Allen’s Story

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Allen Lloyd, Incoming MSCPA Executive Director

Hello MSCPA Members!

My name is Allen, and I am excited to become the next Executive Director of this outstanding organization.  My first order of business will be getting to know you and learning what keeps you up at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning.  To break the ice, I wanted to tell you a little about who I am… You can read about my career in the announcement, but that is only a small part of who I am.

Currently, I live in Columbus, Ohio, and people here ask, “Why move to Montana?”  Professionally, this is a dream opportunity, and I look forward to growing and building on the work of Jane, the staff, and our members.  Personally, my family and I love being surrounded by nature, so we are very excited to explore the beauty of the state and take in the landscape you call home.

One of my favorite hobbies is mountain biking.  I didn’t learn to ride until I was six or seven, but once I learned, it was hard to get me off of a bike.  My wife and I met on a mountain biking trip, and I already have a list of friends who want to come riding in Montana.

No handsDuring the interview process, I was asked about relocating to a smaller city.  I turned 40 a couple of years ago, and while my last 20 years were spent in Columbus, most of my first 20 years were spent in a speck on the map called Clarington, Ohio.  Growing up, my world view was two hills and the Ohio River. We drove 10 miles each way to get groceries once a week.  There will definitely be adjustments, but Helena has everything a person needs (nice people, craft beer, good coffee, and a Target).

Bad selfieMy wife, Jill, is an accountant currently working in industry.  When we met, her plan was to be in Columbus for a few months then move west. I only delayed her plans by 16 years.  We have two boys: Byron, who turns 9 later this year and Winston, who turned 7 in December.  As you can imagine, there is rarely a dull moment around our house.  Our family photos do a pretty good job of capturing a typical night at our house.

I would like to thank Jane, the staff, and the volunteers and members for all their work making MSCPA the great organization it is today.  In particular, I want to thank the Search Strike Force for making me feel welcome during the interview process, and for their belief in my ability to lead this organization.

HomeLogowDatesPlease join me at the Annual Conference in Billings, June 22-23. There, we will celebrate Jane’s accomplishments and reignite your passion for the accounting profession with some great speakers and opportunities to connect with friends old and new.  We’ll roll out the welcome mat so you can relax and learn at your professional home!

Changes to HB 550 that Will Affect You & Your Clients

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George Olsen, MSCPA Legislative Committee Chair

By George Olsen, Chair, MSCPA Legislative & Governmental Affairs Committee

At our Legislative meeting Monday morning we talked about the progress of the bills we are following in the Legislature.  Holly Franz, our lobbyist, reported on the hearing on House Bill 550—Revise laws related to corporate loss carryback and carryforward, last week in the Senate Tax Committee.

The bill would change the net operating loss carryforward and carryback periods from the current back three years and forward seven years to back two and forward 20.  It was interesting to see the different perspective people have on allowing corporations to use their losses against future or past income.  Many in the hearing room wanted to allow greater availability to use the losses while some wanted to limit the use of the losses because of the effect on the State’s budgeting.  They feel that limiting the deductions for the losses lets the state smooth out the ups and downs in budget revenue and avoids large expenditures for tax refunds in years when the state is experiencing revenue losses because of a downturn in the overall economy.  The same argument could be made for not allowing the state to collect excess tax revenue in years when the economy is booming and creating surpluses.

In our minds, CPAs feel that deductions for losses should not be limited since they are real, hard dollar losses and the state only bears the burden to the extent of refunds of 6.75 cents on the dollar.  So we offered an amendment that we feel makes this bill more palatable. The amendment our lobbyist, Holly Franz, offered on our behalf:

  • Amends current procedure to provide that taxpayers electing a carryback or carryforward on their federal return automatically make the same election on their state tax return
  • Allows a taxpayer to elect a different carryback or carryforward on their state taxes if they affirmatively choose to do so

The benefits of this are it:

  • Simplifies the net operating loss election process for taxpayers
  • Reduces errors on tax returns
  • Is easy for the state to administer since federal return has to be attached to the state return
  • There’s no fiscal impact

The bill was amended in committee to increase the carryback period to three years and limit the carryforward period to 10 years, three more than the current seven years but much less than the 20 years in the original bill.  The carryback is limited to $500,000 per year. CPAs are inclined to think in terms of fairness to their clients while the folks in charge of the state budget think in terms of the short-term budget effect.  It’s interesting to see what happens when the interests of the two camps clash.

