5 CPA journal summary

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BALTIMORE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE Principles of Accounting Fall 2016 Written Assignment Instructions Please read articles on any five unrelated Accounting topics. What do I mean by unrelated topics? For instance, if you selected one article involving accounting education in colleges, then your second article cannot be on the same or similar topic. Your topics do not have to be restricted to accounting topics covered in the course. ALL ARTICLES MUST BE RESEARCHED USING THE INTERNET. Your Accounting articles have to be from The CPA Journal, Journal of Accountancy or Accountant Today. The articles must be published in 2015 or 2016 and must contain at least 2 pages (equivalent to 8.5”x11”) of text. On each topic, you are required to write 1 page. Thus you will have written a total of 5 pages. Each topic is divided into two sections and has to be clearly identified, as follows: Section 1-Summary of the article in your own words (0.5 pages long) Section 2-Your comments, opinions and any other feedback you wish to provide on the topic (0.5 pages long). Format Use letter size paper (8.5"x11") Spacing of Work: 1.5 times Normal Print: 12 font size Margins: 1" on all sides Your work must be presented as follows: I Cover Sheet Show your name, course name and number, and semester. (3%) II The next page should list the articles presented with the title of the article, name and date of the source publication and links to them. (2%) III Next, you will present all of the 5 write ups. Each write up must start on a separate page. At the top of each write up, just show the name of the article only. 105 points (22 % per write up) IV. Next, cite your articles using the APA format.(10 %) This assignment is designed to broaden your understanding of the accounting discipline as well as sharpen your Internet research, communication and critical thinking skills. There will be an automatic deduction of points if your work is not presented as specified. Due: November 13, 11.59pm EST Students who wish to submit the work early by 11.59pm EST, November 9 will be eligible for 10 points bonus. Late work will be penalized at the rate of 10 points for each 24 hour period that your work is late up to a maximum late penalty of 70 points. No credit will be given for late work submitted after 11.59pm EST, November 20 The next page is a sample work of student in a previous semester. Use it only as a general guide. Please consult my instructions above as I sometimes make changes in the assignment from one semester to the next. WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ACCT 201 Student Name ARTICLES (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal Web link: (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal Web link: “Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions” Summary In this article, the authors discuss one of the most pressing issues facing accounting firms in a time of economic turmoil. They present the necessity of accounting firms to make highly impactful first impressions on candidates for available positions. As the market for skilled workers becomes more competitive, firms have to go above and beyond the normal routine to obtain and retain employees. If they do not take the necessary steps, they may not stay in business. While there are more workers available for positions due to the recent recession, many do not possess the required skills for specialized jobs, making one of the top 10 most difficult positions to fill is that of the accountant (Yamanmura, Birk, & Cossitt, 2010). This fact makes it imperative for an accounting firm to find ways to attract candidates and once they have them, give them a reason to stay. The authors suggest that the first impression a firm makes is the one of the most important factors in a candidate’s decision to begin or continue working for the company. They then outline how these first impressions impact the worker. The more positive the initial impression is, the more likely the employee is to be excited about working for the company and the more likely they are to stay. The authors outline a plan for accounting firms to use to manage first impressions. The first step in the plan is to train recruiters who can appeal to the desires of potential recruits. The next step is to set a clear vision and expectation for the new employee, by preparing assignments, scheduling training, and setting goals. Finally, the authors suggest that for a firm to retain an employee, they must offer a fair balance between work and life. It is stated that Generation Y, people with birthdays from the 1970s to 1990s make up the majority of candidates for accounting positions. People in Gen Y want to be challenged, want to grow and learn, and are not afraid of advancement. Employees from this generation want to have direction and purpose. If a firm can provide these things, they are likely to employ workers who feel a sense of ownership in the company. Their workers will not just show up until something better presents itself, they will care about results and work diligently for the company’s success. Reaction The article captured my attention because two years ago, I found myself in search of employment due to changes my previous employer made to streamline operations and cut costs. It opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of opportunity for employment in the field of accounting. I have worked in several different industries and in most of those industries, I had to compete with other qualified applicants for the position I was interested in. It would seem that the demand for highly skilled accountants is on the rise and the supply is very limited. Because of this, accounting firms need to compete for employees. The first step to employing talent is making a great first impression. I understand how a first impression can affect the attitude of an employee. I experienced this with a previous employer. I cared about my position and worked hard towards my personal success. I love the challenges that my job presented to me and did what was necessary to overcome them. However, the recruiting process was prolonged and disorganized. My first impression of employment with the company was not a good one. As a result, I kept my eyes open for other opportunities. As a “Gen Y” member, I agree with the authors’ suggestion that working with positive people in a friendly environment is important. I want to be challenged and certainly enjoy learning new skills. If I feel that my current path does not provide me the opportunity to grow and advance, I will indeed look for a change. Having experienced firsthand how a first impression can impact an employee’s attitude towards the company he works for, I definitely agree that accounting firms must put a plan into place to make sure that first impressions it makes, are lasting and positive. In doing so, accounting firms can be sure to attract the best talent and have employees who feel empowered and motivated to grow and improve the company. “When It Comes to Fraud, It’s Better to Be Safe than Sorry” Summary In this article, the author presents three scenarios involving fraud that he encountered during his career as an accountant. In each of the three stories, the author demonstrates the necessity for leaders to make ethical decisions when preparing financial statements and reporting performance. In the first scenario, a bookkeeper at one of CS Company’s offices altered the office’s monthly statements to improve results. The bookkeeper changed the accounts receivable aging to hide the fact that the office was not efficient at collecting the money it was owed. The monthly reports were analyzed and compared to the statements of other offices. The misstatements