By Rob Nance, Publisher, reporting from the Ohio Society of CPAs, Business & Technology Expo
Years ago, state CPA society shows focused on topics of a reactive nature. Given the changing landscape of the accounting terrain and the role of the CPA, I suspect we've all noticed the change to a concentration in topics geared to the importance of being proactive. We're certainly seeing a mixed bag in attendance and participation at state CPA society trade shows these days. The Ohio show in Columbus this week was a good bit off from last year's levels, probably due to it being the week after Thanksgiving, which isn't ideal. Still, though, content is king - and this king wore the crown! This state society assembled a superb lineup of CPE sessions. Among the highlights:
Randy Johnston of K2 - Disaster Recovery: Lessons Learned
Richard Murdock, CPA - Red Hot Topics in Financial Reporting
Asset Preservation Corp. - Discover the Value of 1031 Exchanges
Perhaps the best tip I picked up at this year's event came from Randy Johnston. On the subject of preparing for a disaster, Randy advised to "make a deal with a church, synagogue, or reception hall in another city as a place for your staff to go if disaster hits your community." Brilliant. In addition, the rumor that Randy left K2 to join the rock band U2 is not true.
On the small show floor, exhibitors were optimistic. A couple of local bankers told me that most commercial loans they did this year were done conventionally, rather than through SBA programs. However, they both fully expect more of these loans to go SBA in 2008 as fewer companies are expanding and posting the numbers required to go the conventional route. This does not bode well for the Ohio economy. However, the good news for businesses and accounting firms is that there's more banking competition than ever.
Teresa Kahle and Kira Krombach of Paycor Payroll Services commented that they are having a lot of success with medical offices and franchisees. With accountants having their preferences when it comes to payroll companies, Teresa and Kira indicated that it's been interesting to see some of these preferences change when given the chance to perform. As Neil Young once wrote, "There's more to the picture than meets the eye." Clearly, that applies to payroll service companies, as not all client needs are the same.
On the investment front, CPAs certainly have a tremendous amount of options for client recommendations, especially if your firm has an investment advisory practice. Diane Rose of James Investment Research, Inc., stated: "It's hard for CPAs to make recommendations at times. We're not just chasing returns or joining the latest fad; some really tough, critical evaluations are being made… and it's great determining the right solutions with CPAs and their clients."
When your state's CPA society shows rolls around again, be sure to attend. They're constantly evolving ... right along with our profession.