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Articles

Listed below are over 50 articles written by VLS professionals* (Some articles require PDF Reader):

*NOTE: No articles may be reprinted without the express written consent of Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP.

 
       
 

Understanding the Adoption Tax Credit—published again by Equality California, February 25, 2014
By Megan Asselin, CPA and Abigail Stokes Palsma
New EQCA blog version includes information about California tax returns as well as federal tax returns.
Bienvenidos monthly newsletter, February 2014
Have you adopted a child in 2013? Read about the basic rules for claiming the adoption credit as well as the variations for adopting a foster child, an aggressive tax strategy when adopting a spouse's child, and how to claim the credit for expenses that span more than one year.

       
 

The SEC Cracks Down on School Districts
By Renee Graves, Dan Warden, and Abigail Stokes Palsma
School Business Affairs, Association of School Business Officials, January 2014
Districts and Municipalities can protect their ability to purchase bonds in the future by posting the right financial reports related to current bond debt. The SEC is turning up the heat enforcing Rule 15c2-12, so now is the time to ensure compliance.

       
 

Preserving Digital Evidence—How to Protect a Municipality's Case Against Fraud
By John Hostetler, Ernie Cooper, & Abigail Stokes Palsma
MiniNews, California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, September 2013
When fraud is suspected, the natural instinct is to look for evidence. Unfortunately, searching digital devices to find the proof can erode the credibility of the evidence. To protect digital evidence of financial fraud, create a reactive protocol that ensures digital evidence can be used in court and a proactive plan to secure cloud and server based data.

       
 

School Districts & Municipalities Be Warned—SEC’s Probe Into Bond Disclosure Compliance Puts Bond Issuers on Alert
By Renée Graves, Dan Warden, and Abigail Stokes Palsma August MiniNews, California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, August 2013
The SEC has recently charged a school district for failure to comply with continuing disclosure rules. Find out how to protect your governmental agency's ability to sell bonds.
Note: Special thanks to the Community College Districts Chancellor's Office and School Services of California for reprinting the article in their August newsletters.

       
 

IRS Report on Audits of Colleges & Universities

       
 

“Working from Home? Tax Deductions Available
By Tim Evans, OC Lawyer Magazine, April 2013
How do you know if you qualify for tax deductions as a telecommuting employee? Find out how to maximize tax savings here.”

       
 

Same-Sex Couples Face Complex Tax Rules
By Timothy D. Evans and Megan Asselin, OC Lawyer Magazine, February 2013
Because federal and California laws are currently in conflict regarding the definitions of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, same sex couples face complex tax scenarios as they file their federal and state tax returns. The resulting tax implications are not only unequal to what heterosexual married couples pay, but they are also confusing to apply. Read about some of the complications and how Partner Tim Evans and newly promoted Senior Manager Megan Asselin recommend taxpayers deal with these challenges.

       
 

Cost or Investment: How Prop 30 Will Affect Your Taxes
By Dan Warden, MBA
Proposition 30 on the November ballot proposes to raise both the state sales tax by 0.25 percent and the state income tax on high-income earners from 1 to 3 percent. While most financial analyses have focused on either the statewide impact on education or on state finances, taxpayers have been left in the dark regarding the effect Proposition 30 will have on their tax bills...

       
 

Protecting Your District’s Ability to Sell Bonds or Other Debt
By Dan Warden, MBA, and Abigail Stokes Palsma
School Business Affairs (an ASBO International Publication), October 2012
Does your school district have more than $10 million in tax-exempt debt, inclusive of all outstanding bonds, certificates of participation, and other public debt issues with durations of more than nine months? If so, it must comply with the contractual requirements entered into under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules…

       
 

University of La Verne Highlights VLS in alumni magazine, VOICE, Winter 2013:
“A Firm Commitment—Five partners with a University of La Verne connection have helped Vicenti Lloyd & Stutzman become an industry pioneer in the advancement of women to leadership.”

       
 

Bond Best Practices Pros advice on how to avoid pitfalls when spending bond bucks
By Craig W. Anderson,California School Business, Fall 2012
Certified Fraud Examiner Jenny Dominguez lends her expertise in fraud to an article for school districts using bond money for construction projects. The article provides specific practices districts can use to prevent fraud on these expensive endeavors...

