How to network; testing cyber defense; Pandora the explorer; and other highlights from our favorite tax bloggers.
Attack and conquer
- Strategic Advisor (https://strategicadvisor.liveplan.com/): Being an accountant or a CPA also requires learning how to sell yourself and your firm’s services. Larger firms typically have someone responsible for marketing and business development, but smaller and one-person firms must know how to do it all if they want to compete and differentiate themselves. One of your first steps will be networking (in person or online), and here are a few smart tips to get the most out of doing it.
- Surgent Income Tax School (http://www.theincometaxschool.com/blog/): The average person spends nearly 150 minutes on social media every day. That’s a lot of screen time your practice could capitalize on. Here’s a rundown of the popular platforms, including metrics and best practices.
- Summing It Up (http://blog.freedmaxick.com/summing-it-up): There’s a good chance that right now, a criminal hacker is exploring the cybersecurity defenses of your small or midsize firm for areas of weakness so they can launch an attack. More than four out of 10 cyber-attacks target small businesses, and 60% of small businesses that are victims of a cyberattack go out of business within six months. Where should a small-to-midsize business tackle the responsibility of shoring up their cyber defenses? One recommendation: penetration testing services.
- Solutions for CPA Firm Leaders (http://ritakeller.com/blog/): Hopefully, you have worked very diligently on building a brand that attracts and retains clients. That brand also attracts quality people — but with people, you need more. How prestigious is it to work at your firm? Is it prestigious at all? It’s a PITA but it’s a critical factor in attracting and hiring.
- National Association of Tax Professionals (https://blog.natptax.com/): Some tax accountants will skip one of the most important steps in working with clients: the engagement letter. In fact, surveys show that almost a third of tax accountants never use an engagement letter with their clients — foregoing one of the most important client engagement tools that can set your relationship with your client on a firm foundation. Here’s what these letters do — and how they can do it better for you.
- CPA Growth Trends (https://www.cpagrowthtrends.com/): Business developers are finding new ways to blend the digital approach with the personal touch of a handshake — all the while ensuring everyone feels safe and respected.
- Tax Pro Center (https://proconnect.intuit.com/taxprocenter/: One favorite opening of the week: “Like most things in life, you must fight your way out of survival mode first before you can attack and conquer.” That’s how the blogger sees compliance and advisory services: reactive and proactive.
Fears and trepidations
- National Taxpayer Advocate
(https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/taxnews-information/blogs-nta/): A look at “Decoding IRS Transcripts and the New Transcript Format.”
- Taxable Talk (http://www.taxabletalk.com/): Another favorite opening: “It was with fear and trepidation I logged onto IRS eServices this morning.” How the access did prove pleasantly surprising — and a look at how correspondence still crisscrosses over and over in the bottomless agency backlog.
- Eide Bailly (https://www.eidebailly.com/taxblog): All the latest news on the global corporate tax.
- TaxProf Blog (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/): A look at the recent presentation “Taxing Profit in a Global Economy,” a step “back from the current political debates on how to combat profit shifting and how taxing rights over the profits of the digitalized economy should be allocated… “to ask how we should evaluate a tax on business profit — and whether there is any good rationale for such a tax in the first place.”
- Federal Tax Crimes (http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/): A few links to interesting viewpoints on the latest Pandora’s box of tax havens.
- Current Federal Tax Developments (https://www.currentfederaltaxdevelopments.com/): How a recent case showed that insurance paid via cafeteria plan to satisfy requirements of a separation agreement represented deductible alimony.
- Procedurally Taxing (https://procedurallytaxing.com): In Johnson v. United States, the district court finds that taxpayers’ correspondence with the case advocate in the Local Taxpayer Advocate’s office provided a sufficient basis for determining that an informal claim existed. These cases are difficult for taxpayers to win but not impossible. What persons seeking to make an informal claim argument must do to succeed.
- Don’t Mess with Taxes (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/): Most people (a.k.a. clients) probably think “legal” and “federal” holidays are the same in terms of tax deadlines. Not quite.
- Taxing Subjects (https://www.drakesoftware.com/blog): What to tell them about custody and advance payments of the Child Tax Credit.
- Tax Vox (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/): A survey of parents the week before the first round of the advanced monthly CTC began being paid found that nine out of 10 U.S.-born parents knew about the expanded CTC, compared with three quarters of immigrant parents. Also in the survey: what everyone’s going to use the money for.
- The Wandering Tax Pro (http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/): Should corporations have a “dividends paid” deduction and be able to deduct from taxable income dividends paid to shareholders? The pros and cons.
- Gordon Law (https://gordonlawltd.com/blog/): What to remind them about the Qualified Small Business Stock exemption.
- HBK (https://hbkcpa.com/insights/): The fall issue of “Insights,” a quarterly newsletter from HBK Nonprofit Solutions, looks at what auditors might find wrong with a nonprofit’s internal controls, pinpointing fraud and cybercrime and how an application for exemption may impact operations, among other topics.
- Turbotax (https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com): What to remind them about donations and deductions during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.