The bill is scheduled for third reading in the Senate tomorrow (04/12). Stay tuned for more information on this, and other bills we are monitoring on your behalf, as the Legislature wraps up.

We’ve made it easier for you

by Jean Rieden, Professional Development & Membership Director

We offer a lot of classes each year. And you can find them all on our website. But how do you find a specific class topic you are looking for or maybe an instructor? We’ve made it easier for you!

We’ve added filters to our Professional Development page on the website, so instead of scrolling through 50+ live classes  and literally thousands of webcasts, you can do a search by live or online classes, keyword, field of interest, city where the class will be held, credits, course level and month.

Say for example you love Pat Garverick’s classes and you want to know what we’ve hired him to teach in 2017. Simply type Garverick in the Keyword box and click search. Voila! You can see three classes that Pat is scheduled to teach in Montana.

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Or perhaps you are looking for advanced level taxation classes, either live or online, you’ll click both the live and online course boxes, add Taxation to the Field of Interest box, scroll to Advanced under the course level box and then search. You’ll discover you have a LOT of options!

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And remember, if you log in before you look for classes your registation will be pre-populated for you AND you can easily register others from your office.

I’m always available to answer your questions if you need any help.

P.S. Be sure to buy your FLEX Credits by June 30th. It will save you money on live classes.

 

MSCPA Makes the Move

Dear Members

There are a lot of changes going on at MSCPA and we want them all to be good for you and for the organization. That includes our office space.

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Jane Egan MSCPA Executive Director

As many of you might remember, we moved to our current location five years ago. We were excited about the space we designed and the opportunities it held for more member contact. However, things beyond our control have changed the quality of this work space.

When we moved into our Ninth Avenue location, there was plenty of parking. Full occupancy in the rest of the building and the newly constructed building next door took all our extra parking options. This made it very hard to use the beautiful conference room we built.

Our conference room really is a thing of beauty. We can host meetings for up to 30 people. It’s extremely functional with a large screen tv wired to our computer connections. Sadly, it has become nearly 900 square feet of unusable space at $12.85 a square foot. So . . .

WE ARE MOVING! Our new physical address will be in the New York Building, 46 North Last Chance Gulch; our mailing address will once again be PO Box 138, Helena, MT 59624-0138. Our anticipated move date is April 30th. It’s downtown on the walking mall with a sky bridge to the parking garage. The board room in the new space will accommodate 16 people, have beautiful natural lighting, offices for all the staff plus a good work space and it’s less expensive!

While we aren’t looking forward to the move itself, we are looking forward to the new accessible space and we feel it’s the responsible thing to do as stewards of your dues dollars.

This is another big change for the Society and I thank you in advance for your understanding. If you have questions about this move, I am always happy to talk to you.  One of the things that will stay the same is our members are welcome to use our board room at no cost and we are delighted when members drop by.  Stay tuned for more information about our new space and be sure to come visit us.

Sincerely,

Jane Egan | Executive Director
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This is important, trust me.

Hi Everyone

I know our members in tax season are thinking “reading a blog from Margaret is the LAST THING I WANT TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW!” But trust me, this is important. It’s about how to find your next hire.

We are going to start a big social media campaign for Montana accounting jobs starting on May 1st.  We know you need to hire and that will be a big focus for us in 2017 with this campaign in the spring and another in late summer.

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Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

Last fall we did a MontanaConnection social media campaign for the first time and had great exposure for Montana accounting jobs. But just like any promotional campaign, success won’t happen overnight. We need to build our brand and name recognition and establish ourselves as a legitimate job site for accountants and CPAs looking for a new job. We need to sell not only the job itself but our lifestyles, our opportunities, our cities . . . we need to showcase why a job in Montana is worthy of a big move.

So I’m interrupting everyone’s busy schedule now to urge you to get those job openings posted before May 1st! Any job posted between April 17th and April 30th won’t be charged until May 1st, giving you an extra couple of weeks’ exposure at no extra cost. The more jobs we show on MontanaConnection, the more viable career opportunity our out-of-state target market will see it as.

You can find more information about MontanaConnection and post your job online at https://www.mscpa.org/careers.

Thanks for taking time to think about this.  If you have questions about our upcoming campaign call me, email me . . . I am here to answer your questions. Your input is invaluable.

Best,

Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM
Communications Director
406.442.7301

Presidentially Speaking

By Annette Hill, MSCPA President 2016-2017

hill-annette-2016Hello fellow CPAs!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  I’m trusting you’ll take some time today to spend with your loved ones, especially your valentine!  Consider taking a breath to reflect on other areas in your life that cause you to feel grateful; home, health and relationships.