were discovered and fixed and an investigation ensued. As a result of the investigation, it was determined that the company didn’t lose any money due to the alterations, collections on accounts payable were made, and the bookkeeper was fired. The second scenario involved a company that had six US and three foreign manufacturing facilities. The product had become obsolete and the sales of the product were declining. The company had positive profits, but mostly because of one of its foreign subsidiaries. The subsidiary was audited by a local auditing team as well as the corporation’s auditors. It was discovered that there were many errors in the subsidiaries financial statements, which drastically inflated the profits. The CEO and the controller of the subsidiary were aware of the misstatements and did not report them, so they were both fired. It turns out, the director of the subsidiary was inflating its sales and its accounts receivable. The company’s poor performance and its lack of managerial ethics and attention ultimately caused it to go out of business. The final scenario involves an automobile parts manufacturer. When the company’s CFO discovered some inconsistencies in its subsidiaries numbers, he had a corporate controller investigate the irregularities by herself. The investigation progressed slowly. When the controller made her reports to the CFO, he simply told her to continue her investigation and did not report any of the findings to the SEC. Ultimately, the CFO was replaced due to poor performance. The new CFO reported the findings to the auditing board and full investigation was performed. These scenarios show that discovering errors and deviations to financial reports is only the one step. Once these things are discovered, they must be reported immediately to auditors, so that any problems resulting from the errors can be swiftly resolved. Many errors can be prevented with adequate attention from corporate management and effective controls. The situation in the second scenario could have been prevented if managers had set clear expectations, communicated properly and implemented controls to keep the manager at the subsidiary from making adjustments to the financial statements. Reaction I found this article interesting and chose it because the company I work for has controls in place to detect non-compliance with government and company guidelines. All of our locations are visited at least twice a year by a control review team. The team will come prepared with information regarding accounts opened, transactions that we have processed, and procedures we have followed. The auditors spend a day reviewing our procedures to ensure our compliance with laws. At the end of the review we get a score based on their findings. This can be very stressful but if we are operationally sound and acting with integrity, there really is nothing to worry about. As stated in the article, integrity should be the primary focus. You have to question peoples’ motives for making unethical decisions, such as altering performance reporting. What was the benefit to the bookkeeper to overstate accounts receivable collection? I think the bookkeeper made these changes to cover up the lack of effort to actually collect on the accounts. Could the errors in the second scenario have been prevented? If the directors of corporate management had communicated properly with its subsidiary, and not neglected it, I think that this situation could have been easily avoided. With clear direction from corporate management, the director of the subsidiary would not have made inaccurate alterations to the financial statements and the situation would have been avoided. I can understand the pressure that some of these subsidiaries must receive from corporate officers. I work in a partially commission based, goal oriented sales environment. Our “numbers” are under constant scrutiny. We have to report frequently to middle management on what we are doing to achieve our goals. The temptation frequently arises to overstate our performance. There is rarely any benefit to doing so. Overstating my performance would only tarnish my reputation and lead to more problems in the future. “Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS” Summary United States based CPAs have had two methods or sets of standards for reporting financial information; the US Generally Accepted Account Principals, and Other Comprehensive Basis of Accounting. This has presented a problem for accountants, as many of the reporting requirements of GAAP are very demanding, and don’t necessarily apply to all small businesses. Because of this, accountants have generally agreed that there needs to be a set of accounting standards developed specifically for small businesses. The International Accounting Standards Board released the International Financial Reporting Standards for Small to Medium Sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs) in May of 2009. In this article, the authors discuss the results of several surveys conducted of CPAs regarding their willingness or likelihood to adopt them. The authors received 243 survey responses from CPAs. The survey posed questions to CPAs about their knowledge of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs, as well as their willingness to adopt IFRS. More than half of the respondents believed that there should be different reporting requirements for private and public companies. However, most of the CPAs who responded to the survey had little detailed knowledge about IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. As a result, it was determined that most CPAs would continue to use their current accounting basis even if the US adopted IFRS. They also reported that their clients’ knowledge of IFRS would be a very significant barrier in their adoption of IFRS. The survey also asked the CPAs what type of accounting they use. The results show that only small business used cash and tax basis account and only large business used IFRS. Next, the author discusses two conclusions from the survey. One conclusion is that different types of businesses have different needs regarding accounting standards. The other conclusion is that CPAs and their clients need more detail before adopting IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. Reaction After reading this article, I agree that different types of business need different accounting standards. I work with a lot of small business owners, with less than 10 employees. I can see the importance of a simple set of accounting standards a small business that does less than $10 million in revenue per year, or has a very limited number of transaction types. On several occasions, business owners have come to me to establish a line of credit. One requirement is that the customer must be able to provide two years of financial statements. I feel that if there are specific accounting standards for SMEs, than it may be easier for these customers to provide the necessary documents, obtain their lines of credit and use that to enhance and grow their business. I do find it interesting that CPAs are reluctant to change the basis of accounting they use for their clients. I think that a simpler set of standards for financial reporting would make their job easier. It may take them some time to learn all of the details and requirements of IFRS. However, I think it will ultimately help their clients, especially if they intend to grown beyond US borders. “A Looming Crisis for Pensions” Summary We learn that underfunding of pension plans could have drastic negative repercussions. Financial accountants have a very daunting task in managing pension plans. They have to determine how much money needs to be contributed to a pension plan by a company, what the value of the pension plan currently is and what