Fall / Winter 2017 AKCPA Newsletter

November 27, 2017

kara 2

President's Message


My how the time flies…  My oldest daughter recently had her 29th birthday and I can’t help thinking how quickly the time has passed.  It seems like it was not all that long ago she was still an only child (she still misses it).  It feels like it was just the other day that I survived another tax deadline, but a month has gone by already.  The holidays are fast approaching, and I look forward to spending time with family, unwinding, and generally eating my way through to the new year where I will begin, and if the pattern holds eventually fail, my healthful New Year’s resolution.  I will blame tax season. 

The Society Board and committees continue to be active, and several meetings have been held.  The CPE committees in Fairbanks and Anchorage have met to select the Continued Professional Education courses to be provided through the Alaska Society for the 2018 CPE season.  The Leadership Committee has been making final arrangements for the beginning of the upcoming Leadership Conference in December.  Board Liaison Marge Kaiser attended the October meeting of the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy and has written an article on the subject for this addition of the newsletter.   Several Board members attended the AICPA’s fall council meeting, and Board representative John Rodgers has provided information on that meeting as well.  There have been several AKCPA lunches featuring guest speakers from the Fairbanks and Anchorage communities. Featured speakers have covered a variety of topics of relevance to business and community members.  Each is very different than the one before so keep an eye out for those topics of particular interest to you and come join your cohorts for lunch!

Our committees are always excited to welcome new members.  If you are interested in becoming a committee member, or want more information or to provide suggestions or feedback relating to accounting or Board/committee related issues, please contact the Society.  We would love to hear from you!

A variety of CPE options  were offered during 2017, including four-hour tax courses concentrating on specialized topics.  As the end of the year looms it is a good time to review your CPE records to ensure you have met the requirements for the upcoming renewal.  If you have not obtained the required Ethics CPE you still have time and opportunity to do so.   The Anchorage Ethics course, as I understand, was a raging success.  I’ve not often heard of ethics CPE described as enjoyable – I’m pretty sure this is a first for me.  The Fairbanks course is coming up on November 28th and Juneau on December 5th, encore presentations, so if you haven’t met these CPE requirements yet it’s not too late to attend this fabulous course!

On behalf of the Board and committee members, including our fabulous Executive Director Crista, please have a happy, relaxing, and safe holiday.  We look forward to seeing and working with you in 2018!

Kara Moore, President


State of Alaska Board of Public Accountancy Report

 Marge Kaiser, CPA – Board Liaison

The State Board of Public Accounting met October 16th and 17th in Anchorage. Newly installed chair, Leslie Schmitz was unable to attend Monday’s meeting, so Don Rulien chaired the 16th session and Leslie chaired on the 17th.

As liaison to the Board, I reported that the Society was prepared to write a letter in support of the updated HB 147, once we have had a chance to review the changes. The revisions are under State review, and an updated version is likely to be available to the Board in late December.

Jeff Johnson recently resigned from the NASBA legislative support committee because the State will not pay for Board travel to committee meetings, and he declined to accept NASBA monetary assistance. He reported that a bill has been introduced, the “Restoring Board Immunity Act” in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case, the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners vs. FTC. Jeff is concerned that the Board could be subject to FTC fines due to actions perceived as in restraint of trade. The case hinged in part on the Board’s existing as an independent body, unsupervised by the State. The impact of this decision on the Alaska State Board of Accountancy (and other boards) is subject to conjecture, since the Alaska Boards are generally subject to State oversight, supervision and funding. NASBA proposes to establish a national oversight entity to ensure that member State’s boards’ regulations conform to national standards.

The Board discussed the broad topic, use of titles, such as CPA or CGMA, at length. More clarification via regulation may be necessary, particularly with regard to CPAs licensed in another jurisdiction who move to Alaska, and provide accounting services in this State.

Due to the change in the format of the CPA exam, and the associated delay in issuing exam scores, the Board addressed an unusually large number of exam candidates requesting extensions of time to complete their testing. Until current law, the candidate has 18 months from the date of passing the first of four exam sections to successfully complete all four parts. One Board member suggested a blanket six-month extension for the candidates to take the exam, but the Board opted to consider each request individually.  Their consideration of the waiver requests was lengthy, and was not fully complete by day’s end. In public comment Tuesday morning, I suggested that the Board might wish to reconsider the blanket six-month extension, to avoid any appearance of inconsistency in the treatment of the candidates. Additionally, I suggested that the Board consider whether the 18-month period was an adequate amount of time to complete the four parts of the exam, given candidates’ work and family life, the need for some to travel to a testing site involving multiple overnight stays, etc. One of the Board members mentioned that other jurisdictions might have lengthened the period of time to complete the exam in full. 

