Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Establish An Email Policy

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Not sure why, but many CPAs seem to have a fascination with retaining emails. I have talked to some who admit that they have thousands in their inbox that might date back two or three years or more.

I like a comment in the article I featured last week about M&A and technology. An acquiring firm gets IT involved during due diligence to start educating the firm being acquired about retention policies. When your data comes over to the new system, all of your email older than six months will go away. You need to move client emails to the client file.

How would some of your partners feel about that? If you are a smaller firm and have not implemented these essential types of IT policies, start preparing now.

  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
  • Helen Keller

Monday, August 27th, 2018

The Importance of Technology When Talking M&A

Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

BoomerDuring the 2018 Boomer Technology Circles Summit, Jim Boomer moderated a panel discussion on best practices in mergers and acquisitions regarding technology. I know at my firm, the tech staff were involved early on in any merger discussions and often seemed to work magic.

Boomer has written a great summary of the discussions. THIS IS GREAT INFORMATION for anyone considering a merger. Be sure to read it!

Here are the questions that were explored:

How early does IT need to get involved in the due diligence process? And as an IT professional, how do you push to get involved?

We’ve counseled firms that the technology cost of acquiring a firm runs, on average, $10,000 per person. Is that consistent with your experience?

If there a time of year that’s best for making the integration fast and effective?

There’s a lot of talk about “rip and replace” strategy versus peeling off the bandage slowly. What’s the more effective method in your experience?

How long do you let legacy data ride? And what if the acquired firm’s technology spend wasn’t what you were told?

What are your top three priorities to have implemented on Day 1?

  • The human spirit must prevail over technology.
  • Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

It’s Easy To Understand Blockchain

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

I came across this great explanation of Blockchain. It is a Reuters visual guide. It makes it all very understandable!

Please give it a look. It is important that you share it with all your staff.

  • If you want the answer, ask the question.
  • Lorii Myers

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Technology Surprises

“Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.” – Randy Pausch

Roman Kepczyk, CPA, CITP via the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA.org) has conducted the 2018 IT Survey to identify information technology trends in the medium and larger CPA firms representative of their membership. Many technology trends begin in medium and larger firms where their worth is proven and eventually flow through to smaller firms after adoption and best practices have been standardized.

The Top 10 Accounting Firm IT Survey Surprises has been published by CPA Practice Advisor.

The No. 1 “surprise” is very interesting:

The most significant change in the CPAFMA IT survey over the past two years was the transition from internally managed Exchange/Outlook servers to utilizing external, cloud-based solutions. While 68% of firms hosted their own Exchange Servers in 2016, this number was cut by more than half in 2018 to 30%. With 70% of participating firms utilizing an external email/groupware solution, this is a trend that every firm should be evaluating before buying new or updating their existing Exchange servers.

Follow the link, above, to read the other nine surprises.

  • Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
  • George S. Patton

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Stay Safe Out There – Two-Factor Authentication

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know that CPA firms are fanatics about protecting the safety of their data. Their clients count on them to treat their information with the highest level of security. I also know that CPAs take this responsibility very, very seriously.

I have observed that some CPAs are not using two-factor authentication with their personal devices and some don’t even know what it is. Perhaps, you feel safe because your devices are tied to your firm and all its security. But, what about your clients and your family?

BillRecently, I have become aware of Bill Hess, founder of Pixel Privacy. On his site, Bill gives advice and creates easy to follow tutorials that anyone can use to protect their privacy and stay safe online, even if they have zero technical knowledge.

Want to learn more? Read Bill’s post, Two-Factor Authentication – What It Is and Why You Should Use it. His post is very informative, easy to understand. I hope you will share it with your team, your clients, and your family.

  • The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.
  • Dudley Moore

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Your Firm Budget For 2018

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffett,

The AICPA Roundtable 2018 is happening this week in New York City. You can follow the comments on Twitter #AICPAroundtable2018.

Just one comment from yesterday that I think is important to you: 75% of accountants will increase technology spend in 2018

Did you significantly increase your tech budget for 2018?

