13 posts categorized "Information Management and Technology Assurance" Feed

3 Tips to Find Your Professional True North

CompassFinding your professional true north, a path you can be passionate about and one that will provide you with direction in the future, is attainable – when you have the right navigation. Whether it is honing your personal skill set, positioning your practice for growth or transforming your organization’s technology infrastructure, it is important that you be the navigator. There are endless possibilities to explore, pursue, master and achieve, and it is important you arrive exactly where you want to go.

Keep in mind that finding your way often means asking for directions and talking with others who have already arrived at your desired destination. They can tell you what is not on the map and the best roads to follow to enhance the quality of your journey. Here are three quick tips to find your professional true north:

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How CPAs Can Manage Vendors and Still Focus on Their Core Business

SLAOrganizations must focus on their core business – and that often means hiring vendors and service providers to perform tasks which fall outside of that core.  A prime example of this is upgrading your organization’s information technology structure.  While you may know exactly what you want and how to go about getting it done, chances are that most CPAs lack the time or staff to make that goal a reality – without some outside help.

Managing vendors and service providers ranked among the top ten technology initiatives in both the U.S. and Canada according to the AICPA's 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey Results. Although overall confidence levels have declined, the survey showed some interesting differences between how public accounting firms and those in business and industry in both countries ranked the issue. In the U.S., public accounting firms rated the issue of managing vendors and service providers as the eighth most important; however business and industry organizations rated it tenth. 

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Managing the Risk of Emerging Technologies

Emerging-technologiesIt is likely that we have all been told to get our heads out of the clouds at one point in our lives. However, emerging technologies are now forcing us to get our heads into the “cloud” and our hands on our mobile data.

Mobile computing, remote computing, social media, big data and cloud computing have enabled CPAs and others to access, use and manage information most anywhere, at any time.  

While these technologies are expected to drive 90% of the growth of the IT market from 2013 through 2020, determining out how to best leverage them is a hot issue for the accounting profession. In fact, the issue of leveraging emerging technologies ranked among the top ten technology initiatives in both the U.S. and Canada according to the AICPA's 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey results. 

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4 Resolutions for Business Solution Implementation Projects

Solution-implementationAt the beginning of a new year, many people create lists of resolutions or goals for the future. Just like you, companies make resolutions, too. Sometimes companies devise intricate ways to monitor and measure results against these goals. Yet, even with these seemingly adequate preparations in place, one continues to hear and read about project failures with nearly 50 percent of enterprise system implementation projects deemed failures. After a poor go-live, there is plenty of finger-pointing, usually at the external implementation and vendor team.  But, from my perspective, there is also a significant amount of blame that should be shared by the user organization.

So as a CPA and consultant, I would like to offer some resolutions for companies to keep when implementing a new computer system or undertaking an upgrade effort. These resolutions are based on an aggregation of observations during my work troubleshooting and resolving problems after the fact, and are not unique to any one client experience but are common to many engagements.  

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Governing and Managing IT Investment and Spending

Return-on-investmentEvery organization wants to get the most out of its IT initiatives – without spending more than is needed or realizing that you have not spent enough to get the job done until it is too late. The key to achieving this depends on how your organization governs and manages its IT investment and spending – and having effective policies and procedures in place can help you to do just that.

The issue of governing and managing IT investment and spending was one of the top 10 technology initiatives in the AICPA’s 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey results, which was conducted jointly with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. Governing and managing IT investment and spending ranked eighth in the top ten technology initiatives in the U.S. and was the fifth biggest concern in Canada. However, only 38% of survey respondents in both countries felt confident or highly confident in the ability of their clients’ organizations or their organizations to address this technology initiative.  So, how can you elevate those confidence levels?  By determining how to effectively maximize your IT ROI.

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Does Your Organization's Information Architecture Support Effective Reporting?

Data-analyticsIn order to make the right decisions, you have to have the right information. While that statement seems overly simple, the truth is that many organizations often rely upon the wrong information when making important strategic decisions. The issue of Enabling Decision Support and Analytics was one of the top ten technology initiatives reported by the 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, a joint effort between the AICPA’s Information Management & Technology Assurance Division and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Sometimes having the right information to make the right decisions does not happen when an organization's information architecture does not support effective reporting or management has not supported an investment in business intelligence-related projects. As a result, management may receive inaccurate or incomplete reports and may be at greater risk of making poorly informed business decisions. The issue of enabling decision support and analytics is a concern for many organizations as better technology can provide more data in less time than ever before. 