The Acting Chief Investigator, Greg Francois, reported on the status of open and closed investigations.  Numerous investigations had been opened due to a matching program, where CPAs who had active PTINs with the IRS were matched with their Alaska addresses, and those who did not have an Alaska CPA license were pulled for further investigation. Many of these investigations were closed quickly because the individuals involved were not practicing public accounting in Alaska. Mr. Francois also reported that due to staff turnover, the Board had been served by a series of investigators in recent years, but he hoped soon to have a new investigator hired to provide consistent services to the Accounting Board. Mr. Francois reviewed the investigative process with the Board in great detail.

The Board reviewed the available State Budget information from the Department of Commerce.......while the final figures for the State’s fiscal year are not yet available, there will be no increase in individual fees for this renewal cycle. Licensees will receive a postcard reminder to renew, and on-line renewal will be available through the end of the year. After year end, renewals will have to be mailed in.

Leslie Schmitz chaired the Tuesday morning session, at which the Board continued reviewing requests for extensions of time for exam applicants, and discussed the idea of a blanket 6-month extension. Apparently NASBA has recommended an extension due to the change in the exam format, and late publishing of scores. The Board will solicit more information from NASBA regarding the extension, and the possibility of extending the 18-month window.

The Board has drafted a comparison chart of Alaska statutes and regulations in contrast to the Uniform Accountancy Act, which they proposed to make available to licensees as part of the renewal process. One major difference is that the UAA defines as sole proprietor as a firm, requiring a firm license, but Alaska does not separately license sole proprietors. Board members expressed concern regarding sole proprietorships who use fictitious names for their businesses. The Board discussed at length revising the license application to include a “doing business as” field, or a field for AK Business License number, to make the licensee database more searchable in the case of business names other than the name of the licensee.


Report from AICPA Fall Meeting of Council

 John Rodgers, CPA – Alaska Council Member

Team Alaska had an amazing trip at the AICPA Fall Meeting of Council in San Antonio, Texas. We participated in many great discussions that are impacting our industry. The following is a list of our groups’ highlights: the future of finance research, artificial intelligence, a professional issues update, enhancing audit quality, and a heartfelt presentation of Live Inspired from John O’Leary- author of the book On Fire.

Following the administration items, we began with a presentation on the future of finance.  This was facilitated by two individuals, Andrew Harding and Noel Tagoe.  This discussion involved the changing environment in finance and how new skills and competencies will be needed.  Financial professionals need to reskill and relearn to use new tools and techniques.  They discussed that the role of finance is to “enable, shape and tell the story of how organizations create and preserve value”.  Current finance activities include assemble, analyze, advise, and apply. The future role of finance activities is a broader one that includes reporting, questioning, developing solutions and deploying. In closing, we must have an agile mindset, “Learn, Unlearn and Relearn”.

We then had a presentation from author Calum Chase and the implications of artificial intelligence to the profession.  I think the general consensus from our table was his focus was broader and included our whole society.  AI is developing quickly and computers are now being designed with the ability to teach themselves.  The presentation was fascinating but the possible effects on the world and societies had some uncomfortable points relating to the possible changes and how societies will adapt.  His two books are Surviving AI and The Economic Singularity.

AICPA President Barry Melancon made his professional issues update.  Barry’s presentation included a discussion of driverless trucks and the truck driver being replaced.  This will have ramifications on various industries.

Some of these include:

  •          Health care: fewer accidents will supply fewer organ donors.
  •          Insurance: fewer fatalities, fewer accidents, fewer claims.
  •          Law enforcement: safer driving means fewer citations, therefore, creating less revenue for cities.
  •          Legal: safer driving means fewer injury and fatality law suits.

Barry then continued with the discussion of artificial intelligence, robotics, Block Chain Technology, Bit Coin, and virtual reality.  All of these areas will have exponential growth.  Barry was surprised with a meeting he had with five individuals from foreign countries in charge of auditing and four out of five surveyed had never heard of Block Chain Technology.

