October 28, 2021

Technology

Anyone Not Adding Disclaimers to the Their Text Messages With Clients Is Probably Asking for It

Text messaging is right up there in the realm of great communication inventions. It's so engrained in our lives that we barely even think about it, but if it went away, we'd all be FURIOUS. Sure, it's butchering language and yes, people who text and drive should suffer a public shaming, but until we starting […]

Tesco Bank Deals with Digital Heist

Cybersecurity experts and IT auditors better saddle up — the world just experienced its first successful digital bank robbery. The Tesco heist Last weekend cyber criminals executed a sophisticated attack on Tesco Bank (subsidiary of the British grocery chain) and successfully stole £2.5 million (~$3.1 million) from customer accounts. While the money was refunded quickly […]

Is it Bye-Bye-Bye to SOC 2?

I wish…. While the SOC 2 isn’t exactly going away, the AICPA is in the process of giving it a major revamp. Maybe we can call it SOC Version 2.1? And, it’s about time! Back in June, I grappled with the flaws of the current Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting system: Don’t get me wrong. […]

Accounting Firms Should Embrace the Digital Fountain of Youth

When did the AICPA decide that “young” professionals are 22 to 40 (yes, 40) years old? Am I the only one to thinks 40 may be too old for that designation? Imagine if society considered professional athletes “young” if they met the under 40 threshold…   Don’t get me wrong — accounting is one industry […]

Exposure Drafts: Can’t Tell If Accountant…

Exposure Drafts is a satirical look at the eccentricities of the accounting profession brought to you by veteran Going Concern contributor Greg Kyte. Send comments and suggestions to editor@goingconcern.com.

Where Should Accountants Stand on Net Neutrality?

Who doesn’t love getting preferential treatment — even if you have to pay for it? Priority boarding on an airplane? TSA pre-check? Yes, sign me up! Really, any type of express lane is downright delicious.

“Rise of the Robots” – Cognitive Technology Threatens Us All

A reader’s skeptical comment on the second of this series — Part I and Part II — on the ominous messages for the accounting profession in Martin Ford’s prize-winning book of last year, Rise of the Robots was that, "The elephant in the room (is) that automation is nowhere close to being able to make […]

“Rise of the Robots” – And They’ll Audit Better, Smarter, Cheaper

“The ‘smarter’ machines get, the more and more jobs they’ll replace. Including mine. And yours.”    — Reader CommentMartin Ford’s prize-winning Rise of the Robots (2015) underlies this three-part look at the prospects that drones, robots and cognitive technology will rapidly displace jobs and careers at all levels of the Big Audit model, and that the […]

Accounting Firms and Bring Your Own Team to Work

I have worked with a few dysfunctional teams over the years. It’s the worst. But, it does make you appreciate the occasional dream team that jives together like magic. Tasks get done easier because the group functions like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, groups that work together seamlessly are rare and take awhile to develop. You […]

An Invasive Remedy for the Big 4 Accounting Blues

Overworked and underappreciated? Running on empty, day in and day out? We have all felt it. If you have worked in Big 4 accounting and didn’t experience Sunday night anxiety, you're not human. Prolonged spells of feeling overwhelmed can lead to burnout and start to impact your mental health. (Big surprise. #AuditorProud) As cited by […]

Accountants Are Becoming Hoarders

Does your external hard drive or cloud storage easily transform into the digital equivalent to a garage full of junk? Don’t be ashamed, I’m guilty of it too. And companies know it’s an issue, tempting you with more space for less than a cup of coffee every month. It’s hard to refuse. Remember those disposable […]

A Big Part of the Cloud Business Model Is on the Verge of Breaking

The sky is falling. Or, should I say, the cloud? No, I’m not Chicken Little. You might want to pay attention to this one… The no frill infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) business model is in trouble. Maybe you will agree with me…maybe not… but everyone seems to be looking at infrastructure providers with rose colored glasses. It […]

Augmented Intelligence in Accounting

As a follow up from my Augmented Reality post I wanted to take a moment to talk about augmented intelligence also known as intelligence amplification. Put simply, this is enhancing the human brain with technology. Believe it or not the term "intelligence amplification" was popularized by W. Ross Ashby in his 1956 book, An Introduction […]

3 Epic Fails of Backup and Recovery

Auditors — especially seasoned IT auditors — are familiar with the scene of sitting with a nervous backup and recovery analyst once a year for a walkthrough. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it, here’s the drill: It begins with rapport-building (read: uncomfortable) small talk mixed with a few questions about the overview […]

Multi-factor Authentication: Mo’ Factors, Mo’ Problems

The dreaded “access denied” error message. It makes you want to cry, doesn’t it? Not only do you have to change your password every 90 days, but throw in other options for dual factor authentication such as getting a text to your phone or some type of biometric scan… it’s headache central. As I said […]

From Wearable to Implantable Electronic Devices: Are You Ready?

I’ll admit it… when I first started wearing contact lenses, the idea of touching my eye was unnerving. Luckily, I got over it. (Especially since I am not quite ready to embrace the idea of laser eye surgery.) Plus, I am pretty happy with my contacts and am able to read spreadsheets with ease. That’s […]

How Small Accounting Firms Can Stay Relevant

As a firm owner my biggest fear is getting left behind. Well, that and running into the three worst days a business owner will face.

