Internal Controls

Despite making progress in safeguarding sensitive or confidential information, the SEC still lacks consistency in implementing key data controls, the GAO said in its annual audit released in April. Information security control weaknesses identified included 13 that remained unresolved from the previous year’s audit, plus 15 new ones, the GAO said. They included insufficient testing and evaluation of controls for a major data system as required by a certification and accreditation process, as well as inconsistent implementation of policies and procedures, including parts of the SEC’s information-security program.

The SEC had corrected 58 of the 71 weaknesses identified in 2005, the GAO noted, and by the completion of its 2006 audit had taken action on 11 of the newly identified faults. But the commission had not adequately guarded identification and authentication of users of data systems, leaving critical information in some instances vulnerable to hacking or unauthorized use or modification, the GAO said. For instance, requests for new or upgraded access to the EDGAR company financial reporting system weren’t always properly reviewed, and records of user privileges didn’t always reflect current information about users’ roles within the SEC.


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.