if you call them and say, ‘Did you really want me to transfer $10,000 to this account?’ Because if you do it and you don’t call, they are going to be upset if it’s not a real request because there’s no getting that money back. It’ll be gone,” Bobby Garrett, IT director at CPA firm Gray, Gray & Gray, said during a virtual podcast.

Employee-owned mobile devices is another common entry point for cyberattacks at 29%, an increase of 6% from the previous year, according to the report. Others include remote access servers at 31% and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks at 26%.

“When we all go remote, a lot of traditional internal control policies become less effective and they become dilutive when it comes to exploiting or capturing security vulnerabilities,” Guccione said. “And so now as we all move to this much larger endpoint landscape and geometry, we now have to figure out, well, what do we need to do to make sure that we’re tracking and monitoring every endpoint—smartphone, tablet, computer—across every employee in the organization? What can we do to track that down and make sure that on the prevention side of cybersecurity that we’re doing what we need to do to protect our environment?”

Strategies for securing data while working remotely

In the two and a half years since the pandemic began in the U.S., companies have been able to fine-tune their cybersecurity processes for remote workers. But the continued number of cyberattacks in the U.S. means IT professionals cannot let their guard down—and neither can a firm’s employees.

The following are best practices compiled from articles, reports, and webinars on how to reduce the risk of a data breach in a remote work environment. (Note: This is not an all-inclusive list and the best practices are not numbered in terms of importance.)

1. Ensure you have a modern cybersecurity plan that covers remote work environments: Firms need to make sure endpoint security and enterprise password security software is running on all employee devices, Guccione said.

“We know password security is the trojan horse into your business. So at the end of the day, you could have the best antivirus protection and you could have the best privileged access management system running, but if you do not put a cloak of armor around your password security and your password internal controls and enforcement policies, you are in real serious trouble because this is where the cyber criminals know exists the lowest-hanging fruit. This is where it’s at,” he added.

2. Use a Wi-Fi password: But do not use the default password, Jim Bourke, a partner at CPA firm Withum and managing director of the firm’s Advisory Services practice, said in a video for the American Institute of CPAs.

“If you’re using the default password on your Wi-Fi device, change the default password. Go into your Admin settings and make that change,” he said.

Bourke also recommends changing your service set identifier (SSID). “What is your SSID? That is your Wi-Fi network name. So change your SSID, make it generic. It will be less likely to be hacked,” he said.

3. Install antivirus and internet security software at home: One of the most common—and effective—security strategies for working from home is to invest in a comprehensive antivirus suite for your company and your employees.

Antivirus suites offer automatic remote work security against a host of threats, including:

Nowadays, comprehensive antivirus and internet security software automatically updates itself to stay on top of new and emerging threats.

4. Use a VPN: Virtual private networks (VPNs) add an extra layer of protection to internet use from home. They cannot on their own be relied upon to prevent cyberattacks, but they can be a useful barrier against one.

According to antivirus provider Kaspersky, VPN security can be enhanced by using the most robust possible authentication method. Many VPNs use a username and password, but firms might want to think about upgrading to the use of smart cards. Companies can also enhance their encryption method for VPN access, for example, by upgrading from a Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol to a Layer Two Tunneling Protocol.

But no matter how strong your VPN is, if an employee’s password is compromised, it will give hackers an easy way in. So Kaspersky recommends that employees update their passwords regularly. Employees should also be reminded to only use the VPN when they need it, switching it off if they are on their work devices for personal use in the evenings or on weekends.

5. Define clear procedures for reporting and responding to security incidents: “This is so important because if everyone is remote and there’s an anomaly or an incident with somebody’s email system or somebody in your organization believes that there’s been a breach, you want to make sure that they have a well-defined incident response plan so that they can identify, mitigate, and reduce the cost of the cyberattack,” Guccione said. “Most importantly, we want to make sure that every person in the organization knows what to do if they think there’s been a breach. They need to know who to report it to, how to report it, and what to do. So making sure that you have this plan in place is of paramount importance.”

6. Set up two-factor or multifactor authentication: By now, we’ve all used two-factor or multifactor authentication when logging into something, whether on our work computers or on our mobile devices. Cybersecurity experts say it is an effective and fairly easy-to-understand extra layer of security.

When used with single sign-on solutions, multifactor authentication makes logging in easier because it allows users to pass through many security measures at once.