  • A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
  • Dave Ramsey

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

The Cloud Accountant

“Those without self-awareness do not look to improve, often because they do not think they need to.” – Jessica Daley

I talk with so many practitioners who struggle with the belief that they should employ remote employees. Whether you are convinced or not, it is a rapidly growing component of the accounting profession.

I recently read an article, 3 Essential Personality Traits of a Cloud Accountant by Jessica Daley of Xcelerate Business Solutions.

I enjoyed her article but was even more impressed when I visited the Xcelerate website.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the article. Does it sound like you and your team?

Today, flourishing in accounting requires a new way of thinking. It is less about the technical expertise and number-crunching, and more about whether you can handle systems, communicate well, innovate, solve problems, and build a rapport with your clients. If someone on your team is unable to do this, their accounting expertise does not matter—they simply will not be a very good accountant in the client’s eyes.

The 3 essential personality traits:

Curiosity – Your have to be curious about all the apps and technology so you can help your clients make the most of them.

Pride – You and your staff must have pride in what you do. You take ownership of your work and solve client problems.

Self-awareness – In the author’s opinion, this is the most important trait. You need to be aware of what you do not know.

Read more about these 3 traits here.

  • My best staff are relentless in their ownership of a client.
  • Jessica Daley

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Some Are Still Buying Servers

“The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” – Libby Larsen

It is very difficult to convince some CPA firm partners that they need to move their technology to the Cloud. They feel very strongly about maintaining client data inside their firm. Often, they get that information from their one internal technology person. Having all your firm’s technology knowledge invested in one person is risky.

I urge you to read a recent article by Roy Keely of Xcentric – The Last Server You Will Buy. 

Thousands of CPA firms have already bought their last server. Keely predicts that for some, the last server they are going to buy will be in 2020 and those will be the absolute laggards.

Why quit buying servers?

  • The world has changed
  • You can’t find a capable person to manage it.
  • IT people will choose something else
  • Security
  • It adds zero value to your business to do it in-house (and waste valuable partner time determining purchase decisions, hiring/firing IT people, etc.)

Be sure to read more about each bullet point and think about when you will buy your last server.

  • Common sense and nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Tracking The Time You Are At Your Desk

“Any privacy in public is a hard thing to negotiate.” – Benedict Cumberbatch

All of this technology is wonderful, right? It helps us get work done faster, it helps us shop, it helps us find places, it helps us do our banking and other chores, and it opens an amazing world of information for us.

I was with a friend recently who uses technology (Life360) to track her teenage daughter. Some people track their entire family.

Recently, Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) wrote an article for Inc. that reported on a bank tracking the time their employees spent at their desks.

Supposedly, the bank says the purpose is to see what spaces employees use. It doesn’t track who is sitting at your desk. The information will be used for space planning.

But what if employers begin using such devices to track employees for other purposes.

It is kind of creepy but also interesting. I don’t really mind that Google knows where I am most of the time. I’m not so naive to think other entities may be tracking me. If you use a credit card, you become very public. But something about having your boss track the time you sit at your desk would be unacceptable.

Read the article, see what you think.

  • You already have zero privacy. Get over it.
  • Scott McNealy

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

New Clients Will Want Cloud Services

“It takes a very long time to become young.” – Pablo Picasso

I cringe when I hear it. The sad part is that now – summer of 2017 – I am still hearing it way too often from CPA firms around the country.

Are you paperless? Are you completely digital? Are you in the cloud? Are you using a portal?

Most of the answers I hear are…. “sort of,” “not really,” “we don’t trust the cloud,” and “we haven’t pushed it with our clients.”

A recent survey by Bill.com tells us that business owners under the age of 55 prefer their accountants to handle all or most of their accounting work digitally. 78% of those 39 and under want paper-free accounting.

I believe that people, in general, are becoming very accustomed to the digital world – from their personal banking transactions to entertainment.

It’s time to give up the excuse you have used for too many years… “our clients are older and they want things in paper.”

Read more about this survey via Accounting Today – Your Next Accounting Client Wants Paperless, Mobile Services by Mary Ellen Biery.

  • The whims of youth break all the rules.
  • Homer, The Iliad