it may be worth in the future. The authors present several questions that accountants face when determining pension plan funding. They are: How many more years will an employee work? How will an employee’s compensation over time affect amounts promised in retirement? For how many years after retirement will an employee live and collect compensation or other post-retirement benefits? What investment returns will be earned on funds designated to meet future retirement obligations? (Easterday & Eaton, 2010). The two types of pension plans are defined contribution (DC), which includes 401k and 403b retirement plans, and defined benefit plan (DB), which is a type of deferred compensation. In a DC type plan, employees make a contribution to the plan, the employer may match it, and the employee is responsible for the performance of the plan. Generally in DB plans, an employee is promised a certain percentage of their income to be paid after retirement. In the DB plan, employers set money aside and are responsible for investing these funds. The longer an employee stays with a company that offers a DB plan, the great the obligation is for the employer. If the assets in the plan are less than the total obligation, the plan is considered underfunded. There are three major reasons a pension plan has funding problems. If the plans assets are invested and those investments perform poorly, the plans funding can be negatively affected. Delays in paying cash contributions to the plan by the employer will also result in under funding. Accountants and decision makers may have overestimated interest rates. This may also cause underfunding in pension plans. The author provides us with an example of a drastic underfunding problem in Cincinnati, Ohio. The city of Cincinnati has only made partial contributions to its pension plans to free up cash for other needs. As of December of 2008, the city reported that its pension plans were underfunded by nearly $913 million dollars. This could have very negative tax implications for city residents, as they may need to bear the burden of this deficit. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation currently protects corporations and employees if the company fails and the pension plan is underfunded. Unfortunately, the PBGC has protected more companies than it can handle. It reported a $33.5 billion deficit in the first half 2009. While many companies have moved away from DB plans, those that do have a responsibility to its employees to manage and fun them. If not, they’re putting the financial security of its people in jeopardy. Reaction I do not understand why an employer would put itself into a position where it did not provide adequate funding to its pension plan. I know that idle cash does not benefit the company, but by not contributing the necessary funds to the pension plan, the company would be putting the economic security of its employees at risk. I chose this article because my family’s financial security has been on my mind a lot recently. Having just been married, retirement discussions are a frequent occurrence in my home. Who is going to retire first? What do we need to retire? My wife and I both have DC plans with our employers. Bank of America, my employer also offers a 4% per year Defined Benefit plan. With recent developments in the banking industry, it worries me that BOA may not make adequate contributions to my pension, in order to utilize those funds for other purposes. While I am confident that Bank of America will not go out of business before I retire, the prospect of being asked to accept a reduced benefit if my pension plan is inadequately funded, does not appeal to me. I can see that financial accountants have to carefully calculate how much money and when a firm needs to contribute to its DB plan. This must be done in order to ensure the company doesn’t have to play catch up. By making adequate contributions, the company shows that it has the employees’ best interest in mind. The last paragraph of the article states that thoughtful reform is required. I located a plan that I find very interesting. Maryland’s unfunded liability for pension plans as of January, 21, 2011 was $19 billion dollars. By adjusting retirement age of state workers, changing benefit calculation from highest three years of salary to highest five years, and requiring a ten year vesting period as opposed to five, the Governor of Maryland hopes to reduce this unfunded pension liability by $7 million dollars (O'Malley, 2011). Let’s hope it works. Works Cited Christie, N., Brozovsky, J., & Hicks, S. (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal, pp. 40-43. Easterday, K., & Eaton, T. V. (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal, pp. 56-58. O'Malley, M. (2011, January 21). Reforming Maryland's Pension System: A Path to Sustainability. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from Maryland.gov: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/RetirementReform.pdf Weinstein, E. A. (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal, pp. 6, 8-9. Yamanmura, J., Birk, C. A., & Cossitt, B. J. (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal, pp. 58-60.
BALTIMORE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE Principles of Accounting Fall 2016 Written Assignment Instructions Please read articles on any five unrelated Accounting topics. What do I mean by unrelated topics? For instance, if you selected one article involving accounting education in colleges, then your second article cannot be on the same or similar topic. Your topics do not have to be restricted to accounting topics covered in the course. ALL ARTICLES MUST BE RESEARCHED USING THE INTERNET. Your Accounting articles have to be from The CPA Journal, Journal of Accountancy or Accountant Today. The articles must be published in 2015 or 2016 and must contain at least 2 pages (equivalent to 8.5”x11”) of text. On each topic, you are required to write 1 page. Thus you will have written a total of 5 pages. Each topic is divided into two sections and has to be clearly identified, as follows: Section 1-Summary of the article in your own words (0.5 pages long) Section 2-Your comments, opinions and any other feedback you wish to provide on the topic (0.5 pages long). Format Use letter size paper (8.5"x11") Spacing of Work: 1.5 times Normal Print: 12 font size Margins: 1" on all sides Your work must be presented as follows: I Cover Sheet Show your name, course name and number, and semester. (3%) II The next page should list the articles presented with the title of the article, name and date of the source publication and links to them. (2%) III Next, you will present all of the 5 write ups. Each write up must start on a separate page. At the top of each write up, just show the name of the article only. 105 points (22 % per write up) IV. Next, cite your articles using the APA format.