Tools For The Everyday Auditor

Technology has always had a significant impact on audit production and new evolutions of equipment have made auditors more productive when working in the office or the field. This month, we look at the latest gyrations of hardware that have made or are making inroads into the audit scene and optimizing the way we work.


Today’s “workhorse” laptop is a 15.6-inch unit that has a full ten-key built into the keyboard. Most firms are still buying business models from Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Firms generally want faster i5 or i7 processors and 8 Gb of RAM to handle the extra applications auditors are loading on their third screen when they are in the office. Windows 8.1 and touch screens are just now making inroads into small and medium-sized firms, while larger firms seem to be holding onto Windows 7 (since most auditing applications have not been modified for touch). With more applications moving to the cloud, the need for local hard drive storage has decreased, paving the way to firms transitioning to the faster Solid State Drives, which pay for

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Working Smart with Document Management and Workflow Webinar This Week

According to the 2014 Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey, accounting professionals like you indicated workflow and efficiency as their leading technology concern.  This 50-minute webinar showcases how Doc.It software addresses these concerns by demonstrating how the tools in Doc.It Suite works in an accounting firm.  Participants will experience a product demonstration and learn how Doc.It’s solution impacts processes, while eliminating document management and workflow challenges.

Who should attend?

Those who are ready to explore document management and workflow software – increase efficiency of Gather, Process, and Store by up to 15%, and delivery by 80 – 90% without changing your tax or accounting software.
Those who are interested in looking inside other firm’s paperless processes – explore how other firms are managing documents of all types in one streamlined efficient process from the point at which they are gathered, through the process of the engagement, and on to storage and delivery of the final work.
Those who are investigating document management and workflow solutions based on the firm’s area of expertise.

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It Was Only a Click…Now I Have a Virus

By: Jerry White, Xcentric Project Manager

During the course of a work day, the average computer user clicks 1980 times.

Do you stop and think about each of your clicks? Maybe you should. Any seemingly innocuous click has the potential to invite malware, spyware, viruses other unwanted things into your computing environment. Whether you consider yourself a computer genius or a complete beginner, people with bad intentions are finding more and more ways to get what they want from you online. As users become more aware of the techniques used by hackers, phishers and scammers, the more advanced and elaborate those techniques have become, as they try to stay one step ahead. Below are a few examples of where clicking can easily get you into trouble, and how to avoid said trouble.

Have you found yourself attempting to download a file, perhaps a piece of software, from the internet and been presented with something like this:

It was only a click - body image

In that screen shot alone, there are at least 8 instances of the word “Download”. Knowing

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Vendor Spotlight: iTransact – Find the Best Rates for Processing Credit Card Transactions

We are a big fan of people who focus on the accounting community and know how to speak the language.  That said, I want to make sure you know about iTransact.  I have gotten to know a number of their ambassadors through our relationship with the BDO Alliance and have been very impressed by their work ethic and desire to serve their clients well.  Here is a guest post from them that I think is a great introduction to their services.

You may be wondering if there really is a difference in the rates you will pay or are currently paying to process credit cards and other forms of electronic payments transactions.  Will you be able to find something less expensive that still offers as much or maybe even more in services?  iTransact has been in business since 1994 showing our customers just how successfully we are at doing that.  We offer the best rates in the industry and consistently save our merchants between 10-25%.

You know that your business must be able to process credit transactions

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Sit Down with Dean Krech Video

Prior to Xcentric, Dean’s firm had 1 full-time IT staff member. They hosted their own data and had their professional staff do software updates, taking time away from billable hours. Then, a few years ago, they went through a M&A, causing them to address the issues they were having. They especially wanted more security and efficiencies.

“The thing that’s hard to see is the efficiencies you’re going to gain. It’s hard to put a dollar figure on that…for us it’s been tremendous…We’re now able to do a lot more with fewer people.”

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A Tale of Two Clouds: The Local IT Company Paradigm Shift

Technology firms, like accounting firms, have faced a number of market pressures in recent years. Chief among these is how to handle the cloud paradigm and how to either convert their revenue to the cloud or protect their revenue from the cloud. Many early on felt threatened by the cloud, so they did all they could to hedge against it. However, these days are coming to an end. Local/SMB technology companies are now finding their way to the cloud in droves and doing it in a few ways.

Easy Way

Find a ‘big company’ who offers a white labeled cloud solution that smaller IT firms can put their label on and resell. They make their margin through ancillary items, such as managing workstations, doing break/fix work on the local network, etc. This hedges risk but also offers a relatively low ceiling on the ultimate growth of the company.

Hard Way

Make a capital investment in starting their own cloud and as quickly as possible convert clients from in-house networks to their cloud network. This is a move that comes with TONS of risk

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Audit & Accounting Security Considerations

Over the past decade, many companies have fallen victim to software scams, virus and malware attacks, CryptoLocker blackmail, and, in the worst case, actual thefts of equipment. For example, three clients recently had laptops stolen containing client data stored locally on the hard drives, with one firm in particular having a significant number of employee benefit plan engagements exposed. That last theft occurred in a state with very strict cyber security requirements. The firm was required to notify all individuals listed in the client’s files that they could potentially be impacted by the theft. Two of the three firms estimated their cost of remediation at close to $100,000. While insurance policies covered a portion of the hard costs, the firms spent countless hours dealing with the thefts. The thefts also indirectly impacted the firms’ reputations in ways that couldn’t be quantified in financial terms. Most cyber breaches occur because of weak security systems and policies and are often due to simple lapses in judgment by firm personnel who were either not aware of or not reminded of

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Collaboration: Expanding the Dimension of Knowledge Management

For more than a decade we have promoted the concept of the learning organization as a key differentiator in accounting firms’ long-term viability and growth.  Simply stated, your firm’s ability to identify, standardize, and successfully roll out production best practices and shared knowledge is one of the last remaining sustainable competitive advantages available today, thus firm owners should reevaluate how information sharing is integrated into the firm’s culture.

Digital and cloud technologies continue to evolve at an ever increasing pace, which is driving changes in how firms fundamentally capture and share knowledge.  In addition to the traditional static knowledge management tools, such as intranets and document management programs, firms need to incorporate the real-time technologies that facilitate collaboration within the firm and with outside parties.  In this article, we will discuss the various types of collaboration tools that have evolved to facilitate knowledge capture and sharing, as well as how they are being expanded beyond the boundaries of the firm’s walls – helping firms grow.

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Sit Down with Mickey Payseur Video

Since moving to the Xcentric Cloud, Mickey’s firm has experienced peace of mind, increased security and great cost efficiencies. After seeing our data center, Mickey believes that there’s no other company like ours that comes close to Xcentric’s high level of security.

“Xcentric has carved out a niche to take care of CPA firms. They know the software. They know what tax season is all about. They know what it takes to deal with the seasonality of it. And anybody else that’s trying to do this other than Xcentric, that I know of, they really don’t understand the nature of the beast.”

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