Many of you have asked us how it’s going with the search for a new executive director.  I’m happy to report that we are on schedule with the timeline set by our Strike Force leader, Brenda Byrnes. We are in the interview stage, having received numerous applications from qualified candidates and are on track to introduce you to a new executive director by our Annual Conference in June.

What about Jane?  Even more of you have inquired about Jane’s retirement and we assure you that you will have opportunities to celebrate with Jane, to congratulate and thank her for her many years of service to the Society.  Watch for details!

It is opportunity season for those of us in public accounting and no doubt many in industry, nonprofit, government and education are feeling the opportunity as well, wrapping up calendar year end activities and initiating 2017.  Our staff at the Society office have been closing the January 31, 2017 fiscal year and commencing the next one with issuance of dues statements.  Your statement hit your physical or virtual mail box on February 1st.

As you review the notice, you’ll see that our Society staff has done an outstanding job of detailing the five strategic pillars and the benefits your dues provide our members.

MEMBERSHIP tools and services, volunteer and leadership opportunities

SUSTAINABILITY and focus on being the most valuable resource for members

CONNECTION through Find-A-CPA, MontanaConnection.org, MSCPA.org, local and rural chapters, e-publications, social media and this blog

PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE with 52 live CPE courses, 4 conferences and thousands of webcasts

ADVOCACY with representation at the state Legislature, Department of Revenue, State Board of Accountants, IRS and AICPA.

What an inspiring and fitting list for our pillars! They guide our board of directors, staff, committees, task forces and all of our volunteers, charting the course for our mission.  That’s important and we need to keep it in front of us.  However, as you consider paying your dues this year, you might be asking yourself, “What’s really in it for me?”  I’ve spent a few moments considering the value my membership brings me.

In 20 years as a member, I’ve enjoyed benefits in all of the pillars and for that I’m grateful and have no doubt I have received much more than the cost of my membership dues.  One of my favorite benefits though, is really one captured in the MEMBERSHIP pillar.  “Tools and services” include our Society office and staff.  This is the benefit working for us every day that we may not even know is happening. Our Society office and staff are our best return on investment.

Have you called the Society office and been greeted with Heidi’s cheery and welcoming voice?  Have you experienced an issue with CPE and had Jean fix it for you?  Have you had Carol hold your hand as you worked through the paperwork to get your first peer review completed? Have you paused to giggle a little when you read the latest recipe for tax season mixology drinks on Facebook or learned what music Reidun cranks when she needs some inspiration? Attended a fun-filled, professional MSCPA conference? Reconnected with a CPA that left the state? (Thanks Margaret!) Finally, do you know the influence and the respect our illustrious executive director commands with our state legislators? Have you changed your job and in the stress of changing co-workers, locations and career goals, have you found some comfort in the familiarity of your MSCPA staff and office?  Have you remembered that these same people probably call you by name, recognize your spouse, know where you work and understand your passion for the accounting profession?

THIS is the value of membership.  I encourage you to renew (join if you are not currently a member) pay your dues and enjoy the benefits our greatest resource can bring you.  See you in Billings at the 104th Annual Conference!

 

 

It’s a win/win for you AND your clients!

by Jean Rieden, MSCPA Professional Development & Membership Director

ATTENTION BING MEMBERS:industryconf2017
Why YOU Should Attend the Industry Conference

We hear it all the time. Montana CFOs frequently have to do it all: AR, AP, finance, inventory, payroll, HR, grant compliance, contracts and more! The Industry Conference provides the information you need to know to be an effective finance professional. Whether you are the CFO, the CEO or the staff accountant, you will benefit from the engaging presentations on relevant and timely topics. The education and networking opportunities you will access are invaluable to your role in your organization.

ATTENTION PUBLIC PRACTICE MEMBERS:
Why YOUR Business Clients Should Know About the Industry Conference

Education and networking can reduce the risk of errors and cut down on fraud. The Industry Conference provides the education and networking opportunities that will help your clients make better decisions in their work, improve their accounting and financial processes and help them provide better information to management which makes them a stronger member of the accounting team. It’s a win/win for you AND your client!

Click here to register and find more information or feel free to contact me, jean@mscpa.org, 800.272.0307.

I hope I see you, or your clients, in Helena March 22 & 23!