(10 %) This assignment is designed to broaden your understanding of the accounting discipline as well as sharpen your Internet research, communication and critical thinking skills. There will be an automatic deduction of points if your work is not presented as specified. Due: November 13, 11.59pm EST Students who wish to submit the work early by 11.59pm EST, November 9 will be eligible for 10 points bonus. Late work will be penalized at the rate of 10 points for each 24 hour period that your work is late up to a maximum late penalty of 70 points. No credit will be given for late work submitted after 11.59pm EST, November 20 The next page is a sample work of student in a previous semester. Use it only as a general guide. Please consult my instructions above as I sometimes make changes in the assignment from one semester to the next. WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ACCT 201 Student Name ARTICLES (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal Web link: (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal Web link: “Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions” Summary In this article, the authors discuss one of the most pressing issues facing accounting firms in a time of economic turmoil. They present the necessity of accounting firms to make highly impactful first impressions on candidates for available positions. As the market for skilled workers becomes more competitive, firms have to go above and beyond the normal routine to obtain and retain employees. If they do not take the necessary steps, they may not stay in business. While there are more workers available for positions due to the recent recession, many do not possess the required skills for specialized jobs, making one of the top 10 most difficult positions to fill is that of the accountant (Yamanmura, Birk, & Cossitt, 2010). This fact makes it imperative for an accounting firm to find ways to attract candidates and once they have them, give them a reason to stay. The authors suggest that the first impression a firm makes is the one of the most important factors in a candidate’s decision to begin or continue working for the company. They then outline how these first impressions impact the worker. The more positive the initial impression is, the more likely the employee is to be excited about working for the company and the more likely they are to stay. The authors outline a plan for accounting firms to use to manage first impressions. The first step in the plan is to train recruiters who can appeal to the desires of potential recruits. The next step is to set a clear vision and expectation for the new employee, by preparing assignments, scheduling training, and setting goals. Finally, the authors suggest that for a firm to retain an employee, they must offer a fair balance between work and life. It is stated that Generation Y, people with birthdays from the 1970s to 1990s make up the majority of candidates for accounting positions. People in Gen Y want to be challenged, want to grow and learn, and are not afraid of advancement. Employees from this generation want to have direction and purpose. If a firm can provide these things, they are likely to employ workers who feel a sense of ownership in the company. Their workers will not just show up until something better presents itself, they will care about results and work diligently for the company’s success. Reaction The article captured my attention because two years ago, I found myself in search of employment due to changes my previous employer made to streamline operations and cut costs. It opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of opportunity for employment in the field of accounting. I have worked in several different industries and in most of those industries, I had to compete with other qualified applicants for the position I was interested in. It would seem that the demand for highly skilled accountants is on the rise and the supply is very limited. Because of this, accounting firms need to compete for employees. The first step to employing talent is making a great first impression. I understand how a first impression can affect the attitude of an employee. I experienced this with a previous employer. I cared about my position and worked hard towards my personal success. I love the challenges that my job presented to me and did what was necessary to overcome them. However, the recruiting process was prolonged and disorganized. My first impression of employment with the company was not a good one. As a result, I kept my eyes open for other opportunities. As a “Gen Y” member, I agree with the authors’ suggestion that working with positive people in a friendly environment is important. I want to be challenged and certainly enjoy learning new skills. If I feel that my current path does not provide me the opportunity to grow and advance, I will indeed look for a change. Having experienced firsthand how a first impression can impact an employee’s attitude towards the company he works for, I definitely agree that accounting firms must put a plan into place to make sure that first impressions it makes, are lasting and positive. In doing so, accounting firms can be sure to attract the best talent and have employees who feel empowered and motivated to grow and improve the company. “When It Comes to Fraud, It’s Better to Be Safe than Sorry” Summary In this article, the author presents three scenarios involving fraud that he encountered during his career as an accountant. In each of the three stories, the author demonstrates the necessity for leaders to make ethical decisions when preparing financial statements and reporting performance. In the first scenario, a bookkeeper at one of CS Company’s offices altered the office’s monthly statements to improve results. The bookkeeper changed the accounts receivable aging to hide the fact that the office was not efficient at collecting the money it was owed. The monthly reports were analyzed and compared to the statements of other offices. The misstatements were discovered and fixed and an investigation ensued. As a result of the investigation, it was determined that the company didn’t lose any money due to the alterations, collections on accounts payable were made, and the bookkeeper was fired. The second scenario involved a company that had six US and three foreign manufacturing facilities. The product had become obsolete and the sales of the product were declining. The company had positive profits, but mostly because of one of its foreign subsidiaries. The subsidiary was audited by a local auditing team as well as the corporation’s auditors. It was discovered that there were many errors in the subsidiaries financial statements, which drastically inflated the profits. The CEO and the controller of the subsidiary were aware of the misstatements and did not report them, so they were both fired. It turns out, the director of the subsidiary was inflating its sales and its accounts receivable. The company’s poor performance and its lack of managerial ethics and attention ultimately caused it to go out of business. The final scenario involves an automobile parts manufacturer. When the company’s CFO discovered some inconsistencies in its subsidiaries numbers, he had a corporate controller investigate the irregularities by herself. The investigation progressed slowly. When the controller made her reports to the CFO, he simply told her to continue her investigation and did not report any of the findings to the SEC. Ultimately, the CFO was replaced due to poor performance. The new CFO reported the findings to the auditing board and full investigation was performed. These scenarios show that discovering errors and deviations to financial reports is only the one step. Once these things are discovered, they must be reported immediately to auditors, so that any problems resulting from the errors can be swiftly resolved. Many errors can be prevented with adequate attention from corporate management and effective controls. The situation in the second scenario could have been prevented if managers had set clear expectations, communicated properly and implemented controls to keep the manager at the subsidiary from making adjustments to the financial statements. Reaction I found this article interesting and chose it because the company I work for has controls in place to detect non-compliance with government and company guidelines. All of our locations are visited at least twice a year by a control review team. The team will come prepared with information regarding accounts opened, transactions that we have processed, and procedures we have followed. The auditors spend a day reviewing our procedures to ensure our compliance with laws. At the end