Practice management

Survey spotlights need for data and security strategies

On the surface, the results of the 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives survey show that “managing and retaining data” nudged past “securing the IT environment” to become the top technology priority cited by the nearly 2,000 accounting professionals polled. Dig a little deeper, and the evidence indicates that the

Independence is in the eye of the beholder

The independence of CPAs is the hallmark of the profession. As such, accountants put forth significant focus and effort to comply with independence requirements related to everything from investments to business and employment relationships to services delivered to clients. But being what accountants call independent in “fact” isn’t enough. CPAs

Seven ways to address IT vulnerability

When Mike Foster hears from CFOs about IT security issues, he gets the sense they’re focusing on a single hacking event here or there, instead of viewing IT security as a project that needs constant management and attention. What Foster tells the CFOs is this: “We don’t want to fight

Assurance opportunities broaden

Editor’s note: Beth Schneider is the chair of the AICPA Sustainability Task Force under the Auditing Standards Board. Corporate and public interest in sustainability and climate change issues, and voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions information, has grown significantly in the United States during the last decade. Companies have

Preparing for disaster

One CPA firm is still recovering from a “superstorm” that damaged nine of its 14 offices. Another has constructed a safe room in its new office, which was built after a tornado destroyed its previous office. A third firm is adjusting to the “new normal” in a city forever changed

Top concern of FVS practitioners: Business development

The top priorities of forensic and valuation services (FVS) accountants have changed drastically over the past few years, with business development concerns outpacing technical issues, according to a new AICPA study. The 2013 FVS Membership Top Issues Survey found that “bringing in new clients,” the classic business development imperative, ranked

Defending third-party audit claims

Early in the 20th century, audits of company financial statements served merely as verification for management that a company was productive and efficient. After the 1929 stock market crash, the role of the auditor evolved. The Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 established requirements for

Time to recruit talent

Millions of Baby Boomers will leave their jobs in the next 10 to 12 years. This exodus of talent will place extraordinary pressure on every U.S. organization’s talent recruitment and retention efforts. Consider these strategies to help your organization compete in an unprecedented people cycle: Ensure your HR leadership is

Data, security take top two spots in AICPA technology priorities survey

On the surface, the results of the 2013 North America Top Technology Initiatives survey, released Wednesday by the AICPA and CPA Canada, show that “managing and retaining data” nudged past “securing the IT environment” to become the top technology priority cited by the nearly 2,000 accounting professionals polled. Dig a

Baker Tilly to merge with New York firm Holtz Rubenstein Reminick

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, one of the 20 largest U.S. accounting firms, is merging with Holtz Rubenstein Reminick LLP in a deal that will give Chicago-based Baker Tilly a significant foothold in New York City. The merger announced Wednesday is scheduled to take effect June 1. It will create

Smart tech tips

Technology mistakes can cause higher expenses and lost revenue opportunities. During a session at the AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference in January, Advisor Products President and CEO Andrew Gluck shared tips on how to avoid the biggest technology mistakes. The tips could prove useful for accounting firms and small

Criminal background checks can't remain in the background anymore

Among the many client services they perform, accounting firms often handle client funds in the performance of various services provided to both individuals and businesses—bookkeeping, investment advisory, family office, and more. Imagine what might happen if a firm employee steals or otherwise misappropriates funds from a client: The firm would

Tech talk: What CPAs need to know

Tax Code modifications and new FASB rules aren’t the only changes that CPAs have to concern themselves with these days. Whether it’s the security of clients’ data, the implications of migrating to the cloud, or the uncertain future of the once-venerable desktop, rapid technological transformation continues to generate new challenges

From "write-up" to right profitable

CPA firms for decades saw little upside to providing basic accounting services to business clients. Bookkeeping and other “write-up” activities required extensive data entry and document transfer that chewed up man-hours but did not require much specialized knowledge. Client accounting services (CAS) were seen as commodities that brought with them

Clients: The end is near

Evaluating clients annually is good practice management for a professional services firm. A firm’s strategies, areas of practice, and risk profile change over time. As a result, certain clients may no longer be a desirable fit for the firm. Similarly, some client behaviors become problematic and can harm the staff’s

Cloud adoption brings unexpected costs, KPMG survey says

Companies moving IT systems to the cloud are encountering higher costs and more implementation problems than they expected, KPMG International reports in a new survey scheduled to be released on Tuesday. About one-third of the more than 650 business and IT leaders in the global survey experienced higher-than-anticipated expenses adopting

How to develop and publish a mobile app

When Susan Bruno set out to launch a mobile application to help women gain control of their finances, and Leonard Wright decided to develop an app to enhance his client interactions, neither wealth manager could foresee the dizzying array of detours and dead-ends they would encounter on the road to

When parties come knocking for client records

CPA firms either maintain or have access to numerous types of client records and related working papers. Requests for access to copies of such records can arise from multiple sources, including current and former clients, lawyers, civil and criminal investigators, lenders, and others. All requests should be made in writing.

How to drive partner accountability and unity

Partner accountability and unity are essential for accounting firms to maximize their productivity and profits. Unfortunately, partner harmony is hard to find, especially at larger firms. Consider the findings of the most recent CPA Firm Top Issues Survey conducted by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section. The biennial poll of

Practice safe e-filing

Since 2012, e-filing generally has been mandatory for tax preparers or firms that anticipate filing 11 or more federal individual or trust returns in a calendar year. However, e-filing presents a variety of dangers and unintended consequences not present with paper filing. Here are tips to make e-filing as safe


Why cybercriminals are targeting CPAs

This free report expands on the most commonly found scams, why education and specialized IT knowledge help to lessen security vulnerabilities, and why every firm should plan carefully for how it would respond to a breach.


How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.