“When you sit in front of a system that’s protected with multifactor authentication, you present a username and password—something you know—and then you provide a PIN from a security token—something you have. This can be a hard token, a soft token, or a smart card,” Steve Tcherchian, chief product officer and chief information security officer at XYPRO Technology, said during a webinar. “If you don’t have that token, you won’t have that PIN. And that PIN, in most cases, will rotate every 30 seconds. So even if your username and password were stolen, unless the attacker has that token along with your username and password, what your PIN was at that moment in time, your username and password is useless to them.”

7. Make sure critical applications utilize zero knowledge, zero trust, and end-to-end encryption: Zero knowledge is “the premise that only the user of your application has full knowledge of your master password and complete control over and domain of, in terms of ownership, your encryption key that’s used to encrypt and decrypt your information,” Guccione said.

“When you buy these products, you want to make sure that any encryption or decryption is done client-side, meaning it is done at the client device level. It is not done at the vendor level,” he added. “The vendor should never be generating those keys for you, and they should never have the ability to decrypt and view your information. This is really important.”

The premise of zero trust is “the idea around privileged access that you want to make sure in a very simple world you can trust, but you always must verify,” Guccione said.

“At the end of the day, you should know through event logging and reporting what every single user on your system on every device is doing, what they’re accessing, and who they are transacting with,” he continued. “And you should have those internal controls, those role policies, those enforcement policies, the reporting, and the logging, and the auditing capability in that ecosystem to make sure you can lock everything down if there is an incident, whether by a rogue employee or an external adverse third party or bad actor. You can lock down that device and make sure that you maintain the integrity of your organization.”

End-to-end encryption is really important to have for sensitive information, such as personal identifiable information, business assets like a business plan or a financial model, tax returns, or wiring instructions to a bank account, he said.

“If you’re transacting over any type of productivity application or security application, you want to make sure all of that information is completely encrypted from point A to point B, and that means from one user device to and through the internet, down into that device and into their screen from A to Z. You want to make sure that you practice full end-to-end encryption,” Guccione said. “These three things are so critical because they’re intrinsic and existential elements of any great productivity and security application.”

8. Provide cybersecurity awareness training that includes threats and best practices: Guccione said it is extremely important that every single person in the organization who uses a computing device is trained on things like phishing scams, cybersecurity awareness, the dark web, and credential stuffing attacks. He added that phishing simulations “are one of the best tools that you can utilize in a company to prevent against a password-related data breach.”

9. Keep family members away from work devices: Kaspersky recommends reminding your staff to not allow other household members to access their work laptops, mobile devices, and other forms of hardware. They should also be reminded of the importance of password protecting their devices to prevent third parties from accessing sensitive files.

Bourke recommends setting up a separate network in your home for guests. “Do your work under your secure Wi-Fi network that you have in your house, and if you bring guests over, set up a guest network. Guests should use that network and have that password. It keeps things totally separate,” he said.

Jason Bramwell is senior staff writer for CPA Practice Advisor. He has nearly 25 years of professional writing experience, the last nine covering the accounting profession. He most recently was a staff writer and editor at Going Concern, and he previously spent five years as a staff writer and editor at AccountingWEB. He can be reached by email at

By Kristen Keats, CPA + Renee Daggett, EA.

For tax professionals, “advisory services” is a term that can be both vague and intimidating. However, it’s highly likely that you’re already providing these services without even realizing it.

Think about this: If you’re completing a tax return for your clients and mention retirement plan options to them, that’s advisory work. If you’re exchanging business updates with a client and offer insights into tools like bookkeeping softwares or cloud technology, that too is an advisory service.

Simply put, advisory services means you act as an advisor to your clients in any way that goes beyond transactional tax compliance. While almost every tax professional does this, many, especially younger professionals who worry they lack expertise, have trouble identifying and embracing this work.

Here are three tips to help you understand, adopt, and grow your advisory services, and change your client relationships from transactional to transformational.

Build Your Client Community

Establishing your advisory role starts with building a culture of communication and support within your client network.

When starting out, small business owners often do not have a community to rely on to exchange ideas, discuss techniques, or get honest critiques on their practices. So, as someone who serves other clients in similar positions, they’ll look to you as a lifeline for real industry insights and actionable advice.

This is your opportunity to be a helper, and use your position as an advisor to answer questions on everything from tax compliance and financial planning to technology and human resources. You may not realize how much you know until you take stock of the business knowledge you’ve gained from simply chatting with your clients.

The more you can apply this transferable knowledge, the easier it will get to transform your relationships and anticipate what one client will need based on another. It will also make the value of your advisory services more pitchable to clients who think they only want tax compliance work.

Find Your Firm’s Culture

As you grow your confidence within your client network, it’s crucial to be intentional about the culture you wish to foster in your own firm as well.

