Fundamentals of Construction Accounting

While most believe the construction process begins on the left at the Estimating stage, the process truly begins at the Accounting stage. Accountants must provide estimators with the right internal information before the estimator can begin. The estimator is then able to draft blueprints and enter information for job costs. Once construction begins, information is delivered to Accounting and completes the circle as the job finishes.

Since the construction process begins with the Accounting stage, common issues will naturally occur. One main issue is the accumulation of contract costs. This error is a result of the cash method used to accumulate costs resulting in unrecorded liabilities that affect cost records for contracts in progress. The correct accounting fix to this issue is to use accrual accounting as costs should be allocated to the appropriate individual contract records.

Why is being aware of your costs the most important aspect of construction accounting? It helps you:

  • In the bidding process
  • To determine problem jobs and people
  • In the claims process
  • To make better business decisions
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Lost Revenue from Corporate Fraud

ACFE 2014 Report to the Nations states that organizations typically lose 5% of their revenue to fraud each year.

Most of the time, fraud takes place below the radar, and upon discovering it, companies tend to want to move forward as quickly as possible without notifying the public of the fraudulent activity.

The smallest organizations tend to suffer the largest median loss as these organizations typically employ fewer anti-fraud controls than their larger counterparts. It is not unusual for small business to lose a significant amount to fraud and end up closing their doors for good.

Read more

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Marijuana’s Tax Paradox

These days, over half the country (32 states + DC) has some level of pot legalization, whether for medical or recreational use or both. Despite the way our founding fathers established states’ rights, when the federal government’s laws conflict with state laws – the Internal Revenue Code will follow federal law for U.S. income tax purposes.

The good news is, buried in the spending bill last December (Public Law No: 113-235), Congress included a provision to end federal drug enforcement raids on medical marijuana establishments. In effect, it legalized medical marijuana on a federal level.

This is an interesting opportunity for accountants and tax professionals to cater to a readily-identifiable niche market that can afford our fees…

Read the full article at

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Maximize the Social Security Income Election for your Clients

The clients of Accountants, Tax Professionals, and Financial Advisors increasingly ask for guidance on how to best take their Social Security income election. This issue has become very important to baby boomers for many reasons. Pre-retirees and early retirees are now living longer than previous generations. Also, there has been a shift away from defined benefit plans (i.e. pension plans) to self-retirement funding. Financial market forces, such as low interest bearing accounts, real estate devaluation, and a flat stock market for the past 10 years, also make the Social Security income election much more important.

The Social Security income election decision may be one of the most important financial decisions your clients make in their lifetime. Singles, and especially couples, can miss opportunities to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional income over their lifetimes when they make poor Social Security income election decisions. By applying little-known, yet creative claiming strategies, your clients may be rewarded with significant additional lifetime retirement income.

Read more for three important strategies

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The Long Winding Road of Professional A & A Standards

Are you current on the fast developing standards and issues from new FASB Pronouncements for 2014 and 2015?  According to CPE Link instructor Pat Patterson more changes will come from from the FASB and the Private Companies Council as well. Revenue Recognition (ASU 2014-9) is currently being considered for a delayed effective date; however, early implementation may be allowed. Are you ready? Leases and Financial Instruments are on the verge of being issued which will have an instant impact. Revenue Recognition, Leases, and Financial Instruments will change the way every professional has to handle the related issues.

The AICPA’s Clarity Project is essentially complete and has totally revised all AICPA Auditing Standards. Some have very little change, but there are many new requirements that include:

  • A new audit report
  • Issues with legal and regulatory agencies
  • Communicating Internal Control Related Matters Identified in an Audit
  • Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements
  • Modifications to the Opinion in the Independent Auditor’s Report
  • Emphasis of Matter Paragraphs and Other matter Paragraphs in the Independent Auditor’s Report
  • Special Considerations-Audits of Group Financial Statements
  • Special Considerations-Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks
  • Overall Objectives of the Independent Auditor and the Conduct of an Audit in Accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards
  • Terms of Engagement
  • Quality Control for an Engagement Conducted
  • Opening Balances-Initial Audit Engagements, Including Re-audit Engagements
  • Written Representations
  • Special Considerations-Audits of Single Financial Statements and Specific Elements, Accounts or Items of a Financial Statement

But whether there is some, little, or even no change, you still need to go through all of the new clarified AU-C sections because with clarity . . .You may find that you need to change or tweak how you do things!

