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11 posts from May 2019

How to navigate the digital age

Shutterstock_761152348We know that disruption is upon us. Not later, not soon, but right this instant. We’re already in the digital age and the profession is changing fast and challenging our minds to keep up. However, we still need a bit of help with some aspects of disruption. For example, what skills and mindsets will help us navigate the digital age? We spoke with Jim Bourke, CPA, CITP, CFF, CGMA, and Managing Director of Advisory Services for US-based WithumSmith+Brown, who travels internationally to address these questions among others. He also advises on how to stay ahead of the curve and strategically grow your business during the fourth industrial revolution that is transforming the finance and accounting professions. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: We hear a lot about digital transformation and digital readiness. What has changed in the last couple of years?

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3 steps to reimagining your firm’s culture

Post tax culture blog May 24Paid time off. Affordable health care plans. Employer-sponsored retirement funds. There’s a lot the modern worker evaluates when considering where they’ll spend their 40-plus hours a week. But more and more, potential employees are looking at another variable when choosing where to work: company culture.

According to a 2018 LinkedIn survey, 70 percent of professionals said they wouldn’t work at a leading company with an unhealthy culture.  

This makes sense to Rachel Montañez, a career coach, trainer and speaker who advises and writes on this exact topic. She said a company’s culture is created by the people who work there, and when staff members are stressed, there can be unexpected effects on culture.

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How to stay on track to accomplish your 2019 goals

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It’s time to assess those goals

Remember when 2018 was coming to a close? You were thrilled about the new year ahead. Fully living in the “new year; new me” theme, you made a list of your top goals for 2019. You broke them down into pieces and vowed to tackle them incrementally. You remember!

Well, guess what: It’s almost halftime. With the end of the second quarter creeping up on you, it’s time to assess your progress. Whether your goals are personal or professional, here’s how to recommit to the ones you didn’t complete and celebrate the ones you did.

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How your feedback is shaping and evolving CPA licensure

GettyImages-507831914Back in January, I wrote about the CPA Evolution initiative, a joint project with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to explore integrating technological and analytical expertise into initial CPA licensure requirements.

I was thrilled that so many of you sent me emails with your thoughts on the blog post and the need for “CPA” to evolve with the ever-changing business landscape. Clearly, you all are very passionate about keeping the credential strong and relevant.

A few themes emerged from your feedback. Since your insights are so valuable to this initiative, I wanted to share them with you as NASBA and the AICPA continue our discussion throughout 2019. Here’s what I heard:

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Implementing RPA is easier than you think

Shutterstock_1188695923Robotic process automation (RPA) has advanced quickly in just a few years. In a short amount of time, both the number of RPA providers and the range of capabilities have greatly increased.  So much so, it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes.

This leads to the misconception that RPA is either too complicated, too costly, too technical or simply too difficult, for small or medium-sized businesses to put in place. While these statements may have once been true, that is no longer the case. Today, the wide variety of available options mean RPA is now for everyone. The barriers to entry have dropped so now is the right time to reconsider how automation can help your business.

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Rising to the challenge of a digital era: Reflections from AICPA chair

6a0133f5884316970b01b7c94b352c970b-320wiWhen I stepped into the role of Chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) in February 2018, we were — and continue to be — facing an unprecedented pace of change that’s transforming our profession. And I put forward a challenge:

Be early to be on time. Take bold steps and initiate change today so that we will not just be prepared for tomorrow — we will be even stronger than we are today.

You have risen to that challenge. As I’ve spoken with members and leaders across the U.S. and around the world, I’ve been energized and inspired by the progress our profession is making. We’re not just imagining the possibilities. We’re seizing them to create an even stronger tomorrow for ourselves and the next generation.

Here are some of the ways we’re doing it.

Delivering more value

We’re pushing our own boundaries by adopting new technologies, competencies and service areas to become even more indispensable.

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5 steps to get started with audit data analytics

GettyImages-629666944If your firm hasn’t started using audit data analytics yet, it’s time to get on board. Audit data analytics (ADAs) are a technique that can help you leverage current technologies and move toward a more data-driven approach to planning or performing an audit.

How? ADAs help you discover and analyze patterns, identify anomalies and extract other useful information from audit data through analysis, modeling and visualization. You can use ADAs to perform a variety of procedures to gather audit evidence.

What that means for you: You can focus more of your time and energy on analyzing your data, understand more of what’s happening at your client’s organization and often analyze an entire population of data instead of just a sample.

Getting started with new techniques and technologies can be overwhelming, especially if you’re comfortable with your traditional method—and you may have concerns about using ADAs while complying with audit standards. However, we have a few resources and tips to show how you can comply with the standards while performing your audits with ADAs. Get started with these five steps.

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Shake off this tax season’s pain points with these perfect pairings

May 8 blogChocolate makes a bitter coffee taste sweeter. A dry wine brings out the flavors of a well-cooked steak. Good pairings make everything better.

The same can be said for the work you do. Pairing solutions with the challenges you face can improve the final result. And this certainly applies to the most recent tax season.

We asked tax practitioners about what they experienced this spring, and in this informal AICPA Tax Section survey, we found out pretty much what we were expecting: It was a demanding one. (You can read more about the survey in this AICPA Tax Section newsletter article.)

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A former FBI agent’s view on the recent Medicare fraud

Shutterstock_424331134Last month news broke about a wide-spread fraud that caused Medicare to lose roughly $1.2 billion. While this case is noteworthy for the huge price tag attached to it and the brazen nature in which seniors were targeted, similar scams are going on across the country that don’t get the same headlines. CPAs can play a role keeping their clients safe from fraud schemes like these by educating them on the importance of keeping their personal information safe and being cautious about who they communicate with — both online and offline.

To better understand how frauds like this work and how people can protect themselves, I spoke with Randal A. Wolverton, CPA/CFF. Wolverton is a member of the AICPA’s FLS Fraud Task Force and is a former FBI agent who specializes in financial crimes. He currently provides financial crime instructional programs to numerous local, state and federal law enforcement entities, various state and federal agencies, businesses and banking institutions and provides articles and insights on preventing fraud on his blog.

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A solid password today keeps the hackers away

Shutterstock_400892836With identify theft becoming one of the world’s fastest growing crimes, days like World Password Day are crucial to raising awareness of online threats. I sat down with Jay Overcash, Director of IT Security Strategy, to talk about how people can protect themselves from hackers.

Why is a day like World Password Day so important?

As more and more of our lives move into the digital realm, we rely on authentication to protect our valuable online data and assets.  Usernames and passwords remain the predominant method for securing online data.  World Password Day is important as it draws attention to the need to adequately protect online data with a strong password.

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Keeping pace in a tax environment that never slows

May 1 blog postTax practitioners are on the frontline of change, and because of that, we’re constantly evolving our businesses. It’s a big ask, and we’re doing a great job keeping up. However, the changes continue to come, and not everything is matching our pace.

The AICPA’s Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs) were last updated almost ten years ago, and in that time, our profession has transformed dramatically. As a result, the current SSTSs don’t reflect today’s practice environment. What do we do when the standards we rely on to do our jobs no longer suit our needs?

We change the standards. Together.

Continue reading "Keeping pace in a tax environment that never slows" »

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