After two years of transition, first with leaving the office and now with combinations of remote and hybrid work, most firms have finally settled into their long-term working structures. Whether you run a small remote firm or a larger operation with an office, now is the perfect time to assess how your culture impacts your hiring and staffing goals.

While it’s important that someone can reconcile a balance sheet or file a tax return, your focus should be on making sure they’re a fit for your culture. If you want a culture that values advisory relationships, look for someone who is eager to connect dots and curious about expanding beyond compliance work.

Be intentional about your hiring, because while it may be tempting to make fast hires and get a seat filled, the wrong hire will end up costing you more, and could disrupt the cohesive culture you’ve worked so hard to foster. Remember that you can always train someone on skills, but you can’t train them on whether they’ll embrace your core values or not.

Transform With Technology

Technology is the glue that will ultimately enhance advisory efficiency for both your clients and your team.

For remote teams, using collaboration tools like Loom and Miro are so important to make people feel like they’re working together, not alone. While you don’t want to have too many meetings, these tools allow teams to easily meet with managers for 1:1s, departments, and the whole team. For client services, QuickBooks Online Accountant will allow you to manage and organize tasks asynchronously, all on the cloud.

If you don’t consider yourself “tech-savvy,” incorporating new tools may seem daunting. But in order to keep innovating your business and not be left behind, you need to be willing to embrace change. Move slowly but intentionally. When you find a technology solution you may work for you, vet it first and then slowly start to implement it in your firm (be sure this happens after tax season — don’t start in January).

Be aware that whenever you’re adopting something new, there will be a hump to get over. Anticipate this initial learning curve and set a timeline of expectations so you don’t become discouraged. Then, using this timeline, evaluate the technology and don’t be afraid to draw a line in the sand when something is not the best fit for your firm.

You’ll know you’ve found the right technology when collaborating with your clients and team members takes a few clicks.


Crunching numbers is often the safe space for tax professionals, so it’s no surprise that stepping into the shoes of an advisor can be daunting.

Remember that your knowledge base is so much broader than you realize, and that your current relationships have already set you up for success as an advisor and confidant.

When you focus on community, foster an advisory culture, and embrace the tools that make collaboration easier, you’ll find your relationships level up from transactional to transformational.


Renee Daggett, EA is the CEO of of AdminBooks and a former Intuit Tax Council Member. Kristen Keats, CPA is the owner of Sherwood Tax and Accounting and the founder of Breakaway Bookkeeping and Advising.

In the age of technology, entrepreneurs and small business owners can run a business almost entirely from the convenience of a smartphone. The best apps save you time and help you stay in touch with your business wherever you are. Studies show that making technology upgrades a regular goal for your business is necessary to remain competitive. The six apps in this list cover basic office tasks, payroll, marketing, banking, and invoicing.

1. Mobile Scanning Apps

Scanning and sending documents is a normal daily task for businesses. Fortunately, you no longer need a bulky scanner hooked up to your computer. You can scan and send documents directly from your smartphone, which saves time and helps you keep critical paperwork organized

If you have an iPhone, you already have basic scanning capabilities with the Notes app. However, if you need a full-featured app, SwiftScan can be a little pricey, but it offers a variety of capabilities, including clear photo and business card scans. If you do not need these extra features, Office Lens or Adobe Scan are also great choices. Once you have your documents scanned in, it’s helpful to edit PDFs online with a free PDF editor. Having this tool available allows you to fine tune or correct any documents you scan.

2. Your Business Banking App

Nearly everyone uses online banking already, but you can access your business account from your bank app as well. If you haven’t already, download the app for your bank as soon as you start your business journey. You can track payments to vendors and handle everything electronically. If you use the same bank for your personal account, you can access both from the same login. Centralizing your finances helps you stay organized and saves time.

3. Social Media Apps

Every business needs an aggressive social media marketing strategy. You should take advantage of ad programs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok. Link your business accounts to your phone apps, and create a social media folder on your phone to help you stay organized. Use your business email and logo for every account to streamline communications and promote your brand across every platform. You can also create an email folder that organizes all social media emails in one place.

4. Business Graphic Design App

Every entrepreneur and small business needs a brand, and one of the first elements of creating a brand is designing a logo. There are online tools that make logo design easy with logo templates that you can customize with free images and fonts. You can even use the software to generate social graphics, business cards, and banners with your logo. Download an image to use for your social media profile pictures as well.

