Attend any membership meeting from February until April* 
for a chance to enter a drawing for a
50% discount 
to apply to a Becker CPA review course. 

Attend a membership meeting or bring a guest who may be interested!

*To win, you must be present at the AFWA Silicon Valley April 2015 membership meeting, on 4/28/2015, when the winner will be announced.
- To enter the drawing, attend any membership meeting from February to April 2015 and fill out the drawing form with your information.
- Only one entry per person allowed.
- The discount is non-transferable.

 Date: 2/24/2015
 Doors Open: 6:00pm 
 Location: Biltmore Hotel 
  2151 Laurelwood Road 
  Santa Clara, CA 95054 
 Presentation: 2015 Tax Update by Annette Nellen
   Cost:Day of Event at the Door 
  $40 members 
  $50 guests 
Discount rate, register and pay using Paypal here 
  $35 members 
  $45 guests 


 Annette Nellen
Tax Update for the 2015 Filing Season



Special guest speaker Annette Nellen will discuss some big items from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Her presentation will also cover the basics of two new individual ACA items for 2014 returns and one that some employers will have to start dealing with this year. Additional updates will address extenders, new 529A plans, new compliance and conduct items, passive activity developments and virtual currency.


Annette Nellen, CPA, Esq., is a professor in and director of San Jose State University's graduate tax program (MST), teaching courses in tax research, accounting methods, property transactions, state taxation, employment tax, ethics, tax policy, tax reform, and high technology tax issues. Annette has over 25 years of experience in the area of taxation with emphasis on tax policy and reform for the past 18 years.


Annette serves on the AICPA Tax Executive Committee and the AICPA Tax Reform Task Force. She is a past chair of the AICPA Individual Taxation Technical Resource Panel. Annette is a monthly contributor to the AICPA Tax Insider and Corporate Taxation Insider e-newsletters. Annette was the lead author of the AICPA tax policy concept statement #1, Guiding Principles of Good Tax Policy: A Framework for Evaluating Tax Proposals (2001), still in use today. In fall 2013, Annette completed a three-year term on the Executive Committee of the Taxation Section of the California Bar.


Annette is the author of Bloomberg BNA Tax Portfolio #533, Amortization of Intangibles. She is also the author of Bloomberg BNA's Legal & Business portfolio, Overview of Internet Taxation Issues.


Annette has testified before the House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, California Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee, and tax reform commissions and committees on various aspects of federal and state tax reform. In July 2013, she accepted an invitation to participate in a tax reform roundtable held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Annette maintains the 21st Century Taxation website and blog (www.21stcenturytaxation.com), as well as several websites on tax reform, state tax nexus and e-commerce taxation.


Prior to joining SJSU in 1990, Annette was with Ernst & Young and the IRS.


<Register Here>

(click on a Sponsor to be directed to their website)


Deloitte's first female CEO: 'Don't stand still'
What Does Diversity 'Look' Like Now
Top Finance Priorities and Challenges for 2015

2015's Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

- AFWA Annual Conference -

Nicole Letellier

AFWA - Silicon Valley Chapter President

Happy Valentine's Day! I am wishing for all of you to be surrounded by loving people for this special 

day. I will be surrounded by my best friend and I am happy to be sharing this day with her.

2015 tax season is upon us. I know that many if not most of you are already very committed and will
spend the next few months at your work place seeing very little of your own home. To help you get
through, we have Ms. Annette Nellen, CPA, Esq as our February membership meeting speaker. Ms.
Nellen is a professor and director of San Jose State University's graduate tax program. She will come to help us understand some of the changes to tax law that affect 2014 tax returns. We are so fortunate to have her speak to us, and you don't want to miss it!

It is time for AFWA Silicon Valley to nominate our future leaders. Our nominating committee is in place and they may be contacting you to ask what position you want to take on! I encourage you to give being a board member some serious thoughts. There are many advantages and rewards to being part of AFWA Silicon Valley board of directors. Don't hesitate to reach out to any board member to find out more about each position.