of the review we get a score based on their findings. This can be very stressful but if we are operationally sound and acting with integrity, there really is nothing to worry about. As stated in the article, integrity should be the primary focus. You have to question peoples’ motives for making unethical decisions, such as altering performance reporting. What was the benefit to the bookkeeper to overstate accounts receivable collection? I think the bookkeeper made these changes to cover up the lack of effort to actually collect on the accounts. Could the errors in the second scenario have been prevented? If the directors of corporate management had communicated properly with its subsidiary, and not neglected it, I think that this situation could have been easily avoided. With clear direction from corporate management, the director of the subsidiary would not have made inaccurate alterations to the financial statements and the situation would have been avoided. I can understand the pressure that some of these subsidiaries must receive from corporate officers. I work in a partially commission based, goal oriented sales environment. Our “numbers” are under constant scrutiny. We have to report frequently to middle management on what we are doing to achieve our goals. The temptation frequently arises to overstate our performance. There is rarely any benefit to doing so. Overstating my performance would only tarnish my reputation and lead to more problems in the future. “Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS” Summary United States based CPAs have had two methods or sets of standards for reporting financial information; the US Generally Accepted Account Principals, and Other Comprehensive Basis of Accounting. This has presented a problem for accountants, as many of the reporting requirements of GAAP are very demanding, and don’t necessarily apply to all small businesses. Because of this, accountants have generally agreed that there needs to be a set of accounting standards developed specifically for small businesses. The International Accounting Standards Board released the International Financial Reporting Standards for Small to Medium Sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs) in May of 2009. In this article, the authors discuss the results of several surveys conducted of CPAs regarding their willingness or likelihood to adopt them. The authors received 243 survey responses from CPAs. The survey posed questions to CPAs about their knowledge of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs, as well as their willingness to adopt IFRS. More than half of the respondents believed that there should be different reporting requirements for private and public companies. However, most of the CPAs who responded to the survey had little detailed knowledge about IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. As a result, it was determined that most CPAs would continue to use their current accounting basis even if the US adopted IFRS. They also reported that their clients’ knowledge of IFRS would be a very significant barrier in their adoption of IFRS. The survey also asked the CPAs what type of accounting they use. The results show that only small business used cash and tax basis account and only large business used IFRS. Next, the author discusses two conclusions from the survey. One conclusion is that different types of businesses have different needs regarding accounting standards. The other conclusion is that CPAs and their clients need more detail before adopting IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. Reaction After reading this article, I agree that different types of business need different accounting standards. I work with a lot of small business owners, with less than 10 employees. I can see the importance of a simple set of accounting standards a small business that does less than $10 million in revenue per year, or has a very limited number of transaction types. On several occasions, business owners have come to me to establish a line of credit. One requirement is that the customer must be able to provide two years of financial statements. I feel that if there are specific accounting standards for SMEs, than it may be easier for these customers to provide the necessary documents, obtain their lines of credit and use that to enhance and grow their business. I do find it interesting that CPAs are reluctant to change the basis of accounting they use for their clients. I think that a simpler set of standards for financial reporting would make their job easier. It may take them some time to learn all of the details and requirements of IFRS. However, I think it will ultimately help their clients, especially if they intend to grown beyond US borders. “A Looming Crisis for Pensions” Summary We learn that underfunding of pension plans could have drastic negative repercussions. Financial accountants have a very daunting task in managing pension plans. They have to determine how much money needs to be contributed to a pension plan by a company, what the value of the pension plan currently is and what it may be worth in the future. The authors present several questions that accountants face when determining pension plan funding. They are: How many more years will an employee work? How will an employee’s compensation over time affect amounts promised in retirement? For how many years after retirement will an employee live and collect compensation or other post-retirement benefits? What investment returns will be earned on funds designated to meet future retirement obligations? (Easterday & Eaton, 2010). The two types of pension plans are defined contribution (DC), which includes 401k and 403b retirement plans, and defined benefit plan (DB), which is a type of deferred compensation. In a DC type plan, employees make a contribution to the plan, the employer may match it, and the employee is responsible for the performance of the plan. Generally in DB plans, an employee is promised a certain percentage of their income to be paid after retirement. In the DB plan, employers set money aside and are responsible for investing these funds. The longer an employee stays with a company that offers a DB plan, the great the obligation is for the employer. If the assets in the plan are less than the total obligation, the plan is considered underfunded. There are three major reasons a pension plan has funding problems. If the plans assets are invested and those investments perform poorly, the plans funding can be negatively affected. Delays in paying cash contributions to the plan by the employer will also result in under funding. Accountants and decision makers may have overestimated interest rates. This may also cause underfunding in pension plans. The author provides us with an example of a drastic underfunding problem in Cincinnati, Ohio. The city of Cincinnati has only made partial contributions to its pension plans to free up cash for other needs. As of December of 2008, the city reported that its pension plans were underfunded by nearly $913 million dollars. This could have very negative tax implications for city residents, as they may need to bear the burden of this deficit. