Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis accounting firms’

Become an Activist for your Company in 2012!

Part of our Personal Leadership Series

By Thomas J. Sponsel, Managing Partner

As January comes and goes, so do New Year’s Resolutions. Such resolutions are often made to be broken, if procrastination hasn’t already postponed making a commitment. A 2007 study by the University of Bristol found that 88 percent of all resolutions end in failure.

Most of us do not achieve what we desire for the following reasons:

  • Lack of a Commitment to a Plan of ACTION
  • Lack of Support in collaborating with others
  • Poor Execution
  • Poor Attitude
  • Lack of Willingness to make short-term sacrifice for Long Term Benefit

Resolve to make 2012 the year you become an activist for your company. This includes making your personal role in the company more fulfilling, making your company better with suggestions for improvement in both planning and execution, and finding a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in your personal life.

This may sound like a utopia, but most of us become frustrated because we do not commit to an active role in making all this happen.

You can enhance your value to your company and improve job satisfaction through the following steps:

  1. Together with your supervisor, identify three to five areas you should improve on in 2012.
  2. Seek your supervisor’s support in helping you achieve your goals; solicit feedback and request any necessary resources.
  3. Clearly understand how your role interrelates with other team members in delivering products and services.
  4. Understand your company’s corporate goals for 2012 and the action steps management has laid out to achieve them.
  5. Offer suggestions for making your company better.
  6. Be committed to life-long learning and continuous improvement.
  7. Celebrate your successes and evaluate your failures; use both to establish your next challenges.
  8. Execute your assigned role, and hold others accountable to their roles.
  9. Read voraciously on a variety of topics to expand your knowledge and challenge the status quo.

Many of us get dragged down because we approach our responsibilities as if we were bystanders in our own lives – our jobs, our families and personal relationships. There will be many challenges in life, and how we react to those adverse experiences will determine what we are able to accomplish and how other people regard us.

Take English poet William Ernest Henley. After progressive tuberculosis of the bone claimed one of his legs, and threatened to take the other, he wrote “Invictus,” which ends with these immortal words:

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Even if you are usually a follower or a doer rather than a leader, you must become a leader in your own realm – because no one else is going to do it for you!

Within each of our companies, we are part of a team of individuals with a diverse array of talents. When combined together correctly, the whole is much more effective than the sum of its parts.

The stronger we become individually, and the better we interact with co-workers, the stronger we make the company. A stronger company will deliver better customer service and higher quality products, have a satisfied workforce and become more successful. And we all want to be a part of success!

The key to this success starts with that person you see in the mirror every morning. If you commit to becoming an activist and not a bystander, you will be much happier – and your co-workers, spouse and family will thank you for your efforts.

Resolve to make 2012 a better year than the past, and start today to make it happen!

Get ready for 2012!

By Patrick Metallic, CEBS
Manager, Director of Employee Benefit Services

The Facts About Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures
As we approach year’s end, now is a good time for all those in charge of overseeing retirement plans to review their disclosure responsibilities. As we prepare to greet 2012, it’s important to remember that overlooked deadlines or missed disclosure requirements can become a costly mistake.

To help keep you up to date, we’ve developed this handy overview of the new retirement plan fee disclosure rules.

The U.S. Department of Labor has gone to great lengths to help retirement plan sponsors gain better understanding of fees associated with their plans. Fiduciaries require complete fee disclosure by service providers in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Greater fee transparency allows plan sponsors to make more informed decisions, and helps participants become better investors.

Fee Disclosure Regulations for Service Providers
The retirement plan’s service providers must provide fee disclosures to the plan sponsor by April 1, 2012. It must be made in writing and include: services, status and compensation. The disclosure should include a description of services the arrangement provides to the plan. It also must include a statement that it will provide fiduciary services to the plan.

In addition, the disclosure needs to describe all direct and indirect compensation the service provider reasonably expects to receive in connection with services. The description should contain sufficient information to permit evaluation of the reasonableness of the compensation.

