Firm Security Needs an Independent Review

Who needs cybersecurity training? Your whole staff.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Going “paperless” means that all firm files and client data will be digitally stored on the firm’s network, which is almost always accessible to firm personnel via internal workstations and remotely via the internet.

MORE: SURVEY: Digital Audit Confirmations Not the Norm | Training that Works | SURVEY: 61% of Auditors Commonly Use Data Extraction Tools | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures
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The firm has a fiduciary responsibility to protect this data from anyone not specifically authorized to view it. Proper security is VERY difficult for any internal network administrator to guarantee as few have the experience and have participated in ongoing training to implement security settings optimally the first time.
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Training that Works

Woman training man at computerRemember to ask personnel for their input, too.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For many firms, the ability to identify, standardize and implement best practices is the last remaining competitive advantage in business today as communications tools and access to technology have become available to everyone.

MORE: SURVEY: 61% of Auditors Commonly Use Data Extraction Tools | Standardize Your Firm’s QuickBooks Support | Make Your Accounts Payable Digital | SURVEY: 62% of Field Auditors Use Multiple Monitors | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | SURVEY: 53% of Firms Deliver Tax Returns Digitally
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To take advantage of the continuous stream of innovation and opportunities, firms must adopt a “learning culture.” This requires a formal process to capture and standardize best practices in every department within the firm so that every person can take advantage of them.
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SURVEY: The Best Way to Handle CRM

Young businessman typing on laptopEveryone entering their own info? Not the best choice.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Many firms today maintain contact information within multiple applications such as practice management, Outlook, tax systems, and other marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) programs.

MORE: SURVEY: 61% of Auditors Commonly Use Data Extraction Tools | Standardize Your Firm’s QuickBooks Support | Make Your Accounts Payable Digital | SURVEY: 62% of Field Auditors Use Multiple Monitors | Enter T&E Daily
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Too often, a significant amount of time is wasted in firms pulling contact information together, reconciling and verifying lists for mailings, invitations and even organizers. It is critical that firms centralize the updating of contact information for consistency.
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Standardize Your Firm’s QuickBooks Support

Man viewing desktop computer screenPlus a way to make it more cost-effective.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

In the United States, QuickBooks is by far the most dominant small business accounting product on the market and will be the application that the majority of the firm’s clients use. Therefore, it is obvious that the firm must become proficient with supporting QuickBooks.

MORE: Portals, Encryption Vital to Securing Client Documents | SURVEY: CCH Tops Audit Solutions | Remote Deposit Saves 130 Hours Per Year | SURVEY: 76% of Auditors Rely Heavily on Remote Access | Digital Swap Stems ‘Overauditing’ | SURVEY: Vertical Monitors Not the Norm Yet
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Unfortunately, one of the biggest wastes of time is when firms support too many older versions of the software, which often leads to incompatibilities that can corrupt the database and make it unusable for clients. Fixing these errors creates lost time that is seldom charged to clients and instead impacts the profitability on these jobs.
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Portals, Encryption Vital to Securing Client Documents

Keys against background of dataPasswords? Not enough; those can be removed.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

When dealing with digital files, the most effective way to transfer them is electronically over the internet, either with secured email or through a portal.

MORE: SURVEY: CCH Tops Audit Solutions | Make Your Accounts Payable Digital | SURVEY: 62% of Field Auditors Use Multiple Monitors | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | Firms Need ‘Best Practices’ Manuals | Telling Clients: Go Digital, or Just Go
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Many firms have emailed clients copies of tax returns and financial statements over the years. Unfortunately, this is not always the most secure method as the firm does not have control of the various internet service providers and the relay servers between the firm’s email server and the client’s email account.
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Make Your Accounts Payable Digital

Woman entering credit card information on laptopLook for cash rebates.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Processing accounts payable is another of the manually intensive processes within the firm’s administrative department that can be significantly streamlined through digital processes.

MORE: Remote Deposit Saves 130 Hours Per Year | SURVEY: 76% of Auditors Rely Heavily on Remote Access | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | Firms Need ‘Best Practices’ Manuals
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Consider how many “touches” a single payable creates: receipt of the invoice, timing of payment in a folder, writing the check and attaching the stub, sending it to an owner for signature, filing a copy of check with backup in its own folder, and stuffing, sealing and sending the check to the vendor.
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Remote Deposit Saves 130 Hours Per Year

Person writing check with pen and checkbookUse enough services and your fees will fall.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the easiest processes to convert to paperless with an immediate ROI is the firm’s system for depositing client checks.

MORE: SURVEY: 76% of Auditors Rely Heavily on Remote Access | Digital Swap Stems ‘Overauditing’ | SURVEY: Vertical Monitors Not the Norm Yet | SURVEY: 53% of Firms Deliver Tax Returns Digitally | Why a Digital Tax Workflow System is Vital
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Manually receiving and physically going to the bank to deposit checks can be time-consuming and subject to too many errors. The manual procedure requires firms open mail on a daily basis, make copies to file in a binder, complete deposit slips and then send a person physically to the bank, which can easily take a half hour every day, five days per week, 52 weeks per year.
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