Conference hot topics: Not for profit, XBRL, estate planning, IFRS, and fraud

Accounting professionals who attend conferences this summer will be signing up as usual for courses that bring them up to date with the latest technical developments in tax and audit and for courses that meet state ethics requirements, but they will also be able to choose courses at conferences that are devoted to major changes on the immediate horizon of the profession or identify opportunities for practice development.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is highlighting its conferences on Partner and Staff Compensation and XBRL Workshops, but the top sellers last week were the National Conference on SEC and PCAOB Developments and Advanced Estate Planning. The National Conference on SEC and PCAOB Developments, available live and on simulcast, is expected to sell out. Items on the agenda for this conference and which also appear as hot topics for conferences sponsored by the American Accounting Association (AAA), the Financial Executive International (FEI) and many state societies are international accounting and reporting issues, XBRL, and corporate governance.

Not for Profit

Another conference that the AICPA expects will sell out is the National Not-For-Profit Industry Conference. The conference brochure is entitled, "The IRS... why this is a must-attend year!" The conference will examine significant revisions to Form 990 that will affect filing requirements for reporting years beginning with calendar year 2008. States also offering Not for Profit conferences include Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, and New York.

The" target="_blank">American Accounting Association (AAA), has chosen, like the AICPA, to emphasize Extensible Business Reporting Language, XBRL. The immediate stimulus for the teaching workshop sponsored by the AAA at its national conference is the draft rule recently published by the SEC that will mandate financial disclosures in XBRL for the 500 largest companies for fiscal periods ending in late 2008. Other companies and mutual funds will be required to use XBRL. The course will examine the technology of XBRL and apply XBRL to business problems.

Estate Planning

Long a popular conference offering, the AICPA's Advanced Estate Planning conference this year will offer sessions entitled, "Closely-Held Business Succession Planning," "Income Tax and Estate Tax Planning for Valuable Art, Antiques and Stuff," "Valuation Principles and Strategies – The Nuts & Bolts," and "IRA Horror Stories." The Texas Society of CPAs offers a course on "Estate Planning for Taxable and Nontaxable Estates." The Illinois CPA Society offers a range of courses related to estate planning, including a series on "Integrated Estate, Financial and Asset Protection Planning." New York's course is entitled simply, "Estate Planning."


The North Carolina Society of CPAs identifies IFRS as their hot topic for a conference to be held in October. The Institute of Management Accountants' (IMA) IFRS Update is sold out. FEI will hold a conference on International Financial Reporting Standards in November.

Forensic Accounting

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) will be presenting courses entitled, "Auditing for Internal Fraud" and "Build Your Fraud Exam Practice" in Washington in October. "Fraud Prevention - Professional Interviewing Skills" is a prominent offering at a conference in Portland, Oregon in August. Topics related to fraud appear on lists of conference offering in many states as well. The Oklahoma Society of CPAs will offer a course called, "Forensic Accounting: Uncovering Schemes and Scams" at their conference; the North Carolina Association of CPAs will hold a Fraud Conference in October in Greensboro; and the Texas Society of CPAs is sponsoring, "Using Proactive Anti-Fraud Policies to Deter Employee Theft" and "Identity Theft and Work Ethics."

Other Hot Topics

Other hot topics this year include Lean Accounting -- Connecticut's Society of CPAs is will offer, "Doing More with Less: Lean Accounting and Management." The IMA conference examines this management approach with "Practical Lean Accounting." Indiana, New York, and Florida are sponsoring courses on the Construction Industry. Florida is offering a course in Real Estate and Georgia will hold a Real Estate Conference this week.


And last but not least, courses that meet the ethics requirement for license renewal have a new look. "Ethics and 'The Smartest Guys in the Room'" is sponsored by the Illinois CPA Society; "Real World Business Ethics PLUS Effective Enterprise Risk Management" is being offered by the Oklahoma Society of CPAs at their Oklahoma City conference in August. The IMA Ethics Series is called "Success without Compromise."

New Jersey Society of CPAs is offering a four-hour Law & Ethics program that fulfills the ethics CPE requirement for both New York and New Jersey.

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