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August 2014 Article Archives

What You Don't Know Really CAN Hurt You: Know Who You're Hiring - Know it ALL

Published on August 21, 2014 by Reference Services, Inc.

As a member of the Association for Accounting Administration, we know that you care about being the best. You strive to provide the best service to your clients and operate your business with integrity – which includes protecting those that you serve. As respected accounting firms, you play an important role with your client partners and most likely provide services and advise on a variety of issues ranging from cash flow management to auditing and risk management.

All you need to do is Google “employee theft” and a multitude of articles will fill the screen. You’ll quickly see that employee theft is still rampant and growing. In fact, $50 billion is stolen annually from U.S. businesses by employees. According to the 2012 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reported that the median loss for small businesses was $147,000 and more than one-fifth of the total cases caused losses of at least $1 million.

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2014 SaaS Survey Bolsters Cloud Adoption

Published on August 20, 2014 by Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, AAAPM, Xcentric

Software as a Service (SaaS) and the more generic term “Cloud” have been a big topic of discussion within CPA firms over the past decade, beginning with the early ASPs (Application Service Providers) that hosted one application such as tax research or accounting, and then evolving towards today’s environment where every application in the entire firm can be hosted by a combination of providers.  Many firms today are building a hybrid environment where those applications that are more cost effective and secure in the Cloud are going there (portal, email, research) and those that are not are being managed internally.  To determine the status of Cloud adoption within firms the Association for Accounting Administration (CPAAdmin.org) released a ground breaking SaaS survey in 2012, which was followed up in May of this year with over 100 firms participating.

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Content Sharing: We Still Need Your Input!

Published on August 20, 2014 by Ann White, AAAPM, AAA Director of Education

As you know, the AAA website has a new look but it is still undergoing an overhaul from a content perspective, which is one of the hallmark benefits of AAA.  So much so, that content is one of the key topics identified in our strategic plan.  While many of our members utilize Q&AAA to share requests for information including usable forms, we would like to ensure best practices, sample forms, policies, procedures and related resources are available via the website, too. 

The June 2014 Insights edition included a request for sample forms and/or resources that would benefit a practice management professional.  I would like to personally ask you to please consider submitting your best content to the Association.  We are looking for a variety of content - the kind that you use in your firms!  Feel free to remove your firm identity if preferred otherwise the document will be posted as submitted (giving your firm credit) and will remain available for up to 5 years unless it becomes outdated or requested to be removed.  The plan is to upload documents on a quarterly basis beginning in September 2015 (last month of the quarter).

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IT Trends Impacting Firms

Published on August 20, 2014 by Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, AAAPM, Xcentric

An important part of managing today’s CPA firm is being aware of key trends that should to be taken into account when planning for the future and designing the firm’s strategic plan and budgets to accommodate the firm’s evolution.  Below we list eight IT Trends that are impacting the way firms work and interact with their clients, which should be taken into account when planning for the years ahead.

Cloud Apps/Hybridization: The level of complexity in today’s IT infrastructure continues to increase and evolve at a faster pace than can the abilities of most internal IT personnel.  The majority of firms have gone to outsourcing all “one shot” implementations to external expertise, and that evolution continues with firms outsourcing both the installation and the hardware support to “Cloud” providers. Analyzing the internal costs for equipment, licensing, installation and ongoing maintenance against a monthly fee has pushed many firms to move applications such as their Exchange/Outlook to hosted providers as well as critical applications such as portals and document management. When the features and overall cost of a cloud application is more attractive than “doing it yourself,” firms will transition.  With most firms having remaining life in some of their servers, they will not make that determination until those devices reach the end of their life, leading to a hybrid environment of internal and externally hosted applications, until they are eventually all hosted in the cloud by enterprise class vendors.

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PDI Offers AAA Members Discount on Tax Planning Guides

Published on August 20, 2014

We are pleased to tell you about a 15% association member discount that Thomson Reuters is offering to CPA firms on its PDI Global 2014-2015 Tax Planning Guide products.