Watch your email Feb 1st

from Jean Reiden, MSCPA Membership & Professional Development Director

feb-1It’s that time again! The beginning of our membership year starts on February 1st. We’ll be sending out your dues statements—for most of you via email.

The dues schedule this year will be:

  • Public Practice $300
  • BING $270
  • Associate $240
  • Out-of-State $240
  • Non-CPA Public Practice $300
  • Non-CPA BING $270
  • Associate/Certified Out-of-Country $355
  • Inactive $25
  • Retired $50

You can pay your dues online at https://www.mscpa.org/members/dues (you’ll need to log in), by check or call us with a credit card (800.272.0307).

We are grateful for your continued membership and strive daily to create as much value as possible to help our members succeed.

If you have any questions regarding your dues, need to update your membership type or contact information, please reach out to me at 800.272.0307 or jean@mscpa.org.

Thank you for your continued membership.

Sing Along! It’s Harvest Time!

Margaret Herriges, MSCPA Communications Director

By Margaret Herriges, CAE, IOM |  Communications Director

I’m a farmer’s daughter and since I started working for MSCPA nearly 17 years ago, I’ve equated tax season with harvest: there’s a lot of work to be done and you only have so much time to do it.

Growing up, we’d take my dad a treat around 4:00 pm; something to sustain him and motivate him to keep working. It was that “pause that refreshes”. Similarly, each tax season we try to do something a little offbeat and fun for our members. It’s our way of supporting you and motivating you through this busy season. In the past we’ve done Tax Season Mixology and last year we found some pretty outrageous tax season memes. This year we’re going to help you burn that midnight oil with some groovy tunes. Welcome to our Tax Season Playlist!

We recruited MSCPA Board members to help us with this and each day at 4:00 we’ll be sharing a song, complete with the YouTube link, on our Facebook page.  We’d love to hear from you! Be sure to comment if you like the song, and tell us your favorites and we’ll add those to our play list, too. Occasionally there may even be a dedication from the MSCPA staff to our hard-working members!

You don’t have to be a CPA in tax to enjoy this. We dedicate these sound bytes to ALL our members!

So work hard and may your harvest be plentiful! We’ll be here for you to help in any way we can. And if you find yourself with one of our Tax Season Playlist songs stuck in your head . . . you are welcome!

In honor of the first day of tax season 2017, January 23rd, Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder, dedicated by President-Elect Josh Herbold.

A note from Sara

By Sara Smith, ALPS Corporation, Missoula, MSCPA Industry Conference Task Force Leader

Smith Sara 2017.jpgBeing a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the Butte 50, a mountain bike race along the Continental Divide trail. If you have done it or know someone that has, you know that this race can only be described as a “suffer fest.” About 45 miles into the race, there is one last final grind to the top. Imagine my surprise when I encountered Tyler Hamilton, our 2017 Industry Conference Keynote Speaker, right before the end of the climb passing out Coca-Cola. He was like a beacon of light in the depths of the pain cave. He gave me the sweet syrupy liquid to drink, a slight push, and told me I was almost there. I can’t even explain what a boost that was to my deflated and exhausted spirit.

Those of you that don’t know who Tyler is, the short version is that he raced along Lance Armstrong with the US Postal Service team during the Tour de France. Now, I think we all know what hhamiltontyler150appened to Lance, but not everyone is familiar with Tyler’s contribution to the story. In Tyler’s book “The Secret Race”, the full story provides some context that describes the pressure of being an elite athlete. The toll that lying takes on your family. The way relationships and friendships break down when you are not being fully honest with yourself. In many ways, it mirrors some of the same themes Andrew Fastow, the former CFO of Enron, spoke about at the 2016 Industry Conference.

If you didn’t get to hear Mr. Fastow speak, you missed what I can only describe as a controversial presentation, the kind that sticks with you. To literally silence a whole room of CPAs takes a powerful story, one that touches the foundations of each of us. Having heard Tyler speak before, I promise you that this presentation will cause at the very minimum reflection of your path, the choices you make under pressure, and how living a transparent life can be transformative. His approach is novel as well, with ample time to ask him literally anything you want to know about Tyler Perhaps you want to know what it is like to win an Olympic medal or what it feels like to have that same medal stripped from you…Tyler can answer that question for you.

industryconf2017We have great speakers lined up for this event. We read every evaluation form and take all of the input to try to produce the best possible conference for our industry leaders. Our goal is to make sure you take something away that you can use personally and/or professionally. I think the 2017 Industry Conference is going to be one that you don’t soon forget so I encourage you to register.