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2016 CPA Headline Roundup

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2016 CPA Headline RoundupWhat a year for CPAs. New roles, the impact of the ACA and a Trump Presidency, last-second changes to the Overtime Ruling, and recruiting millennials to take up the mantle. It’s been a roller coaster, no doubt.

And, of course, we unveiled the Balance Point 2016 CPA Advisory Board, who provided incredible insight into the CPA industry and what the future may hold.

Let’s get down to it. Here are the top headlines from 2016 impacting the CPA industry.

The Overtime Rule Has Been Blocked

CPAs were concerned with the Overtime Rule from its onset, scrambling to find clients cost-saving ways to maintain current payroll structures.

Smaller firms already struggling with employee recruiting and retention were left shell-shocked when the news hit, redirecting focus on existing employee changes, benefits, and schedules.

That is, until a federal judge in Texas blocked the overtime pay expansion with seconds left on the clock.

Now in limbo, the future of the Overtime Rule remains uncertain. The DOL has already filed an expedited review of the Overtime appeal. President-elect Trump remains neutral on the issue, however his cabinet and party may persuade him to disagree, and potentially dismantle, the Overtime Rule.

What’s worse, those CPAs and business owners who took a proactive approach to the Overtime Rule are affected the most, left to reverse changes made in preparation of the December 1st deadline.

Balance Point will continue to report on this issue as more details emerge.

The ACA Continues to Hurt CPAs and Clients…but Relief May Be on the Way

Unintended consequences of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act continue to affect businesses nationwide, and CPAs are feeling the burden.

A member of our 2016 CPA Advisory Board, Linda Wescott (principal at Savastano, Kaufman & Company) expressed her concerns with us, “[The ACA] is too entrenched,” She says, “There were unintended consequences including high rises and premiums that have hurt clients.”

On the election trail, then-candidate Trump emphasized his vow to repeal the ACA. As President-elect, his views on the Affordable Care Act have shifted and, while revisions are on the way, a complete repeal seems unlikely.

Undoubtedly, changes will come in the next year that affect both CPA firms and their clients. While these changes take form, however, CPAs are still at task to keep clients in a profitable position, ensuring compliance, and steering away from costly penalties.

The Roles of the CPA Evolve

We’ve written to this topic many times in the past, as CPAs begin advising clients of more cost-efficient ways to oversee their businesses.

As a result, CPAs now have a closet-full of hats to wear: from organizational efficiency, streamlining HR processes, managing rising labor costs, to employee retention…just to name a few.

A shift from purely financial planning to business management and consulting places heightened importance on CPA firms, a good thing, and a way to more actively engage with clients to provide great insight and leverage control of financial elements once outside the spectrum of the CPA’s role.

CPA Millennial Recruitment and Retention Remains a Problem

It’s official: millennials are the largest working generation in the U.S. For small CPA firms, however, millennial retention has been a problem since the generation entered the workforce. Jim Lawrence of Traphagen Financial Group and member of the 2016 CPA Advisory Board, spoke to this topic, saying “[young] people we thought could be partner potential left for a bigger firm and more flexibility.”

His frustration doesn’t go unfounded. Deloitte research found that “sixty-six percent of millennials hoped to have a different job five years from now or sooner.”

Offboarding procedures and recruiting new talent is a financial loss many organizations and firms are enduring. With demand to prove worthwhile to millennial long-term success rising, smaller CPA firms are focused on implementing strategies that appeal to a younger, robust workforce.

“We have to keep them happy, give them incentives—develop a game plan.” Says Lawrence.

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