Professional Accounting Blog

    Accounting For Your Prosperity

    Carlo Berlingieri

    Carlo Berlingieri, with over fourteen years of experience, is a Senior Manager in the Assurance and Employee Benefit Plan Groups.

    Recent Posts

    A Quick Refresher on Accounting / Finance Ratios

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Feb 14, 2017 10:00:00 AM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing

    Accounting and finance ratios are a quick way to review and evaluate financial information. The four major types of ratios used in the industry are Liquidity (aka solvency), Activity (aka efficiency), Profitability, and Coverage. They are vital for management to evaluate the operations of their business and determine if certain management actions are having an effect on the “numbers”. Ratios can also be used by owners and readers of financial statements to quickly identify the health of the company, unusual trends in the business, and certain key indicators of the business. Below are some of the most popular ratios that people use to evaluate financial statements:

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    What is a Financial Statement Audit?

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Jul 14, 2015 2:00:00 PM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing

    So many people have different perspectives on what a financial statement audit really is. Some think auditors are looking at every penny of the company, others think they are looking at payroll records and expense reports, and still others have really no idea what is looked at. I guess if you think about it, each person’s perspective of what a financial statement audit can vary significantly.

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    Participant Fee Disclosure Reporting Update Offers ‘Flexibility’

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Apr 9, 2015 3:41:00 PM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    In March of 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a direct final ruling (See Federal Register, Volume 80, Number 53) that looks to change certain rules regarding participant fee disclosures.  The goal of the updated ruling is to offer plan sponsors more flexibility in providing participant level fee disclosures while still providing plan participants timely information to make investment decisions.

    In the original ruling that was published in October 2011, starting for plan years beginning on or after November 1, 2011, plan sponsors were required to disclose certain fee and expense information to participants and beneficiaries for participant directed benefit plans. The information was required to be presented to participants before they were able to make investment decisions and then was required to be provided at least annually thereafter.  “Annually thereafter” was defined at the time was at least once in a twelve month period.

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    4 Factors for Hiring a Quality Auditor

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Jan 13, 2015 8:45:00 AM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing

    Recently, the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (“EBPAQC”) released a plan advisory called “The Importance of Hiring a Quality Auditor to Perform Your Employee Benefit Plan Audit”. This advisory was created for plan administrators to have a guide to follow the important process of hiring a plan auditor with the correct experience to audit employee benefit plans. As a reminder, most employee benefit plans with over 100 eligible employees are required to have an annual audit performed on the plan in order to comply with its Form 5500 requirements.

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    Best Practices: How to Prep for an Employee Benefit Plan Audit

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Apr 1, 2014 8:00:00 AM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    As with every spring, you are tasked to prepare for your year-end employee benefit plan audit. It seems that our to-do lists at work are longer and longer, so we have compiled some best practices to prepare for the audit and help make them seamless. 

    7 Ways to Make Employee Benefit Plan Audit Prep Run Smoothly

    1. Meet with auditors early in the year to discuss expectations, goals, new reporting requirements and timing of the engagement that works with your schedule. In addition, you can discuss the staffing on the engagement to fit the needs of your plan.
    2. Prepare schedules or accumulate data during the year that is needed for the year-end audit (census files, internal control summaries, etc.).
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    A Different Set of Accounting Rules for Private Companies

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Jan 21, 2014 12:25:00 PM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing

    As we posted in our blog in December 2013 A Simplified Accounting Reporting Method Alternative for Private Companies, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) issued a non-GAAP framework to help reduce the reporting requirements of small to midsize private companies. On the heels of the AICPA release, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), who establishes U.S. accounting and reporting standards, has recently approved and released two GAAP exceptions for private companies (ASU 2014-02 and ASU 2014-03) and is currently reviewing two additional proposals that are aimed to reduce the reporting burden of private companies. The exceptions were drafted by the Private Company Council (“PCC”) to provide alternatives to U.S. GAAP rule to address the needs of the users of private company financial statements while still producing accurate financial statements under generally accepted accounting principles. The two recently approved and released exceptions are effective for year ends beginning after December 15, 2014, with early adoption permitted.

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    3 Best Practices for Your Retirement Plan Annual Review

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Jan 2, 2014 2:25:00 PM

    Topics: Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing

    Retirement plan fiduciaries should meet on an annual basis (if not more frequently) to discuss the plan with outside service providers, including the investment advisor, custodian/trustee, and third party administrator. The focus of these meetings should include the following items:

    1. Investment performance of the funds in the plan. The fiduciaries should determine if the funds in the plan are meeting the criteria outlined in the investment policy statement (IPS). Funds that are not meeting your stated criteria should be put on a watch list as outlined in the IPS or possibly removed from the plan, again depending on the IPS. In addition to reviewing fund performance, you’ll want to ensure that the group of funds that are offered in your plan are still meeting the requirements of the IPS. 
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    A Simplified Accounting Reporting Method Alternative for Private Companies

    Posted by Carlo Berlingieri on Dec 17, 2013 9:43:00 AM

    Topics: Accounting & Auditing

    Has financial reporting become too cumbersome for your private company? If so, never fear, the AICPA has come up with a possible solution. For years, there has been discussion in the accounting world on whether there should be “Big GAAP and Little GAAP" (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) to do away with complex financial reporting rules that may not make sense for some private companies. Both the FASB and the AICPA have identified this issue and have started two different groups to come up with a solution.

    FASB created a Private Company Council to attempt to create a new set of GAAP used for private companies, but a new reporting framework has not yet been issued from the group. However, the AICPA created a new financial reporting model, and its purpose is to help small to midsized private companies comply with their financial reporting needs. Out of their project, the Financial Reporting Framework for Small to Midsize Entities was born (“FRF for SME”).

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