Category: The Plus Side

Dr. Winston's Excel Tip: Sensitivity Analysis with Two-Way Data Tables

Most spreadsheets have inputs and outputs. Spreadsheet inputs are assumptions that we make. For example, the price of a product might be a spreadsheet input.Spreadsheet outputs are quantities of interest that depend on the value of the spreadsheet’s inputs. For example a company’s annual profit...


10 Key Provisions of the SECURE Act: Significant Changes to Retirement Plans

On December 20, 2019 the President signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act (SECURE Act). The new legislation contains the most significant changes to retirement plans that we have seen in years. This article explores 10 key provisions of this new law. Expansion of 529...


New Year Marks New Guidance for International Tax Provision

On December 31, 2017, when the Times Square Ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, the lights that illuminated“2018” ushered in a whole new tax system for U.S. multinationals. Two years later, when that same ball dropped to signal the beginning of a new decade, it also marked the first time...


AICPA Adopts New Definition of Materiality

In December 2019, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) issued Statement on Auditing Standards No. 138, Amendments to the Description of the Concept of Materiality (SAS 138), which amends the definition of materiality. SAS 138 is effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or...


Dr. Winston's Excel Tip: Sensitivity Analysis with One-Way Data Tables

Most spreadsheets have inputs and outputs. Spreadsheet inputs are assumptions that we make. Some examples of spreadsheet inputs follow: Unit sales of a product will grow at 10% per year.Our product will generate profit margins of 30%.Our product will sell for five years.Each year 90% of...


What’s New on Form 1040

The 2019 Form 1040 follows the basic framework of the 2018 Form 1040, but includes some important changes. Schedules 1-6 The first page of the 2019 Form 1040 includes the reporting and calculation of taxable income and the second page includes the calculation of tax and tax credits. The...


What Method Should I Use to Recognize Revenue?

Revenue may be recognized on a progress towards completion basis as performance obligations are satisfied over a period of time, as opposed to at a specific point in time. ASC Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers requires all contracts that fall under this category to use one of two...


Excel's Magical Equation Solver: Goal Seek

You may have a spreadsheet that computes profit from a new product as a function of units sold. A colleague asks how many units need to be sold for the product to break even. You frantically change the value in the units sold cell until profit equals 0. If you have ever faced a similar situation in...


The IRS Releases New Tax Gap Data

In September 2019, the IRS released tax gap estimates for the years 2011-2013. The recent IRS estimates show that there hasn’t been a significant change in compliance rates relative to past estimates calculated by the IRS. The IRS estimates the tax gap from time to time to determine compliance...


Critical Audit Matters –What is Actually Being Communicated?

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) started requiring financial statement auditors of large accelerated public company filers to include “critical audit matters” in audit reports for fiscal years ending on or after June 30, 2019. All other nonexempt filers will begin including...


Senate Approves Tax Treaties with Major Trading Partners

The Senate recently approved four tax treaties with U.S. trading partners. The tax protocols with Japan, Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland update existing treaty provisions with these countries and contain important articles aimed at providing certainty to U.S. persons doing business abroad. ...


IRS Finalizes Section 199A Real Estate Safe Harbor

In September, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-38 which finalizes the section 199A real estate safe harbor. Although much of the proposed safe harbor is contained in the final version, there are some important differences. This article analyses the final safe harbor rules. Background:...


The Classification of Debt (Topic 740) Is Changing

In September 2019, FASB released a revised exposure draft related to a proposed accounting standard update for simplifying the classification of debt in a classified balance sheet. The new deadline for further comment is October 28, 2019. The FASB originally issued a proposed update back in 2017....


How to Use Waterfall Charts in Excel

In 2016 Excel added many new charts, including the Waterfall chart. Waterfall Charts are great for telling the story of how a quantity of interest (for example, cash position) changes over time. Waterfall charts also allow the finance professional to chart for a single point in time how a quantity...


How to Summarize Data with Treemap and Sunburst Charts in Excel

Treemap charts, also known as mosaic charts, and Sunburst charts were added to Excel to help you visualize hierarchical data. Hierarchical data is a way to organize data with multiple one-to-many relationships. The structure is based on the rule that one parent can have many children, but children...


Auditors Have New Responsibilities Relating to Other Information in Annual Reports

Statements on Auditing Standards No. 137, The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information Included in Annual Reports, was issued in July 2019.  It is codified under AU-C Section 720 of the AICPA Professional Standards.  The standard applies only to a single document or...


Here's What You Should Know About the Latest International Tax Guidance

Summertime is often associated with long vacations, lazy days, and afternoons by the pool sipping lemonade. This summer, however, has been anything but relaxing for the folks working at the Treasury Department and IRS. These organizations continue to issue the necessary guidance related to the...


Changed Requirements for Auditor Reporting and Performance on ERISA Plan Financial Statements

The Statement on Auditing Standards No. 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA, was issued in July 2019. It is codified under AU-C Section 703 in the AICPA Professional Standards. The standard addresses the auditor’s...


3 Tricks to Help You Work Across Microsoft Excel Worksheets

Excel has three dimensions: rows, columns and worksheets. Most of us are familiar with how to use the powerful and indispensable Copy command to “copy” a formula across columns and down rows. In this article, we explore three tricks that can help you work across worksheets. Copying a...


How to Use Hyperlinks in Microsoft Excel

When navigating the web, we have all clicked on blue hyperlinks that send us to another web page. In this article, we will show you how to use hyperlinks in Excel to create links in your workbook to web pages or locations in your current workbook. Our work is in the file...