5. Invoicing App

If your business bills with invoices, you can download invoicing software directly to your phone or computer. Zoho Invoice is free and offers time and expense tracking, payment acceptance, and a portal for your clients to track their activity. Harvest is a great option for businesses that invoice for hourly services and freelancers who need to keep track of hours on multiple projects. 

6. Payroll App

If you have employees, a payroll app is absolutely necessary for your business. Gusto is relatively inexpensive compared to other apps, and it allows employees to access a portal to track benefits and wages. You’ll want to choose an app that offers options for small business payroll processing. This will make your job as a business owner easier, as well as making things easier for your employees.

Managing a small business requires multitasking, but if you use the proper applications, you can centralize everything to your smartphone or laptop. Being able to work from anywhere is particularly important for freelancers and entrepreneurs, so make sure you’re getting the most out of your apps.


Adam Taylor is a business technology writer.

Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA review PlanGuru, an intelligent financial analytics and forecasting system that helps businesses and nonprofits make better decisions.

Use the player below to listen to the podcast.

Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA review WeIntegrate, which provides small businesses with automated integration of Shopify and QuickBooks Online near real-time, saving time and increasing accuracy.

Use the player below to listen to the podcast.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released new research today that shows one in five U.S. workers (20%) have experienced poor treatment in the workplace by co-workers or peers due to their political views.

Results of SHRM’s 2022 Politics at Work Study, which was completed at the end of the summer, show an uptick in political discussions and political volatility in the workplace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election.

SHRM found a quarter of U.S. workers (24%) have personally experienced political affiliation bias, including preferential treatment or undue negative treatment on the basis of their political positions or opinions, compared to 12% of U.S. workers in 2019.

Twenty percent of HR professionals say there is greater political volatility at work than there was three years ago.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a real decline in civility when people express their opinions and beliefs, and it’s a barrier to success for employers and their employees,” said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. “This trend has been fueled by the relative anonymity of social media, and it has spilled into our communities and our workplaces. In today’s climate, people are saying, ‘I can’t work with you if you don’t share my views.’ It’s a problem HR professionals and business leaders cannot ignore. I am hopeful SHRM’s research will help organizations build constructive dialogue in the workplace—for the good of employees, the bottom line and society at large.”

Study results are especially troubling when it comes to the role of politics and employee advancement. Over one in 10 U.S. workers (13%) have experienced limited opportunities for promotions due to their political views.

SHRM found that most organizations have not experienced an uptick in employee complaints related to political discussions at work (88%) or had to respond to an employee for political-related conflict in the workplace (84%). At the same time, however, the percentage of U.S. workers who say they’ve experienced political affiliation bias or differential treatment because of their political views has increased by over 10 percentage points in the past three years. 

Here are other key findings from the 2022 SHRM Politics at Work Study:

• 45% of U.S. workers say they have personally experienced political disagreements in the workplace, compared to 42% of U.S. workers in 2019.

• Those who work fully in-person (50%) are more likely to say they’ve experienced political disagreements in the workplace than hybrid workers (36%) and fully remote workers (39%). 

• Over a quarter of U.S. workers (26%) engage in political discussions with their co-workers. 

• Only 8% of organizations have communicated guidelines to employees around political discussions at work, particularly leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. 

• When it comes to inclusive workplace cultures, two-thirds of U.S. workers (66%) say that the employees in their organization are inclusive of differing political perspectives amongst other employees, and nearly the same amount (68%) say that their organization is inclusive of differing political perspectives amongst employees. 

• Liberal workers (70%) and moderate workers (73%) are more likely to say the employees in their organization are inclusive of differing political perspectives among other employees than conservative workers (60%). 

• Supervisors are 10 percentage points more likely to be hesitant to hire a job applicant who disclosed they had extremely conservative beliefs (30%) than an applicant who disclosed they had extremely liberal beliefs (20%).

• More than four in five (82%) U.S. workers plan to vote this year. Of these workers, the top political issues influencing their vote include the economy (48%), inflation (38%), abortion (37%), gun policies (32%), health care (28%), and immigration policy (18%).

• Forty-five percent of U.S. workers have experienced political disagreements in the workplace, and nearly the same amount (46%) have witnessed or observed political disagreements in the workplace. 

• Male workers (30%) are more likely to say they’ve personally experienced political affiliation bias than female workers (18%). 

• Mor than one in 10 U.S. workers (13%) have experienced bullying in the workplace due to their political views. 

• 27% of U.S. workers have experienced joking about their beliefs in the workplace.

A sample of 504 working Americans was surveyed using the AmeriSpeak Omnibus, NORC at the University of Chicago’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. The survey was administered Aug. 25 to 29. All data was weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population.