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation currently protects corporations and employees if the company fails and the pension plan is underfunded. Unfortunately, the PBGC has protected more companies than it can handle. It reported a $33.5 billion deficit in the first half 2009. While many companies have moved away from DB plans, those that do have a responsibility to its employees to manage and fun them. If not, they’re putting the financial security of its people in jeopardy. Reaction I do not understand why an employer would put itself into a position where it did not provide adequate funding to its pension plan. I know that idle cash does not benefit the company, but by not contributing the necessary funds to the pension plan, the company would be putting the economic security of its employees at risk. I chose this article because my family’s financial security has been on my mind a lot recently. Having just been married, retirement discussions are a frequent occurrence in my home. Who is going to retire first? What do we need to retire? My wife and I both have DC plans with our employers. Bank of America, my employer also offers a 4% per year Defined Benefit plan. With recent developments in the banking industry, it worries me that BOA may not make adequate contributions to my pension, in order to utilize those funds for other purposes. While I am confident that Bank of America will not go out of business before I retire, the prospect of being asked to accept a reduced benefit if my pension plan is inadequately funded, does not appeal to me. I can see that financial accountants have to carefully calculate how much money and when a firm needs to contribute to its DB plan. This must be done in order to ensure the company doesn’t have to play catch up. By making adequate contributions, the company shows that it has the employees’ best interest in mind. The last paragraph of the article states that thoughtful reform is required. I located a plan that I find very interesting. Maryland’s unfunded liability for pension plans as of January, 21, 2011 was $19 billion dollars. By adjusting retirement age of state workers, changing benefit calculation from highest three years of salary to highest five years, and requiring a ten year vesting period as opposed to five, the Governor of Maryland hopes to reduce this unfunded pension liability by $7 million dollars (O'Malley, 2011). Let’s hope it works. Works Cited Christie, N., Brozovsky, J., & Hicks, S. (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal, pp. 40-43. Easterday, K., & Eaton, T. V. (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal, pp. 56-58. O'Malley, M. (2011, January 21). Reforming Maryland's Pension System: A Path to Sustainability. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from Maryland.gov: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/RetirementReform.pdf Weinstein, E. A. (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal, pp. 6, 8-9. Yamanmura, J., Birk, C. A., & Cossitt, B. J. (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal, pp. 58-60.
BALTIMORE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE Principles of Accounting Fall 2016 Written Assignment Instructions Please read articles on any five unrelated Accounting topics. What do I mean by unrelated topics? For instance, if you selected one article involving accounting education in colleges, then your second article cannot be on the same or similar topic. Your topics do not have to be restricted to accounting topics covered in the course. ALL ARTICLES MUST BE RESEARCHED USING THE INTERNET. Your Accounting articles have to be from The CPA Journal, Journal of Accountancy or Accountant Today. The articles must be published in 2015 or 2016 and must contain at least 2 pages (equivalent to 8.5”x11”) of text. On each topic, you are required to write 1 page. Thus you will have written a total of 5 pages. Each topic is divided into two sections and has to be clearly identified, as follows: Section 1-Summary of the article in your own words (0.5 pages long) Section 2-Your comments, opinions and any other feedback you wish to provide on the topic (0.5 pages long). Format Use letter size paper (8.5"x11") Spacing of Work: 1.5 times Normal Print: 12 font size Margins: 1" on all sides Your work must be presented as follows: I Cover Sheet Show your name, course name and number, and semester. (3%) II The next page should list the articles presented with the title of the article, name and date of the source publication and links to them. (2%) III Next, you will present all of the 5 write ups. Each write up must start on a separate page. At the top of each write up, just show the name of the article only. 105 points (22 % per write up) IV. Next, cite your articles using the APA format.(10 %) This assignment is designed to broaden your understanding of the accounting discipline as well as sharpen your Internet research, communication and critical thinking skills. There will be an automatic deduction of points if your work is not presented as specified. Due: November 13, 11.59pm EST Students who wish to submit the work early by 11.59pm EST, November 9 will be eligible for 10 points bonus. Late work will be penalized at the rate of 10 points for each 24 hour period that your work is late up to a maximum late penalty of 70 points. No credit will be given for late work submitted after 11.59pm EST, November 20 The next page is a sample work of student in a previous semester. Use it only as a general guide. Please consult my instructions above as I sometimes make changes in the assignment from one semester to the next. WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ACCT 201 Student Name ARTICLES (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal Web link: (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal Web Link: (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal Web link: “Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions” Summary In this article, the authors discuss one of the most pressing issues facing accounting firms in a time of economic turmoil. They present the necessity of accounting firms to make highly impactful first impressions on candidates for available positions. As the market for skilled workers becomes more competitive, firms have to go above and beyond the normal routine to obtain and retain employees. If they do not take the necessary steps, they may not stay in business. While there are more workers available for positions due to the recent recession, many do not possess the required skills for specialized jobs, making one of the top 10 most difficult positions to fill is that of the accountant (Yamanmura, Birk, & Cossitt, 2010). This fact makes it imperative for an accounting firm to find ways to attract candidates and once they have them, give them a reason to stay. The authors suggest that the first impression a firm makes is the one of the most important factors in a candidate’s decision to begin or continue working for the company. They then outline how these first impressions impact the worker. The more positive the initial impression is, the more likely the employee is to be excited about working for the company and the more likely they are to stay. The authors outline a plan for accounting firms to use to manage first impressions. The first step in the plan is to train recruiters who can appeal to the desires of potential recruits. The next step is to set a clear vision and expectation for the new employee, by preparing assignments, scheduling training, and setting goals. Finally, the authors suggest that for a firm to retain an employee, they must offer a fair balance between work and life. It is stated that Generation Y, people with birthdays from the 1970s to 1990s make up the majority of candidates for accounting positions. People in Gen Y want to be challenged, want to grow and learn, and are not afraid of advancement. Employees from this generation want to have direction and purpose. If a firm can provide these things, they are likely to employ workers who feel a sense of ownership in the company. Their workers will not just show up until something better presents itself, they will care about results and work diligently for the company’s success. Reaction The article captured my attention because two years ago, I found myself in search of employment due to changes my previous employer made to streamline operations