The CPA As E-Consultant




Editorial Staff

Colleen Katz

Executive Editor
Barbara J. Shildneck

Managing Editor
Elizabeth Uva

Senior Editors
Katharine W. Coveleski
Peter D. Fleming
John von Brachel
Michael Hayes
Emily S. Plishner
Stanley Zarowin

Senior News Editor
Robert Tie

Associate News Editor
Mavis C. Allen

Assistant Editors
Sarah Cobb
Vincent Nolan

Contributing Editors
Maria Luzarraga Albanese
Anita Dennis
Nicholas J. Fiore

Production Director
Peter M. Tuohy 

Art Director
Jeryl A. Costello

Production Manager
Gene Cioffi

Senior Manager—
Production Services--

Publishing Technology

Robert DiCorcia

Production Editor
D. Hillel Lofaso

Senior Production Associates
Valrie Mason
Patrick Dougherty
Ingrid Medina

Production Assistant
Linda Robinson

Associate Publisher-Advertising
Gordon Hedwig

Advertising Representatives
Karin DeMarco
Richard J. Flynn
Gwenn Goldberg
R.W. Walker, Co., Inc. — Western U.S. 

Advertising Coordinator
John Weinberg

Editorial Offices

Advertising Offices
West Coast 310-450-9001

Classified Ads
Gail Bender 1-800-237-9851

Letter From
the AICPA President

The CPA As E-Consultant

Business technology consulting is now a formal element in the CPA’s extensive portfolio of services. With e-business blazing a path to the future, a newly created specialty accreditation will help CPAs claim an important piece of the action.

The new accreditation in information technology, approved in the fall by the AICPA’s governing council, announces to clients, prospects and employers that CPAs have what it takes to deliver technology-driven, integrated business solutions. As companies struggle to navigate the unfamiliar waters of technology, the new designation positions the CPA as a trusted resource.

The need for top-notch business technology advice is soaring as e-business’s growth potential becomes enticingly apparent. This holiday season, for example, e-businesses logged an estimated $10 billion in revenue, up 300% from the same period a year earlier.

But these impressive numbers are just a hint of growth to come. During the holiday season, companies were actually holding back—quite literally locking down their systems to ride out potential Y2K dangers without incident. They shelved ready-to-go hardware upgrades, new software and other enhancements that promised to catapult e-commerce to new heights of utility and flexibility. Now that the Y2K hurdle is mostly behind us, however, companies are eager to turn the new technology loose in the marketplace and to launch systems with funds formerly earmarked for Y2K preparedness.

Where will they get the support they need to make the new technologies work? According to a recent survey conducted by the nationally recognized polling firm, Audits & Surveys, businesses are having a tough time finding the right type of consultant for their e-business endeavors.

The survey reveals that businesses want professionals who can bridge the “experience gap” between technology and business. So, they’re looking for technology consultants, competent in business and accounting, who can justify the cost of essential systems, communicate effectively with both boards of directors and small-business owners and build consensus within a client’s company.

Although CPAs have precisely that kind of expertise, we may not be the obvious choice. The new accreditation, though, can serve as a “calling card,” announcing to clients, prospects and employers that CPAs do, in fact, have the professional tools to do the job. Since no other providers in the marketplace have our unique blend of skills and experience, we may be looking at a ready-made opportunity in a skyrocketing new industry.

By focusing on the strategic application of technology, not its inner workings, CPAs with the new accreditation will foster success at small and large businesses alike. Combined with the profession’s reputation for trustworthiness, this will ensure the CPA remains a familiar and comforting presence in a new and unfamiliar world.

As e-business revolutionizes the world, clients and employers need a partner to guide them. If the profession seizes this opportunity and fulfills its potential, the CPA can be that partner. The choice is ours.

Barry C. Melancon, CPA

Editorial Advisers
Andrea Andrews, Ken D. Askelson, Robert C. Beheler, John C. Boma, Jacob R. Brandzel, Steven J. Brown, Jolene C. Brucks, Richard A. Burrell, R. Patrick Cargill, Benson J. Chapman, Elliott Scott Cohen, Henry M. Dachowitz, Susan M. Comeau Daniels, Rosemarie T. Dunn, Sandra English, Robert J. Freeman, John S. Gibbons, Alan Glazer, Dan Gould, Cindy Gustafson, Patrick T. Hanratty, Thomas P. Hess, Karen L. Hooks, James E. Hunton, Ann D. Jevne, Harold Wayne Joseph, Christopher G. Keller, Pamela S. Kemp, Frank J. Kopczynski, Jeffrey B. Kraut, Dennis B. Kremer, Daniel Laufer, William F. Laurie, Alan Levin, John Lewison, Joseph P. Liotta, Ellen M. Long, James V. Long, Mano Mahadeva, Patrick Michael McDonough, Patrick L. McNamee, Benjamin F. Mathews, Anita Meola, Robert R. Moeller, Roger H. Molvar, G. Philip Morehead, Bea L. Nahon, Nancy L. Newman-Limata, Lyne P. Noella, Edward T. Odmark, Stanley Person, Grover L. Porter, Mark L. Richardson, Wesley Riemer, David B. Robinson, Marshall B. Romney, Susan J.Rosenberg, Chester P. Sadowski, David Satava, Peggy Scott, Carolyn S. Sechler, Gary Shamis, Jeffrey D. Solomon, Ivan J. Sotomayor, Paul C. Sullivan, Keith Tobias, Gary R. Trugman, Norman D. Turnipseed, Robert Willens, Jon Arthur Wise, Mark A. Yahoudy  


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.