In addition, a sample of 1,525 HR professionals were surveyed through SHRM membership. The survey was administered Aug. 25 to Sept. 11. Only HR professionals who were currently working for an organization (either remotely, in person, or through a hybrid model) were eligible to participate in this survey.

Four audit firms settled with and received sanctions from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) for failing to file a Form AP, a document adopted by the PCAOB in late 2015 that requires firms to disclose the name of the lead engagement partner on an audit and whether any other firms were involved in the audit, the regulator said on Oct. 4.

The violations were found during a sweep, which allows the PCAOB to collect information on potential auditing violations from several accounting firms at the same time. In July, PCAOB Board Chair Erica Williams announced that the audit regulator was conducting sweeps as part of its overall effort to strengthen enforcement.  

Failure to file Form APs on time is a violation of PCAOB Rule 3211, Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants. All four firms have since filed their Form APs but only after the PCAOB reprimanded them.

“Investors and the public rely on Form AP disclosures to understand exactly who has a hand in the audits of public companies. Timely disclosure is critical for transparency and accountability in our capital markets, and the PCAOB will be vigilant in enforcing disclosure rules,” Williams said. 

The firms—which, without admitting or denying the findings, consented to the PCAOB’s orders and the disciplinary actions— that were sanctioned are: 

Each firm also agreed to undertake remedial measures to establish policies and procedures directed toward ensuring future compliance with PCAOB reporting requirements. 

“Today’s settlements underscore the importance of timely filing Form APs in order to provide investors with information they need to make informed decisions,” said Mark A. Adler, PCAOB acting director of enforcement and investigations. “This requirement must be taken seriously by audit firms.”  

Five current or former IRS employees were charged with schemes to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, federal stimulus funding authorized as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Justice Department said on Oct. 4.

“The IRS employees charged in these cases allegedly abused the trust placed in them by the public,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Criminal Division is committed to safeguarding that public trust and protecting pandemic relief programs for the American people.”

“This matter demonstrates the brazenness with which bad actors have taken advantage of federal programs meant to help those who suffered most from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement. “The Justice Department will continue to work hard to root out PPP and EIDL program fraud, including that committed by government employees.”

According to court documents, the five defendants allegedly obtained funds under the PPP and EIDL programs by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications that collectively sought more than $1 million. They then used the loan funds for purposes not authorized by the PPP or EIDL program, but instead for cars, luxury goods, and personal travel, including trips to Las Vegas. 

“These individuals—acting out of pure greed—abused their positions by taking government funds meant for citizens and businesses who desperately needed it,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee. “I thank our law enforcement partners for rooting out this fraud. Our office will not hesitate to pursue and charge individuals who steal from our nation’s taxpayers.”

“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) mission includes investigating allegations of criminal violations committed by Internal Revenue Service employees,” said Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. “We will continue to aggressively pursue IRS employees who breach the public trust, safeguarding the integrity of the IRS.”

“It is especially egregious when individuals that hold positions of public trust engage in criminal activity,” said Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware of the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG). “OIG is a ready partner in safeguarding the integrity of SBA’s programs and in bringing wrongdoers to justice.”

The five individuals charged are:

Brian Saulsberry, 46, of Memphis, TN, is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Saulsberry was employed by the IRS as a program evaluation and risk analyst in the Human Capital Office. According to the indictment, Saulsberry submitted four fraudulent EIDL program applications, seeking at least $501,400 in EIDL program loans and obtaining $171,400 in loan funds. Saulsberry allegedly spent a portion of the funds on a Mercedes-Benz and deposited additional funds into a personal investment account.

Courtney Quinshe Westmoreland, 38, of Cordova, TN, is charged with three counts of wire fraud. Westmoreland was employed by the IRS as a contact representative in the Wage and Investment Service Centers Department. According to the indictment, Westmoreland submitted multiple fraudulent PPP and EIDL program applications on behalf of a purported apparel business, for which she sought at least $32,500 in loans and obtained $11,500 in loan funds. Westmoreland allegedly used these funds for personal services, including manicures and massages, and to purchase luxury clothing. In addition, while employed full-time by the IRS, Westmoreland allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for unemployment insurance benefits to the Tennessee Department of Labor, in which she falsely claimed that she was not employed by the federal government. According to court documents, Westmoreland fraudulently obtained $16,050 in unemployment insurance benefits. 