and cut costs. It opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of opportunity for employment in the field of accounting. I have worked in several different industries and in most of those industries, I had to compete with other qualified applicants for the position I was interested in. It would seem that the demand for highly skilled accountants is on the rise and the supply is very limited. Because of this, accounting firms need to compete for employees. The first step to employing talent is making a great first impression. I understand how a first impression can affect the attitude of an employee. I experienced this with a previous employer. I cared about my position and worked hard towards my personal success. I love the challenges that my job presented to me and did what was necessary to overcome them. However, the recruiting process was prolonged and disorganized. My first impression of employment with the company was not a good one. As a result, I kept my eyes open for other opportunities. As a “Gen Y” member, I agree with the authors’ suggestion that working with positive people in a friendly environment is important. I want to be challenged and certainly enjoy learning new skills. If I feel that my current path does not provide me the opportunity to grow and advance, I will indeed look for a change. Having experienced firsthand how a first impression can impact an employee’s attitude towards the company he works for, I definitely agree that accounting firms must put a plan into place to make sure that first impressions it makes, are lasting and positive. In doing so, accounting firms can be sure to attract the best talent and have employees who feel empowered and motivated to grow and improve the company. “When It Comes to Fraud, It’s Better to Be Safe than Sorry” Summary In this article, the author presents three scenarios involving fraud that he encountered during his career as an accountant. In each of the three stories, the author demonstrates the necessity for leaders to make ethical decisions when preparing financial statements and reporting performance. In the first scenario, a bookkeeper at one of CS Company’s offices altered the office’s monthly statements to improve results. The bookkeeper changed the accounts receivable aging to hide the fact that the office was not efficient at collecting the money it was owed. The monthly reports were analyzed and compared to the statements of other offices. The misstatements were discovered and fixed and an investigation ensued. As a result of the investigation, it was determined that the company didn’t lose any money due to the alterations, collections on accounts payable were made, and the bookkeeper was fired. The second scenario involved a company that had six US and three foreign manufacturing facilities. The product had become obsolete and the sales of the product were declining. The company had positive profits, but mostly because of one of its foreign subsidiaries. The subsidiary was audited by a local auditing team as well as the corporation’s auditors. It was discovered that there were many errors in the subsidiaries financial statements, which drastically inflated the profits. The CEO and the controller of the subsidiary were aware of the misstatements and did not report them, so they were both fired. It turns out, the director of the subsidiary was inflating its sales and its accounts receivable. The company’s poor performance and its lack of managerial ethics and attention ultimately caused it to go out of business. The final scenario involves an automobile parts manufacturer. When the company’s CFO discovered some inconsistencies in its subsidiaries numbers, he had a corporate controller investigate the irregularities by herself. The investigation progressed slowly. When the controller made her reports to the CFO, he simply told her to continue her investigation and did not report any of the findings to the SEC. Ultimately, the CFO was replaced due to poor performance. The new CFO reported the findings to the auditing board and full investigation was performed. These scenarios show that discovering errors and deviations to financial reports is only the one step. Once these things are discovered, they must be reported immediately to auditors, so that any problems resulting from the errors can be swiftly resolved. Many errors can be prevented with adequate attention from corporate management and effective controls. The situation in the second scenario could have been prevented if managers had set clear expectations, communicated properly and implemented controls to keep the manager at the subsidiary from making adjustments to the financial statements. Reaction I found this article interesting and chose it because the company I work for has controls in place to detect non-compliance with government and company guidelines. All of our locations are visited at least twice a year by a control review team. The team will come prepared with information regarding accounts opened, transactions that we have processed, and procedures we have followed. The auditors spend a day reviewing our procedures to ensure our compliance with laws. At the end of the review we get a score based on their findings. This can be very stressful but if we are operationally sound and acting with integrity, there really is nothing to worry about. As stated in the article, integrity should be the primary focus. You have to question peoples’ motives for making unethical decisions, such as altering performance reporting. What was the benefit to the bookkeeper to overstate accounts receivable collection? I think the bookkeeper made these changes to cover up the lack of effort to actually collect on the accounts. Could the errors in the second scenario have been prevented? If the directors of corporate management had communicated properly with its subsidiary, and not neglected it, I think that this situation could have been easily avoided. With clear direction from corporate management, the director of the subsidiary would not have made inaccurate alterations to the financial statements and the situation would have been avoided. I can understand the pressure that some of these subsidiaries must receive from corporate officers. I work in a partially commission based, goal oriented sales environment. Our “numbers” are under constant scrutiny. We have to report frequently to middle management on what we are doing to achieve our goals. The temptation frequently arises to overstate our performance. There is rarely any benefit to doing so. Overstating my performance would only tarnish my reputation and lead to more problems in the future. “Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS” Summary United States based CPAs have had two methods or sets of standards for reporting financial information; the US Generally Accepted Account Principals, and Other Comprehensive Basis of Accounting. This has presented a problem for accountants, as many of the reporting requirements of GAAP are very demanding, and don’t necessarily apply to all small businesses. Because of this, accountants have generally agreed that there needs to be a set of accounting standards developed specifically for small businesses. The International Accounting Standards Board released the International Financial Reporting Standards for Small to Medium Sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs) in May of 2009. In this article, the authors discuss the results of several surveys conducted of CPAs regarding their willingness or likelihood to adopt them. The authors received 243 survey responses from CPAs. The survey posed questions to CPAs about their knowledge of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs, as well as their willingness to adopt IFRS. More than half of the respondents believed