The Top Portable Monitors for Working from Home

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What field auditors can teach us about working remotely under coronavirus conditions.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The advent of today’s audit “document container” applications has transitioned every aspect of audit production into a digital format. But the equipment auditors have been adopting in the field is now painfully relevant with new coronavirus work-at-home mandates. We can apply a few lessons today.

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The key to successfully using these engagement applications is to make sure your personnel have the optimal equipment with them to work digitally. This includes multiple monitors, image capture equipment and remote communications capabilities.
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IT Deserves a Strategic Plan and Budget

ROI illustrationConsider cloud hosting.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

We have all heard the saying that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up going nowhere (or… you won’t ever get there). Unfortunately, many accounting firms do not do a good job of integrating their information technology requirements into the firm’s overall strategic vision.

MORE: Why You Need an Independent Security Review | ‘Learning Culture’ Requires Standardized Processes | How to Transfer Files Securely | Going Digital with A/P Processing | Avoid Over-Auditing with ‘Document Containers’ | Beyond Email: New Digital Tools | Who Deletes Documents and When?
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Information technology impacts virtually every aspect of accounting firm production and is usually the biggest expense after your personnel costs. Accordingly, it should be managed as the critically important asset that it is.
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Develop Monthly IT ‘Flash’ Reports

Businessman sitting in office and reading documentsIt should be a quick read, similar to a financial statement.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Most firms have a line partner or firm administrator overseeing the firm’s information technology department.

MORE: Why You Need an Independent Security Review | ‘Learning Culture’ Requires Standardized Processes | How to Transfer Files Securely | Going Digital with A/P Processing | Avoid Over-Auditing with ‘Document Containers’
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These personnel may have an interest in information technology, but their primary responsibility often lies in other production areas. They need a way to efficiently oversee the firm’s IT initiatives and report to management.
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Why You Need an Independent Security Review

Illustration of computer security threatsThen follow up every few years.

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: ‘Learning Culture’ Requires Standardized Processes | Centralize Contact Administration | How Digital A/P Processing Boosts Productivity | How an ‘Owner’s Drawer’ Boosts Security | The Top Portable Monitors for Auditors | Why Scanning Procedures Matter
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The firm has a fiduciary responsibility to protect this data from anyone not specifically authorized to view it.

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2020 Outlook: Data Import on the Rise

Microsoft Power BI likely to become the visualization standard.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Security continues to be a significant and increasing threat, but many firm owners continue to assume it is being managed by their IT team. We find traditional firm IT does a good job on the internal components they control, but there are consistent shortfalls in the use of multifactor authentication, intrusion detection/prevention and staff training.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Becoming the Most Valuable Advisor | Top Three Tips for 2020 Success | 2020 Outlook: Where Do You Want to Be? | 2020 Outlook: Dicey Disruptions | 2020 Outlook: Upstream Mergers | 2020 Outlook: Staffing Gets Creative
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With cloud providers having significantly better security and disaster recovery resources than on-premise networks, we expect this will be another reason that the majority of firms give up managing their own networks (with the uber-large firms having their own IT/security consulting being the exception). However, all firms need to be training personnel on safe computing when remote, on being suspicious of unexpected emails (phishing), as well as social engineering attacks that could expose their login/password as well as put the firm at risk of ransomware.
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‘Learning Culture’ Requires Standardized Processes

Three people speaking by videoconferenceMake training a priority.

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: Centralize Contact Administration | Cutting Your QuickBooks Costs | Reclaim Time with Remote Deposit | Why Daily T/E Entry Should Be Required | Why Your Firm Needs Procedure Manuals | Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects | SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools
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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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Centralize Contact Administration

Businesswoman talking on phoneYour practice management application will be home base.

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: Cutting Your QuickBooks Costs | How to Transfer Files Securely | Going Digital with A/P Processing | Avoid Over-Auditing with ‘Document Containers’ | Beyond Email: New Digital Tools | Who Deletes Documents and When?
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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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Cutting Your QuickBooks Costs

Office worker using a laptopAre licenses getting too pricey? There’s a workaround.

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 in supporting QuickBooks.

MORE: How to Transfer Files Securely | How Digital A/P Processing Boosts Productivity | How an ‘Owner’s Drawer’ Boosts Security | The Top Portable Monitors for Auditors | Why Scanning Procedures Matter
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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 of these jobs.
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How to Transfer Files Securely

Portals should integrate with your workflow software.

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: How Digital A/P Processing Boosts Productivity | Reclaim Time with Remote Deposit | Why Daily T/E Entry Should Be Required | Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects | SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging | The Best Defense Against Malware
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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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