February 2011


Church and ministry leadership often assume that since their employees are mainly committed church members, they are worthy of trust and the extent of the internal control system can be less than for a secular organization or business. Unfortunately, it is this higher degree of trust that often results in weaker controls and increased theft and misappropriation of funds!

Some key elements of internal control for churches and ministries are:

1. Clear organization structure and policies and procedures. Church and ministry operations are often carried out by using part-time and volunteer personnel. To minimize the training and supervision time required of leadership, policies and procedures should be established, documented and communicated to employees and volunteers.

2. Separation of incompatible duties. Some of the most common incompatible duties for churches and ministries include handling cash collections or mail receipts and, at the same time, being responsible for recording the receipts in the accounting records.

3. Dual control over all cash collections and mail receipts. Two persons should be assigned counting responsibility for all offering and mail receipts and for deposit preparation. The cash counters should be different than the people preparing the deposits and all positions should be rotated periodically.

This information was provided by Larry Perry, CPA. For more information on good accounting systems and procedures for churches, check out Larry’s Church Accounting and Internal Control webcast on March 15. You won’t find more practical information on this subject anywhere else.

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Each year, AccountingToday reviews what they deem to be the best new accounting and accounting-related products on the market. This year, in AccountingToday’s 2011 Top New Products, CPE Link’s Firm CPE Center received an Honorable Mention in the Learning category.

The Firm CPE Center is easy to use. Account administrators can access CPE Link’s robust curriculum of live webcasts and self-study courses and register individuals or groups for upcoming CPE. All registration confirmations, reminders, evaluations and certificates of completion are delivered online to both firm administrators and staff. And now, administrators or staff can also add data on CPE hours earned from any CPE provider. Administrators can track all staff CPE activity, viewing real-time CPE records, and can easily export the data into Excel for reporting purposes.

The Firm CPE Center is works well for any size office, whether you are managing CPE for one individual or a staff of hundreds. It taps the power of cloud computing, so no specialized software needs to be purchased, installed, or maintained. And most importantly, it is free!

Tax season — so much to do in so little time. It’s like a marathon. It requires focus, dedication, and plugging away until you make it to the finish line on April 18th.

Staying totally focused on your tasks and putting in extra hours day after day may seem like the best way to get it all done. But, in reality, being chronically overwhelmed for a sustained period of time keeps your body flooded with cortisol, a hormone designed to support short bursts of fighting or fleeing. When your system stays revved, cortisol can become a poison that wreaks havoc with your ability to think clearly, to concentrate, and to be strategic and creative – the abilities you need most to get you through.

So how do you stay out of overwhelm and in the zone — that state of deep concentration where you’re challenged, relaxed, focused and getting things done rather than running on empty toward burn out?

One way is to keep rejuvenating much like a marathon runner keeps hydrating. Your rejuvenator is something you engage in that is totally different from who you are or who you think you should be. If you’re a straight-laced, suit-wearing professional, rejuvenation might come from taking your Harley for a spin on a Saturday. If you crunch numbers alone all week you may rejuvenate by singing karaoke with friends. Your rejuvenator could be getting physical exercise, being in nature, watching a movie or reading a book.

Even though it may seem counter intuitive to take time off when you’re really busy, rejuvenating gives your mind the break it needs to fuel your productivity, to problem solve, and to stay positive so you can cross that finish line a winner in business and in health.

Thank you to our Guest Blogger: Linda L. Hardenstein, MPA, PCC, a business and performance management consultant, provides pragmatic approaches to business professionals and managers to better manage your To Dos, organize your work flow, and customize your daily routine to end that feeling of overwhelm that wastes your time, energy and money. She is the creator of Overwhelm Busters® training and Success Maps™. Contact her at Linda@LindaHardenstein.com or 831-233-9186 (in California).

P.S. CPE Link is taking Linda’s advice. We have started a walking program that encourages everyone to get out of the office for 20-30 minutes every day!

What are you doing to rejuvenate?

We used to think that one tax update seminar every year was enough. This year, it’s been more like two or three to keep up with the constant release of new tax legislation. Frankly, it’s been a little crazy. And yes, tax advisers need to be familiar with all the new provisions, the effective dates, and how they impact taxpayers and planning decisions for both individuals and businesses.

To help practitioners get a grip on the situation, CPE Link has put together a free resource which combines some helpful coverage of the tax regulations.
The 2010 Tax Update: Complete Resource Package contains:

  • PDF of compiled Q&A from Vern Hoven’s 2010 Federal Tax Update webcasts
  • PDF of Vern Hoven’s whitepaper on The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, And Job Creation Act Of 2010
  • On-demand webcast recording of professor Annette Nellen’s 2010 Tax Relief Act: How it Affects Your Clients.

Access the free resource today!

Interested in attending the live webcast on the Tax Relief Act on February 10 for free? Get the special promotion code for CPE Link Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

If you have taken CPE from CPE Link, you probably know that the MY ACCOUNT area on www.cpelink.com houses all of your CPE history. It is also the place to go to view your upcoming live webcasts and all associated links (like materials downloads and join webcast links). You’ll also see all your self-study courses in progress and any test scores.

CPE Link has just added two new functions to MY ACCOUNT: Add a Course and Export. While CPE hours completed through CPE Link are automatically shown in MY ACCOUNT, now users can add hours earned from any CPE Provider. On the MY CPE page, simply click “Add Course.” You’ll enter the course title, date completed, credit hours, etc. Users can also export their CPE data for reporting purposes or importing into another Learning Management System (LMS).

In case you haven’t cruised through MY ACCOUNT lately, it has several helpful sections:

• My CPE – where you can view all your past and future CPE events and self-study courses. This is where you can print personalized certificates of completions. If you need to cancel an upcoming registration, you’ll find the “cancel” link here as well.

• My Discounts – If you own an annual Value Pass, you’ll see your Value Pass Activity and your balance of hours here.

• My Profile – you can update your email and password here. Make sure we know if you’re an EA, CPA, or CFP for proper credit posting.

• Notifications – update your email and regular mail preferences.

• Firm Profile – you can create a profile for your firm including number of professional staff. Once you name an Account administrator that person can register others in the firm for CPE. A great convenience!

We continue to add features that are of value to our attendees. Let us know what you’d like to see in MY ACCOUNT.

IFRS is in the news (again). In 2011, the SEC will decide on the path of transition by public companies for the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). What does this mean? What happens to US GAAP? Are there alternatives for non-public companies?

You can tell that that the convergence of IFRS and US GAAP is inching forward by tracking movement in the industry. Beginning this month AccountingWEB will publish a quarterly newsletter dedicated to the latest developments on IFRS. The IASB and FASB have multiple meetings scheduled for February. Exposure drafts are being reviewed and commented on. Are you ready?

Join Russell Madray, CPA, CIA, CMA, CFM at his IFRS 101 webcast on Feb 7. You’ll learn effective and efficient techniques for implementing changes resulting from the transition to IFRS. The session will be repeated on May 7 as well.

Happy convergence!