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Preventing vs. Responding to Computer Fraud

Computer-fraudMany organizations understand that preventing computer fraud is an important technology initiative and have instituted programs to recognize and prevent fraudulent activity. However, when preventive measures fail and computer fraud does occur, very few organizations have a plan to address and respond to the fraud attempt.

The issue of preventing and responding to computer fraud is among the top ten technology initiatives, according to the AICPA's 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, which ranks preventing and responding to computer fraud at number six out of ten for U.S. organizations and at number nine out of ten for Canadian organizations. 

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How You Can Manage the Risks of a System Implementation

System-implementationManaging a system implementation is not an easy task. And if done incorrectly, can cause significant headaches for your business and your customers. There are ways, however, to identify the risks of a system implementation and manage those risks more effectively.

It's fair to say that an organization’s strategic goals drive the systems it implements. However, if those goals and the implementation are not aligned, your organization risks realizing only part of the implementation's expected value, or worse – realizing no value at all. Having other risk factors such as errors in converting or migrating data come to fruition only add to what may already seem like a monumental undertaking.

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Ensuring Privacy in an IT World

PrivacyDo you expect a right to privacy? Do your clients? The truth of the matter is that the right to privacy is an ever-changing, ever expanding concept that continually needs to be redefined. That's especially true when it comes to ensuring privacy in an IT world. Ensuring privacy, which concerns the rights and obligations of individuals and organizations with respect to the collection, use, retention, disclosure and disposal of personal information, comes with risks.

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Managing IT Risks and Compliance: A Growing Major Concern

Managing-riskManaging IT risks and compliance are major concerns for many organizations, including those in public accounting, business and industry, consulting, and government/ not-for-profit. Organizations that do not understand, or have not considered, the risks associated with information technology are generally not prepared to mitigate such risks. As a result they are ill-prepared to face the pressures that accompany increased vulnerability within the IT environment.

According to the results of the first Regulatory and Risk Management Indicator conducted by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, financial institutions are feeling even greater regulatory and risk management pressures than ever before as issues surrounding IT risks and compliance seem to exponentially increase from year to year. The Regulatory and Risk Management Indicator highlights the concerns that financial professionals have with risk management and the obstacles they face in managing those risks effectively. 

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IT Security Key Concern for CPAs and Their Clients

IT-securitySecuring the IT environment is a key issue in today's business world as organizations attempt to manage the risks in cloud computing, the use of mobile devices and defending against cyber-attacks. The importance of security is becoming more apparent each day. Earlier this year, Yahoo Japan experienced an IT security breach in which the user names of 22 million people were stolen. Back in 2010, Google reported that it was the victim of a Chinese cyber-attack; a similar attack is believed to have been launched against the U.S. government. But it’s not just big businesses and governments that have to fend off cyber-attacks; small businesses experience the same problems. Securing the IT environment is clearly a universal issue and can be a constant challenge when it comes to identifying threats.

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Managing and Retaining Data: Top Priority for CPAs

TechnologyTechnology allows organizations to make more effective use of data in advising clients and making business decisions. However, the explosive growth in the volume and complexity of information has increased the risks in managing and retaining data – which, according to the 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, is the top priority for CPAs.

While everyone can agree that data management is integral to an organization’s ability to mitigate risk, an organization whose data management policies and procedures are insufficient or ineffective is exposed to the consequences of poor data management. Those consequences could result from poor business decisions or client advice that was based on incomplete or inaccurate data, having data stored in outdated or incompatible retrieval formats or improperly backing up data, which can result in its irrevocable loss.

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2013 TTI Survey Lists Top 10 Technology Initiatives in U.S. and Canada

TechnologyTechnology allows CPA firms to better understand, manage and grow their practices. Yet, it can come with its own set of challenges when trying to manage and retain data, secure IT environments and stay in compliance, according to the latest top technology initiatives survey from the AICPA’s Information Management and Technology Assurance Division.

The 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives Survey, conducted jointly by the AICPA and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, asked accounting professionals in public accounting, business and industry, consulting, government, not-for-profit and other organizations about their top 10 technology initiatives in 2013. Here's the top 10 in the U.S. and Canada:

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