       
 

Protect Charter School Assets Ten Control Activities to Prevent Fraud even with a Small Staff
By Linda M. Saddlemire, CPA/CFF, CFE, MBA
Colorado League of Charter Schools quarterly magazine Charter Focus, Fall 2012

       
 

Avoiding the Hidden Rocks at Low Tide: Three Policy Considerations for Cash Flow Solvency
By Dan Warden, MBA
California Schools Magazine (Quarterly Publication of the California School Boards Association), Fall 2012
Imagine for a moment that you can’t breathe for want of oxygen. This is what an organization faces when it lacks adequate cash to meet payroll and other obligations. Accrual accounting and budgets have their place, but cash flow is the ultimate reality for any organization, including school districts. Cash is oxygen…

       
 

GASB Creates Single Source Pronouncement for Governmental Entities
Changes to Capitalized Interest Reporting Requires Retro-Active Adjustment
By Renée S. Graves, CPA, CGFM, and Jessie Wang, CPA
Distributed by the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (via List Serve), September 2012
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued a pronouncement aimed at simplifying the research process for governmental entities and their auditors. Statement No. 62, Codification of Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance Contained in Pre-November 30, 1989 FASB and AICPA Pronouncements, incorporates guidelines applicable to governmental entities from all sources of generally accepted accounting principles and combines them into one source…

 
       
 

Hollywood Motel Owner Loses $335K: How You Can Protect Yourself Against Financial Elder Abuse & Fraud
By Abigail Stokes Palsma with contributions from Colleen Taylor, CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner, and two reputable attorneys
La Verne Community News, September 2012
Fraud. Elder abuse. Identify theft. These are ugly words in our society, but the need for aging adults to protect assets is increasing. Case-in-point, “Norma” was robbed of over $335,000 through fraudulent disbursements and check tampering in the last years of her life…

 
       
 

A Primer on National Tax Reform Proposals
By Timothy D. Evans and Joshua C. H. Stokes
Orange County Lawyer, August 2012
America is facing a cash flow crisis that politicians suggest can be solved with tax system reform. Voters are left to consider which plan strikes the right balance between “who pays?” and “how much?” The most commonly proposed alternatives to the current federal tax structure are the Flat Tax, the Value Added Tax (VAT), and the National Sales Tax (NST)...

 
       
 

Closing or Repurposing School Facilities? A Guide to Applying GASB 42 for Fixed Asset Impairments
By Megan Asselin, CPA — Manager
Declining enrollment and massive budget cuts at local education agencies such as school districts and community college districts have in some cases led to class consolidation. As a result, some districts are facing the unattractive choice to close or repurpose existing buildings. In addition to mitigating the effects of such changes for their students and employees, districts also face the task of identifying whether these changes will be permanent or temporary...

 
       
 

Co-Owner Leaving the Biz? Part II: How to Avoid Costly Litigation and Shareholder Disputes in Process Buy-Sell Agreements
By Royce Stutzman, CPA/ABV, CVA — Chairman
As discussed in the first installment of this article, when a co-owner departs a business, responsibly drafted buy-sell agreements are critical for ensuring that all parties are pleased with the value of their...

 
       
 

Co-Owner Leaving the Biz? Part I: What to Avoid in Buy-Sell Agreements
By Royce Stutzman, CPA/ABV, CVA — Chairman
When a co-owner departs a business, a responsibly drafted buy-sell agreement is crucial for ensuring that all parties are pleased with the value of the company and the financial terms of the co-owner's departure...

 
       
 

How to Liquidate After a Business Fails
Article by Karen E. Klein, Bloomberg Businessweek
..."Find an asset liquidator who deals in the kind of inventory your business holds," recommends Royce Stutzman, a CPA and business consultant with Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman...

 
       
 

Savvy Business Owners Have a Detailed Exit Plan
Expert exit planner Carl Pon shares lessons from 35 years in the biz

Many business owners assume that they get to decide when they will sell, but sometimes an event changes the landscape — a death, the onset of a terminal illness, or another major event can trigger the need for a sudden exit....

 
       
 

Preserving Digital Evidence
Tips for business owners to protect their case against fraud

By John Hostetler, CDFE — Manager of Computer Forensics
When a business owner suspects fraud by an employee, it is natural to want to search that employee’s computer, but doing so could fundamentally weaken the integrity of the evidence discovered...