Underwater Datacenters Might Make for Some Tricky Auditor Walkthroughs

Who says we can’t mix electricity and water? Dangerous… sure. But, hey, why not? Microsoft is currently testing an underwater data center and it’s kind of genius. It’s in the “why didn’t I think of that” category. Dubbed Project Natick, this cutting-edge innovation is vying to create an out-of-the-box subsea datacenter that can get dropped […]

Tighten Up Privileged Access Now, or Hate Yourself Later

The 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (aka: “DBIR”) is out and it isn’t pretty. Where to start…? Maybe by saying that 2015 heralded over 100,000 information security incidents — including 3,141 data breaches. If those numbers are not staggering enough, it’s more unnerving to realize this is the first time I have heard about […]

Augmented Reality for Accounting

A couple weeks ago, Megan said, “It's Time for Accountants to Ditch Dual Monitors” which I read on one of my three screens. While I appreciated the GC wrath being directed at someone else for a change, the conversation missed the bigger picture.

#WhatsNext: Return-Free Filing

It's time once again for our monthly yakfest, #WhatsNext, a co-production of Going Concern and Thriveal. Today we're talking about return-free filing, something that's been in the news lately, but an issue we've covered on here for quite some time and has been a topic of debate for a decade or more. As always, I'll […]

Here’s Why There Won’t Be an Uber for Accounting

You’re probably familiar with Uber by now, unless you live under a rock, or live in the 25% of the country not yet covered by it.

Automation to Artificial Intelligence: New Frontiers for Auditors

News flash: Artificial intelligence (AI) and other cognitive technologies are eliminating jobs left and right. Bloomberg reports as many as 5 million jobs by 2020. Oh, calamity. Should auditors be worried? The short answer is no…don’t lose sleep over it. Why? First off, cognitive technologies (even super cool advanced ones) are best with structured tasks […]

It’s Time for Accountants to Ditch Dual Monitors

Here’s what my first day at a client would typically look like (circa 2012): 1. Carefully navigate through a new parking structure to avoid bumping expensive cars.2. Park.3. Obtain a security badge with an unflattering photo from the front desk.4. Return to car to collect my obnoxiously large (not technically portable) external monitor.5. Saunter into […]

Wait, Are Paper Tax Organizers Still a Thing?

Look, I admit that I’ve been out of the game for awhile, so forgive me if I sound, um, supercilious, but are paper tax organizers still a thing?

Accountants Should Dump Microsoft Excel for Database Software

Rumor has it that the AICPA is finally integrating Microsoft Excel into the CPA exam starting in 2018. I’ll admit my initial reaction is “it’s about time” since the generic spreadsheet I used was archaic. Apparently, almost 70% of the CPAs surveyed by the AICPA agreed. Go figure — we are all Excel-aholics who can’t get through the day without busting out a spreadsheet.

Now That The Cloud Is Mainstream, Where Do Hipster Accountants Go From Here?

Five years ago, hipster accountants were all over the cloud. We were working on clients’ books from coffee shops and Xero was this sketchy startup from New Zealand that no one had heard of. There were meetups and secret forums filled with the cloud elitists and, almost everyone in the scene had beards (except me, […]

Let’s All Enjoy This ‘Reply All’ Misadventure From the Virginia Society of CPAs Open Forum

How can you best annoy dozens of accountants in the midst of tax season? Well, in the age of the internet, a reply all mishap will do just fine. A tipster sent us a link to Virginia Society of CPAs' Open Forum thread that started innocently enough. An anonymous user posted a question about an […]

Do You Make These User Control Consideration Mistakes?

Discussing cyber extortion got the wheels turning about trust and reliance on our increasingly distributed IT ecosystems. Outsourcing IT functionality causes certain IT controls to be a fleeting afterthought for the user entity — the service provider will handle it, right? Well, maybe not. That’s where a Service Organization Controls (SOC) report comes in handy. […]

Cyber Extortion: Leprechauns vs. Accountants

To capture the spirit of St. Patty’s day, let’s discuss a cunning technique that nefarious leprechauns use to steal your pot of gold: cyber extortion. Boiled down, cyber extortion is an age-old blackmail scheme with a digital twist. It starts with an unlucky target, such as a database housing sensitive information. A leprechaun (read: hacker) […]

Is Our Productivity Obsession Counterproductive?

Don’t let the #productivityhack hype lure you in! It’s busy season and bloggers and app developers are just waiting to entice tired accountants with their claims to speed up your efficiency and change your life. I am convinced our obsession with productivity is simply a ruse for procrastination. Every time I add a “game-changing” new […]

Password Inundation: Password Policies We Love to Hate

As a technology obsessed society we're drowning in a sea of passwords. Remember when your locker combo was all you had to memorize? Now I have over 100 different passwords. It’s ridiculous. The problem is no one can possibly remember that many passwords. So what do we do as lazy tech connoisseurs? We simply use […]

Next-Gen Cloud Accounting: Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Ecosystems

Let’s face it. Cloud computing is so 6 years ago. We agree it’s a technology trope that has to go. And yet, accounting software executives are still enamored with everything cloud. Enough already, right!? Unfortunately, the accounting profession’s captivation with cloud is not merely lip service. In 2014, QuickBooks Online generated more than $800 in […]

#TBT: Auditors Cringe While Watching Office Space

In honor of throwback Thursday let me take you on a journey down memory lane to reminisce about Office Space, a light hearted and irreverent comedy starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston. Spoiler alert! (Actually, if you haven’t seen the movie during the last 17 years I don’t feel bad.) Peter, played by Ron Livingston, […]

Beware of Bring Your Own Device

I woke up in shock on my first day of freedom after leaving my Big 4 job. I leaned toward my nightstand to check the time on my iPhone. Wait, what?! My phone had been wiped. Panic set in first. When did I last back it up?

