Uncertain Times Call for Deliberate Measures: Why Cash Flow Planning is More Important Than Ever
Dec 21,2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create unprecedented levels of uncertainty about what the future holds for many businesses and other organizations. In times like these, cash flow planning may seem like an impossible task. After all, how can you plan when it’s difficult to predict how the crisis will affect demand, customers’ ability to pay, vendors’ capacity to provide the goods and services you need, or when the next government shutdown might come. But arguably, cash flow planning is even more important in uncertain times than it is when things are stable. Understanding your cash flow — and how various events might affect it — enables you to spot negative trends early and respond to them quickly. It may also allow you to build cash reserves in the event of a crisis. Weathering the Storm Under ordinary circumstances, it’s advisable for organizations to develop a budget for the next three...
Smith & Howard Named a 2021 Best Tax and Accounting Firm in America by Forbes
Dec 09,2020
Smith & Howard is proud to be named one of America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms for 2021 by Forbes. This is the second consecutive year Forbes has announced a list of the most recommended firms for tax and accounting services in the nation. The publication partnered with market research company Statista to create the list, which is based on surveys of tax and accounting professionals and their clients. Forbes said that of the 278 firms identified, 250 were recommended for tax and 200 for accounting. 172 were recommended for both tax and accounting services. “Being one of the select firms recommended for our tax and accounting services is an immense honor for us, because this recognition comes from our clients and peers,” said Sean C. Taylor, Managing Partner at Smith & Howard. “It is both humbling and exciting to be recognized nationally as a best firm.” Statista said it...
The Pandemic has Changed Auditing. What Do You Need to Know?
Oct 06,2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses function in a multitude of ways. A major change was the move to remote operations, which meant financial reporting processes went from in-person to virtual. As a result, any business with a 2020 fiscal year end or that received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act needs to be aware that preparing for audits will be different than in previous years. As businesses prepare for upcoming audits and the year ahead, owners should start talking to their auditors sooner rather than later about the impact of the pandemic and related legislation on their operations. This will enable auditors to prepare for accessibility issues in terms of obtaining the information they require and speaking with the employees they must interview for the audit. Below, we focus on three key areas that are shifting for...
FASB Delays Effective Dates for Three Major Standards
Oct 17,2019
On October 16, 2019 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) approved a delay of effective dates for lease accounting, credit losses (CECL: Current Expected Credit Loss), hedge accounting and long-duration insurance contract standards. The update specifically affects private companies, nonprofits and small public companies and comes on the heels of concerns expressed by overwhelmed preparers. FASB issued proposals for the delay in August and has requested its staff to draft an Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that will change the effective dates. A formal written ballot from the board is expected to be issued in mid-November.  An article published by the Journal of Accountancy said that “one of the advantages of the delay is that it will allow preparers with limited resources to learn from the implementation performed by large public companies that possess more staffing and resources.” The lease accounting and hedge accounting standards effective date change for private companies...
Deadline Approaches for Remedial Amendments for 403(b) Plans
Jun 19,2019
Maintaining compliance for 403(b) retirement plans historically has been challenging given the lack of historical regulatory oversight, guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and non-profit organizations’ limited resources. But the IRS has taken steps to address this, including publishing a list of providers offering pre-approved prototype plans and creating a remediation period ending in March 2020 for sponsors to self-correct non-compliant plan documents. Background on 403(b) Compliance and Remediation In 2007, IRS regulations were updated to require sponsors of retirement plans that fall under the Internal Revenue Code 403(b) to adopt and follow a plan document for their retirement plans as of January 1, 2009.  Subsequently, relief was granted to extend this deadline to January 1, 2010. Before this time, many 403(b) plans did not have a plan document outlining specific operational and governing terms of the plan. The IRS didn’t provide robust guidance on how to create the...
FASB Topic 842: Presentation and Disclosure
Jun 13,2019
Introduction In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB” or “the Board”) issued its highly-anticipated leasing standard in ASU 2016-02 (“ASC 842” or “the new standard”) for both lessees and lessors. Under its core principle, a lessee will recognize right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and related lease liabilities on the balance sheet for all arrangements with terms longer than 12 months. The pattern of expense recognition in the income statement will depend on a lease’s classification. During deliberations for the standard, many users indicated that the existing disclosure requirements did not provide sufficient information to understand an entity’s leasing activities. As a result, the new standard also introduces an overall disclosure objective together with significantly enhanced presentation and disclosure requirements for leases. Disclosure Objective FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 842-20-50-1 and 842-30-50-1 provide that “the objective of the disclosure requirements is to enable users of financial statements to assess the amount,...
IRS Updates to Retirement Plan Limits
Nov 06,2018
One of the most common compliance issues for employers and plan sponsors is failure to adhere to annual retirement plan limits. To avoid costly penalties and administratively burdensome correction procedures, plan sponsors must remain up-to-date with respect to applicable retirement plan limits. Today, November 1, 2018, the IRS announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting the 2019 dollar limitations for retirement plans and other retirement-related items.  Please note that the chart below does not include all applicable retirement plan limits, just some of the common ones. [table id=7 /] [table id=8 /] The information above originally appeared in Hall Benefits Law, LLC's  November 2018 Blog post. 
Smith & Howard Appoints J. Sean Spitzer to Lead Assurance Practice Effective January 1, 2019
Aug 07,2018
ATLANTA, GA – On July 24, 2018, Smith & Howard announced that J. Sean Spitzer will assume the role of Partner in charge of the firm’s Assurance Services group, effective January 1, 2019. Spitzer will succeed Sean Taylor who will become Managing Partner of Smith & Howard on January 1, 2019. Sean will oversee advisory, audit, review, attestation and other assurance services to the firm’s privately-held business clients. Sean joined Smith & Howard in 2002 and was promoted to Partner in 2014. “I have been working with Sean since he joined Smith & Howard almost 20 years ago. He is well suited to lead our assurance practice, having the trust of the firm’s leaders and employees as well as that of our clients,” said Sean Taylor, current Assurance Services practice leader and incoming Managing Partner. Sean earned a BBA and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee. He...
Entities Find Some Relief in FASB’s Revised Lease Accounting Standard with “Targeted Improvements”
Aug 07,2018
On July 30, 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued revisions to Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). The revisions address concerns that the original ASU creates hardship and ultimately expense for: Entities and their auditors who prepare comparative financial statements, and Lessors who, under the original ASU, are required to separate components of leasing agreements and recognize the different components according to applicable guidance. This separation of components could result in certain components of the lease agreement being recognized under the accounting guidance for leases and other components being recognized under the accounting guidance for revenue for contracts with customers or other guidance. ASU No. 2018-11, Leases (Topic 842): Targeted Improvements aims to alleviate these concerns with the following two options: An option to apply the transition provisions of the new standard at the effective date instead of at the earliest comparative period presented in an entity’s financial...
Supreme Court Rules Against Wayfair – For Sales Tax on Internet Sales
Jul 13,2018
In a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21, 2018, the gates to the collection of sales tax on internet sales were flung wide open, revealing the promise of significant new revenue for 45 states. Background In brief, the overall issue at the court’s feet in South Dakota vs. Wayfair was whether states have a right to collect tax on sales made in their state by remote sellers, regardless of whether the seller has a physical presence in the taxing State. According to the Court’s opinion, the estimated sales tax revenues being lost each year because of the nexus rule range from $8 to $33 billion. In previous cases of Quill and Bella Hess (links below), the Court had ruled against states’ authority to collect sales tax without substantial nexus under multiple facets, the most significant being the physical presence test levied under the Quill decision. Ultimately...

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