Fatina Hewitt, 35, of Olive Branch, MS, is charged with one count of wire fraud. Hewitt was employed by the IRS as a management and program assistant in Information Technology. According to the information, Hewitt submitted multiple fraudulent EIDL program applications on behalf of a purported fashion business, seeking $338,900 in EIDL program loans and obtaining $28,900 in loan funds. Court documents allege that Hewitt spent the loan funds on Gucci clothing and a trip to Las Vegas. On Oct. 4, 2022, Hewitt pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Roderick DeMarco White II, 27, of Memphis, is charged with one count of wire fraud. White was employed by the IRS as a contact representative in the Wage and Investment Service Centers Department. According to the information, White submitted four fraudulent PPP and EIDL program applications on behalf of a purported apparel business, seeking $113,311 in PPP and EIDL program loans and obtaining $66,666 in loan funds. White allegedly spent the loan funds on personal items, including a Gucci satchel. On Aug. 25, 2022, White pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Tina Humes, 56, of Memphis, is charged with one count of wire fraud. Humes was employed by the IRS as a lead management and program assistant in the Human Capital Office. According to the information, Humes submitted four fraudulent PPP and EIDL program applications, seeking $133,812 in loans and obtaining $123,612 in loan funds. Humes allegedly spent the funds on jewelry and trips to Las Vegas. On July 27, 2022, Humes pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and each count of money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

PwC brought in $50.3 billion in global revenue for the year ending June 30, up 13.4% in local currency terms and 11.4% in U.S. dollars, the firm said on Oct. 4. Last year PwC achieved revenue of $45.3 billion globally.

Bob Moritz

“In a year of rapid change and numerous challenges globally, our talented people used their broad and diverse range of capabilities to support our clients and stakeholders and to make positive contributions to society. The results we achieved in FY22 are a direct outcome of our strategy, The New Equation, which we launched in June 2021. Its impact is apparent in our financial performance,” said PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz. “For the first time, PwC firms across the world earned gross annual revenues of more than $50 billion. During a difficult year for the global economy, we achieved growth in all businesses while also repositioning our portfolio including 17 acquisitions and the disposal of our Global Mobility & Immigration business.”

With Monday’s revenue announcement, PwC remains the second largest accounting firm in the world by revenue, behind Deloitte, which had $59.3 billion in revenue during its fiscal 2022, and ahead of EY, which had $45.4 billion in revenue during its 2022 fiscal year. The last of the Big Four firms, KPMG, will announce its 2022 revenue in December.

PwC’s revenue in the Americas region had year-over-year revenue growth of 16%, after a flat performance in FY 2021. The U.S. grew by 17%, the firm noted. Revenue growth across South and Central America was strongest in Brazil, which reported an increase of 21%.

The Asia Pacific region’s revenues were up 14%, with South Korea posting a year-over-year revenue increase of 23%, India growing 21%, China up 13%, and Australia increasing 17%.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region’s revenues were up by 10%. In the U.K. and Middle East, combined revenues rose by 12%, while Germany’s increased 14% in 2022.

Among the firm’s three core service lines, advisory had the biggest revenue growth at 23.5%, driven by strong demand for technology-enabled business transformation, both enterprise-wide and within specific business functions, such as finance, the front office, and human resources, according to PwC. This included helping many clients migrate to cloud environments. The firm also noted that demand for sustainable and tax-efficient supply chain transformation was high, given widespread disruptions. Advisory revenue in 2022 was $20.7 billion, up from $17 billion in 2021.

Assurance revenue grew 7.6%, from $17.1 billion last year to $18 billion this year. PwC said growth in its audit business was a result of managing complex market dynamics, such as auditor rotation, regulation, and intensifying competition. The firm noted that there will be an increased demand for assurance over a range of nonfinancial information, such as disclosures for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

Revenue in the firm’s tax and legal services business increased from $11 billion in 2021 to $11.6 billion in 2022, driven by demand for integrated compliance services and managed services due to the changing tax landscape, according to PwC.

Nearly 328,000 people work for PwC worldwide, and the firm said it is ahead of pace with its target set last year to hire 100,000 (net) additional professionals by 2026.

Whether or not “cash recycling” is a new term for you, it can yield considerable benefits to any of your clients who handle large amounts of cash. Originally developed for banks, cash recyclers simplify cash handling and improve security, making them an excellent choice for various retail businesses.

What Are Cash Recyclers?

Cash recyclers are machines that accept cash deposits, organize bills, and store your money safely until the secure cassettes are transported to the bank. You might think of them as a small bank or ATM that works within your business. Because they can connect to point-of-sale systems through open API, they can also make the correct change for purchases, with each machine supporting up to three registers.