Auditors Sing The Legacy System Blues

Ed. note: Today we debut a new contributor to Going Concern. Megan Lewczyk, CPA (pronounced left without the “t” and "chick" like a baby bird) is a Big 4 alumna who decided to venture off the beaten path early in her career. She owns a consulting firm, is an adjunct accounting instructor for a couple […]

Sure, Accounting Students Should Learn How to Code (And a Lot of Other Things, Too)

Over at the AICPA's website, there's a post that makes the case for accounting students to learn how to code. It's hard to disagree with the premise — coding is a valuable skill — but there are several aspects to this topic that go unmentioned, that I'll try to cover here. First and foremost, anyone […]

Tell a Fellow Accountant About Alt+Tab, for Crying Out Loud

You people make me sad. Seriously, anyone who isn't using Alt+Tab constantly needs to examine their lives. Shocking stat from a Windows 10 briefing at Microsoft today: Only 6% of Windows users know about Alt+Tab to switch apps. — David Pogue (@Pogue) July 16, 2015 If I hear of any one of you using the […]

Deloitte Survey: Auditors’ Use of Technology Does Not Impress

A Deloitte survey of financial executives, financial statement users and audit committee members found that an overwhelming majority — 84%, 70% and 76% respectively — of these people, "believe auditors should use advanced technologies more extensively in performing an audit." Apparently, 21st century auditing is still a few years off. [WSJ] Image: Gnangarra/WIkimedia Commons

The End Is Nigh: Prepare Yourselves for the Accountapocalypse

Last week I read Caleb's post about the murky future of the accounting profession, and I reached out to him immediately. You see, I am in the business of predicting the future of the accounting profession. Or at least that’s what my LinkedIn says, it makes it easier to explain what an accounting futurist actually does.

Getting Cirrus: A Conversation with Blake Oliver of Cloudsourced Accounting

Today, Harshman Phillips & Company announced that it is acquiring Cloudsourced Accounting, a firm that provides "cloud integration and online bookkeeping services" to small businesses. Blake Oliver, one of the co-founders of Cloudsourced, is unique in the respect that he is not a CPA. You may remember a post from back in January where this […]

Belated #TBT: VisiCalc, the First Spreadsheet Program

I wrote this yesterday and didn't publish it. Go figure. Anyway, VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program, hitting the market in 1979. It was developed by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, originally running on the Apple II and was consider its "killer app."   In a 1980 review, BYTE stated: "The most exciting and influential piece […]

Actually, Everyone Knows That Having Two Monitors Is Super Boss

Today in this isn't news news. You may not know it but having two screens is super boss — Life at Deloitte AU (@AuDeloittian) February 26, 2015 This is Life at Deloitte Down Under, which may explain why he's under the assumption that we haven't already beaten this topic to death.

Use Excel to Keep an Eye on Your BMI This Busy Season

Let’s assume that you’ve bought into the quantified-self craze. Your wearable technology measures every breath you take and every move you make, so now it's time for new frontiers, as in something other than the fast food drive-thru lane. It’s always easiest to start with low-hanging fruit, such as your co-workers. Body Mass Index is […]

How to Add a Nice Steaming Pile of Poo to Any Excel Spreadsheet

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. There may just be instances where nothing else will do in a set of audit work papers than a steaming brown pile of excrement. This is easy to add in the mobile versions of Excel, but you can also add emoji in the desktop […]

Would Your Clients Like a Side of DIY Legal Forms With That Tax Return?

As some of you know, I'm at Thomson Reuters SYNERGY this week, which is basically a 1,300 person party for Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite users. I'll spare you the gory details of product demos and cheerful salespeople in bright orange shirts but I did want to share the big news out of this year's […]

PwC Ups Its Disruption; Gets on Gmail

Rejoice, PwCers, you all are joining the late 20th century!

Excel Can Help You Choose Where to Get a Meaty Lunch

The Internet’s viral sensation of August 2014 was an off-menu Arby’s sandwich known as the “Meat Mountain." For the low, low price of $10 you can get a stack of eight meats and two cheeses. I think even PETA has been too shocked to respond. And what exactly does this have to do with Microsoft […]

How To Add Any Website to Your iPhone or Android Home Screen

You guys have been asking us for an app for a long time, and trust us, we've been asking The Powers That Be for the same thing. Unfortunately, our favorite in-house developer who performs miracles for all of us on a daily basis doesn't have the ability to make one at the moment. What he […]

Hasten Your Departure with Pre-Written Microsoft Word Resignation Letters

Are you ready to pull the plug on your current gig, but feel intimidated by that blinking cursor at the top left-hand corner of a Word document? Microsoft Word has you covered with an array of prewritten letters of resignation. Yes, we here at Going Concern are always here to serve you. Microsoft has you […]

PwC Is Getting Into the Virtual Food Service Business

PwC learned me a new phrase today: digital spaghetti! dig•it•al spa•ghet•ti– the art of creating new words that describe something technical to educate your friends and co-workers; helpful when playing buzzword bingo in your next emerging technology discussion. Digital spaghetti terms share a characteristic of being relatively new and lack a universally agreed upon definition. […]

How to Transform Text in Excel

If you’re like most Excel users, you’re likely self-taught. Nothing wrong with that, I got here in the same fashion. However, from my perspective many users learn enough about Excel to wield it as a hammer when often more nuanced approaches are more appropriate. In this article I’ll give you several ways that you can […]

Sqrl’s Lead Developer Is Crowdfunding Potato Salad Right Now, And It Is Amazing

It seems you can crowdfund just about anything these days, from payment of your medical bills to oddly-named children's books about pit bulls. It's entirely unclear why Zack "guy who will be making the potato salad" Brown turned to Kickstarter to make a $10 potato salad, nor why he thought it would run a mere […]

How to Turn Off Error Checking in Excel

Ed. note: this is third in an ongoing series to help you make the most out of Excel setting-by-setting. If you have a specific Excel demon to slay, you can get in touch for our resident white knight and Excel-slayer David Ringstrom to help you out. If you’ve implemented the changes that I’ve recommended in […]

