- CPA firms have a long way to go before they are making effective use of social media, according to a new survey report.

Firms can improve their effectiveness on social media with better training and tools, and by adopting written social media policies and monitoring metrics, says the 2014 Social CPAs Survey: How Accounting Firms Use Social Media Today.

The report, produced by consultancy SocialCPAs, Inovautus Consulting, and the Association for Accounting Marketing, can be downloaded for free at

“Overall, I think firms are progressing in social media, but I’ll say I was a little bit surprised that we weren’t further along,” survey co-author Sarah Johnson Dobek, founder and president of Inovautus Consulting, said in an interview. “I think there are a lot of things that firms could be doing that are easily accomplishable that they’re just not doing.”

The survey provides segmented results for 395 respondents, who hailed from accounting firms and state CPA societies, or were vendors or consultants to accounting firms. Eighty-five percent of the respondents were from accounting firms.

Respondents are infrequent posters on social media, according to the survey. The average weekly posting rate for firms using the following platforms was just 1.7 times for Google Plus, 3.1 times for LinkedIn, 3.4 times for Facebook, and 5.7 times for Twitter.

Firms need to increase the frequency of their posts, consultants say. Dobek, for example, advises posting to Twitter 15 times per week. Barry MacQuarrie, CPA, the founder of SocialCPAs, said many firms build profiles on LinkedIn, for example, but then don’t spend much time using the platform to connect.

“What I tell people is that making connections and staying involved with other people is a constant process,” MacQuarrie said. “Each time you’re meeting someone, connect with them on LinkedIn and learn about them and see if you can share ideas and share content, share information and help them. Active connecting, active engagement is a huge piece of being proficient with social media.”


- Cybersecurity is a constant source of concern for businesses as high-profile breaches make headlines almost daily.

Nation states, organized crime, hacktivists, and even terrorists have demonstrated the ability to compromise technology and systems used by businesses as well as individuals.

A new report, COSO in the Cyber Age, describes how the popular internal control framework updated in 2013 by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) can help organizations evaluate and manage cyberrisks. The report is available at

Cybersecurity can be viewed through the lens of the principles of the COSO framework, according to the report, which suggests that organizations should ask:

  • Are we focused on the right things?
  • Are we proactive or reactive?
  • Are we adapting to change?
  • Do we have the right talent?
  • Are we incentivizing openness and collaboration?
  • Can executive management articulate its cyberrisks and explain its approach and response to such risks?

“There is growing concern at all levels of industry about the challenges posed by cybercrime,” COSO Chairman Robert Hirth said in a news release. “This new guidance helps put organizations on the right path toward confronting and managing the frightening number of cyberattacks.”

COSO is a joint initiative of five private-sector organizations dedicated to providing thought leadership on enterprise risk management, internal control, and fraud deterrence. The AICPA is a member of COSO.


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.