Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Professional Liability Insurance & More

img_7495You all have it but you might not love it. Yes, I am talking about professional liability insurance.

Many of you (my readers) are members of the CPA Firm Management Association and have met Stephen Vono of NAPLIA. He is the sponsor of the special night out event at the FMA annual National Practice Management Conference. Stephen was responsible for making applying for professional liability insurance easy for me and many others in the CPA profession.

Here’s some great information from Stephen and NAPLIA that was sent to the attendees of the conference in June this year. I think you can all benefit from this information.

NAPLIA’s Cyber and Data Security ebook was a popular takeaway from the conference.  If you missed it, you can download a copy here or please send me a note and I’ll be glad to mail you a hard copy. It is intended to give you guidance when preparing to safeguard your firm against the exposure to loss of client information. I hope you find it useful.

I am sending out resources in response to the many questions I received on insurance programs that NAPLIA provides.

  • A Mobile Device Usage policy can help your firm manage and mitigate exposure to client data loss.  In response to Matthew Harvey’s mention of a Mobile Device Usage Policy in his presentation“Minding the Candy Store”last Thursday, I am providing a sample of such a policy here
  • Accounting Today interviewed me on information security and cyber liability exposures for CPA firms. Watch it here: Video: CPA Firms have a target on their back
  • In keeping with the information security and cyber liability theme, I am offering other cyber liability risk management policies and best practices. Samples for your firm to use can be found below.
  • Watch the recorded version of our most recent webinar “Got claims? Just look at the tax side of your practice.”

In addition, many questions were asked about Information Security and Cyber Liability Insurance. Please take a look at our website for additional information or call me at 508-656-1330 to get the conversation started on the important topic of minimizing your firm’s exposure to litigation around client information loss.

Please consider NAPLIA for your firm’s professional liability insurance and risk management needs!

Regards, 

Stephen Vono | Principal | NAPLIA

stevev@naplia.com 

(Picture: Stephen, me and some Ohio FMA Chapter members.)

  • There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
  • John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

What Top Leaders In The Profession Are Worrying About

Here’s an excerpt, about TECHNOLOGY, from a recent article in Accounting Today.

MODERN TIMES

The speed with which the future is demolishing the present was a major concern for many of the profession’s leaders, who worry that accountants are “not adapting to the fast pace of change fast enough,” according to Maryland Association of CPAs CEO Tom Hood. “Many CPAs are stuck in the current state and not taking the time to be aware, predictive and adaptive to the changes facing our profession. This is causing them to delay making changes necessary to leverage technology, develop succession plans and next-generation leaders.”

The rate at which technology changes —and the slower rate at which accountants adapt to it — was a frequent worry. “It is difficult to keep up with the pace of innovation today,” said Antonio Argiz, chairman and CEO of Top 100 Firm MBAF. “More firms are moving towards cloud computing, which raises more cybersecurity issues than we have had to account for before. Also, staying up-to-date with the changes in technology and innovation in the audit field will be challenging, especially for smaller firms where upgrading can be cost prohibitive.”

Technology thought leader and partner at WithumSmith+Brown Jim Bourke echoed that: “The impact of technological changes in the profession … is changing the game and how financial information will be viewed in the future. Firms that are stuck in the traditional compliance reporting role will be forced to change or will be left behind.”

Avoiding that fate will require accountants to develop greater expertise, said Confirmation.com founder Brian Fox. “The most important issue is the change that needs to take place in order for our CPAs to be effective in the future — specifically I’m referring to the need for CPAs to have a much higher level of education when it comes to technology.”

Be sure to read the entire article here.

  • Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.
  • Leo Buscaglia

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Helpful Information

I often get questions on a VERY wide variety of CPA firm management topics. Many are HR, succession and operational related. I also try to provide the latest trends in marketing, leadership, and technology.

I am using the title “Helpful Information” to communicate some of the best practices or useful products I hear or read about.

For today, I recently learned some information for firms adopting Two Factor Authentication (2FA).

Many firms are happy with Duo Security. Xcentric has partnered with Duo Security to provide their clients with the utmost protection.

I am not aligned or partnered with any vendors serving the CPA profession. However, I do often feature vendors or products that I think my readers would find helpful.

  • The struggle for today is not altogether for today - it is for a vast future also.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Technology – Return On Investment (ROI)

“A nickel isn’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra

I have heard firm leaders discuss return on investment relating to technology costs at many partner retreats and meetings. It always seems to be an elusive number and a never-ending conversation. In most cases, these conversations end with the comment partners apply to many things inside a CPA firm – “It costs too much.”

randyRandy Johnston has a very informative article on ROI via CPA Practice Advisor. He shares what should be in the calculations made regarding technology expenditures.

He also reminds us that there are a few key ideas behind what he discusses. Below are the key ideas. Follow this link to read the worthwhile article.

  1. That you have a technology plan and budget. Our latest National CPA Firm Survey data indicates that only 14% of CPA firms have an IT budget. Firms “spend what is needed” which may or may not be true.
  2. That each project should have an estimated return. Understand that some projects are dependent on other projects. For example, it is hard to implement eSignature if you don’t have your paperless project pretty far along.
  3. That you don’t have to implement the latest technology to be successful. However, you won’t gain a significant competitive advantage if you are a technology laggard.
  4. That, not every technology is for you.
  • Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
  • Will Rogers

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Randy Johnston, What’s New?