Use AutoRecover in Excel to Save Your Spreadsheet From Yourself

Ed. note: this is second in an ongoing series to help you make the most out of Excel setting-by-setting. If you have a specific Excel demon to slay, you can get in touch for our resident white knight and Excel-slayer David Ringstrom to help you out.   In Part 1 of this series I noted […]

Accountants Love iPhones and Shun Android, Says This

The latest CPA Trendlines survey — which is worth a glance if you're into mobile tech trends within the profession — reveals accountants favor iPhones to Android phones by two to one. More interesting, 10% of respondents say they use neither smartphones nor tablets at work. Yet half of respondents are billing at least 11 […]

A Creepy Dating App Apparently Cruised LinkedIn to Make You Think Your Colleague Wants You

This is, um, awkward. Even folks who make office romances as regular as 10 minutes in the can after the morning coffee might find this creepy. It's creepy. Kash Hill has the story at Forbes: Last month, many people received an email from a dating app called Sway letting them know that a co-worker had […]

The Future of Wearables as Visualized by Deloitte U Looks Terribly Dorky and Burdensome

I can't even with this. If the future includes walking around with an implant in my thigh (for what, exactly?) and all this crap strapped on me like I'm on house arrest in 1995, FORGET IT. The firms are really starting to hype this crap up, first with Deloitte shilling over at WSJ and now […]

The Secret to Getting Rich in Tech is Being an Accountant

Colin shared this in ANR this morning but I'm just going to leave this here to make sure you see it: David Ebersman did well as CFO of Genentech, regularly making more than $4 million per year at the biotech firm. But his next career move brought far greater riches. When Facebook was in the market […]

Does Your Future of Work Include Wearing Wearables?

Perhaps you've heard the story of a troll young lady who calls herself a social media consultant caught between a punk and a hard place at a San Francisco bar with Google Glass on her face. Perhaps you read Jody Padar's story on Glass and accounting firms. Now we have a piece published on Deloitte's […]

Here’s Why You Don’t Want Excel on Your iPad

When Excel for iPad finally arrived, my first impression was here we go, yet another 1.0 Microsoft product *insert eye roll here*. As you might expect, Excel for iPad only offers a small fraction of the functionality available in the desktop versions of Excel, but I realized it’s unfair to call it a 1.0 product. […]

Why Accountants Can (And Should) Take Over the Business World

We live in a world where everyone is trying to figure out what the hell big data means to them. But really, how much big data is there?

Going Concern March Madness: AND Then There Were Two LEFT in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of Excel functionality…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat. The cyber-drama of spreadsheet competition…This is Going Concern’s Ultimate Excel Bracket!

Going Concern March Madness: FIND your Final Four in The Ultimate Excel Bracket

¡Ay, caramba! Our field of 64 has funneled to the Final Four:
Keyboard Shortcuts: #2 Seed Ctrl-Z vs. Other Excel Features: #6 Seed Format Painter
Worksheet Functions: #10 Seed VLOOKUP vs. Data Analysis Tools: #12 Seed Filter
There’s only one more round before the final face off. Here’s how the strong have survived:

Going Concern March Madness: Only Eight EXCEL-lent Features Remain in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

We've reached the home stretch of brackets season and we're about to crown four spreadsheet saviors in each of our Ultimate Excel bracket regions. By this point in the tournament you know these contenders well enough so we'll dispense with any further pleasantries. Plus, since we're talking about features of a computer program, there are […]

Ultimate Excel Bracket Round 3: The Great Eight

Oh, snap! #1 seed Pivot Tables is out! Here’s a rundown of the standings: Worksheet Function#10     VLOOKUP#13     LEFT Keyboard Shortcut#1    Ctrl-S#2     Ctrl-Z Data Analysis Tools#2     Table#12     Filter Other Features#6     Format Painter#8     Format Cells Don’t get too comfortable folks, only half of these contenders will advance to the Final […]

Excel-lent April Fool’s Pranks For the Hated Spreadsheet Jockey in Your Life

With a few subtle changes, you can ruin someone’s day. No, you’re not wasting company time, you’re testing your colleague’s Excel moxy. Feel free to charge prank time as “training” if necessary.

Going Concern March Madness: COUNT the Sweet Sixteen in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

There’s no time to waste worrying about how the weepy fans of Text Box or MATCH/INDEX are feeling, there are 16 SWEET Excel contenders ready to battle it out to see who will move on to their respective regional championship match-ups.

The Debate Heats Up Over How Many Computer Monitors You Should Have

This is relevant to you all because we all know how you feel about multiple monitors. You will recall, before we get into the debate, that dual monitors are critical for success even if you are working on the weekend poolside. PwC realized it could suck the life out of its grunts in half the […]

Going Concern March Madness: Get SUM in Round 2 of the Ultimate Excel Bracket

We had a nice mix of upsets, domination and disappointment (I'm looking at you, Goal Seek!) in the first round of the Ultimate Excel Bracket. If you're just getting acquainted with this spreadsheet battle royale, then check out the results in the Functions and Key Shortcuts and Data Analysis and Other Features regions to catch up. You can also read analysis from our resident Excel expert David Ringstrom.

Going Concern March Madness: Recap of Data Analysis and Other Features

Annnnnnddd we’re back with the second half of your winners from Round 1 of Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket. This time Data Analysis Tools and Other Excel Features duked it out amongst themselves, with these features advancing to the second round (see the first batch of winners here):

The Big Problem with Big Data for Big Accounting Firms

If you made a Big 4 drinking game and included the words Big Data, Cloud and Analytics, you’d be in the hospital before you logged your first eight chargeable hours of the week. These all started as leadership buzzwords, but in reality they’ve started to gain real traction, at least in my firm.

