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Protecting Your Mobile Workstation (Laptop)

Firms are increasingly transitioning employees from traditional desktops to laptops as their only workstation to connect to the firm’s information resources and production applications. This has a variety of benefits, including increasing mobility of staff, providing secured remote access through a firm managed laptop, and allowing the employee to have a workstation in the event of a disaster (as highlighted by the recent series of hurricanes).

However, with this added mobility also comes additional responsibility to make sure the laptop is protected both physically and digitally. When issuing laptops to employees, it is important that the firm and personnel are both cognizant of the increased risks and responsibilities involved, and that the appropriate measures are being taken to protect the firm’s resources.

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Tools for Better Communication at Your Firm and Use Cases, Part 1

*This is a follow-up to this blog post.

You know what’s not perfect? Everything…true statement. But what seems to get more and more broken in our homes and businesses is communication. With all this technology and countless ways to communicate, it’s weird that communication is suffering more than ever. Thus, none of this is presented as a silver bullet for your firm, however, doing nothing is no longer an option unless you want entropy to win the day. The below technologies, when used correctly, can be extremely powerful. When used wrongly, it can be worse than not doing, thus try to avoid the following:

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7th Annual Talkin’ Cloud 100 Report Identifies Top Cloud Services Providers

Xcentric ranks among the world’s Top 100 cloud services providers (CSPs), according to Channel Futures seventh-annual Talkin’ Cloud (TC) 100 report.

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CPA IT Trends and Disrupters Recording

A few weeks ago, our Director of Consulting, Roman Kepczyk, presented a webinar with CPAFMA on IT Trends and Disrupters.  During this 60-minute webinar, Roman covers trends in network infrastructure from the CPAFMA survey, security concerns and firm recommendations, the importance of collaboration tools for optimizing tax and audit production, reviewing communications, how administrators can take a “lean” look at your firm processes and five potential disrupters.

You can download and view the recording here.

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Lean Tax Quality Control Opportunities

In our Lean Six Sigma consulting within CPA tax practices, we sometimes find that firms that have transitioned to a paperless environment in a piecemeal fashion actually became less efficient in certain components of their tax production processes.  In this article, we discuss specific areas where firms should be looking to implement lean tax processes with a focus on how to build quality control (QC) into these processes so they can be effectively relied upon from the start.  The reasons for paperless failures vary, but with another busy season rapidly approaching, it is the optimum time to look at the firm’s processes.

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Five Tips for Managing an Accounting Firm in 2018

It’s tough to run a successful accounting firm, and it’s getting more difficult with the war for talent and the commoditization of accounting firm services.  Having worked with hundreds of firms since 1996, here are five matters to consider within your firm as you head into busy season.

Mindset

Many firms operate with a scarcity mentality and confuse revenue with profitability.  You must come from a place of abundance to run a successful firm.  Otherwise, you chase revenue (not profits) and you try to be all things to all people which is never a winning strategy.  Furthermore, many firms put their clients ahead of the health of their firm.  Firms and the people inside of the firms undersell themselves, their services and let their good clients subsidize their underperforming clients.  You must put on your own oxygen mask first.  That is, in order to do well for others, you have to do well to yourself first.  Running a successful firm is about making the firm the #1 client and serving the

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Holiday Gift Gadgets

It’s happening – it’s that time of year for giving and receiving, and we each need to take stock of the various gadgets that abound at this time of the year.  Here are a few ideas for gifts for family, friends, and co-workers.

Streaming boxes

Roku

Just in time for the shopping season, Roku has refreshed their lineup of streaming set top boxes.  From a $30 HD streamer to the $99 ‘Ultra,’ Roku devices are built to serve the needs of any user case.  Now including power and volume controls, as well as option for 4K HDR, Roku’s experience in this category puts their offering at the top.

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Updated: Optimizing Workflows to Improve Firm Production

*This is an updated version of Optimizing Workflows to Improve Firm Production which was originally published in December 2013.

CPAs have had to deal with a significant amount of technological evolution in their careers, particularly in the past decade as the Internet and personal computers fundamentally changed how people communicate and collaborate around accounting work.  The conservative nature of accountants has most often placed them in the category of “settlers” within the technology adoption curve, waiting for “pioneer” firms and clients to thoroughly test, standardize, and prove that there is a return on any technology investment before jumping on board.  This has also been the case for workflow applications in firms, with those that have already integrated workflow tools finding that they are leading to significant time savings, helping the firm to service clients more effectively.  With the latest CPAFMA survey finding, 62% of firms have adopted a digital workflow tool – it’s time for the remaining firms to take a look.

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Communication Shifts Impacting Your Firm & The Global Village

*The Global Village is a deep dive on McLuhan’s thoughts on the Global Village, edited and pulled together posthumous.

Marshall McLuhan wrote Understanding Media in 1962.  In it, summarized of course, he theorized that humanity was going to return to village-like habits whereby humanity used imagery to transpose meaning, thus leaving the written word behind to a degree.  Seeing how Instagram, Facebook, TV, and mobile devices are consuming our brain waves, I’d have to agree with him.  We used to be able to instruct people through books on subjects and training manuals, but that is not the way the culture works anymore.

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