How Technology Can Mitigate Increased Sales Tax Complexity

The sales tax compliance landscape is becoming more complex, according to Mike Bernard, Chief Tax Officer, Vertex, who spoke at an AICPA Town Hall event. Changing sales tax rates and rules pose substantial registration and compliance challenges to all companies, especially smaller businesses with tax “departments” of one or two professionals.

Having tax technology tools in place helps tax departments keep pace while limiting the risk of non-compliance and visits from auditors. In our work with companies of all sizes, we see sales tax engines becoming a table-stakes requirement.

Given that post-Wayfair sales tax rules require far more companies to collect and submit sales taxes, it’s useful to keep the following developments in mind as you evaluate whether a sales tax engine can help ease your clients’ compliance burden:

  • Increased sales tax activity in local jurisdictions: In 2021, the average county, city, and district sales tax rates each increased while there were 197 new district taxes implemented, the second highest number in ten years.
  • Auditing activity has intensified: Sales tax audits have returned to pre-pandemic levels of frequency. These newly aggressive auditors are looking closely at remote sellers to assess their compliance with economic nexus rules and registration requirements that have come online since the 2018 Wayfair ruling.
  • Tax automation continues to advance and improve: Sales tax engines replace manual data-collection and compliance work by automatically updating the latest tax rules, rates and logic and by making accurate tax determinations and calculations. These solutions integrate with ERP systems (or general ledgers) and eliminate the need for in-house tax research. Advanced sales tax engines also integrate with procurement applications, e-commerce platforms and other tools in the expanding ERP ecosystem.

Keep these developments in mind when you find new sales tax compliance requirements getting too complex. Stay current on sales tax regulatory and enforcement trends. And remember, technology by itself is not a silver-bullet solution. Documenting workflows for your clients’ transaction tax environment can help to identify strengths and areas for opportunity and growth. Visit for more expert sales and use tax guidance.

Are Your Clients Waiting for ERTC Funds? Be Their Hero.

There’s a good chance some of your clients qualify for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), a refundable tax credit that rewards businesses up to $26,000 per employee. But many who qualify for the credit are waiting in frustration for the IRS to issue the money. Between high interest in the credit and historic capacity issues at the IRS, significant ERTC delays are the norm today. According to a March 2022 report in The Wall Street Journal, “employers are waiting as much as six to 10 months for the IRS to process claims.” For clients who were depending on those funds, that’s a big deal.

A new way to help your clients fast: ERTC loans

ERTC loans are now available through the CPA Business Funding Portal, the business financing solution from and fintech leader Biz2Credit that’s used by 6,000+ CPAs and small business advisors. The portal was created to support CPA firms helping clients secure government-backed business relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and helped businesses obtain approximately 40,000 PPP loans totaling more than $1 billion in business relief. Since then, it’s expanded to include additional financing types such as term loans, working capital – and now, ERTC loans.

The new ERTC loan option allows you to fill a pressing need for clients immediately, so they can put this critical funding to work. Features of the all-new ERTC Loan include:

  • Loan amounts up to 65% of ERTC total
  • Approval in 5 days or less
  • Useability for a broad range of business expenses
  • Interest-only repayments for up to 12 months
  • 6 – 36-month terms

The CPA Business Funding Portal empowers you to expand your Client Advisory Services (CAS) offering into Financing Advisory Services – applying your knowledge as a trusted advisor to help clients secure financing that enables them to reach their overall business goals faster and more efficiently. The ERTC loan is a perfect example of how a firm can add client value and increase firm revenue through this service.

Why should clients go through you, their accountant, for financing?

Sure, they could go to a bank and secure a loan the old-fashioned way. But there are numerous benefits unique to the portal which add value to your client’s financing experience:

  • Streamlined process and fast turnarounds. This is a fintech-driven solution, so both firms and clients can avoid the hassle of navigating the endless back-and-forth of traditional lending models.
  • Improved bankability for clients. The success of the PPP showed that businesses working with CPAs are better positioned, more prepared and qualify more quickly for lending than businesses that go it alone. The result? Better rates and loan structures for clients working with CPAs.
  • Expanded access to a wide range of financing. Financing products such as term loans, working capital, commercial real estate loans, and ERTC loans are all available to your clients through the portal. SBA 7(a) and SBA Express loans are expected in a future release, making it possible for firms to support and advise clients with a full portfolio of fintech financing products.

Plus, firms can add an extra revenue stream by earning commissions and receiving annual benefits. Multiple earning models means your relationship with your client works exactly how you want it to. Some firms offset costs by earning commissions on client applications that are funded. However, for firms receiving commissions, disclosure is often necessary. Other firms decide to opt out of receiving commissions and offset costs through a holistic client billing strategy. You can truly customize your path on your financing advisory journey.

