Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Monday, January 9th, 2023

News & Views – CPA Firm Technology

“Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.” – Bill Gates

As you know, changes in technology are happening rapidly. The major providers of CPA firm applications (CCH Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Reuters, and Intuit) held conferences last fall to help and inform their users.

Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley attended all three conferences and have so much great information to share with practitioners in their Technology Lab January 6th podcast that summarizes the conferences.

I urge you to take a half hour and listen to this podcast. It has so much important information about the products you are using and about the future of these products. They also talk about key mergers/acquisitions, like Thomson acquiring SurePrep.

Listen here.

  • Most people treat the office manual the way they treat a software manual. They never look at it.
  • James Levine

Friday, December 23rd, 2022

Small-Midsize Firms & The Weather

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” — John Steinbeck

Today’s low temperatures and blizzard conditions across most of the United States made me think about many smaller CPA firms.

During the pandemic, some small firms continued to come into the office to work. I have no idea how many, but I heard from some who did this.

If you are a small firm, you still need to keep up with technology and be sure that every person on your team can work from home as productively as working in the office.

The same goes for mid-size firms and their admin team. During the pandemic, admin went into the office and did scanning, etc., so that the remote people could work. It is time to have clients submit everything electronically. On days like today, the administrative team needs to be able to work from home, too.

  • A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
  • Carl Reiner

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Technology Podcast

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

I know you are always looking for new tools to help your firm become more efficient. You also want to make things easier for your valuable team members.

Much of your efficiencies these days depends on having the absolute best technology. It means the best hardware and software.

A good place to keep up to date is listening to Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley‘s podcast via CPA Practice Advisor. It’s called The Technology Lab Podcast – New Technology Tools for Accountants

In a recent podcast, they review AuditMiner. I wasn’t aware of it but, of course, I am not an auditor! It appears to be a great tool if you do employee benefit audits.

Hear their review of AuditMiner here.

  • Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
  • Peter Drucker

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Caseware

“To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That’s what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games – nothing like saving the world.” – Elon Musk

I am posting this because Caseware was one of the products that enabled our firm to go completely paperless many, many years ago. We started that paperless journey in 1999.

Here is their message:

As part of our commitment to support and drive transformational change in the accounting and audit industry, we have evolved our brand. 

Our new brand is not just a new look and feel, it is our dedication to helping our customers work more effectively, gain deeper insights and see further along the road that leads to change for the better. It is our promise to you that we will be with you every step of the way on your journey to transform insights into impact. 

Welcome to the new Caseware!

  • Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.
  • Steve Jobs

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Technology Survey Results

“Once a new technology rolls over you if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Steward Brand, Writer

Every other year the CPA Firm Management Association does a survey of its membership relating to what firms are using relating to technology.

It addresses things like the most used tax software, most used practice management software, and others. It also disclosed that 68% of respondents are in the cloud.

When asked when firm respondents believed that firms would run entirely online without on-premise servers, 33% of respondents estimated it would happen in the next three to five years, while 32% thought it would be less than three years.

Here is a great summary of the findings from the CPA Practice Advisor.

  • If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Too Much Technology – Friday Flashback

“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” – Lou Holtz

Sometimes it seems like technology dominates our life. We are in a state of communication overload.

Here’s a flashback post that gives you a partner’s perspective and also the staff’s perspective.

  • Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.
  • Will Rogers

Thursday, March 10th, 2022

Clients Refusing Technology

“I think that technology is much more mysterious to the people using it than, say, the automobile was. This isn’t an original observation, but a lot of the smart devices people rely on now really do feel like magic to a lot of us.” – Author: Charlie Jane Anders

Firms are finally beginning to see some progress in clients adapting to technology. Clients are (although it has been slow) finally accepting a copy of their tax return via SafeSend and other digital methods.

My clients and other firms I know are still often offering a paper copy if a client requests it. Maybe it is time to stop this practice. The world is becoming more digital.

If your firm is to grow and prosper, it has to have some standards and reap the benefits of the expense they spend on technology. In these times of difficulty finding workers, technology helps you get more done with fewer people. Give your clients a “next year warning.” Something like, “Next year we will not be furnishing paper copies.”