The Retail Advantage

Most managers and owners look for solutions to eliminate or minimize the biggest risks for their business. Because any business handling a large volume of cash is subject to various concerns, including inaccurate counts, theft, and lost deposits, improving cash handling procedures should be a high priority.

That’s why cash recyclers present such a valuable opportunity. They simplify cash management while simultaneously delivering a competitive advantage to companies who want to prioritize employee safety and retention and simplify training and managerial oversight.

Cash Recyclers Can Benefit Any Type of Business

As you can imagine, the potential applications are nearly limitless, whether for a gas station or grocery that sees hundreds of customers daily or a cannabis dispensary with limited banking options that deals almost exclusively in cash.

As I looked for solutions for clients in the cannabis industry, I realized the potential for cash recycling. Because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I substance, it’s more challenging for them to access banking. As a result, cash recyclers are a fantastic option to protect businesses and employees from the challenges of managing large quantities of cash. In addition to the highly attractive security features, they eliminate:

Should You Recommend Cash Recyclers to Your Clients?

You know your retail clients best. If they only receive cash occasionally, this technology may not be a good fit. However, if your clients handle large amounts of cash daily, cash recyclers may be a strong option for streamlining your business operations.

Monique Swansen, is the founder and CEO of Automated Accounting Services and Accounting for Green. LinkedIn: — Twitter: @moniqueswansen or @AFGcannabis

Cyber incidents continued their upward trajectory in 2022 – once again breaking records and setting the stage for an even more active 2023, with geopolitical events contributing to an already heightened threat level. And in this environment, CPA firms – which accelerated their digital transformation during the pandemic – are particularly vulnerable to an attack.

The motivation and rationale behind a cybercriminal can vary, from securing ransom payments to selling confidential data on the dark web. This fluid environment is challenging firms to sharpen their focus on not just creating, but also continually enhancing, their security strategy – and considering securing cyber coverage.

Targeting CPAs

In recent years, hackers have been shifting their focus – moving beyond just the big name, headline-making targets that were synonymous with breaches in the past, to focusing on smaller, “under the radar” victims. For example, based on emerging patterns, it seems like some cyber criminals may be avoiding larger organizations for ransomware attacks so they don’t evoke national political or law enforcement response.

According to Sherry Bambrick, senior underwriter for the AICPA Member Insurance Programs, this evolving strategy has serious implications for CPAs.

“Hackers have always found CPA firms particularly attractive because they are, in essence, aggregators of data – both financial and PII or Personal identifiable information,” Bambrick said. “This trending focus on smaller organizations, coupled with the level of PII a firm potentially holds, quite simply increases the risk they face.”

Beyond the data, hackers also tend to target CPA firms because they frequently have access to client funds. Cyber criminals may also assume that mid-size and smaller firms do not have strong information security preparedness strategies in place because their leaders believe they are too small to be targeted.

Complying with Insurers’ Expectations

Many insurers are demanding more from firms in terms of cyber resilience, so firms should expect rigorous questioning about their cybersecurity protocol when they seek coverage.

Today, it’s not unusual for an insurer to review a firm’s cybersecurity efforts in a few key areas. In general, insurers review whether a firm is:


Classifying Data


Training & Testing

Back Ups & Security Planning

Reviewing these areas before any discussions with an insurer can help facilitate the process of securing cyber coverage.


Stan Sterna is a vice president with Aon Insurance Services, the broker and national administrator for the AICPA Member Insurance Programs, the nation’s largest professional liability program for CPAs and the pioneer of cyber coverage for CPAs.

Right on the heels of releasing its Best Workplaces for 2022 list, Fortune magazine, along with the website Great Place to Work, has come out with its ranking of the 100 Best Large Workplaces for Women—and public accounting firms are dotted throughout the list.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place to Work-Certified and employ at least 50 women, at least 20% of their non-executive managers must be female, and at least one executive must be female.

The list is determined based on nearly 1.2 million employee survey responses and data from companies representing more than 7 million employees, this year alone. More than 640,000 responses were from women.

The survey asked employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their firm’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. These statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie, according to Fortune. In addition, firms provided organizational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions.

Great Place to Work then measured the differences in women’s survey responses to those of their peers and assessed the impact of demographics and roles on the quality and consistency of women’s experiences. Statements were weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace for women. The website also analyzed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to the board of directors.

Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures were then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background, according to Fortune.

This year six public accounting firms were among the top 100 workplaces for women. The highest-ranked firm was Deloitte at No. 16. Of its 80,138 U.S. employees, 44.1% are women. In addition, 41.7% are women in non-executive management positions, while 40% are women in executive or management roles.