To learn more about how you can help your clients reach their business goals through financing advisory services, visit

Clients judge your firm by its website. Here are 4 ways to make it great

How often do you think about your firm’s website? For leaders at many firms, the answer is “rarely.” Once your site is up and running, there are a million other priorities competing for your attention. This can be especially true for smaller firms – if you don’t have a dedicated web team or even an IT person, you may only think about your web site when it goes down.

But your website plays a central role in the relationship between your firm and your existing clients, as well as prospects who are looking for a CPA they can trust. It’s often their first point of contact – who among us doesn’t visit a service provider’s website when we’re assessing whether we should work with them? In a matter of moments, potential clients will judge your firm based on what they find on your site. For existing clients, your firm’s website can serve as a hub for service delivery – the place where they download forms, upload data, check on the status of your work and more.

If your firm’s website isn’t a priority, it should be – clients and prospects are paying closer attention than you might expect.

Four at the core

Entire books have been written about what makes a great website – but you probably don’t have time for that. So here are four fundamental features that make for a great firm website:

  1. Short, memorable URL. Your URL is your web address – like The best ones are short, which makes them easy to remember and advertise. But as websites have proliferated over the years, it’s become more difficult to secure short URLs in familiar domains such as .com and .net.
  2. Clean design, simple structure. How quickly can a visitor make sense of your site? The answer depends on the combination of simple, straightforward design elements, easy navigation and concise copywriting. Seasoned web developers know from experience that it’s usually quite difficult to achieve simplicity – but it’s worth it.
  3. Strong call to action. You know what you want visitors to do, so say it clearly and prominently. Don’t make them hunt for your call to action.
  4. Clear contact information. How many times have you tried to find a restaurant’s phone number on their site, only to get lost deep in the “about us” section? Sometimes visitors just want to know how to call or email you. Make it easy.

A simple new tool for building your firm’s site (and it’s free)

Maybe your firm hasn’t launched its website yet. Or maybe it has an outdated website, making it easier to start from scratch rather than overhaul it to embrace these principles. If either describes your current situation, has developed a simple, practical tool to help you get up and running with a basic site that embraces best practices in web design for accounting firms. Our free .cpa Starter Site the simplest way to launch your own professional website.

The Starter Site is:

  • Easy to use: Just fill out a simple one-page template
  • Professionally designed: No need to find your own web designer
  • Commitment-free: You can turn it off at any time.

The Starter Site is only available to owners of a .cpa domain, the only secure, verified, top-level domain exclusive to the accounting profession.

There’s never been a better time to make a fresh start, building on the proven principles above to improve web traffic and conversions – and we’ve made it easy to get going. It’s just one more benefit of being a licensed CPA.

To learn more, visit

5 Reasons Not to Miss This Year’s Digital CPA Event

What do you do with all those big-picture questions you keep putting off?

You know, questions like, “What’s this profession going to look like in five or ten years? What will our firm look like? What are the technologies that should be on our radar today, but we don’t know enough about? Which new service lines should we be considering?

If you’re like a lot of your CPA peers, it probably feels like you never have time to think about questions like these, no matter how important they are to the future success of your career and firm. And even if you did set aside time to consider the future of the profession and how it will impact your firm, you can’t answer these questions on your own.

Future in Focus

The Digital CPA conference is designed to allow you to focus on the issues, trends and technologies that will shape your firm’s future. It’s a smaller, more intimate event that brings together some of the most innovative, forward-thinking minds in the industry, in an environment designed for collaboration, information sharing and networking. This Dec. 4-7 event in Austin, and livestreamed online, will be a hotbed of new ideas and innovation.

Haven’t booked your ticket to Austin yet? Here are five reasons you should.

  1. Stay a step ahead of trends and technologies

    Think about how much things have changed over only the past five years – you’re probably working with technologies today you hadn’t even heard of then. And there’s a good chance your firm has expanded in directions you would not have anticipated a few years ago.

    From crypto to client advisory services, these advances were anticipated and discussed in previous years’ DCPA events. You can bet that many of this year’s hot topics will be part of running a successful practice a few years from now. That’s why our theme is “Future in Focus.” At this year’s DCPA, you’ll get a front-row view of what’s next for CPA firms.

  2. Team time!

    The past few years have made it more difficult for your team to connect in person. This event is a prime opportunity for your people to strengthen and support team bonds – in Austin, no less, where good food and fun are around every corner. It’s a chance for your colleagues to recharge, refresh and get inspired. When they return, they’ll be more connected, productive and effective as a team. To make it easier for your whole team to reap the benefits, group discounts are available to save you an extra $150 - $300 per person.

  3. Choose your own adventure

    DCPA already has more than 30 sessions scheduled, with more on the way. It includes three learning tracks – CAS 2.0, Technology and Leadership – with several additional focus areas including Financial Planning & Analysis and Audit & Assurance. That makes it easy for you to build your own agenda, matching your unique insight needs.