For Compilation and Review Engagements, professionals are entering into new territory with Section 70 of SSARS 21, Preparation of Financial Statements. This new standard will change the way many professionals look at a set of financials. There are new standards for the engagement letters and signatures, the reporting (or no reporting), legends on financial statements, and the new Compilation report. Additionally, there are some changes to the documentation issues with Compilation and Review engagements.

Are you familiar with the “RED Zone” for Comp and Review? In this case, RED stands for Reporting, Engagement Letters, and Documentation. While standards in SSARS 19 are still in play until periods ending after December 15, 2015, the provisions of SSARS 21 may be early implemented; and even both standards may be used until December 15, 2015.

Other matters that involve professional standards also are affected by the new FASB, Clarified Auditing Standards, and revisions to Preparation, Compilation, and Review engagements. These include:

  • Personal Financial Statements
  • Special Purpose Formats
  • Disclosures like “going concern”
  • Quality Control
  • International Standards from the IASB

Want to know more? Check out a live webcast or on-demand self-study course from award-winning, nationally recognized author and discussion leader, Pat Patterson.

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Roth IRA Contribution

This information is an excerpt from the 2014-2015 IRA and Individual Retirement Federal Tax Update course by Vern Hoven:


Roth IRAs

Contribution amount is $5,500. Individuals with AGI below certain levels may make nondeductible contributions to a Roth IRA. The maximum annual contribution that may be made to a Roth IRA is the lesser of $5,500 or the individual’s compensation for the year. The contribution limit is reduced to the extent an individual makes contributions to any other IRA for the same taxable year. As under the rules relating to IRAs generally, a contribution of up to $5,500 for each spouse may be made to a Roth IRA provided the
combined compensation of the spouses is at least equal to the contributed amount.

Income limitation for annual contributions (2014 Pension Plan Limitation, IR 2013-86). The maximum annual Roth IRA contribution is phased out as an individual’s AGI exceeds certain limits:






$112,000 – $127,000

$114,000 – $129,000

$116,000 – $131,000

Married filing joint

$178,000 – $188,000

$181,000 – $191,000

$183,000 – $193,000

Married filing separate

$0 – $10,000

$0 – $10,000

$0 – $10,000

Distributions (§408A(d)). “Qualified distributions” of designated Roth contributions are excludable from gross income. A qualified distribution is one that occurs at least five years after the year of the participant’s first designated Roth contribution (counting such first year as part of the five) and is:

1. made on or after attainment of age 59½,
2. made on account of the participant’s disability,
3. made to a beneficiary or estate on or after the participant’s death, or
4. made for qualified first-time homebuyer expenses up to $10,000.

This information and more can be found in the 2014-2015 IRA and Individual Retirement Federal Tax Update.

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Same Sex Marriage Tax Law Changes

In the 2014-2015 Individual and Employee Federal Tax Update, Vern Hoven discusses the changes in same-sex marriage laws for the year 2013 and forward. Changes include legally married same sex couples in both a same sex marriage recognized state and those living outside of a marriage recognition state.

Legal Same-Sex Marriages Are Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes 

(Rev. Rul. 2013-17)

Joint or married separate filing required for years beginning in 2013. Legally married same sex couples are treated as married for all Federal tax purposes, including income, gift and estate taxes. Starting in 2013, legally-married same-sex couples generally must file their Federal income tax returns using either the “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” filing status. For legally married couples living outside of a marriage recognition state, generally, the couple will use a married filing status for Federal purposes but their state may require that they continue to file as “single” or “head of household.”

Prior years. Under the terms of Rev. Rul. 2013-17 individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file amended returns choosing to be treated as married for Federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.

Receive this information and more tax law updates in the 2014-2015 Individual and Employee Federal Tax Update.

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101 Financial Solutions: Diagnosis and Remedy

A manager’s success depends largely on his or her ability to manage a company’s assets. This mission is complicated by the interdependent nature of a company’s finances. One short-term financial problem, such as a cash flow shortage, can cause a longer-term credit problem, such as denials for bank loans. The successful manager must be able to quickly identify and resolve such short-term problems in order to prevent their long-term deleterious effects.