As with almost everything inside a CPA firm, there will be some exceptions – but PLEASE limit the exceptions. If a client is elderly, ask permission to send their return to a relative who can assist with printing. Most computer-adverse older people have someone who helps them navigate technology.

Will you lose a few clients? Probably. But when they go to another CPA firm they will find that firm also delivers only digital copies. (That’s my dream, anyway!)

  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
  • Mark Twain

Monday, February 21st, 2022

I Always Listen To Roman

“There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.” – Douglas MacArthur

In January, I listened to a webinar presented by Roman Kepczyk about the findings of a recent technology survey conducted on behalf of The CPA Firm Management Association. It is the fourth comprehensive Information Technology survey tailored specifically to member firms with the goal of identifying the applications, products, and processes utilized by peers. 

The survey was conducted in December 2021 to determine what information technology firms would be utilizing in 2022 and compared to the results from previous surveys where appropriate.  This survey further highlighted the unique nature of CPAFMA member firms which tend to be medium and larger-sized firms. 

If you are a member, you can get the complete results via the CPAFMA website. It’s worth becoming a member just to get benefits like this survey.

Here are just a few bullet points I jotted down during the web presentation. When it comes to CPA firm technology knowledge, I always listen to and trust Roman.

  • 162 firms participated. 43% were multi-office firms.
  • Only 19% host their own.
  • 63% us RightNetworks or another integrator.
  • Firms are providing dual, over-sized monitors rather than three or four smaller ones.
  • Most pay a stepend to staff for mobile phone costs ranging from $30 to $50 per month.
  • 60% do centralized scanning.
  • 33% use individual scanners.
  • 68% use cloud versions of practice management software.

There is much, much more in the full survey results. I hope this gives you a brief snap-shot of what I heard during the webinar and encourages you to read the entire findings.

  • Distrust and Caution are the parents of security.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 17th, 2021

The New CPA Exam

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon

They are changing the CPA Exam again. It is shifting to put an increased focus on technology. July 1, 2021 is when this shift in the Exam will take place.

From Accounting Today: As the accounting profession evolves to meet today’s needs, the Uniform CPA Examination is also evolving to reflect these industry changes. On July 1, 2021, the CPA exam is shifting significantly to put a heavier focus on technology, digital mindsets, data analytics, and the other skills that newly licensed CPAs need to succeed. Candidates preparing to take the CPA Exam must take these updates into consideration.

Here’s the informative article, What every candidate needs to know about the updated CPA exam, via Accounting Today. Read it and share it.

I wonder how many CPA partners could pass the exam if they had to take it in 2021. I have often heard partners joke about it (meaning they couldn’t pass it now, let alone after July 1).

  • Study while others are sleeping, Work while others are loafing, Prepare while others are playing, and Dream while others are wishing.
  • William Arthur Ward

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

How Your Office Might Look In The Future

“The best way to enjoy your job is to imagine yourself without one.” – Oscar Wilde

So many CPA firms have been planning how to return their employees to the office. The, not once long ago, open office layout that was so popular is now a thing of the past. Accounting firms don’t have to worry about that, they never made the switch to an open office anyway. Private offices have always been the dream of up-and-comers in accounting firms.

Private offices for everyone doesn’t seem to be a very workable plan either. Think futuristic and maybe follow some of the ideas Google is implementing. Google’s first office was a cluttered garage (like many tech start-ups).

Here are some of the things Google is doing:

  • Encourage (but not mandate) that employees be vaccinated before returning to the office.
  • Over the next year, they will try out new office designs.
  • They are designing “Team Pods.”
  • Meeting room concepts like Campfire where virtual employees will be joined with in-person employees (check out the article to see a picture).
  • In some areas, around the world, Google is building outdoor work areas.
  • Employees can return to their permanent desks on a rotation schedule to ensure that no one is there on the same day as their immediate desk neighbors.
  • There’s more! Read the full article here and see all the pictures. Be sure to watch the video of the balloon wall! I simply can’t visualize that in a CPA firm.

What is your plan? Don’t feel like you have to make a sweeping change all at once. Like Google, experiment with various options over the next six months or so. Keep your team informed and involved in the experiments. Be creative (and caring).

And, never forget you cannot please everyone.

  • If you take care of your immediate surroundings, the universe will take care of itself.
  • Mahatma Gandhi