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IT-Gov-Series

Policy Examples & Resources Download

Part IV (the last section) of the IT Governance series gives readers specific examples of documents which should be considered for managing a CPA firm’s overall IT Governance strategy.  This is not a complete list but covers areas such as infrastructure, applications, asset management and more and is a good place to start.

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Roman-Kepczyk-Named-All-Three-Consulting-Awards-for-2014

Roman Kepczyk Named All Three Consulting Awards for 2014

Xcentric is honored to have Roman Kepczyk, CPA consultant who offers over 25 years of CPA firm experience, as our Director of Consulting.  Roman travels during the majority of the year meeting with CPA firms and speaking at conferences and association meetings, teaching people in the industry how to utilize technology by implementing today’s digital best practices.

This year, Roman has been honored with all three of the main consulting awards in the accounting industry.  This is not Roman’s first time receiving these honors either.

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Why-Your-Firm-Needs-Info-Security

Why Your Accounting Firm Needs Information Security Liability Insurance

By Stephen Vono, Principal, NAPLIA

Currently, 46 states have information security laws concerning personally identifiable information (PII). The laws define what information is considered PII and it defines what you must do in the event of a breach or loss of information. Laws are not prescriptive, meaning they don’t tell you specifically how to lock down client information. They will say that reasonable precautions need to take place. If you have a breach or loss of PII, the laws usually inform you who you need to inform of the breach and how to proceed. Many times the directive on what to do next comes from the local law authorities or the Attorney General’s Office, and these directives can be costly leaving your accounting firm exposed to financial damage. According to the Ponemon Institute, the cost in responding to notification laws can cost around $150.00 per notification.

Your firm is ultimately responsible for your notifying your clients of any loss of PII. If there is a breach in your cloud provider’s network and your clients PII is now compromised, your firm

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IT-Gov-Series

Operational Issues Related to IT Governance Download

Part III of the IT Governance series gives readers direction in how to smoothly operate a CPA firm.  This whitepaper brings up several issues that occur related to IT and walks through how to apply IT Governance methods to resolves these unpleasant scenarios.

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How smoothly IT Governance operates can be directly controlled by the IT department itself.  Oftentimes, the IT department has handled items “on the fly” in the past, however, IT Governance is going to now require documentation.  Establishing a standard can make this not only easier for the Committee, but will increase efficiencies for the department.

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The-Innovators-Changing-the-Accounting-Business-Model

The Innovators…Changing the Accounting Business Model

The words “innovation” and “accounting” are rarely uttered in the same breath. Our profession is by nature conservative and slow to change. But over the past several years, a movement of CPAs who see and do things differently has slowly been gaining steam.

After getting to know some of its pioneers I’ve concluded that we just may be on the cusp of a significant shift in our traditional accounting business model – the way we create, deliver and capture value.

I will explore this shift through profiles of three practitioners of what I’m calling “the new accounting.” This piece addresses the nature and characteristics of the movement and what it could mean for our firms and our clients.

The times, they are a changin’

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IT-Gov-Series

Practical IT Governance Whitepaper Download

Part II of the IT Governance series gives readers practical and real ways to leverage IT Governance within a CPA firm. As discussed in Part I of this series, IT has become a very vital part of every firm, and people need to not only understand what IT Governance is, they also need to implement it into their firms to stay ahead in the accounting industry.

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The first step in practical IT Governance is establishing executive responsibility. Typically, this is someone who oversees IT Governance for the firm based on a framework of responsibility given to this person by the Executive Committee or owners of the firm, which is often the CEO or managing partner. This person should be a member of the Executive Committee if your firm is structured in this manner.

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2014-SaaS-Survey-Bolsters-Cloud-Adoption

2014 SaaS Survey Bolsters Cloud Adoption

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 released a ground breaking SaaS survey in 2012, which was followed up in May of this year with over 100 firms participating.

The number of firms that maintained a traditional network infrastructure in-house declined in the past two years from 78% to 71%, while the number of firms that maintained their own network in a collocation facility increased slightly from 4% to

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IT-Trends-Impacting-Firms

IT Trends Impacting Firms

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

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Tale-of-Two-Clouds

A Tale of Two Clouds: Commodity Cloud vs. Service Centered Cloud

The cloud is obviously growing in popularity, and with this comes the variety of shapes and sizes that it can be packaged into. One of the lowest common denominators to look at when analyzing your cloud options is whether or not they are a product or a service company. Every IT firm under the sun likes to call their services/products ‘solutions’…so you have to do some translation on what it is you are actually buying at the end of the day.  

Thus, a way I like to frame it up is: is their core offering a commodity?

How do you know if it’s a commodity? If at the end of the day you are buying storage, computer, and power (and only these items), then it’s a commodity focused cloud. If you are buying a seat or an experience in conjunction with those items, then it’s likely a service centered cloud.

What’s better…a hammer or a screwdriver? It depends on the objective. Both can be right and useful given the situation. For many accounting firms, the cloud is

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