Looking forward to seeing you at our next membership meeting on February 24th ready to learn about
the what's new for 2014 returns for individuals and businesses.

Truly yours,

Nicole Letellier  



Don't miss out on scholarship opportunities from your local chapter, AFWA Silicon Valley.

The deadline for the AFWA Silicon Valley scholarship is March 16, 2015.

Scholarship applications are available online. 

Visit http://www.afwasiliconvalley.org/scholarships.html to learn more and download the 2015 scholarship application.

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) has been awarding scholarships since 1976 and has distributed over $70,000 during that time.


Scholarships are awarded annually. Applications will open in December and are awarded in April. We encourage you to introduce AFWA to a potential applicant for next year and continue to think of fundraising opportunities throughout the year so we may reach even more of the future stars.



If you have any questions, 
contact Scholarship Chair Susan Wright 
 or 650-269-9257.




AFWA Silicon Valley members and guests attended January's membership meeting for the presentation "Revenue Recognition" from special guest speaker Kyle Macleod.

Kyle covered the history of revenue recognition, the latest changes, the effects 
on firms and their clients and changes to expect in the upcoming years. 

Check out our Facebook page for pictures from the January membership meeting: 

Like us on Facebook

FEBRUARY NEWSAccountability

image from http://powervrouwen.blog.nl/files/2015/02/Catherine-Engelbert-3065851220.jpeg 

from Fortune
February 9, 2015



The first female CEO of a 'Big Four' firm, Engelbert shared her thoughts on leadership in an interview.

On Monday, Cathy Engelbert made history. As the next CEO of professional services firm Deloitte, Engelbert will become the first female U.S. CEO of a "Big Four" firm. Formerly chairman and CEO of the audit subsidiary of Deloitte, Engelbert joined the company in 1986. She will be in charge of will take charge of the company's 65,000 employees and $15 billion in annual revenue.


Fortune caught up with her to hear about her plans for the future and her thoughts on leadership.

Edited excerpts:


What's it like to be the first to achieve something?

It is a proud moment and a milestone. To the extent that I can be a role model for diverse leaders at Deloitte, I love it. This is a tangible demonstration of our commitment at Deloitte to the advancement of women. I have gotten so many emails today from our women - and men - who really believe that we have an inclusive culture as proven through my election.


Why is it important for women lower down the pipeline to see leaders like yourself on top?

Women and minorities account for about 66% of our new hires, so we clearly want to make sure that our inclusive culture is developing them into leaders and be successors to our top leaders. As you think about the workforce of the future, women and minorities are such an important part of that future. I see it in our clients as well: There are more women in the C-Suite and in the boardroom. I know, as The Broadsheet talks about, we are not where we need to be and we have a lot of work to do, but I am really optimistic.


What has Deloitte done to ensure an inclusive culture?

We always strive to pick the best person for the job regardless of gender or ethnicity, but in order to ensure that our women and minorities are advancing, it is about sponsorship. It is about those partners that sat in that room and when an opportunity came up for a capability that I wasn't strong in, offering me the role. That is the culture at Deloitte: To make sure we are all maximizing the capabilities that we have.


You joined Deloitte in 1986. What is the single biggest change you've seen within the company?

Our businesses have changed over that time because our clients have changed. We need to match up with how our clients have evolved. I come from a family of eight children. I had five brothers, and I went to a male-dominated university [Lehigh University.] Back in 1986, the public accounting profession was very male-dominated. As I think about the change, we have evolved enormously and [the number of] women in leadership ranks are up considerably. I am proud of that and part of that now.


If you could only ask one question of a job candidate, what would it be?

I like to ask what they think the Fortune 500 will look five to ten years from now. My favorite question is around that pace of change and really being a futurist and asking people questions about what they see their business evolving to in the future.


What's the best advice you ever received?

To take some risks in my career and do some different things. I wouldn't be a CEO today if I didn't do different things to build capabilities and build experiences because to come a leader you need varied experiences. So the people throughout my career who said, "Don't stand still, take risks and take on new responsibilities and opportunities," they were absolutely right.



