September 2016 AKCPA Newsletter

September 30, 2016


Rebecca Martin and her dog, Chewy, on one of their Fall morning commutes.

President's Message


Sun, Rain, Sun, Rain…Welcome to Fall!

This cycle also seems to be an analogy to our cycles as CPAs whether its 1st tax season, followed by 2nd tax season, or our monthly and annual busy times, where the work is pouring in, which we somehow get done on time with exceptional quality.  Then, the sun shines again!

As many of you have heard, our daughter is off for her third year of college and we’ve had lots of changes this year from selling her childhood home and completely downsizing from a large 2400 square foot house to a small 900 square foot apartment and owning only one car.  I realized thru this process that what I “need” is not as much as I thought.  Further, I realized that if we downsized too much, it’s not permanent, we can make a correction or change our mind.   I wonder sometimes if some of the gadgets we use and spend our limited resources on are truly things we need.  Our firm has this fancy management software for tracking our projects.  Our weakest link is still me and my reliance on an old fashion paper list that I continually update and stare at.  Which is better?

Many of these discussions are also happening in our committees.  How much technology is the right amount to reach all our members across the state?  Are there ways to make an 8 hour CPE class more interactive?  Which is better, our pen and paper CPE surveys or an email survey during the last half of the class?  How much office space is necessary as we have more venues available to hold our classes?  We at the AKCPA are looking for innovated ways to provide you services.  Do you have idea? Contact us!

As we work towards our last deadlines of the year, it’s time to start planning for next year and completely our goals for this year.  Part of that planning will be evaluating what systems worked, what needs to be improved, or what needs to be abandoned.  The AKCPA is here for you with options for CPE before the end of the year and more networking opportunities with other CPAs, such as MAP, tax brown bag, monthly networking and social events, to find out what is working for them.  Check our website for more details.

Alaska State Board of

Public Accountancy Report -

Amy Cooper, CPA Board Liaison

The Board met in Fairbanks August 18 and 19, 2016.  The following items were the main parts of the discussion over the 2-day meeting.

  • Cost Savings Measure – the Board received a memo from the State in July that further restricted travel for board members, including to board meetings. All travel must be made through the state travel desk (the time of which will be charged to the board). Board members were concerned about the possible restrictions to their travel and addressed these concerns with Sara Chambers, the Operations Manager. Sara assured them that the state travel desk would work with the board members on their travel schedule.
  • Board positions – Don Rulien will continue as chair and Jeff Johnson will continue as secretary/treasurer.
  • New investigator – the Board’s current investigator, Mr. Francois, has been moved to other boards so there is a new investigator, Sonia Lipker. Mr. Francois will still be able to help with some cases.
  • NASBA updates:
    • Craig Chapman attended the NASBA Western Regional Conference. He noted in his report that Alaska is one of 6 states where the BOPA does not receive Peer Review reports. The board discussed this fact and seemed to feel that they needed to change this. It was mentioned that peer review was originally started as a peer to peer review, not enforcement. The perception has changed that now the focus of peer review is enforcement. No action was taken on this discussion but it is something they discussed quite a bit.
    • Don is on the NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act committee and the committee has proposed that CPAs who are retired or inactive can volunteer for not-for-profits or governmental agencies but can receive no compensation. This change will go to the NASBA board and if passed, Alaska could see a statute change.
    • Marijuana Policy Statement – the statement was issued originally as a draft and not part of the public material. However, the board passed the position statement and read it at the luncheon held on Thursday with the Alaska Society of CPAs. The board has taken the position that as long as a licensee, who is providing services to marijuana businesses, is following the state’s statutes and regulations, the board will not pursue any type of action against the licensee.
    • Public comments on proposed regulations – the board read the public comments (there were only 2) regarding the clarification that the regulation should apply to all CPAs regardless of their AICPA membership status, 12 AAC 04.004. The board felt that the definition of “accountant” as defined by 12 AAC 04.990(1) provides enough clarity that the regulation applies to ALL licensees, regardless of AICPA member status, and no additional clarity is needed.
    • The board approved the following statute changes to be proposed for the 2017 legislature. All proposed statute changes should be filed by the end of the year.
      • Remove age requirement in AS 08.04.110
      • Adoption of rules AS 08.04.080 – this statute currently requires the board to mail copies of the proposed changes. The board proposes to change the statute to read that notification (not then entire proposals) of the changes, with information on how to access the proposals, will be mailed to licensees. This would reduce costs.
      • Definition of attest found in AS 08.04.680 (1) needs to include SOC 1 & 2 reports. The proposed change would include those two items.

The next State of Alaska Board of Public Accountancy will be held in Anchorage on November 7th and 8th, 2016. The public is welcome.

NextGen AKCPA Newsletter

Click Here To Access!



IRS e-Services Update

The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayer and tax preparer information and maintaining the security of its systems.  As part of that effort, the IRS is strengthening the identity validating process used to access certain self-help tools on

Starting late October – October 24 is the target date – e-services users will be required to re-register using the Secure Access authentication process. Users must validate their identities through this process before they can access their accounts.

All e-services users will be affected by this change. Those who use e-services for TIN Matching only also must re-register. However, because there is no exchange of sensitive data, TIN Matching will use a more streamlined process. 

For details, please see: Important Update for Your e-services Account.

Secure Access is a two-factor authentication process that meets government standards and adds greater protections against attacks by cybercriminals.  This is a more rigorous process, and part of a wider effort to protect taxpayers and the tax community. For first-time users, it requires identity proofing, financial verification and an activation code text.  Returning users must submit their username/password credentials AND a security code text.