Sue Coffey Executive Vice President – Public Firms presented an update Enhancing Audit Quality. The 2017 highlights and progress report can be found at aicp.pre/EAQhighlights.

Priorities continue in the following areas:

  •          Detection of quality issues
  •          Analyzing and studying the trends
  •          Taking targeted action and supporting firms in quality improvement
  •          Exporting what firms do well.

Auditing quality, standards, and peer review continue to be on the AICPA’s agenda.  They want auditing firms to enter into relationships with technology partners and make an ongoing investment in technology.  The basic premise of auditing will be transformed.

The last presentation I would like to mention was from John O’Leary, creator of Live Inspired and author of the book On Fire. His story was very tragic yet inspiring at the same time.  At the age of nine, 100% of his body was burned from playing with matches and a gas can.  His story of this incident and his recovery with a special friendship with St Louis Cardinals radio announcer Jack Buck was amazing to say the least.   I encourage everyone to read his book and learn his full story.  He concluded his presentation by playing a song on an electric keyboard with his severely handicapped hands.  The song was “Nobody Said It Was Easy” by Coldplay.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me.  Thank you for the privilege to represent you at Council.

Best regards,

John Rodgers, CPA, AICPA Alaska Council Member


Tax Manager / Partner Wanted

Tired of working long hours?  Do you want to receive compensation that reflects your true value?  Our growing firm needs someone to provide approximately 1,700 client service hours.  Our goal is to achieve work/life balance by limiting total hours to 2,250 per year.

The Brandon Skinner Group, P.C. (formerly F. M. Strand & Associates, P.C.) would like to hire an experienced individual to join our tax department with an opportunity for quick advancement to Firm ownership.  Excellent benefits provided.

Current sole practitioners who would like some back-up and support should also contact us.

Paul Brandon and Carol Skinner have acquired the Firm effective November 1, 2017. We want you to join our very successful practice. Please e-mail your cover letter and resume to pbrandon@att.net so we can setup a mutually convenient time to meet.




Chad Estes, CPA  / BDO USA, LLP Admits New Tax Partner In Anchorage

BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation's leading accounting and consulting organizations, today announced that Chad Estes has been admitted to the firm’s partnership. In this role, Mr. Estes will be responsible for working with clients in a number of industries including construction, government contracting, real estate, natural resources, retail, and hospitality. Previously, Mr. Estes was a Senior Tax Manager in the firm’s Anchorage office.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chad to the BDO partnership,” said Ron Martin, Southwest Regional Managing Partner at BDO USA, LLP. “His deep knowledge of complex tax issues, coupled with his passion for helping clients, make him an invaluable asset to our team.”

Mr. Estes has more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry and has worked with many Alaska Native Corporations and their subsidiaries on federal and state income tax, ANCSA and M&A issues. Mr. Estes is a member of the Alaska Miners Association, the Alaska Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Associated General Contractors of Alaska and the Construction Financial Management Association. He earned a B.S. in accounting and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Wyoming.  

Congratulations to newly licensed Alaskan CPAs: Jocelyn Garner, Rachel Carson, Meghan White, Tiana Walters, Stephen Tibbs, Amber LeBlanc & Raymond Pitka!

Do you know of an AKCPA member that should be featured in our Member Spotlights section?! Email details to akcpa@ak.net.


Don't Miss These Upcoming CPE Courses!

Email akcpa@ak.net, call 907-562-4334 or register online today!

Fairbanks * November 28th * Ethical Considerations for CPAs

Juneau * December 5th * Ethical Considerations for CPAs

Fairbanks * December 11th * Tax Advisors Update

Anchorage * December 12th * Tax Advisors Update

Juneau * December 13th * Tax Advisors Update


Alaska CPA Online License Renewal Now Open

Click Here To Renew Online! 


AICPA Tax Reform Resource Center

Ed Karl, AICPA’s Vice President – Taxation, gives an overview of the current state of play in the tax reform process in a video on the Tax Reform Resource Center. In addition, here’s a link to the AICPA’s November 21 comment letter on the Senate Finance Committee’s approved version of the legislation

Blockchain – Today and Tomorrow

Thomas G. Stephens, Jr., CPA, CITP, CGMA

 Click Here To Read Article



view all news