Available in print and electronic formats, these content marketing tools give users a proven way to build brand awareness and position your firm as a thought leader, so firm managers can nourish clients, generate leads and grow your firm's tax practice. Combine several formats to maximize reach, impact and ROI:

All formats come with a free Tax Practice Marketing Guide that explains how to leverage your guide’s effectiveness and develop more tax business. Plus, if major tax legislation occurs after you purchase your guide, you’ll receive free electronic Tax Law Change Updates you can email or post to tell clients and other taxpayers about the changes.

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Reframing the Facts Regarding IT Security and Disaster Recovery

Published on August 20, 2014 by Trevor Mickelson, Agility Recovery

Disaster recovery, data backup, IT infrastructure security – what do all of these items have in common? Simple, they’re generally misunderstood, undefined due to avoidance for ‘more important action items’, they manage risk, and their complexities are far from static. In fact, for the most part, organizations generally lack the manpower, time, and discipline to tackle these moving targets.

However, it shouldn’t be that way, it should be simple. Remember, technology was created to make our lives simpler, not more complex.

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AAA Now - President's Message

Published on August 20, 2014 by Janine Zirrith, AAAPM, Wilkin & Guttenplan

It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve as your President for the next year. I want to thank our board members and advisers, and Norm Saale, AAAPM our Immediate Past President - thank you all for your leadership and hard work in helping to strengthen our association. Also, I want to thank you, our members, for the privilege of working with you.

We have achieved great success over the years, and as I assume this role, I’m excited to think about what lies ahead. Our association was founded in January, 1984 in what was then a new and growing profession. Our goal was to enable accounting firm administrators to communicate with one another and provide each other with the benefits of everyone’s experiences.  Over the past 30 years as the role has evolved and continues to do so, the Association has been there to elevate and redefine the role and responsibilities necessary to provide professional firm management to CPA firms of all sizes.   Our initiatives and growth have resulted in AAA being 21 chapters strong with almost 1,000 members across North America.

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AAA and AICPA Collaboration Update

Published on August 20, 2014 by Bob Biddle, AAAPM, Bowman & Company, LLP

The Association for Accounting Administration and the AICPA continue to work together to bring you the information that you need to make you the best firm Practice Manager you can be.  A couple of points of collaboration:

If you have suggestions for future collaborative efforts, please let us know.

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Chapter Chatter

Published on August 20, 2014 by Misty Cable, AAAPM, Gilliam & Associates

It is hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and the National Conference was over two months ago! The Chapter Leader's Breakfast was a huge success and we enjoyed seeing everyone there. The Board just returned from a two-day planning session for next year’s conference in Orlando and we have exciting things in store!  

On the Chapter front, we are committed to doing all we can to support each and every one of our members and chapters.  That includes support for our existing chapters, establishing new chapters and revitalizing chapters that are in need of some “TLC”. 

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Post 2014 Conference Review and 2014 Conference Preview

Published on August 20, 2014 by Ann White, AAAPM, AAA Director of Education

I wanted to personally thank everyone who was able to attend this year’s conference in San Diego. It was wonderful to connect with so many practice management professionals in such an awesome location! Although it has been a milder than usual summer here in Texas, the San Diego weather was a breath of fresh air for me.

I also wanted to share some of the feedback received from the conference attendees. Of those attending who completed post-conference feedback surveys, 88% believe the conference was well worth the time and money invested to attend! The Board of Director conference planning committee works very hard to produce a conference that provides deliverables that have an immediate impact on your firm. Overwhelmingly, attendees site the aspect most liked about our annual conferences as the networking with other practice management professionals – either re-connecting with long time friends or making new connections. Continuing to be one of the consistently highest rated sessions are the break-outs by firm size. During these sessions, there is shared camaraderie and networking with peers who are experiencing the same issues and are leading their firms through new opportunities.

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