Intended for effective business managers and entrepreneurs, 101 Financial Solutions covers every facet of the daily management of a business’s finances. It is designed to help managers pinpoint, remedy, and prevent business and financial problems. In each case, it also points out potential ripple effects—the ways in which a problem in one sector can disrupt operations in other areas.

A recent review praises the ease of this course:

“…The material was relevant and well written.  I liked how it was broken into sections similar to a text book but much more interesting.  The sections are set up [to] work through pretty quickly. The book thoroughly defines each problem and gives relevant and real solutions…Very complex topics like inventory and production are broken down in a way that makes them easier to understand…”

Register for 101 Financial Solutions: Diagosis and Remedy and receive instant access to the PDF document course.

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The 2014-2015 Federal Tax Updates Are Here!

The holidays are not the only thing quickly approaching! Tax season will be here before you know it; ensure you are prepared for those tricky tax changes with the 2014-2015 Federal Tax Updates! Offered in both Live Webcast and Self-Study versions, receive detailed and informative information you need-to-know from expert Vern Hoven.

Register for the Live Webcasts offered in November, December, and January and receive 16 hours of CPE test free, as well as gain access to Instructor Vern Hoven LIVE to ask questions.

2014-2015 Federal Tax Update: Part 1 (4 CPE hours)

  • Part 1 of this series focuses on changes to Individual Income Tax.

2014-2015 Federal Tax Update: Part 2 (4 CPE hours)

  • Part 2 takes a look at Real Estate Tax, Passive Loss, Individual Retirement Plan and Estate/Gift Taxation.

2014-2015 Federal Tax Update: Part 3 (4 CPE hours)

  • Part 3 of the series covers business tax changes and business retirement plans.

2014-2015 Federal Tax Update: Part 4 (4 CPE hours)

  • Part 4 takes a look at Federal Payroll changes, Corporate Tax changes, Partnership changes,and IRS Audit issues.


The 2014-2015 Federal Tax Updates are also available in Self-Study format, allowing you the ease of completing these courses on your own time and now on your iPad or Android Tablet. Gain instant access to video courses and bonus manuals and materials provided by Vern Hoven.

2014-2015 IRA & Individual Retirement Federal Tax Update (3 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rulings affecting IRA and individual retirement plans.

2014-2015 Real Estate & Investment Federal Tax Update (5 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting real estate taxation.

2014-2015 Estates, Trusts & Beneficiaries Federal Tax Update (2 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting gift, estate and trust taxation.

2014-2015 Schedule C/F & General Business Federal Tax Update (9 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting business taxation.

2014-2015 Business Pension Plan & Issues Federal Tax Update (2 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting pension and IRA contributions and distributions.

2014-2015 Payroll & Self-Employment Tax Federal Tax Update (2 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting payroll and self-employment taxation.

2014-2015 C & S Corporate Federal Tax Update (3 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting corporate taxation.

2014-2015 Limited Liability Company (LLC) & Partnership Federal Tax Update (2 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rules affecting partnership and LLC taxation.

2014-2015 IRS Practice & Procedures Federal Tax Update (2 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current cases and rules affecting the tax preparer’s relationship with the IRS.

2014-2015 Individual & Employee Federal Tax Update (9 CPE hours)

  • In this course, Vern discusses the current Tax Codes, cases and rulings affecting individual taxation.

Find all the information you need to register at or contact Customer Service and one of our knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives will be happy to assist you.

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Goodbye 2013 Returns, Hello 2014 Returns!

As the filing time for 2013 returns enters its final phase, the reality of the 2015 filing season hits! A few developments from the IRS and the courts bring new compliance measures and due diligence reminders. The fall quarterly update (offered both September 17 and October 24) will include the following:

  • When payee statements can use a truncated TIN.
  • How the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment (§5000A) and Premium Tax Credit (§36B), will factor in on the 2014 Form 1040.
  • Knowing when payments between ex-spouses or soon to be ex-spouses counts as alimony.
  • Elections and accounting method changes in store per the final regulations on dispositions of tangible depreciable property.
  • A recent IRS ruling on LLC members and self-employment tax.
  • Reminders on business deductions.

This post was written by CPE Link Instructor Annette Nellen for her upcoming Live Webcasts on September 17 and October 24, Fall Quarterly Tax Update.

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