OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NEBRASKA SOCIETY OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

Pub. 3 2021 Issue 1

president's-message

President’s Message: Legislation, Task Forces & CPE Planning Take the Forefront

Nebraska CPA magazine logo

This story appears in the
Nebraska CPA Pub. 3 2021 Issue 1

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

The Society Executive Committee and Board of Directors held their first meetings of 2021 via Zoom on January 5, with Chairman Ryan Burger of Gabriel, Burger & Else, CPA, PC in Seward presiding.

Megan-Holt-Photo

Megan Holt

Megan Holt Joins Society Board

Chairman Burger welcomed Megan Holt of Omaha to the Society Board. Holt was elected to fill a vacancy on the board and will be eligible for reelection in October during the Society’s Annual Meeting. She began her career in KPMG’s audit practice and served clients in the banking, asset management, and insurance industries for six years before joining Mutual of Omaha in 2016. At Mutual of Omaha, she held roles in technical accounting, internal controls, and financial risk management before accepting her current position as risk management director in Mutual of Omaha’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) operation. In this role, Holt is responsible for monitoring and oversight of emerging and strategic risks facing the company. She is also an active member of Mutual of Omaha’s Financial Development Program (FDP) Leadership Team, where she supports the coordination, management, and recruitment of FDP interns and associates, leadership of outreach efforts at local high schools and universities, and creation and maintenance of a competitive finance and accounting talent development program.

Holt received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in December 2009. She earned her CPA designation in 2010 and is actively involved in the Nebraska Society of CPAs as a member of the Accounting Careers Committee and facilitator of the accounting mentorship program. Holt also serves as a member of the board of directors for Live On Nebraska, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to saving and healing lives through organ, tissue, and eye donation.

Budget Finalized

During the meeting, the Society Board reviewed the approximately $1.15 million preliminary Society budget for 2021-2022. There will be no increase in membership dues this coming year. The final version of the budget will be reviewed by the Society’s Executive Committee in late March prior to the Society’s new fiscal year, which begins April 1. In anticipation of the new fiscal year, Member Profiles and CPE Transcripts have been either emailed or mailed to all members; Member Dues Statements will be emailed/mailed before April 1.

In addition, the Society Executive Committee and Board approved 13 Society membership applications and approved recommendations by the Awards Selection Committee to honor four outstanding Society members during the 2021 Annual Meeting.

Society Vice President Kelly Ebert presented the Board with a report regarding the Society’s 2020 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programs; nearly 90 courses and conferences were held with a total of 2,549 registrants—an excellent year, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic and the fact that all in-person programming was converted to webcast during the past year. The Society will continue offering all formal CPE via webcast through the end of July and will assess the feasibility of moving to live in-person events after that time. The Fall Conference & Annual Meeting is scheduled to be held in-person on Thursday, October 28, and Friday, October 29, at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in La Vista.

Chapter 5 Rules of Professional Conduct Task Force Formed

A Chapter 5 Rules of Professional Conduct Task Force, led by the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy, has been formed this year to review Chapter 5, the Rules of Professional Conduct, adopted pursuant to the provisions of Section 1-112 of the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy Act, Title 288. Discussion will center on whether Nebraska should adopt the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct; Nebraska is one of 17 states that has not adopted the AICPA Code. Members of the task force will include representatives from the State Board and the Nebraska Society as follows:

  • Chairman: Dr. Thomas Purcell, CPA, State Board Chairman
  • Vice Chairman: Dan Davis, CPA, Society Ethics Committee Chairman
  • Melissa Ruff, CPA, State Board Enforcement Chairman
  • Rand Hansen, CPA, Society Ethics Committee Member
  • Michele “Shelly” Stromp, CPA, Former State Board Enforcement Chairman
  • Joni Sundquist, Society President
  • Dan Sweetwood, State Board Executive Director
  • Kristen VanWinkle, State Board Administrator
  • Jim Titus, Esq., State Board Attorney

CPA Firm Ownership Task Force Created

Yet another task force, the CPA Firm Ownership Task Force, has been formed this year to examine limitations on non-CPA ownership of CPA firms found in the Nebraska Public Accountancy Act, Section 1-162.01. Members of this task force will include:

