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1. How to prepare for auditing in a digital world of Big Data   WebExclusive

BY Maria L. Murphy
Rapid changes in technology are a reality of the current business environment. In addition to affecting how business is done, these changes present new challenges to auditors.The internet, cloud computing, and the pervasive use of mobile devices enable auditors to practice in a globally connected environment. Technology can be used to transform auditing and improve audit effectiveness, according to the white paper Reimagining Auditing in a Wired World, published by the Emerging Assurance Technologies Task Force of the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC).According to the white paper:The profession needs to achieve a “quantum leap” to redesign

2. Global cyberattacks rose 48% in 2014   WebExclusive

BY Samantha White
It should be no surprise amid the constant barrage of headlines about cybersecurity incidents that the number and cost of breaches is on the rise.Security incidents cost businesses an average of $2.7 million each year, according to a survey by PwC. Despite the burgeoning threat, information security is an issue that receives little involvement from the board, and security budgets decreased in the last year.

3. 11 QuickBooks tips for producing stellar reports  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Today’s accounting systems capture unprecedented levels of information, requiring CPAs to sort through more data than ever. In last month’s JofA (page 64), the first article of a two-part series on QuickBooks provided general tips for printing, memorizing, organizing, and distributing groups of QuickBooks reports. The software also offers many powerful features that can help you mine financial data for the information and intelligence needed to make business decisions.

4. Model behavior  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Q: I have several worksheets of data that I want to pivot, but the Excel 2003 option to pivot multiple ranges of data no longer exists in Excel’s later editions. I find that I must copy and paste all workbook data onto a single worksheet to pivot the combined data.

5. Say "no" to O/S "edition" upgrades  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Q: Should we upgrade our Windows 7 and Vista computers to Windows 8?A: I don’t recommend updating older computers to newer operating systems because, in my opinion, you are better off buying a new computer. My reasoning is that the Windows operating systems installed on your older computers were most likely tweaked and tested by the manufacturers to make them run more reliably with each computer’s motherboard, RAM, video card, and other components.

6. Divisive security  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Q: Can you direct me to a good checklist of precautions we should take to secure our employees’ mobile devices?A: Security is a hassle, but a necessary hassle. Perhaps this checklist will help you lock down those mobile devices once and for all.1. Lock it. Require employees to lock their phones using either a personal identification number (PIN), swipe gesture, or fingerprint scan.

7. 2014 tax software survey  

BY Paul Bonner
For the second year in a row, the beginning of income tax filing season was delayed. This year, the delay was due to a 16-day partial government shutdown in October 2013 that resulted in a Jan. 31 start date for the IRS to accept electronically filed returns. Other complicating factors included the advent of the net investment income tax, the new 39.6% top tax rate bracket, and the return of the itemized deduction limitation and personal exemption phaseout.Software vendors nonetheless managed to roll out their updated versions on time, and users were generally satisfied with the results

8. 11 tips to optimize QuickBooks reporting  

BY J. Carlton Collins, CPA
Paraphrasing the Kieso, Weygandt, and Warfield textbook Intermediate Accounting, the point of an accounting system is to summarize voluminous data to produce financial reports that management can use to run the business. Despite the textbook’s position, it seems that many QuickBooks users have missed this message as they appear to use the product for little more than getting money in and out the door (via invoices and checks).

9. 10 Excel shortcuts  

BY J. Carlton Collins
1. The SUM function. Pressing Alt+= in the cell below a column of numbers inserts the SUM function and highlights that column of numbers.2. Select a range of data.

10. Tax software: Ethical, legal, and professional liability risks  

BY Deborah K. Rood, CPA
Software is an essential tool for driving efficiencies and profitability in a CPA firm tax practice. Practitioners select software based on various factors, including price, ease of use, scalability to practice size, technology features, and technical support (see “2014 Tax Software Survey,” page 26). Software users also should be aware of maintenance requirements and risks of use.
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