June 2012 Newsletter
June 2012
Dear Client, 

     We wanted to write to remind you of the property tax exemption that Colorado provides for seniors as the deadline for applications is quickly approaching!  We also wanted to remind our business owners to always maintain awareness of opportunities for employees to commit fraud within your business and give you some tips that may help deter embezzlement.

Senior Property Tax Exemption
     The state of Colorado allows a property tax exemption for seniors equal to 50 percent of the first $200,000 in actual value of a primary residence. The exemption is available to applicants who met the following requirements prior to January 1, 2012:
  1. Are at least 65 years of age
  2. Owned their home for at least 10 consecutive years
  3. Occupied the home as their primary residence for at least 10 consecutive years
     The application deadline for 2012 is July 15, 2012.  There are both long form and short form applications for the senior property tax exemption. You only need to file the long form application if you are applying for the exemption as a surviving spouse.

     NOTE: Seniors that were previously approved do not need to reapply. Once an application is filed and approved by the assessor, the exemption remains in effect until a disqualifying event occurs.
10 Tips to Help Protect Your Business from Embezzlement   
Recently, here in Northern Colorado, we have been made aware of several incidents of embezzlement by employees of local businesses. Many of these embezzlements have been made by long time employees of the local businesses.  According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's (ACFE) 2012 Global Fraud Study, small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) tend to have far fewer anti-fraud controls in place than larger organizations and are therefore more susceptible to fraud. The study showed that the median loss related to fraud for a small businesses is $147,000.
     As the study by the ACFE indicates, one of the best ways to deter employees from committing fraud is to ensure that you have established an adequate system of internal controls within your business. The following is a list of some internal controls that you can implement in your business in order to help decrease opportunities and deter employees from committing embezzlement:
  1. Segregate financial duties.
  2. Review payroll checks for names you do not know, and for employees that are no longer with your company.
  3. Review bank statements and canceled checks, regularly.
  4. Review randomly selected payments each month.
  5. Do not use signature stamps for checks.
  6. Do not sign incomplete checks, insist on supporting documentation.
  7. Use tamper-resistant ink.
  8. Set up a positive pay arrangement with your bank.  Under this arrangement, you electronically send your bank a daily list of the checks you have written.  Your bank will then reject any check that someone alters or creates without your knowledge.
  9. Approve all new vendors.  Employees could fraudulently bill a fake vendor for nonexistent services or use company funds for personal purchases.
  10. Required vacations.  It is harder for the employee to conceal the crime if someone else has to temporarily perform their tasks.
     Please contact us if you would like assistance with evaluating the current system of internal controls within your business.  We have a series of procedures and tests we can perform to review your internal controls.  We will then make suggestions to help protect you from a current or future embezzlement.  To learn more about internal control reviews, please visit our website.
We are excited and very proud to announce that
Scott Bush has been selected as the new chairman of the 8,500 member Colorado Society of Certified Public Accounts (COCPA) for 2012-2013! 

Ascend - 2010
Scott has been involved with the COCPA for more than 20 years.  As chair-elect last year, he attended the national organization's council meetings and began networking with members of other state CPA societies in preparation for his role this year.  He is looking forward to being able to share some of the fundamental values of the firm with the COCPA, such as Legendary Service and Celebrating Successes, as he leads the COCPA this year.
We are also excited to announce and introduce Mika Schneider and Dan Soukup as new managing partners of the firm's audit practice!      

Ascend - 2010
Mika joined the firm in November of 1997.  She was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Colorado in 1996, and Texas in 1994.  She is also a Certified CaseWare Instructor and Certified Fraud Examiner.  Mika has been a part of the firm's audit team since she joined the firm and has been supervising our audit practice for the past several years.  As a partner of the firm's audit practice, Mika will manage financial statements and employee benefit plan audits, and review internal controls as noted in the preceding article.  She will also continue to provide tax planning, compliance, and accounting services for individuals and privately held businesses.

Dan joined the firm in July of 2010.  He has a Masters in Accounting from Belmont University and received his CPA license in 2007.  Prior to joining the firm, he had five years' experience at the multinational accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP, in Nashville, Tennessee.  At Deloitte he supervised the audits of several privately held entities whose revenues ranged from $50 million to $13 billion.  As an audit partner, Dan will manage financial statement audits, internal control and financial statement reviews, and compilations.  He will also continue to provide tax planning, compliance, and accounting services for individuals and privately held businesses.

     Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding the information above, or if there is another way that we can serve you.

Firm Signature

Soukup, Bush & Associates, PC 
(970) 223-2727