By Ericka Harney, CFRE, GPC, CVA, AFWA Executive Director
February 12, 2015


When the term diversity first arrived in the business arena, its focus and intent was different than what it is today. In the past 30 years, diversity has been interpreted for various pieces of ethics, leadership, human resources, and other business aspects but still remains an uncomfortable and uncertain topic.

Blast from the Past: The pre-cursor to diversity first emerged from the Civil Rights Act as well as other compliance policies, title VII, and Equal Employment Opportunity. Early efforts focused primarily on race but gave credence to gender issues as well. Later efforts in the 80's and 90's increased focus on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and recognized minority groups.


The accounting and finance fields were no exception to the lack of outreach to diversify the industry. AFWA's ownDiversity Report from 2012 showed that more than 50% of minorities are not advancing in their careers or taking on senior level positions.


Diversity Now: The use of 'diversity' these days has gone far beyond race, gender, age, or ethnicity. While still playing a significant role, identifiable demographics is just one piece of the pie. Diversity now includes items that are not easily seen or quantifed: capacity, experience, emotional intelligence, philanthropy, and critical thinking. How someone fits into a workforce and offers something different than those already there is key.


Diversity means to our industry that we need to compliment one another by recognizing the strengths each person brings to the table. We clearly are not all the same, nor should we try to be. Bringing people from all backgrounds and experiences makes the effort expended on any project or program less - because we rely on the expertise of each member. By focusing on the 'what' each party brings to the table, a company or organization can have a competitive advantage over others.

To capitalize on diversity, know these things about yourself:

  • Identify your strengths ... and weaknesses: know where you need to rely on others when working together.
  • What are 5 key experiences or skills you bring to the table?
  • What key components about your background (age, race, ethnicity, and other key demographics) can you use to the groups advantage?
  • What are you most passionate about? Bring that passion to the table for the group to succeed.

With each of these in mind, you can come to any group effort armed with knowledge of what you bring and knowing where you need to rely on the expertise and diverse experience of others.



Top Finance Priorities and Challenges for 2015
from Robert Half
February 2015

With the new year already here, your organization is likely busy analyzing your business goals
and setting priorities. Wouldn't it be helpful to know what executives at other companies are
trying to achieve this year? The 2015 Finance Priorities Survey, conducted by Protiviti and the
Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), offers an inside look at U.S. executives' top

The survey, conducted during the third quarter of 2014, shows that financial managers are
incredibly busy. According to the report: "The sheer number of priorities they are addressing is
at an all-time high in our four-year study." Compared to last year's results, many more areas
have moved from "moderate priority" to the "significant priority" range. Here are the top five
finance priorities, in order, of chief financial officers (CFOs) and other executives polled for this

1. Strategic Planning

Many financial executives are rightly concerned with maneuvering their companies into the best
possible position for long-term growth. Strategic planning includes anticipating challenges,
gathering and readying the necessary staff and resources to address those challenges, and
evaluating the role of the finance function within the entire organization.

2. Budgeting

To facilitate decision-making across the entire organization, a business not only needs accurate
budgets, but also sharper, real-time analytics and instant information. A growing trend is holistic
budgeting: improving processes in a comprehensive manner and integrating the role of the
finance department into the whole enterprise.

3. Domestic Regulations

A continuing trend from 2014, financial managers find it a challenge to follow and adapt to new
laws and standards. CFOs and executives need to hire the right people with the expertise and
skills to manage compliance issues. In many ways, it's a perfect storm: At the same time the
number of regulations is mushrooming, an aging workforce means organizations are losing a
substantial knowledge base to retirements - making succession planning more important than

4. Profitability Analysis

The backbone of any business is bottom-line profitability. To make strategic decisions about
which products, channels, customers and markets to pursue, financial managers have to spend
more time and resources to analyze data. Among the significant finance priorities of large
companies (with annual revenues of $1 billion or more) is big data analytics. The report suggests
that small and midsize companies have not yet begun to take advantage of this growing trend.