  • Chairman: Ryan Burger, CPA, Society Chairman
  • Vice Chairman: Marcy Luth, CPA, State Board
    Vice Chairman
  • Dr. Thomas Purcell, CPA, State Board ChairmanDana Weber, CPA, Society Board Member & West Nebraska Chapter President
  • Joni Sundquist, Society President
  • Dan Sweetwood, State Board Executive Director
  • Kristen VanWinkle, State Board Administrator

107th Legislature in Session

During the Society Board meeting, lobbyists Walt Radcliffe and Korby Gilbertson of Radcliffe, Gilbertson & Brady led a discussion regarding the First Session of the 107th Legislature. Eight newly elected members, including three who served previously in the Legislature but left office due to term limits, were sworn in on January 6, the first day of the Legislature. Lawmakers are spending the 90-day session creating a two-year state budget and redrawing legislative and other district boundaries based on population changes reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census. They also are considering legislation related to pandemic recovery, the construction of a new state prison, police oversight, and public school funding. COVID-19 restrictions are preventing face-to-face interaction between state senators and lobbyists in the Capitol building, and committee hearing schedules have been impacted.

Your Society is keeping a close eye on Sen. Tom Briese’s LB422, which proposes to tax all services. The hearing on the bill before the Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue Committee occurred February 3. As part of the Coalition Against Service Taxes (CAST), which includes approximately 30 organizations, the Society signed on to a letter from the group expressing opposition to this legislation. As has been the case for many years, Society lobbyist Korby Gilbertson of Radcliffe, Gilbertson & Brady presented testimony and the coalition’s letter in opposition to the bill. Another bill you may want to keep your eye on, LB133, introduced by Sen. Steve Erdman, proposes to eliminate our current tax structure and switch to a flat “consumption” tax on the purchase of goods and services.

The Society also submitted a letter in conjunction with the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy regarding our opposition to LB263, which would require occupational boards to issue certain credentials based on credentials or work experience in another jurisdiction. As presented, we believe LB263 could create confusion regarding State Board requirements for CPAs applying for licensure in Nebraska. We also have concerns that the bill could create a “loophole,” allowing individuals to maneuver requirements in other jurisdictions with the goal of bypassing Nebraska requirements. In addition to the letter, the Society joined six other organizations in testifying against the legislation; lobbyist Kent Rogert of Jensen Rogert Associates delivered testimony on behalf of the coalition. From what we understand, Sen. Dave Murman plans to draft an amendment that would make the bill only apply to professions that do not have reciprocity in statute or rules and regulations.

Yet another piece of legislation the Society is watching is LB369, concerning the Auditor of Public Accounts’ access to working papers and audit files. The major change to Nebraska Revised Statute 84-305 appears to be the addition of late fees and penalties for delays in providing requested documents to the Auditor of Public Accounts.

Society leadership is keeping an eye on LB74, too. Introduced by Sen. Suzanne Geist, LB74 would sunset the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act in 2020 and move the $2 million saved from the elimination of the Act to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to increase the appropriation for the Business Innovation Act. While a number of CPA firms take advantage of the credit on behalf of their clients, the Society has learned that the Microenterprise Tax Credit is not being utilized to its full potential and is not taxpayer friendly. The purpose of the Business Innovation Act is to encourage and support the transfer of Nebraska-based technology and innovation in rural and urban areas of Nebraska in order to create high growth, high technological companies, small businesses, and microenterprises and to enhance creation of wealth and quality jobs.

Speaking of cumbersome tax credits, we’ve been hearing from many of you about the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act Credit. We understand that the process to claim the credit is very cumbersome and that in many cases the cost of complying with the tax credit requirements eats up the amount of the credit. The Society will continue working with the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska Department of Revenue to help find solutions to your challenges and answers to your questions. You will find more information at https://revenue.nebraska.gov/about/nebraska-property-tax-incentive-act-credit.

Stay tuned for further updates and information impacting the profession via the Society’s “News Updates,” which are emailed periodically to your inbox.

Stay tuned for further updates and information impacting the profession via the Society’s “News Updates,” which are emailed periodically to your inbox. As always, please feel free to reach out with your concerns. We’ll always do our best to track down the answers to your questions.

The Nebraska Society of CPAs Executive Committee will meet March 19 and the next Society Board of Directors meeting will take place May 13 via Zoom. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Society Board with suggestions or comments prior to the next meeting.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email