Going Concern March Madness: Recap of Excel Functions and Key Shortcut Winners

Ladieees and gentlemen (yes, we’re using those terms loosely), here are your winners from Round 1 of Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket. The games began when Worksheet Functions and Keyboard Shortcuts squared off within their respective regions: FUNCTIONS #1     MATCH/INDEX#2     IFERROR#3     SUBTOTAL#6     SUMIF#8   […]

Going Concern March Madness: The Most EXCELlent Bracket Continues

Hello again, spreadsheet fanatics. Have you returned for Excel battle royale? Of course you have. If you're just getting caught up, be sure to go to our post from yesterday to vote in the Functions and Key Shortcuts regions.

Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket

Your firm may be able to stop you from streaming March Madness on company-owned devices or with company-owned bandwidth, but they can’t stop you from participating in Going Concern March Madness!

How to Use Excel to Manage March Madness

File this under: things you must know as a spreadsheet jockey and sports fan.

It Is Almost Certain You Will One Day Be Replaced by Machines

The future is scary sometimes. Even scarier, the prospect that you, dear accountants, are more likely to be replaced by machines than firefighters, editors, pilots, and dentists. In fact, the only humans more likely to be replaced by machines than you are telemarketers and I think we can all agree they should have been shipped off to the Island of Unwanted People a long time ago.

How to Stay Focused Using Technology When Technology is Keeping You Unfocused

Jumping off Colin's Open Item earlier today about Tracker — a Chrome extension developed by a former EY employee that allows you to better understand what you spend your time doing — we came across a few browser extensions you all might find useful in this, the most non-joyful time of year where every minute […]

How To Make a List and Check It Off Twice (In Excel)

Our brother from another mother over at AccountingWEB, David Ringstrom is a CPA and Excel wizard. It's not too late to join him for his December 19th webinar "High Impact Excel," which is worth 1 CPE credit and ∞ Excel expertise. Today, David is kicking down wisdom on how to use strikethrough in Excel… you […]

Jason the Hipster CPA Was Using the Cloud Before It Was Cool

Come on, people. It opened for Wilco in '94. Attention accountants everywhere: please stop talking about the cloud. #YesteryearsNews — Jason M. Blumer, CPA (@JasonMBlumer) November 19, 2013

Chegg’s Market Debut Is Not Nearly As Well-Received As Chegg’s Actual Business

So textbook rental company Chegg went public today. And here's sort of what happened… Chegg priced their IPO at $12.50 a share, which exceeded expectations. Here's what you really need to know though: Chegg said it earned $22.7 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, for the nine months that […]

Some Guy Says CPAs Better Adapt or Die, And He’s Right

An interesting piece from Accounting Today tells us that basically this guy says CPAs have to adapt or die: Accountants face irrelevance if they don't keep up with the continuing changes in technology, according to Jon Baron, managing director of Thomson Reuters' Professional Tax & Accounting. In his opening keynote at the company's 33rd Annual […]

Excel Art is a Thing, Apparently

I'm sure many of you consider yourselves more than mere spreadsheet jockeys, rather true spreadsheet artistes, manipulating one of Microsoft's finest products to satisfy your need for domination over data. And that's OK. But unless you have way too much time on your hands, you're never going to get to this level of Excel artistry. […]

Has Microsoft Excel Ruined the World?

This isn't a breaking news story or anything but since our Google Alert for "Microsoft Excel" is filed in the same folder as "Lotus Notes," we sort of didn't get right on this story when it came out earlier this month. Thankfully most of you were drinking yourselves into a post-busy season coma and probably […]

Everything You Need To Know About Blackberry 10 Because We Know You People Are Out There

Editor's note: Greg Kyte has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Blackberry 10 like Doomsday Preppers waiting for JC to knock on their door. Unlike the preppers, Greg didn't have to stockpile weapons or get into canning. No, he just needed a tent. Check out his journey on YouTube after reading this week's post. Believe it or […]

The Cloud Will Cause More Family Arguments This Holiday Season Than Ever Before

With our email addresses plastered all over this website, we get a ton of spam from "marketers" and "PR professionals" who try to pitch us topics completely unrelated to this website such as WHAT HAS MORE THAN 500,000 LED LIGHTS, A ROOM FULL OF REINDEER, AND A SANTA CLAUS JOLLY ENOUGH TO MAKE ADULTS BELIEVE […]

The Very First Microsoft Excel Ad Was Even More Clairvoyant Than Anyone Could Have Known

Human beings spend, on average, a third of their lifetime sleeping. They spend six total years eating, four years cleaning the house and a little over a year on the toilet.  If only someone would do a study to determine how many years the average spreadsheet jockey spends with their nose buried in multiple Excel […]

British Stationery Company Theorizes That Some Businesses Prefer Keeping Books on Paper Because They Are “Unaware” of Accounting Software, Other Bullshit Reasons

We all know someone who's a little too resistant to technological advances in accounting and the accounting business. The partner who never uses email. The office manager who insists on going to the post office rather than printing postage off the web. KPMG.   But even the fussiest Luddites have adapted to the various improvements […]

At Least One McGladrey Employee Is Skeptical of the Motives Behind the Firm Giving Everyone iPads

This just in from a tipster (confirming a Tweet that was pointed out to us) inside the newly reconciled laugh factory known as McGladrey: All McGladrey employees are getting a 3G iPad January 3rd. We found out in a big conference about our rebranding and RSM buyout.  It's still technically "company owned" so it's probably […]

Would Anyone Actually Download This AICPA App?

That’s a serious question.