5. Cash Forecasting

Closely related to budgeting and strategic planning, cash forecasting is one of the top financial
priorities of 2015. As the report puts it, "Cash remains king, as does cash clarity." Sound cash
forecasting can allow businesses to adapt to market volatility with greater agility and make better
decisions based on anticipated cash shortages or surpluses.

The common thread through all these and other finance priorities is the prerequisite to attract and
retain top talent, especially those with well-developed soft skills, such as leadership, change
management, conflict resolution and mentoring/coaching. Organizations must hire skilled
executives and financial managers who can build relationships (with employees, clients and
regulators), analyze data, make accurate projections, recommend strategy and communicate and
collaborate with other departments. Without the right people in the right places, companies will
find it very difficult to reach their business goals - in 2015 or the years ahead.

# # #


Finance executives' priorities for 2015. (Note to writer: Base this piece on Protiviti's Finance Priorities Survey: http://www.protiviti.com/financesurvey.)

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.

from  Journal of Accountancy
By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D. 
February 6, 2015

Phone scams, phishing, and identity theft topped this year's IRS list of the "dirty dozen" tax scams, which the IRS has been releasing, one scam at a time, since Jan. 22. The one-scam-a-day approach allowed the IRS to explore each one in more detail. Here is the complete list:   
  1. Phone scams.
  2. Phishing.
  3. Identity theft.
  4. Return preparer fraud.
  5. Hiding income offshore.
  6. Inflated refund claims.
  7. Fake charities.
  8. Filing false documents to hide income.
  9. Participating in abusive tax shelters.
  10. Falsifying income to claim tax credits.
  11. Excessive claims for fuel tax credits.
  12. Frivolous tax arguments.

According to the IRS, the most serious scams this year are phone scams, in which criminals call intended victims impersonating the IRS. Many times, the callers disguise the number they are calling to look like an IRS number and may threaten the target of the scam with arrest, deportation, or license revocation.


To protect themselves, taxpayers should be aware the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment; call about taxes owed without first mailing a bill; call to demand payment without the opportunity to question or appeal; require use of a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card; ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to arrest someone for not paying (IR-2015-5).


Another scam that continues to appear high on the list is "phishing," in which taxpayers get unsolicited emails trying to obtain financial or personal information. A taxpayer who receives a suspicious email should send it to phishing@irs.gov. "The IRS won't send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (IR-2015-6).


Third on the list is tax-related identity theft, which the IRS defines as when someone uses a taxpayer's stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Although the IRS has introduced more effective screening and detection systems that are designed to detect identity theft before it issues a refund, it admitted this scam is still a major problem. To protect taxpayers who have already become victims, the IRS has issued about 1.5 million identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PINs), which are six-digit numbers assigned to identity theft victims with resolved cases to use when filing their federal tax returns to avoid delays in filing returns and receiving refunds (IR-2015-7).


Return preparer fraud involves "dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams" (IR-2015-8). The IRS warned taxpayers to be wary of "unscrupulous preparers who prey on unsuspecting taxpayers with outlandish promises of overly large refunds." Taxpayers can become victims of these fraudulent preparers, who do not understand taxes or who mislead people into taking incorrect credits or deductions. The IRS provides a number of tips to help taxpayers choose competent preparers, including checking what the preparer's credentials are, making sure the preparer will be available after April 15, and ensuring that the taxpayer's refund is deposited into the taxpayer's account, not the preparer's. The IRS says to avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or promise larger refunds than other preparers.


Hiding income offshore, which is a major focus of IRS enforcement efforts, is the next tax scam the IRS addressed (IR-2015-9). "Taxpayers are best served by coming in voluntarily and getting their taxes and filing requirements in order," Koskinen said. As the IRS explained, there are legitimate reasons that taxpayers have foreign accounts, but these accounts trigger reporting requirements. The IRS offers a number of programs, including the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, for taxpayers to come into compliance with these requirements.