Here is where all six public accounting firms were ranked in the top 100, with the percentage of women employees in parenthesis:

16. Deloitte (44.1%)
23. RSM US (47%)
37. KPMG (45.8%)
41. Baker Tilly (51.7%)
46. Plante Moran (N/A)
86. PwC (46.6%)

The No. 1 best workplace for women in 2022 is Hilton, followed by Pinnacle Financial Partners in second and Cisco in third.

We live in an age of abundant new technology. Consumers are inundated with faster, more sophisticated smartphones every year, and the Internet of Things keeps people connected with ever-smarter devices, from refrigerators to automobiles. Business executives are faced with the same advancing technology that can improve their company and operations—if used correctly.

It can be an uphill battle getting the C-suite on board with new technologies, despite the benefits they can bring to a business. In a world faced with constant upgrades, many executives are getting burned out with implementing new technology. They may wonder if all the advancements are really worth the investment. Here are a few tips when presenting technology to your executives to get them on board with the changes.

Highlight the Bottom Line

Adopting new technology is often an expensive endeavor, and being an early adopter can be especially risky. One needs look no further than cryptocurrency to see both the risk and possible reward involved in investing in new technology. 

When presenting new technology to the C-suite, it is essential to show how taking the chance will pay off in the end. For example, using automation reduces costs for both CPA firms and the clients they serve as it improves accuracy and efficiency. Automation can be used in various industries, including accounting, to eliminate human error. Mundane, repetitive tasks that eat up employees’ time and energy can also be delegated to automation, freeing up valuable time for more profitable work.

Keep Their Business in Mind

The goal of every company is to grow a successful business. When the C-suite sees the power of technology to drive business, it will be an easy sell. 

KPIs are a valuable tool to help a business track how the company is performing in critical areas, such as customer satisfaction, operational cash flow, profit margins, and others. Using the right technology can enhance how KPIs are measured, analyzed, and utilized to drive business forward. Customizable dashboards are an incredible resourse to show any KPI a company needs. Dashboards give executives the ability to make data-driven decisions for the company with up-to-date information.

Show Them the Magic

When it comes to new technology, the proof is in the pudding. The best way to get executives on board with trying out new technology is to show them exactly how their business will benefit. 

Utilizing automation, visual reports, and customizable dashboards, CPAs can give C-suites the big picture of their company’s finances, including real-time metrics, accurate forecasts, and where the business is meeting goals or falling short. With the stunning visualization and instant feedback a customizable dashboard can provide, executives will have a “lightbulb” moment and see the true value of using the technology.

Adopting new technology can ensure a company remains competitive in its industry. Try these tips to help your C-suite see the benefits of using technology to add value to their business.


Justin Hatch is the CEO of Reach Reporting.

The deadline relating to a recent tax break may be sneaking up on you and your clients. Businesses have until December 31, 2022, to meet their obligations for federal payroll taxes deferred from as far back as 2020. If a business fails to comply, it may be hit with a hefty tax penalty.

Background: Both employees and employers are responsible for paying their fair share of federal payroll taxes. There are two main components:

1. Social Security tax portion: The 6.2% Social Security portion of payroll tax applies to amounts up to an annual wage base. The wage base for 2022 is $147,000.

2. Medicare tax portion: The 1.45% Medicare portion of payroll tax applies to all wages,

Thus, if an employee is paid $200,000 in wages in 2022, the Social Security tax portion is $9,114 (6.2% of $147,000) and the Medicare portion is $2,900 (1.45% of $200,000), for a total tax of $12,014.

Tax relief: Congress granted a reprieve for businesses struggling during the pandemic. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, an employer could defer its share of the Social Security tax portion of federal payroll taxes for the period spanning March 27, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Half of the deferred amount was due at the end of 2021 and the other half must be paid by the end of 2022.

Subsequently, the American Rescue Plan Act (the ARPA) extended this payroll tax deferral break for wages paid from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.

But the day of reckoning is arriving soon. Businesses have until the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2022, to pay the remaining deferred amount. Most businesses should have already made a payment for the first half of the deferred tax.

If a business doesn’t pay the payroll taxes in time, the penalty is equal to 10% of the entire deferred amount. For example if a business deferred $100,000, the penalty is $10,000. If the business doesn’t deposit the taxes within ten days of the IRS issuing a notice, the penalty is increased to 15%.

Reminder: There is no payroll tax deferral for wages paid in 2022. So, a business must meet its regular obligations for wages paid during this year in addition to paying the deferred tax.