Randy Johnston, is that you with Rita?

I always try to attend Randy Johnston‘s tech update sessions whenever our paths cross at conferences. He makes actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.

He actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.

Here are just a few tidbits from Randy’s comments:

-Look at focusing on niches. The most profitable firms are niche focused. Tax and collaborative accounting may not be a good long-term strategy.

-Top tech challenges: Keeping up with new software. Workflow. Security.

-Training, over and over again, is a consistent problem in nearly every firm he visits. He estimated that out of the 400 firms he has visited, only about two do it well.

-When it’s time to purchase monitors, consider going with fewer, larger monitors.

-CCH scan, SurePrep and Gruntworx have all made improvements and are working well.

-For workflow, XCM is the dominant player followed by GoFileRoom workflow.

-Every tax product has a new generation coming out within the next few years. Be prepared for major changes.

-This year, 25% of firms in his survey are looking at changing tax software. That is a high percentage and rather unusual.

-If your technology budget is 6-7% your partners will make more money, if the budget is managed.

 

 

  • Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible
  • Frank Zappa

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Technology Fly-In For CPA Firms – Recap

Roman-mainIn November, the CPA Firm Management Association hosted it’s annual technology fly-in. It is an opportunity for firm technology managers/directors and firm practice managers to learn the most current trends and threats to their firms from a variety of CPA profession technology experts.

Sessions were conducted by Roman Kepczyk, Eric McMillen and Christian James.

Here are the topics:

  • CPA Trends: Strategic IT Response
  • Your Security Response
  • CPA Digital EcoSystem
  • IT Infrastructure/Data Center

Read the entire recap by Roman Kepczyk on the CPAFMA website here.

  • Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
  • Thomas Edison

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Educate and Inspire Your CPA Firm Tech Team

CPAFMA_Name_PantoneCPAFMA is offering a fantastic opportunity for your firm’s valuable tech team (or tech person). The 2015 Technology Fly-In will be held in Chicago on November 10-11, 2015.

There is an elite list of speakers:

  • Eric McMillen, CEO and Chief Security Architect, The McMillen Group.
  • Christian James, Co-Founder, Xcentric
  • Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA, CITP, CGMA, Director of Consulting, Xcentric

Here’s a quote from a past-attendee:

“Great information was shared at the Technology Fly-in in Chicago. While my role has changed, I always learn so much at this event. All of the speakers are exceptional; it is so evident that each loves what he/she does. The exchange of information is invaluable.”

Topics for this year:

  • CPA Trends: Strategic IT Response
  • Your Security Response
  • CPA Digital Ecosystem
  • IT Infrastructure Update/Data Center
  • Tech Take Aways
  • IT Hot Topics and Open Brain Share Networking

Get all of the details here.

  • Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it is useless.
  • Thomas Edison

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Get Your IT Committee Talking

Information Technology inside of your busy CPA firm is a very, very important topic.

Just in case they need more to talk about, here is a list of trending IT topics to add to the IT Committee discussion list via Roman Kepczyk of Xcentric. Follow this link to read more about each topic (and share it with your Committee).

 

Topics:

  • Windows 10 Transition
  • Higher Resolution/Oversize Monitors
  • Revisit Ergonomics
  • Subscription Pricing
  • Collaboration on the Horizon
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Security Tune Up
  • Data Backup vs. Disaster Recovery.
  • The human spirit must prevail over technology.
  • Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Managing Remote Employees

More and more CPA firms are facing the challenge of how to effectively manage remote workers.

I hear many success stories of being able to retain talented professionals even if they have to relocate to another city or state…. or even country. Remote connectivity for all firm team members has solved that issue. They can actually do the client work no matter where they are sitting.

It’s all the other things that are troublesome. How do we communicate with them? How do we make them feel part of our daily routine? How do we build the camaraderie that people working side-by-side in an office feel? How to we infuse them with our culture?

These challenges will only grow and expand as we move into the future. There are several software solutions to help reinforce communication, teamwork and share work status. That’s just the first step.

Here’s a recent post by Randy Rayess on Fast Company: 3 Tips For Managing Remote Workers. While remote workers is something rather new for the CPA profession, it will be a major factor in the future for the CPA profession.

The 3 tips are:

  1. Just be compassionate
  2. Check in personally – even if you can’t physically
  3. Encourage team members to interact

Follow the link, above, to read more about each of the 3 tips.

  • To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.
  • Mike Krzyzewski

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Cyber Liability Insurance

I heard this topic discussed by many conference attendees last week. It was an important topic in the break-outs by firm size and in some of the larger sessions.

So… I headed for the NAPLIA booth to see my good friend Stephen Vono and did he ever give me an earful! It’s a technology issue but it is also an insurance issue and these two camps look at it through different lenses.

I’m no expert but I do know that many firms do not have coverage and it is a very scary area.

Learn more here on the NAPLIA site. In the world of “cost vs. benefit” that accountants live in – it’s a cheap investment.

Vono tells me that firms inquire and then procrastinate in making the decision to buy. (I know, that’s hard to believe, right?).

Here’s a selfie taken by Vono with me and several great Association For Accounting Administration friends.

Lori Doherty, Stephen Vono, Ginny Fedrich, Jane Johnson - Is that you with Rita?

Lori Doherty, Stephen Vono, Ginny Fedrich, Jane Johnson – Is that you with Rita?

  • I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
  • Leonardo da Vinci