Closely related to return preparer fraud is the sixth scam-inflated refund claims, in which unscrupulous preparers lure unsuspecting taxpayers with promises of "outlandish refunds" (IR-2015-12). These tax cheats promise large refunds based on fictitious rebates, credits, and refunds. They often include claims for tax credits that taxpayers are not entitled to, such as education credits, the earned income tax credit (EITC), or the American opportunity tax credit. The IRS reminds taxpayers that they are responsible for what is on their return, even if someone else prepares it, and can be assessed penalties and interest as well as additional tax.


The next scam is fake charities. Taxpayers are cautioned to check the IRS's website for whether a charity is bona fide and qualifies for deductible contributions (IR-2015-16). This online IRS service is called the Exempt Organizations Select Check. Fake charities often use names similar to well-known organizations and may set up fake websites. They also can be used for identity theft purposes. When large-scale natural disasters occur, these fraudulent organizations tend to increase. Taxpayers should not make any contributions without first checking on the organization.

Filing false documents to hide income, the eighth scam, includes schemes in which tax preparers or taxpayers themselves prepare "corrected" Forms W-2 or 1099 reporting zero income (IR-2015-18). The IRS warns that the courts have uniformly rejected these types of claims and that making them can expose taxpayers to significant penalties and possibly imprisonment.


Participation in abusive tax shelters came in at No. 9 (IR-2015-19). Abusive tax shelters are defined as schemes using multiple flowthrough entities to evade taxes. They often use limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, international business companies, foreign financial accounts, offshore credit or debit cards, and multilayer transactions to conceal who owns the income or assets. The IRS also mentions the misuse of trusts and captive insurance companies among the types of transactions taxpayers should avoid. As in some of the other scams, the IRS warns that participating in these transactions can result in significant penalties and interest and "possible criminal prosecution."


Next is falsifying income to claim tax credits (IR-2015-20). This usually involves falsely claiming higher earned income to qualify for the EITC, which is a refundable credit. Once again, unscrupulous preparers often do this to get taxpayers larger refunds than they are entitled to. Even when taxpayers are unaware of these false claims, they are, as the IRS reminds again, responsible for what is on their tax return. They can be subject to significant penalties, interest, and possibly prosecution.


Excessive claims for fuel tax credits is a new entry on the list and lands at No. 11 (IR-2015-21). Fuel tax credits are for fuel used only in off-highway business use or farming-activities that do not involve many taxpayers. However, unscrupulous return preparers have enticed large groups of taxpayers to claim the credit erroneously. Under the law, fraudulently claiming this credit is considered a frivolous tax position subject to a $5,000 penalty, in addition to significant penalties and possible prosecution for the illegal scam.


The final "scam" is frivolous tax arguments, which the IRS warns taxpayers not to be talked into (IR-2015-23). Announcing the release today of the 2015 version of The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments, the IRS explained how the courts and the IRS have treated these arguments, which involve claims such as taxpayers' not being subject to tax for religious or other reasons. "Taxpayers should be on the lookout for scam artists and scheme promoters peddling outlandish arguments," Koskinen said. In addition, the IRS reminded taxpayers that they would automatically be subject to the $5,000 penalty for frivolous tax positions.




Pictured from left to right, front row: Jeanne Kourmako, Nicole Letellier, Wendy Matthews, Eileen Perry, Nicole Sheets. From left to right, back row: Marvel Khan, Diane Ollila, Julia Beckland. Not pictured: Amrit Dhaliwal, Edronda Guiriba, Susan Wright.

President - Nicole Letellier
President - Elect - Eileen Perry
Secretary - Nicole Sheets 
Treasurer - Wendy Matthews
Program - Diane Ollila
Membership - Amrit Dhaliwal
Scholarship - Susan Wright
Newsletter/Web - Edronda Guiriba 
Hospitality - Jeanne Kourmako
CPE Compliance - Marvel Khan
Immediate Past President - Julia Becklund 


Click here for more info about the Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors.



Chair: Diane Ollila


There is an excellent line-up of programs for the Silicon Valley Chapter this year, and most of them qualify for CPE!  Check out the line-up as we have engaged some dynamic and outstanding speakers.