Starting October 24, the IRS also will provide additional staff for the e-Help Desk and provide assistance to those users who are having difficulty passing Secure Access. This assistance may include identity authentication by phone and an activation code by mail which will take five to 10 calendar days for delivery.

The same Secure Access authentication process currently supports Get Transcript Online. E-services users who created a Get Transcript account after June 2016 will have their Secure Access registration automatically migrate to e-services, but they will need to change their passwords on October 24.

It helps to be prepared. Please review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools to learn what you need to register successfully.

Users should ensure all credentials and certificates are up-to-date prior to October 24. Those with upcoming filing requirements should consider filing early.

Over the next month we will keep you informed of the next steps involving e-services. 

Renew your AKCPA Membership Dues Today!

Click Here & Renew Online Now!


Don't Miss These December CPE Courses with John Connors!

Fairbanks * December 5th * Federal Income Tax Update

Fairbanks * December 6th * PIGs & PALs Comprehensive Passive Loss Workshop

Anchorage * December 7th * Federal Income Tax Update for Individuals

Anchorage * December 8th * Federal Income Tax Update for Businesses

Juneau * December 9th * Federal Income Tax Update

Click Here To Register Now!


Member Spotlights

Joy Merriner, CPA


BDO USA, LLP, announced that Joy Merriner has been admitted to the firm’s partnership. In this role, she will advise clients in Alaska on audits, consulting projects and internal reviews. Previously, Ms. Merriner was a director in the firm’s Anchorage office.

Ms. Merriner has over 14 years of experience in public accounting, covering a wide variety of industries. She has significant experience advising clients on the financial reporting requirements for Alaska’s regulated utilities industry, as well as working closely with privately held companies, municipal governments, and not-for-profit organizations. She is well-versed in internal control matters, governance, fiduciary duty and single audit requirements, and frequently leads accounting and finance training seminars for the firm and in the community. Ms. Merriner also serves as a Focused Consulting Reviewer on audits in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and State and Federal Single Audits.

Ms. Merriner is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alaska Society of Certified Public Accountants. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. She earned a B.A. in both Economics and Education from Wellesley College.

CPA Practice Advisor 40 Under 40 Awards Include Two AKCPA Members

Kelly Ward, CPA, CGMA, EA


Amy K. Cooper, CPA, CFE, CGMA


CPA Practice Advisor has announced the recipients of its annual 40 Under 40 Awards, a program designed to recognize and honor young leaders who are helping to positively shape the accounting and tax profession. CPA Practice Advisor also recognizes 20 Under 40 Superstars, who are young leaders helping advance the profession through their roles in technology, education, consulting and firm development.  This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees are among the best and brightest talent in the accounting profession.  Follow this link to read entire article...

Amy K. Cooper, CPA, CFE, CGMA

Accounting Instructor Amy Cooper Named GNAC Faculty Mentor of the Year

PORTLAND – Amy Cooper, a University of Alaska Fairbanks Accounting Instructor, has been named the 2015-16 Faculty Mentor of the Year by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) .

The award is granted to a faculty member outside of athletics at a GNAC-affiliated university, who, not only serves as a valued advisor to student-athletes, but someone who also embodies the NCAA’s core values of learning, passion, service, resourcefulness, sportsmanship and balance. The GNAC Faculty Mentor of the Year is nominated by each university’s student-athlete population in May and is announced later in the summer. 

“I have been lucky at UAF to have some amazing student-athletes in my classes,” Cooper said via email of her award. “A lot is required of them to be successful – organization, great time-management skills, strong communication skills, a desire to succeed – both in the classroom and in their respected sport. “

Alaska Nanooks Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President and Nanook skier/runner Nichole Bathe was notified of the nomination in May and brought it to the table at one of the last SAAC meetings of the 2015-16 season. The Nanook student-athletes agreed on nominating Cooper for the award, while Alaska Hockey’s Alec Hajdukovich and Davis Jones penned the recommendation.

Hajdukovich wrote, “Amy has consistently gone out of her way for students by offering extended office hours, hosting study sessions and holding each of us accountable in unlocking our full potential when it comes to academics … Whether it’s by helping review resumes, apply for internships or just be somebody to talk to, it is clear that Amy genuinely cares about her students and is willing to go above and beyond to ensure future success for each one of them. There is no doubt in my mind that Amy embodies the Faculty Mentor Award and is more than deserving of receiving the honor.”

Cooper, who has been with the University of Alaska for five years now, works in the UAF School of Management as an accounting professor and also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Great Alaskan Accounting Students (GAAP) group. According to their website, “GAAP’s purpose is to help all UAF accounting students: learn about the diverse career opportunities available for accounting graduates, acquire an understanding of the day-to-day work of a professional accountant and understand career planning and prepare for successful professional placement.”

Cooper concluded, “Our student-athletes not only have the demands of a normal student-athlete, but because of where the University is located, their travel schedule can be quite demanding. I try to work with the students as much as I can so they feel caught up in class and prepared for the current class material. I am honored and proud of this award because I feel it is a reflection of the hard work, effort and energy of our student-athletes.”



AKCPA Webinar Partners

Did you know that the AKCPA partners with several Webinar CPE providers such as CPA Crossings, ACPEN, Surgent McCoy, K2 Enterprises and CalCPA?  Not only do you receive registration discounts but the AKCPA receives a percentage of Webinar revenue if you register as an AKCPA member!  For more information CLICK HERE!

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