I’ve been to events with lots of accountants huddled up in a room showing off their technology so I am not implying that CPAs don’t care about apps, I’m just wondering if anyone would download an app dedicated to a particular AICPA conference.

CrowdCompass released the AICPA Not-For-Profit Financial Executive Forum app on October 15th and as far as I can tell, no one cares about it.


The description reads as follows:

Between the slowed-down economy and a more stringent regulatory environment, the last few years have led to a “new normal.” Gaining lost momentum and getting back on track with smart new strategies and practical solutions are necessary for success.

This AICPA Not-for-Profit Financial Executive Forum is the solutions-based conference that features top experts and is designed specifically to address these issues and provide the answers for your financial, technical and structural operations. You’ll come away with valuable insights and tools to take back to your organization and implement immediately.

The 2011 NFP FEF (if that isn’t a mouthful…) sounds like a great time for anyone actually interested in non-profits (my unofficial research shows there are about 7 of you). Not-for-profit financial executive staff members, CEOs, CFOs/executive directors and directors of finance in NFP could probably learn a lot and enrich the very core of their work by hanging around at one of these forums. Hey, you can even check in on foursquare from the conference. But the Android app? I’m not sure I see the benefit there.

Does an app make navigating the conference any easier? You still have to remember the name of the person you met three hours ago who you’re being introduced to again and no app can help you with that. It’s not like there are several square miles of territory to navigate as you’re cruising the conference circuit, so is it necessary to have your exact position on the map? Maybe I’m just an old BlackBerry user who doesn’t get it.

Anyway, the conference is from October 27-28, 2011 at the Westin in my former hometown of San Francisco, CA so it isn’t too late for you to register and fly out there to the Land of Fruits and Nuts for some non-profity goodness.

If anyone actually downloads and uses this app, can you please get in touch with me? I’m curious to hear what you did with it. Sorry, that’s kind of lazy but the AICPA isn’t going to sell me the email list of anyone who buys the app so this is the best we’ve got.

Ten Most Expensive iPad Apps List Includes Becker’s Mobile Flashcards

The Most Expensive Journal recently came out with a top 10 list of most expensive iPad apps and – surprise, surprise – it looks like Becker’s mobile flashcards made the list.

The mobile flashcard set includes over 950 cards with questions on the front and brief answers on the back, which will look familiar to any of you who have used Becker’s regular flashcards.

The app works on iPhone or iPad but you don’t have the option to use it on both if you happen to own both devices; you’ll have to buy two copies of the app if that’s what you’re trying to do.

Curious to hear what your most expensive app is and whether or not you’d buy these.

Do Regional Firm Accountants Have Better Excel Skills Than Their Big 4 Counterparts?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

I was having a discussion with a colleague concerning the Excel skills in industry versus public accounting. We agreed that, generally speaking and based on surveys of class participants in our respective Excel CPE classes, industry users are more advanced than public accounting users. Within public accounting, regional firm users are more advanced than local and Big 4 users. Why is that?

We had one computer for about 150 professional staff when I started out in Big 8 public accounting oh so long ago. Back then we were the cutting edge in spreadsheet use. We were consulting with our clients on how to use Visicalc to increase productivity and reduce errors. So how did the Big 4 apparently slide to the bottom of the scale?

Theory number one holds that the Big 4 does all their training from within. They take someone who has perceived advanced skills, and use that person to teach everyone else what they know. The problem is that the in-house trainer may not know some of the advanced features in Excel that would be useful to the group. The trainer may only know slightly more than everyone else. My own experience with selling Excel to a Big 4 firm is that they feel it would be nice to know more about Excel, but it’s not imperative to the job. Rather it is better to focus CPE resources on IFRS or the latest tax code changes.

Theory number two says that associates in the Big 4 are focused in on their in-house proprietary audit software which doesn’t allow incorporating new ideas into the audit process like pivot tables or form control objects. Stick to the audit program because there is no room in the budget to experiment with Excel.

Now that I’m done ragging on the Excel skill level in the Big 4 remember I said at the beginning of the post “generally speaking” and I know there are excellent Excel users in the Big 4. I just haven’t met them yet.

Chase’s New Expense Tracking App Will Cater to the Most Anal-Retentive Bosses

If finicky expense-tracking is going to evolve with the times, there has to be a way to track every dime spent from anywhere and it appears Chase is making an effort toward that goal with its newest offering: Jot.

Hot off the wire:

Jot will provide Ink from Chase customers a variety of mobile benefits, including the ability to:

— Receive text alerts within seconds of making a purchase with their Ink card;

— Immediately tag these purchases to custom categories on a mobile device or online;

— Enable employees to tag their business expenses;

— Immediately view all transactions on their account, including those of their employees, through their mobile device or online;

— Adjust employees’ card spending limits in real-time via a mobile device; and

— Create and download reports into accounting software, including QuickBooks(R) and Excel(R).

“Small business owners are innovative, passionate and hardworking, and Chase’s dedication to partnering with these business owners comes from the belief that this group of entrepreneurs is an integral part of the American economy,” said Richard Quigley, president of Ink from Chase. “Jot was designed with small business owners’ immediate financial needs top of mind. Jot will enhance the finance-savvy business practices of small business owners, allowing for additional time and an improved focus on the passion and sense of accomplishment they have for their businesses.”

Financially-savvy Ink customers who have an iPhone or Android phone can download Jot by visiting the Ink website. Once you’ve got it downloaded you and your employees’ spending will be reined in and you’ll be back agonizing over more important things in no time.

Will Barry Salzberg Join Twitter?