Speaker: Annette Nellen
Presentation: Tax Update


Speaker: Susan Parker
Presentation: Ethics

Speaker: Panel Presentation
Scholarship Award night

Spring Gala Event

Chair: Amrit Dhaliwal


  • All Levels of Accounting & Finance
  • Bookkeepers
  • Corporate Accounting Finance
  • Public Accounting
  • Management & Educators
  • Recruiters

If you would like to join the Silicon Valley Chapter of AFWA, follow the link to our National website:



Please feel free to complete the application or forward a copy to someone you think would benefit from joining our Chapter.




  • Prestigious status of professional affiliation
  • National contacts for networking and professional information
  • Forum for CPE
  • Scholarships
  • Leadership opportunities in supportive arena
  • Subscription to Accountability e-newsletter 
  • National and regional conferences at a discounted rate
  • Access to Career Center
  • Access to AFWA's LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter groups and National online membership directory
  • Discounted membership to the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)
  • Discounted products and services through affiliation agreements
    • CPA review courses, CCH tax & accounting books, Long Term Care Insurance and Bank of America credit card.

Hospitality Chair: Jeanne Kourmako
CPE Chair: Marvel Khan

Reservation and cancellation policy: 
Reservations or cancellations are requested by noon on the Friday preceding each meeting.  Email Jeanne to reserve or cancel. The goal is an accurate count for the hotel.  Unreserved members (not guests) incur a surcharge of $5.00.

Reserved members or guests who are no-shows will be billed if not cancelled by noon the preceding Friday. We do want you to come to the meetings and reservations are helpful but if you have to cancel let us know beforehand to avoid incurring the cost of the meal. WE ACCEPT CREDIT CARD PAYMENT AT THE DOOR.


Volunteers are always welcome at our monthly membership meetings. Lend a helping hand to make our monthly events and meetings even more interesting while building a great network and forming new relationships.


CPE credit is available for participating in any of our qualified programs.  See Marvel for more details in person at the meeting.

Chair: Edronda Guiriba


Send in your articles!


We encourage our membership to submit articles of interest for our monthly newsletter.  Please make your submission under the following criteria...

  • Prepared as a Microsoft Word document
  • Photos in JPEG format
  • captions are okay, no imbedded text, please

The newsletter is prepared and distributed on a monthly basis.  Visit our web site atwww.afwasiliconvalley.org.  If you have questions regarding articles to submit or about the newsletter, email the newsletter chair, Edronda, at EdrondaGuiriba@gmail.com

There are four sponsor levels of contribution established for the scholarship fund.
Sponsorship up to $150.00  
Sponsorship up to $300.00 
Sponsorship up to $500.00 
Sponsorship $750.00 or more

Share the information! 
Contact Susan Wright for more details at
 or 650-269-9257.


The Foundation is all about us, accounting and financial professionals, we strive every day to make a difference in the financial world and in our communities. The Foundation is charged with raising funds for national scholarships, and educational advancement of our peers and rising leaders. The Foundation offers each of us the opportunity to support the future direction of the profession where we have gained our own personal successes.

It is important to support those entering the profession and working alongside us. Those that follow in our footsteps have much to teach us and much to learn from us. They embody the next generation of accounting and financial professionals. Our goal for you and AFWA is to lead the way in their development.




The Foundation promotes and advances education, career development and leadership in finance and accounting. Our vision is to guide women along the path to achieve success in finance and accounting.





Save the date and watch for updates! 



The Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance Annual Conference is the premier networking and education event for professionals and students of Accounting and Finance. The event attracts hundreds of professionals from across the country for four days of educational sessions - providing up to 24 hours of CPE credit - presented by leaders in the industry.


2015 AFWA National Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AFWA National Conference to be held October 26-28, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA. More details coming soon!




 Founded in 1938, AFWA/ASWA provides women in accounting and finance the leadership, education and networking opportunities needed to achieve their career goals. Celebrating 75 years as the only organization that solely represents the interest of women in the entire accounting and finance community. The organization's mission is to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal,
professional and economic potential and to contribute to the future development of their profession.