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A full calendar
It was a busy year for the tax and accounting profession, with major changes in accounting standards, significant threats to client data, new business rules – oh, and an election in which taxes played a prominent role, and which promises to change the shape of the Tax Code soon.

With that in mind, the editors of Accounting Today have assembled the 10 biggest stories for the field from the past year, in roughly chronological order.
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1. Naming engagement partners
In January, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board under Chairman James Doty (pictured) voted to propose requiring audit firms to disclose the name of the engagement partner and any other accounting firms that participated in an audit. The disclosure, which needs to be made on Form AP, was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in May.
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2. The ongoing scourge of identity theft
Right from the start of the year, data security and identify theft were a huge issue, with the IRS issuing warnings about phishing and other scams on what seemed a monthly basis. In March, the service even had to suspend its system for helping victims of ID theft because of security issues with the system, and in the summer it held a Security Summit with software vendors and other stakeholders to come up with a battle plan; by the end of the year, the new informational program was in full swing.
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3. A new lease on ... lease accounting
In one of the biggest, and one of the last, of the standards from their convergence agenda, in January and February the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board released their updates to the rules for lease accounting, which entail fundamental changes in how these types of transaction are accounted for. By mid-June, only 10 percent of companies felt prepared to comply, per a Deloitte survey, while a July poll by Ernst & Young found 75 percent of senior executives expecting to have moderate-to-significant difficulty with implementation.
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4. Taxes and the election
From early in the primary process, taxes played a major role in the 2016 presidential election, with candidates releasing all sorts of tax plans – and controversy arising over whether one particular candidate would release his personal tax returns. (Hint: He didn’t, and it didn’t end up mattering to the result.)
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5. Continuity and change at the IASB
In February, the IFRS Foundation re-appointed Hans Hoogervorst (pictured above) to a five-year term as chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, while in November it voted to reduce the number of board members from 16 to 14, among other changes implemented as part of a five-year review.
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6. CPAs by the numbers
In the spring, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy announced that, as of April 22, there were 664,532 actively licensed CPAs – the first time anyone had done an exact count.
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7. Koskinen in the crosshairs
Republicans in Congress kept up an intermittent campaign to investigate and potentially impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his role in the aftermath of a scandal at the service that involved targeting conservative groups. In May, the House Judiciary Committee announced it would investigate Koskinen, and in September, Speaker Paul Ryan (pictured above) promised conservatives in the House of Representatives a vote on Koskinen’s impeachment. By the end of the year, however, action on impeachment had been pushed off into 2017.
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8. New overtime rules
Changes promulgated in May by the Department of Labor had accountants, payroll providers and their business clients scrambling to implement new ways of calculating overtime for salaried workers by Dec. 1. Even with the deadline past, expect plenty of struggles in the aftermath … .
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9. Another AICPA
In mid-June, the American Institute of CPAs held a vote on creating a new international accounting association in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, which was approved by an overwhelming majority of those who voted – 86.5 percent of the 15 percent of members who participated said yes. The new association is due to launch at the start of 2017, and its inaugural officers were named in November – CIMA president Andrew Miskin will serve as inaugural chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and immediate past AICPA chair Tim Christen will serve as vice chair.
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10. The election and taxes
For much of the past two years, political pundits and tax experts assumed that the chances for reform to the Tax Code were negligible – but the election of Donald Trump at the same time as the Republicans control both houses of Congress means that their agenda for reducing rates and the number of brackets for individuals, and lowering corporate income tax rates, look much, much more likely to happen in 2017.