that there should be different reporting requirements for private and public companies. However, most of the CPAs who responded to the survey had little detailed knowledge about IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. As a result, it was determined that most CPAs would continue to use their current accounting basis even if the US adopted IFRS. They also reported that their clients’ knowledge of IFRS would be a very significant barrier in their adoption of IFRS. The survey also asked the CPAs what type of accounting they use. The results show that only small business used cash and tax basis account and only large business used IFRS. Next, the author discusses two conclusions from the survey. One conclusion is that different types of businesses have different needs regarding accounting standards. The other conclusion is that CPAs and their clients need more detail before adopting IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. Reaction After reading this article, I agree that different types of business need different accounting standards. I work with a lot of small business owners, with less than 10 employees. I can see the importance of a simple set of accounting standards a small business that does less than $10 million in revenue per year, or has a very limited number of transaction types. On several occasions, business owners have come to me to establish a line of credit. One requirement is that the customer must be able to provide two years of financial statements. I feel that if there are specific accounting standards for SMEs, than it may be easier for these customers to provide the necessary documents, obtain their lines of credit and use that to enhance and grow their business. I do find it interesting that CPAs are reluctant to change the basis of accounting they use for their clients. I think that a simpler set of standards for financial reporting would make their job easier. It may take them some time to learn all of the details and requirements of IFRS. However, I think it will ultimately help their clients, especially if they intend to grown beyond US borders. “A Looming Crisis for Pensions” Summary We learn that underfunding of pension plans could have drastic negative repercussions. Financial accountants have a very daunting task in managing pension plans. They have to determine how much money needs to be contributed to a pension plan by a company, what the value of the pension plan currently is and what it may be worth in the future. The authors present several questions that accountants face when determining pension plan funding. They are: How many more years will an employee work? How will an employee’s compensation over time affect amounts promised in retirement? For how many years after retirement will an employee live and collect compensation or other post-retirement benefits? What investment returns will be earned on funds designated to meet future retirement obligations? (Easterday & Eaton, 2010). The two types of pension plans are defined contribution (DC), which includes 401k and 403b retirement plans, and defined benefit plan (DB), which is a type of deferred compensation. In a DC type plan, employees make a contribution to the plan, the employer may match it, and the employee is responsible for the performance of the plan. Generally in DB plans, an employee is promised a certain percentage of their income to be paid after retirement. In the DB plan, employers set money aside and are responsible for investing these funds. The longer an employee stays with a company that offers a DB plan, the great the obligation is for the employer. If the assets in the plan are less than the total obligation, the plan is considered underfunded. There are three major reasons a pension plan has funding problems. If the plans assets are invested and those investments perform poorly, the plans funding can be negatively affected. Delays in paying cash contributions to the plan by the employer will also result in under funding. Accountants and decision makers may have overestimated interest rates. This may also cause underfunding in pension plans. The author provides us with an example of a drastic underfunding problem in Cincinnati, Ohio. The city of Cincinnati has only made partial contributions to its pension plans to free up cash for other needs. As of December of 2008, the city reported that its pension plans were underfunded by nearly $913 million dollars. This could have very negative tax implications for city residents, as they may need to bear the burden of this deficit. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation currently protects corporations and employees if the company fails and the pension plan is underfunded. Unfortunately, the PBGC has protected more companies than it can handle. It reported a $33.5 billion deficit in the first half 2009. While many companies have moved away from DB plans, those that do have a responsibility to its employees to manage and fun them. If not, they’re putting the financial security of its people in jeopardy. Reaction I do not understand why an employer would put itself into a position where it did not provide adequate funding to its pension plan. I know that idle cash does not benefit the company, but by not contributing the necessary funds to the pension plan, the company would be putting the economic security of its employees at risk. I chose this article because my family’s financial security has been on my mind a lot recently. Having just been married, retirement discussions are a frequent occurrence in my home. Who is going to retire first? What do we need to retire? My wife and I both have DC plans with our employers. Bank of America, my employer also offers a 4% per year Defined Benefit plan. With recent developments in the banking industry, it worries me that BOA may not make adequate contributions to my pension, in order to utilize those funds for other purposes. While I am confident that Bank of America will not go out of business before I retire, the prospect of being asked to accept a reduced benefit if my pension plan is inadequately funded, does not appeal to me. I can see that financial accountants have to carefully calculate how much money and when a firm needs to contribute to its DB plan. This must be done in order to ensure the company doesn’t have to play catch up. By making adequate contributions, the company shows that it has the employees’ best interest in mind. The last paragraph of the article states that thoughtful reform is required. I located a plan that I find very interesting. Maryland’s unfunded liability for pension plans as of January, 21, 2011 was $19 billion dollars. By adjusting retirement age of state workers, changing benefit calculation from highest three years of salary to highest five years, and requiring a ten year vesting period as opposed to five, the Governor of Maryland hopes to reduce this unfunded pension liability by $7 million dollars (O'Malley, 2011). Let’s hope it works. Works Cited Christie, N., Brozovsky, J., & Hicks, S. (2010, July). Accounting for Small Businesses: The Role of the IFRS. The CPA Journal, pp. 40-43. Easterday, K., & Eaton, T. V. (2010, March). A Looming Crisis for Pensions. The CPA Journal, pp. 56-58. O'Malley, M. (2011, January 21). Reforming Maryland's Pension System: A Path to Sustainability. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from Maryland.gov: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/RetirementReform.pdf Weinstein, E. A. (2010, December). When It Comes to Fraud, It's Better to Be Safe than Sorry. The CPA Journal, pp. 6, 8-9. Yamanmura, J., Birk, C. A., & Cossitt, B. J. (2010, April). Attracting and Retaining Talent: The Importance of First Impressions. The CPA Journal, pp. 58-60.

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