 
       
 

Prop. 39 bonds continuing disclosure compliance
By Dan Warden, MBA — Director/Consultant
Is your district required to meet continuing disclosure requirements? If your district has outstanding bonds, Certificates of Participation (COPs), bond anticipation notes, Tax Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) or other public debt issues with durations greater than nine months, the answer is yes...

 
       
 

Save Money on Business Taxes — Credits available for business owners who create new jobs
By Scott Hendrickson — Associate
Even though times are tough, businesses still need employees, and those employees come at an expense. The Federal and California governments have established valuable tax credits for businesses that are creating jobs for the unemployed and paying insurance premiums for their employees. Small and large business owners alike are eligible if they meet the specific qualifications. Do you know if you are eligible?...

 
       
 

Overpaying the auditor? New Senate bills clarify Prop. 39 audit requirements
By Abigail Stokes Palsma — Knowledge Manager
California School Business News (CASBO), July 26, 2011
Contributors: Renée S. Graves, CPA, CGFM – Partner and Frederick E. Harris – Assistant Vice Chancellor of College Finance & Facilities Planning, California Community Chancellor's Office
"Confusion over the requirements for Proposition 39 has led to larger scope and more expensive audits than may be necessary...."

 
       
 

Avoiding Costly Pitfalls in Buy-Sell Agreements
By Royce Stutzman, CPA/ABV, CVA — Chairman
Riverside Lawyer, February 2011
"...Let's look at some of the frequent pitfalls in buy-sell agreements that can happen and, with proper drafting, can be avoided. Some of the different types of buy-sell agreements are fixed-price, formula, and process...."

 
       
 

VLS Makes San Gabriel Valley Tribune, November 17, 2010
Column entitled: "Manager named to fraud agency" by Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
"We're living in a climate of fraud. Sometimes it's massive in scale, involving corporate wrongdoing and the loss of millions of dollars. Other times the abuses are smaller, or even unintentional. But they are abuses just the same. And Jenny Dominguez is helping VLS Fraud Solutions ferret out those abuses..."

 
       
 

"Are You Ready If a Business Partner Dies?"
By Ted Collins, CPA/ABV, MBA — Director of Valuation Group
The Business Press, November 8, 2010
"No one wants to receive a call that a business partner has died...The question facing every multi owner business today — Are you prepared to make things right regarding value for the surviving spouse? Will your spouse and family be made right? How do you truly know?" said Collins.

 
       
 

VLS Makes Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2010
Column entitled: "Oxnard schools must repay $5.6 million in meal funds" by Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times
"An Oxnard school district charged the state and federal governments at least $5.6 million for distributing school meals that never existed, according to a two-year investigation triggered by school officials...After conferring with local prosecutors and the Ventura County Office of Education, the school board commissioned an investigation by Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman..."

 
       
 

"Tips for managing your business value in difficult times"
By Eugene E. Valdez and Ted Collins
The Business Press, August 9, 2010
"It is important for business owners to recognize that valuation is both art and science. A business value largely rests in the eyes of the beholder and given the challenging environment for M&A it just makes sense for an owner to pay some attention to how value might be perceived by a buyer."

 
       
 

Mary Ann Quay — Head of VLS Tax Practice — Awarded New Credential by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils
By Abigail Stokes Palsma — Knowledge Manager
"Co-managing Partner of Vicenti, Lloyd and Stutzman LLP, Mary Ann Quay, CPA, MBA, has recently been chosen by the Estate Planning Council of Pomona Valley to receive the designation Accredited Estate Planner, or AEP."

 
       
 

Ted Collins – Director of our Valuation Group – Confirms Why a Business Needs a Succession Plan in Financial Empowerment Podcast Series
Produced by: California Society of CPAs and the CalCPA Institute
“An owner really needs to have a well-thought out approach to managing a transition. So having a plan in place increases the odds that the business will continue on into perpetuity…An owner should really take some time in solitude and really consider the ‘What if’s?’ in the context of their business. And, those ‘What if’s’ are: What if I were to die? Or, what if I were to get disabled? Or, what if I just get tired and want to sell the business?” said Collins.

 
       
 

Ted Collins Shares Insights on Business Valuation in the Inland Empire Business Journal
Column entitled: "The Business Doctors"
“Business valuation is essentially an appraisal of the business to determine what the fair market value of the business is… When an owner is considering selling, a business valuation can provide good insight into market price and how the company is viewed…Most owners naturally focus their attention on cash flow…but spending more time on understanding the risk in their business is equally critical,” said Collins.