A service provider must disclose any change in this information as soon as practicable, but no later than 60 days from the date on which the service provider is informed of changes.

Fee Disclosures to Participants
The plan administrator is responsible for providing fee disclosures to participants effective May 31, 2012. Most investment platforms will provide these to the participants.

Initial notice is required on or before the date the participant can direct his or her first investments. It must include general information on the plan, administrative expenses that may be charged against the account, and designated investment alternatives. This same information must be provided to all eligible employees at least once a year, whether or not they are enrolled in the plan.

A quarterly accounting of all fees and expenses assessed against participants’ plans is required. Notice of any changes to information provided in the initial and annual disclosures must be communicated to participants no later than 30 days, but no sooner than 90 days, prior to the effective date of the change.

If Sponsel CPA Group can be of assistance in helping you with an employee benefit issue, please feel free to contact Pat Metallic at (317) 613-7841 or

Auditing Not-For-Profits: How to Make It an Efficient Process

Wtritten by Angela Holmes

Due to the severe economic recession, not-for-profit ( NFP) entities have faced challenges over the last several years in managing the impact a contraction in resources has on their organization. Any contraction likely resulted in a workforce reduction, and NFPs are generally understaffed to begin with. This presents management with a challenge: doing a lot more with much less!

Then along comes the mandatory annual audit of the not-for-profit’s financial statements by an independent CPA firm. Is this a curse? An additional unwarranted burden? General annoyance mandated by the board of directors?

The reality is most funding sources require a not-for-profit to be audited annually. And boards of directors endorse this practice, and consider it a very prudent management practice.

As an auditing firm, we believe that with adequate planning and forethought the audit can be managed with efficiency. With the mutual cooperation of all parties, we can minimize the disruption to an already overburdened not-for-profit staff.

Here are the keys to facilitate the audit process as smoothly as possible:

Start the audit planning process well before the end of the fiscal year by meeting with the auditing firm.
Create a critical date timeline, from start to finish … and keep it realistic!
Involve the executive director and a representative of the board of directors (president and/or treasurer) in the planning process.
Schedule fieldwork when it is convenient for the NFP staff, and allow adequate time for them to “get ready” for the auditors.
Ensure the auditing firm makes your staff understand what is expected of them prior to and during fieldwork.
Hold one another accountable to the critical date timeline you established.
Identify any problems early, and address them to solution on a mutual basis, with deadline modifications if necessary.
The not-for-profit staff and the auditing firm should consider themselves mutual partners in the process, and never allow the task at hand to become a situation of conflict.

Working together will ensure that the audit of your financial statements goes smoothly, and all stakeholders are adequately served by the process.


Inside Indiana Business Reports On Better Ways to Provide Accounting Services

As some of you may have seen over the weekend, I was a guest on Gerry Dick’s Inside Indiana Business TV show. First of all, let me say “thank you” to Gerry and his team for inviting me to be a guest.

Gerry asked me why I am not focused on retirement, why after over three decades in the business did I choose to launch a new company.  The answer was quite simple – I knew there was a better and different way to provide accounting services.   Please view the entire video and my interview with Gerry Dick.

Sponsel CPA Group, located in downtown Indianapolis, is one of the region’s most experienced full service accounting firms. Providing much more than traditional accounting services, Sponsel CPA Group specializes in Entrepreneurial Services, Auditing and Assurance, Valuation and Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Tax Services, Financial Planning/Wealth Management , Employee Benefit Plan Administration and Technology Services.

More Than Bookkeeping: Visibility Into Your Financial Statements

I spend a great majority of my time reviewing and advising clients on the importance of having and maintaining strong, solid financial statements. The more I thought about it, I realized that many executives and management teams can’t fix what they can’t see. Often times executives don’t have a clear, complete “view” of their financial statements and their books leaving them extremely vulnerable. The more you know, the better you and your management team will be in making strategic decisions and capitalizing on opportunities.

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