As we’ve mentioned, it’s the first week of the new (fiscal) year at Deloitte which means people are getting antsy and your new leaders are starting to get acclimated to their new titles, repsonsibilities and whatnot. One of the most important decisions that new global CEO Barry Salzberg will have to make is whether or not he jumps into the Twittersphere. His predecessor, Jim Quigley, has quit Twitter without getting all dramatic about it, saying, “My CEO tenure concludes today. Enjoyed trying Twitter. Thanks for following my updates. Stay connected w/ Deloitte @deloitte. Regards, Jim.”

So now that @DeloitteCEO is no longer in use, it seems to be a shame that the ol’ Salz decided to not to use it as a Twitty pulpit but we realize it’s not for everyone. However, being the charismatic mustachioed man that he is, I think he’d probably be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly. And if he needs some pointers, he can always consult Adrienne’s Twitter case studies.

My only advice is, don’t get too sensitive on us.

Mobile Expense Tracking, The Easy Way

While we won’t all admit it, many of us are pretty lazy. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and given the right set of tools, lazy bastards like us can actually spend more time procrastinating and less time worrying about how to blow off whatever it is we’re trying to avoid.

When it comes to expenses, we can all use an easier way, lazy or not. Here are three apps that should help.

Evernote (free) MACPA CEO Tom Hood uses the Evernote iPhone app to snap a pic of his receipts, which he can then send directly to his office for safe-keeping and reimbursement. This means no stuffing random receipts into your pockets hoping they make it back to homebase. You can also use it as a sort of mobile Post-it note and scrapbook, capturing clips from newspaper articles, meeting notes and even business cards.

iXpenseIt This app ($4.99 in the Apple store) can help you track your own personal expenses as well as any you might incur for work. Voted one of the 50 Most Useful iPhone Apps by Laptop Magazine and a Best iPhone App by CNN Money.

ProOnGo Expense (free 30-day trial, pricing varies) goes a step further and even allows you to track your billable hours. It is compatible with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and even Windows Mobile. Using the GPS feature, you can track your mileage too. The receipt reader feature allows you to put all your receipts into a neat Excel sheet or QuickBooks file.

Just for clarity’s sake, we’re sure you’re aware of this but here are the IRS rules on business expenses for your records. File it!

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Humiliated Tax Guru

There’s nothing quite as humiliating as a public fall from grace, especially when you’ve spent your entire net worth on infomercials and bad stripey highlights. For the tax crusader formerly known as The Tax Lady, going quietly into that dark night just wasn’t going to do.

As you can clearly see by her Twitter account, which we have screenshotted for eternal preservation just in case the State of California requires her to take it down, Roni Deutch made a last ditch effort on May 13th to spread word of her press conference last week to just about anyone who would listen. We don’t qualify an “@” as actually listening, but maybe it made her feel better to spam everyone from Consumerist (twice!) to a random “Redneck Zionist” with a link to her video.

Yes, Roni, we saw your video. And we laughed at it. Hard.

In a related note, this is not an endorsement but it appears that @IRSHelpOk is doing it right. Check out the many not-quite-specific-but-pretty-easy-to-figure-out digs at those who don’t obey the rules of their state bar association.

Getting Hacked Happens to the Best of Us?

Recently, I’ve been getting suspicious emails purporting to be from a high-up in my company. I have faith in this person and therefore would assume if (s)he wanted to push hot webcam videos on me, (s)he’d have the decency to text me with the hott linkks instead of using poor grammar in work emails. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the same emails coming from – gasp! – my own email address. Now I knew it had to be a scam; surely I wouldn’t have to tell myself about some hot new webcam girrllss I’d discovered on an .ru domain, I’d have that shit deliciously bookmarked on my own machine.

Being incredibly careful with my logins, I knew I couldn’t have slipped up and gotten phished. Had I been hacked?

Whenever someone says “I got hacked!” I have to admit I always feel a bit of “blame the victim” is in order. After all, I find it a bit hard to swallow that some hardcore hackers in Russia are all that concerned with your personal Facebook page. To say “I’ve been hacked” implies that some outside source did some work to break through your rock solid security and gain entry, and makes no implication that the user themselves likely opened the door and let the “hacker” in, if unwittingly. More often than not, “I got hacked” means “I unknowingly gave up my password in a phishing scheme” or “I screwed up and clicked an unbelievable posting on Facebook that stole my login info because I never read the permissions I give third party apps.”

It’s been done a million times but for your sake, here are a few tips for staying safe out there in the big scary Internets.

Make sure your contact info is up to date. If an unscrupulous individual ever gains access to your Facebook account, you may be forced to lock it down, in which case you’ll need access to the email address you use to sign in to receive communications from Facebook to get your account back. Make sure you’re using an email you have access to, even if it’s one you don’t use often.

Diversify your passwords. It goes without saying that a good password is one that isn’t found in the dictionary but isn’t so difficult you have to keep it written on a sticky at your desk. Dennis Howlett recommends a LastPass account (via AccountingWEB UK) for harder to remember passwords if you must. Substitute numbers for letters (like “1” instead of “I” or “3” instead of “E”) and throw in some punctuation just to be safe.

If you aren’t sure, don’t click it. Spammers have gotten pretty smart since the days of the “ILOVEYOU” virus (which happens to turn 11 this week) and even the most technologically-adept can fall for their tricks. If you aren’t expecting an attachment, don’t open it. Common attachment scams include spoofed emails from UPS or USPS claiming to contain your tracking number or a package exception – while UPS may send you emails, they’d never send you a zip file (tracking numbers are always included in the body of any UPS communications sent on merchants’ behalf). Be wary!

And if you have been hacked, phished or otherwise compromised, delete any offending posts from your hijacked social media pages and issue an apology. You don’t have to beg for forgiveness, just let everyone know you got compromised and are sorry, it won’t happen again.

In my case, I just got spoofed, which isn’t really my fault at all. That’s where a nice email from the tech support department to the rest of the team comes in handy.

