Tax and accounting firms plans to raise their fees for accounting services by 6.1 percent in 2017, and tax prep fees by an average of 6.4 percent, according to a recent study by the National Society of Accountants.
That’s up from an actual increase of 5.3 percent for accounting in 2016, and 6 percent for tax prep, according to the NSA’s 2016-17 Income and Fees of Accountants and Tax Preparers in Public Practice Survey Report.
The reports is based on a biennial survey conducted last summer among the NSA’s more than 30,000 members, whose firms average 3.5 employees, and whose primary source of gross income is tax prep (57.3 percent). The next largest source of income was write-up work, at 15.4 percent.
Read Article: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/firms-plan-to-raise-fees-by-more-than-6-in-2017
The IRS and payroll firms are reminding tax preparers about a verification code being added this tax season to 50 million W-2s as part of a test to fight fraud and protect businesses and taxpayers from ID theft.
Preparers can look for the code on W-2s and enter the 16 digits when prompted while filing electronic returns. Tax professionals are urged to look for “Verification Code” on W-2s because location will vary.
For the purposes of the test, omitted and incorrect verification codes will not delay the processing of a return. The code will not be included in W-2 or W-2 data submitted by the PSPs to the Social Security Administration or any state or local departments of revenue, nor will this pilot affect state and local income tax returns or paper federal returns.
Read Article: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-reminds-preparers-about-w-2-verification-codes
MyFirmsApp, a U.K.-based technology development company, has gotten the go-ahead to use the technology powering Amazon’s Alexa voice-based assistant to develop artificial intelligence apps for accounting.
MyFirmsApp plans to use the Amazon Lex technology to deliver more interactive experiences for accountants and their clients. The Darlington, England-based company said Friday it plans to leverage the technology to build a more conversational user experience for connected devices that are part of the so-called “internet of things.” Those devices could potentially include Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, which use Alexa to respond to spoken commands.
The development team at MyFirmsApp hopes to use the Lex technology to develop speech recognition and natural language understanding features for accountants and clients. The technology could potentially add a voice or text chat interface to bots that run on mobile devices to help accountants interact with clients and respond quickly to requests.
Read Article: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/amazon-voice-technology-to-be-used-for-artificial-intelligence-in-accounting-apps
While teaching employees how to interpret financial info is nothing new, there's been a recent surge in entrepreneurs tackling financial literacy. University of Michigan professor Wayne Baker, who includes open-book finance in his curriculum, says he's seen increased interest in the past few years. "Company leaders are searching for tools that generate more worker engagement, and thus productivity and profits," he says. "Helping employees understand the financials really works."
Read Article: http://www.inc.com/magazine/201702/kate-rockwood/tipsheet-financial-literacy.html
A review of the expected tax changes for 2017.
Read Article: http://www.accountingtoday.com/list/whats-new-in-tax-for-2017?brief=00000158-6edb-da3c-af5a-ffff76ed0000#slide-1
With 2016 behind us and January a blank slate on the calendar, many firms have their sights set on the improvements and necessary changes needed to ensure their future success. In other words, they’re making good old-fashioned resolutions.
So what are the biggest resolutions for the New Year, and how should firms best implement them? We asked multiple experts to let us in on what changes need to be made and what will make 2017 tick.
Read Article: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/new-year-new-plans-experts-share-suggestions-for-firms-2017-resolutions?issue=00000159-468b-da34-a17d-f7cfea0d0000
If you want to build a great business, you have to be very deliberate about whom you let into it.
Emotions and behaviors may circulate through social networks in patterns similar to what’s seen in epidemiological models of the flu virus. Every positive person you let into your life increases your chances of being positive 11 percent, estimated a study published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
"Just one sad friend was needed to double an individual’s chance of becoming unhappy," Wired summarized about the report.
Figuring out whom to avoid and whom to let in won’t always be easy. But with a little practice, you can get really good at staying far away from people who might bring your business down. Here are 10 people (whether employees or clients) you should avoid if you’re starting a business:
1. The siren.
Sirens are those amazing and enticing people who come into your business and completely distract you. More than anyone else, these people have a way of stealing your focus and throwing your efforts off track.
A lot of promising futures have been sacrificed to sirens. Some people have sold their businesses for way less than they are worth and others have given up on their businesses to chase a get-rich-quick scheme than some sirens pitched them. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let an amazing person make you forget that you and your business have something amazing to offer the world, too.
Read Article: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241567
A pessimist found an optimist doing some yard work and started a conversation with his good-natured friend.
"Last year was awful," he said. "What do you think 2017 will bring?"
"I think it will bring flowers," said the smiling optimist.
"Really," said the pessimist. "What makes you think that?"
"Because I'm planting flowers," the optimist said.
There are plenty of boo-hoo'ers and naysayers in the world, but leaders can't afford an attitude that doesn't include hope. And as 2017 gets underway, you're no doubt moving forward with high expectations. You believe this will be the year when it all comes together.
But, as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy. If you want the blooms of success, you'd better get to work sowing and cultivating the seeds of opportunity.
So cling tightly to your hope, and consider these three steps for proactively creating your next big opportunity:
1. Clean Your GlassesAn organization has to know where it's headed so it can figure out how it can get there--each and every day. You know, the "vision thing."
The same is true for individuals. We need a clear picture of the opportunities we're seeking or else we'll end up spending most days throwing trendy ideas against a wall to see if anything sticks.
Instead of starting the year with the vague feeling of the kinds of things you'd like to accomplish, get very clear on one particular opportunity you'd like to create.
Is it a new client? A new round of funding for your business? An important business contact you want to meet? Pick one, and set your sights on it.
If it's big and grandiose, great. But make sure it's actionable, measurable, and, most of all, aligned with the passions of your heart.
When Henry Ford famously predicted that "the horse will disappear from the highway," he had a clear vision of the opportunity in mass producing affordable automobiles. Make sure you're just as clear about the opportunities you plan to create for yourself this year.
Read Entire Article: http://www.inc.com/steve-farber/hope-is-not-a-strategy-3-steps-to-making-2017-your-best-year-yet.html
I was recently reading about the concept of entropy, which is essentially a measure of disorder. This, taken alone, doesn’t seem all that interesting. However, things change when you remember that the second law of thermodynamics states that all closed systems tend to maximize entropy. In essence, this means that the Universe leans towards chaos.
The idea that the universe has a natural inclination towards disorder seems fitting in the context of entrepreneurship. It seems like, as a leader, I’m constantly battling a tendency for things to descend into disorder and chaos.
I know that as an entrepreneur, I often have a vision in my mind of how a particular business scenario should unfold. I find myself realizing this vision, and encountering serious frustration when things inevitably go sideways. Putting things back in order requires tremendous amounts of energy and focus. All in all, it makes for an exhausting and demoralizing process.
Read Article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2016/11/02/the-heat-death-of-the-universe-and-what-it-means-for-your-business/#5b8e2bee5563