 
       
 

Royce Stutzman – Chairman of Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman, Leading Advisor of our Valuation Group and President of Exit Transition Strategies – Discusses Whether You Should Sell Your S-Corporation in The Business Press
Guest Column by: Royce Stutzman
“Should you sell your S-Corporation in 2010? Maybe so. Here’s why. On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An interesting and somewhat strange provision was included which shortens the built-in-gain recognition for S-Corporations for taxable years 2009 and 2010. This creates an opportunity for business owners to sell in 2010 and not be subject to taxes on the related gains,” said Stutzman.

 
       
 

Ted Collins Discusses How General Market Conditions Impact a Business Valuation
By Ted Collins, CPA/ABV, MBA — Director of our Valuation Group
“The overall climate has a direct impact on pricing multiples considered by the appraiser. It also impacts discounts for lack of marketability when an appraiser is making a judgment about how long it might take to sell a business in the climate…2009 was a year marked with slow activity in the M&A world. This can be seen in the private equity market for closely held companies,” said Collins.

 
       
 

Saving Money on Tangible Property Taxes
By Danielle Witten, CPA — Senior Manager and Abigail Stokes Palsma
Is your business paying too much in property taxes? With some careful attention to definitions and details, business owners can find opportunities to lower the tax on tangible personal property that is paid every year.

 
       
 

Year End Tax Planning Makes Dollars and Sense
By Tim Evans, CPA, MS in Taxation — Senior Manager
November 2009
As we approach the end of 2009, spending some time on year end planning could save money on your 2009 income taxes. The key is to strategize effectively to maximize deductions and credits.

 
       
 

Unique Pairing: Former FBI Agent and Former Riverside DA Partner Together To Investigate Financial Fraud and Find Criminal Activity
By Abigail Stokes Palsma
San Bernardino County Bar Association, November 2009
Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP joined forces with the law firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP to investigate suspected fraud within a company that began with the suspicions of an astute manager.

 
       
 

Fraud Zone Defense: An effective anti-fraud program can protect against painful losses
By Linda Saddlemire, CPA, CFE, CFF, MBA — Partner, with Abigail Stokes Palsma
California Schools, Winter 2009
Linda's column discusses that the occurrence of fraud in the education industry will continue to rise and explains the five essentials for establishing an effective anti-fraud program.

 
       
 

Roth IRA offers tax benefits
By Tim Evans, CPA, MS in Taxation — Senior Manager
San Gabriel Valley Tribune, October 11, 2009
Tim's column can help you determine if it makes sense to convert from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Tim also talks about the advantages of converting from a non-deductible IRA to a Roth IRA.

 
       
 

The Insidious Impact of FraudHow to retro-fit district structure for prevention and detection
By Abigail Stokes Palsma
, Communications Specialist, VLS Fraud Solutions
California Special Districts Alliance, July-August 2009
Let's set the record straight. Fraud is occurring in special districts. Are you burying your head in the sand, assuming that your district is safe?

 
       
 

Tracking Fraud
San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 12, 2009
Mention forensics and most people think of the hit TV series "CSI." But in the corporate world, many of the same principles used in police work are being applied to tracking financial abuse at companies, both large and small.

 
       
 

Estate Tax Proposed Legislation
On January 9, 2009, Representative Pomeroy introduced estate tax legislation called "Certain Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009 (HR 436). Depending on how you look at it, the bill has good and bad news.

 
       
 

Your Antifraud Program, Will It Pass the Test?
Based on the new auditing standard, SAS 99-Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, your auditor is now required to assess your Antifraud program. The new auditing standard, which is part of the AICPA's new antifraud and corpoarate responsibility program, does a good job of telling the CPA's what they should be doing during an audit to consider the risk of material misstatement to the financial statements due to fraud, but what about management's role?

 
       
 

Auditing Standards No. 102 - 114: A Client Update on Recently Issued Auditing Standards
Since the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), auditing has become a more heavily regulated industry. Even though SOX primarily impacted public companies, there has been a significant "trickle down" effect for all organizations both large and small resulting in major changes in auditing standards.

 
       
 

Size doesn't always matter - Companies of all sizes can be affected by fraud
The high-profile corporate fraud cases of Enron, Tyco and WorldCom made front page news. However, it is not just large conglomerates that are susceptible to fraud. Companies of all sizes and across all sectors, including governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, can be affected by fraud...