  4. Networking

    Ask anyone who’s been to DCPA before, and they’ll tell you that some of their most important, lasting connections have been made at this event. The Digital CPA conference will be full of like-minded firm and thought leaders facing the same challenges and opportunities you are. This is your best chance to meet them and join our community.

  5. CPE bonanza

    DCPA is a great way for your entire team to expand their knowledge and skills in key areas while earning CPE. Participants can earn up to 16 CPE credits, and on-demand viewing is readily available after the conference is over so you can check out the sessions you missed or those that you attended and want to revisit. While CPE credit isn’t available for on-demand viewing, your team will appreciate revisiting everything they’ve learned so they can put it into action.

Get ready for what’s next

Are you ready for what’s next in accounting? You’ll be better prepared after spending a few days in Austin with the people who are actively shaping the future of the profession. In-person registration sold out at last year’s DCPA, so be sure to register early. If you sign up by 10/31, you’ll save an extra $100 per person.

It’s easy to register at While you’re there, you can also find the full schedule for the event, a speaker list, testimonials from previous attendees, and more.

Hope to see you in Austin!

Top 4 takeaways from the 2022 Blockchain Symposium

Cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are really cementing their place in global business and commerce. That's why these digital assets were key focus areas at the fifth annual AICPA and Blockchain in Accountancy Symposium, held earlier this summer in collaboration with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA). The event brings together thought leaders, regulators, developers and firms that are subject matter experts in blockchain to share updates, offer insights and work through real and potential impacts on the accounting and finance profession. will release a special report later this year that recaps the event. In the meantime, I wanted to share the top four takeaways:

  1. Crypto-winter is here. The cryptocurrency market, like many areas of the economy, has cooled recently. However, this downturn provides a great opportunity to step back – to think about the lessons learned over the past several years and really reassess and reimagine how crypto markets work, how digital assets are assessed and what regulatory discussions are needed moving forward. Progress won't happen overnight – it will be an evolution.
  2. Regulations need room for innovation. With new technologies and cryptocurrencies adding to the complexity of financial markets, it's important for tech companies and regulators to work together to allow space for innovation. This was an area we discussed with SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, one of the speakers at this year's symposium. We are seeing more activity coming from different regulators and support of conversations around what needs to happen. Regulators recognize the need to be open to allowing room for trial-and-error, because it's through failure that success happens. But to enable this, the tech companies need to provide transparency into the potential value, risks and use cases for new technologies and digital assets to mitigate risks for investors. Having a safe harbor to work together will allow the financial system to evolve.
  3. More guidance is needed. It's not just cryptocurrencies that are gaining a foothold in business. NFTs, unique digital assets that represent real-world objects, are becoming ubiquitous. From art and entertainment to club memberships and virtual time shares to government tracking of homeless communities, the growing usage of NFTs raises new considerations and complexity. For instance, how do you tax gifted or converted currency? How do you value NFTs, when there are currently so many different methodologies? What is the role of auditors? The AICPA advocacy team is calling for guidance on behalf of the profession, and as this regulation and guidance becomes available, the natural progression of firms supporting activities in this space will grow. and the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance published an NFT primer that helps accounting professionals dive into this emerging area.
  4. Technology solutions are growing. There continue to be a growing number of technology solutions emerging to help address the challenges that many businesses face related to crypto and digital assets. During the symposium, a few of these emerging tech vendors demonstrated the functionality of their tools in areas such as pricing and valuation. It's evident that these innovative vendors will lead the way for many practitioners in how they support their clients' evolving needs.

Despite the current downturn we’re seeing in the crypto markets – which is common in financial markets – there’s no slowdown happening in the adoption of digital assets backed by blockchain technologies. In fact, trends show that more and more organizations, financial institutions and government entities are dipping their toes into cryptocurrencies and NFTs – with some foreign governments even using blockchain for identify management and voting. This growth in the number and diversity of use cases is what will drive broad adoption.

Stay tuned for the full 2022 Blockchain Symposium special report that will dive into more detail around each of these areas.

In the meantime, the AICPA, and our partners have developed a number of tools and resources to help you stay up-to-date on the latest blockchain-related news, insights and skills you need, including:

2021 Blockchain Symposium Report
AICPA's Blockchain & Digital Assets resource page
Webcast: Demystifying Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
FASB Adds Digital Assets Accounting To Its Technical Agenda | Lukka
Suzanne Morsfield on Valuation of Crypto Assets | Lukka
Identifying Principal Markets for Crypto-Assets | Lukka
Beyond Bitcoin: Challenges to applying a standardized Digital Asset Classification System | Lukka
Beyond Bitcoin, Part 2: Increasing Accessibility Through a Digital Assets Classification System | Lukka

A Closer Look at Our Startup Accelerator Companies

The of International Certified Professional Accountants Startup Accelerator is an annual program that finds, invests in, and guides early-stage tech companies with solutions that support accounting and finance professionals. This blog series provides a deeper look at the five companies in the 2021 cohort.