BlackBerry PlayBook vs iPad 2: Which Would You Rather Have Your Firm Pay For?

Tablets are the new Pocket PC and while we may question the viability of accountants preparing tax returns on iPads, it might be time to take a look at the new BlackBerry PlayBook versus the iPad2 for all things somewhat work-related. Let’s go!


Pros of the PlayBook:
• features: 7″ LCD display, 1024 x 600 screen resolution, 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 Gb RAM
• runs Flash so you can watch YouTube videos at the client
• works with Android applications so you have 200,000 Android toys at your disposal
• doesn’t run native email so you have a great excuse for ignoring emails (for now you can use the device as a viewer to connect to your BlackBerry smartphone but cannot actually open emails from the PlayBook)

Pros of the iPad 2:
• features: 9.7″ LED display with 1024 × 768 screen resolution at 132ppi, Apple 1GHz A5 Processor, 512 Mb RAM
• looks awesome
• inspires jealously among your friends who work for broke mid-tier firms
• makes you more likely to get robbed using it on the train, helping you get over your awkward social phobia by forcing you to talk to your would-be thief
• doesn’t run Flash so you won’t be tempted to waste precious time watching YouTube videos at the client (unless you’re clever enough to have a decent converter)
•works with thousands more apps than Android/BlackBerry offerings, allowing you a much larger pool of distractions to access from company PP&E

Though this writer must disclaim this entire article by pointing out that she is a BlackBerry fan, it’s worth pointing out that without playing with one, we have to say the PlayBook is definitely disappointing on the surface. Technology ED is nothing to joke about, and this release was definitely a premature splurt on the face of BB nerds everywhere. No native email? That doesn’t even make sense.

The only selling point on the PlayBook for work may be that many of you already carry around company-issued BlackBerry devices, and we all know management is resistant to change. While iPads have been marketed as convenience devices, BlackBerry has somehow retained its reputation as a work device, allowing a bit of an in when it comes to getting management to spring for a handful of these little toys.

As for increased productivity? We haven’t seen any proof from either device that shows putting one in staff hands leads to any greater enthusiasm for work. Until someone comes up with a mind control app, we’ll keep holding out.

As always, let us know in the comments if you wholeheartedly agree with our obviously biased opinion.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s iPhone App For the Blind Seems a Bit Heartless

I know what you’re thinking, what blind person has an iPhone? We thought the same thing when we read this. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, at least 100,000 of them do. Regardless of the believability of that number, we all deserve the right to count our money.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has developed a free downloadable application (app) to assist the blind and visually impaired denominate US currency. The app is called EyeNote™. EyeNote™ is a mobile device app designed for Apple iPhone (3G, 3Gs, 4), and the 4th Generation iPod Touch and iPad2 platforms, and is available starting today through the Apple iTunes App Store.

EyeNote™ uses image recognition technology to determine a note’s denomination. The mobile device’s camera requires 51 percent of a note’s scanned image, front or back, to process. In a matter of seconds, EyeNote™ can provide an audible or vibrating response, and can denominate all Federal Reserve notes issued since 1996. Free downloads will be available whenever new US currency designs are introduced. Research indicates that more than 100,000 blind and visually impaired individuals currently own an Apple iPhone.

Wait a second, I know adults with perfect visual acuity that cannot work a touchscreen (I bet a lot of them work in your office), how on Earth would a blind person be able to do this?

If you’ve been accused of being fucking blind lately, you can give the free app a spin via iTunes. For the target audience, however, we have some concerns about the practical application and, more specifically, WTF the BEP was thinking.

Robert Half Offers New Rules for the Digital Age

Some business etiquette rules in this day and age are common sense (which we hope most of you have at least a little of): tweet as if your boss is watching, don’t threaten to stab your senior on Facebook (especially if said senior is in your friends list), and don’t leave a miserable trail of bad behavior behind on your company laptop when you leave the company.

For everything else that isn’t so clear, Robert Half offers Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age, tips and tricks for polishing up your online persona. Here are a few sticky etiquette questions and answers to whet your palate:

Can Facebook postings hurt my job search?

A good rule of thumb is to always post prudently: If you don’t want your employer to see it, get rid of it. A recent survey by our firm revealed that 44 percent of executives review the Facebook presence of potential hires. Even if your account is just for fun, keep it in check. To put your Facebook on a privacy lockdown, click on the drop-down “Account” menu in the top right corner and select “Privacy Settings.” Keep in mind that Facebook may change its privacy features at any time, and you might not be aware of the changes when they occur. Always assume that anything you post online may become public.

Should I friend my boss or coworkers?

This is the $64,000 question, and the feelings of those on the receiving end may provide the answer. (See “Thinking About ‘Friending’ Your Boss on Facebook?” on Page 10 of Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age.) If you do connect, utilize privacy settings and different friend lists to control how — and with whom — you share content. Be sensitive to your professional environment: some industries or companies are much more engaged in digital networking than others. If you’re starting a new job, take your cue from others before sending out “friend” requests to your new colleagues.

How responsive should I be to e-mail when I’m on vacation?

It depends on whether you want to have a real vacation. If your “Out of Office” says you’re not checking e-mail on vacation, don’t check and respond to messages. Doing so changes expectations and implies you’re more accessible than you said you’d be. Instead, be considerate to others’ needs while you are out and list a back-up contact in your Out of Office auto response.

We especially like that last one. Remember, being professional isn’t the same as being a bitch, and you are allowed to set reasonable boundaries without giving your partners a stroke while they fume over those damn incorrigible Gen Y kids taking over the office. And if anyone tells you differently, you send them our way and we’ll set them straight.

You can download Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age via Robert Half.