 
       
 

Gimme Shelter - How to use tax breaks to recruit and retain employees
Offering your employees a tax sheltered retirement plan makes sense on multiple fronts. Not only will such a plan encourage employees to save for their retirement while providing several tax advantages for both you and your staff members, but it also helps recruit and retain good workers...

 
       
 

New accounting practices - How a new auditing standard can affect your business
The enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has spurred heavier regulation in the auditing industry. A new auditing standard, SAS 112, affects how auditing work is conducted. Among other things, SAS 112 redefines the types of internal control issues that are reportable...

 
       
 

Exit strategies - Make sure your exit strategy protects your heirs if they sell the business
Every business owner knows that he or she will eventually exit the business. However, they often fail to properly plan their exit strategy, and that can have major repercussions...

 
       
 

Money matters - Treating your business as an investment
It's no surprise that a special bond exists between business owners and their creations. After all, it is their blood, sweat and tears that make the visions possible...

 
       
 

Risk management - How reduced risk can help a potential sale — and more
When it comes to selling a business, the perception of risk significantly impacts value. The less risk involved, the higher the selling price will be...

 
       
 

Money matters - How does the new pension law affect your retirement plans?
Earlier this year, President Bush signed into law the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The reform is designed to ensure greater retirement security for American workers. While the title implies that the act only affects employee benefits matters, it also addresses charitable giving...

 
       
 

Financial accountability - How Sarbanes-Oxley can help improve corporate status
It's been four years since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law. Although private companies and nonprofit organizations are generally exempt from its provisions, many such organizations have found that certain aspects of the act can enhance their overall operations...

 
       
 

A multi-year activity - How to take advantage of tax planning
Pro-actively tackling taxes is a wise decision for any business. As the end of the year approaches, taking advantage of tax breaks can reduce your 2006 tax liability...

 
       
 

Instilling Ethics - Consider a fraud hotline in your business to set the tone from the top.
Fraud is a major concernt among business executives. But how do you ensure your employees and management team practice ethical behavior?...

 
       
 

Surging interest rates - Maybe it's time to reassess cash-flow projections
Rising interest rates are a frequent topic in the news. While much of the handwringing about spiraling rates has to do with the housing sector, businesses of all kinds are affected by the increases. As interest rates rise, the cost of borrowing also increases, which leads to lower profits and, ultimately, a slowdown in demand for products and services of all types...

 
       
 

Accountants be advised - New federal tax law has several significant changes
Ben Franklin once famously said, "Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes." While certainly unavoidable, both can be kept at bay to some extent. Whereas healthy habits can help keep the Grim Reaper from making a premature visit, keeping attuned to the shifting tax code can reduce outlays to Uncle Sam...

 
       
 

Charitable giving - Seeing your money be put to good use by others
One of the biggest rewards of giving to charitable organizations is seeing your money being put to good use by helping others. Of course, you want to make sure that your contributions are going to a well-run organization that manages its assets effectively and follows through on the programs that it promises...

 
       
 

The cost of corporate fraud - How corporate fraud can affect all businesses, and what can be done to stop it
Corporate fraud is not limited to high-profile cases like Enron, Tyco and WorldCom. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Economic Crime Survey 2005, 45 percent of 3,634 companies reported being subject to one or more significant economic crimes during the previous two years...

 
       
 

Exit strategies - How to leave the business intelligently
Regardless of a company's size, structure, financial conditions or longevity, it is crucial to have a viable exit strategy in place. Without one, the true value of a business can be diminished when it comes time to sell...

 
       
 

Cash management - Proper cash flow management is critical to any business
Managing cash flow effectively is a crucial component to the success of any business. Not only does the monitoring of profits pave the way for meeting normal cash obligations, but effective management of receivables, payables and inventory also can safeguard against unanticipated problems...

 
       
 

What's it worth? - Determining the value of your company
A business valuation is akin to a publicly traded stock in at least one sense. Both, to some extent, are measured by estimated future cash flows in an effort to arrive at a meaningful valuation...

 
       
 

Planning ahead - Considerations for estate planning
Estate planning is a useful tool in preserving financial resources for future generations. It is also a dynamic process...

 
       
 

*NOTE: No articles may be reprinted without the express written consent of Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP.

 

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