COVID-19 Turns CPAs into Emergency Workers

Tax & accounting professionals rush to rescue coronavirus economic casualties.

By Donny C. Shimamoto
Strategic Technology Decisions

Many people think that accountants are just rational, unfeeling counting machines that operate completely on logic and reason. While on the surface that may appear to be true, I know from my discussions with many accountants that underlying that cool exterior is an actual human being with feelings. But what I love most is that accountants often care more about others than themselves.

MORE: What Small and Midsized Firms Can Learn from PwC’s Digital Upskilling | What Big Data Means to Small Firms | Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower | Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms? | Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are | Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

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The impact of COVID-19 on many of our lives will be told for years or decades to come. Through social media, I saw a lot of accountants (because I’m friends with so many of them) express concern for their clients and communities as well. I saw accountants trying to combat hysteria, sharing information about what Congress was doing and the implications to taxpayers, and also working creatively with small business clients to figure out how to make it through the crisis. Yes, many accountants looked beyond themselves and beyond their firms (which were also at risk) to help others who were in emergency situations and needed help navigating this confusing and complex crisis.
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What Small and Midsized Firms Can Learn from PwC’s Digital Upskilling

Portrait of Rod Adams
Adams

One possible side effect: reverse mentoring.

By Donny C. Shimamoto
Strategic Technology Decisions

Over the last three years, PwC has undertaken an ambitious initiative to provide digital upskilling to the entire firm. Yes, you read that right, the entire firm. Everyone including staff, partners and admin team members were involved in this voluntary program to increase their digital acumen.

MORE: What Big Data Means to Small Firms | Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower | Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms? | Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are | Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma | Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security | Making IT Matter to Accountants | IT Nerds Need Budget Help | 8 Ways to Wrestle Software Subscriptions Into Submission | IT Hardware Gets Even More Complex (Great!) | How Accounting Geeks and Techie Nerds Can Play Nicely Together
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I was able to gather some lessons learned and understand some of the underlying strategies behind PwC’s digital initiative via an interview with Rod Adams, CPA, PwC’s U.S. talent acquisition leader. Recognizing that most firms don’t have access to the same resources that PwC has, I also asked Adams how small and midsized firms could approach this type of initiative for their firms.
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What Big Data Means to Small Firms

Artist concept of an AI-based neuronFocus on the hard trends, not the things you can’t predict.

By Donny C. Shimamoto
Strategic Technology Decisions

Emerging technologies will disrupt many lower-level accounting jobs, but overall they will be a boon to the accounting profession. To be able to adopt these emerging technologies and ensure that value is gained from their proper use, accountants must begin upskilling now.

MORE: Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower | Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms? | Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are | Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma | Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security | Making IT Matter to Accountants
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Accountants must develop additional competencies to ensure the success of projects associated with implementing emerging technologies and enable them to be value-added advisors to their organizations and clients.
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Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower

It’s Time for the Super-Heroes of Ethical Behavior and the Public Trust to Help Save the World.

By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA

It seems like every day there is either news of a new scandal or additional “discoveries” about an on-going scandal. It’s quite depressing.

I finally took a step back to ask myself: “Why is this happening? Are we just doomed to a world that is just becoming more and more corrupt? Or is there something that can be done to stop this degeneration of society?”

Are Accountants Natively Ethical?

As I pondered how to solve the corruption problem, I asked myself, “how do we get more people to behave more ethically—more like us accountants?”

This then caused me to ask…

  • What is it that makes accountants more ethical?
  • Is it something that is inborn in us?
  • Does being an accountant make us more ethical?
  • Or is it an inborn belief in ethical behavior that makes accounting attractive to us?

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Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms?

What the AICPA and NASBA could learn from other professions.

By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA

I’ve been watching NASBA and the AICPA communicate the need for a change to the requirements to be CPA. While at a surface level their rationale makes sense, when I think further about the bigger picture of the accounting profession, I’m not sure I agree with their direction. I do however think that the accounting profession needs to be more cohesive and inclusive, and perhaps that is the better solution to pursue, rather enabling more non-accountants to be CPAs.

RELATED: Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are

One of the major premises of their rationale is that CPA firms are hiring an increasing number of non-accounting graduates so we need to enable more of these people to be CPAs. Well, just because they work at a CPA firm, does someone have to be a CPA? Or just because they help with a tax return audit, or consulting project, do they need to be a CPA?

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Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are

When anyone can do taxes & accounting, what’s left for CPAs?

By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA

When most people hear the word “accountant” they immediately think of taxes or bookkeeping…and the nerdy introvert glued to a spreadsheet on their computer screen.

But in reality, you don’t have to be an accountant to prepare tax returns or record accounting transactions. Neither of those tasks requires any kind of accounting license, credential or certification.

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Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

What disaster recovery readiness means for accountants.

By Donny C. Shimamoto

Think back just a short while ago when you first found out that Hurricane Harvey was poised to hit Texas. Or when you first heard Irma was about to hit Florida.

MORE: Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security | Making IT Matter to Accountants | IT Nerds Need Budget Help | 8 Ways to Wrestle Software Subscriptions Into Submission | IT Hardware Gets Even More Complex (Great!) | How Accounting Geeks and Techie Nerds Can Play Nicely Together
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If a hurricane or other natural disaster were coming to your town would you know what to do to ensure that the damage and impact to your IT environment was prevented or minimized?
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Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security

Infosec triangleTake a comprehensive and holistic approach that includes your business strategy.

By Donny C. Shimamoto

Cybersecurity is a huge buzzword right now. Businesses are worried about it, people are worried about it and vendors are trying to sell you cyber protection solutions.

MORE: Making IT Matter to Accountants | IT Nerds Need Budget Help | 8 Ways to Wrestle Software Subscriptions Into Submission | IT Hardware Gets Even More Complex (Great!) | How Accounting Geeks and Techie Nerds Can Play Nicely Together
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Attending a cybersecurity webinar or seminar is also not for the faint at heart. Even I, an IT specialist in the CPA profession, often leave those events scared to put any of my personal data anywhere online.
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RESEARCH: When to Replace Your Firm’s Computer Equiment

Arrow Hitting Ground On Laptop Shows Drop On Sale Or Failures

How to plan with “risk of failure” and “ease of replacement” calculations.

By Donny Shimamoto
IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC

What are the standard refresh cycles for CPA firm technology equipment? Well, it depends on the type of equipment.

As a physical asset, hardware replacement must usually be planned for in advance so that you’re not scrambling to replace it after it fails. This proactive replacement is often referred to as performing a “hardware refresh.”  Hardware refreshes are often driven by the risk of failure of a particular hardware asset.  Different types of hardware have varying risks of failure as they age. For example, laptops have a relatively high risk of failure once they’re four years old, but they are also moderately easy to replace. On the other hand, servers are generally unlikely to fail in their first three years of use, but they can be expensive and difficult to replace.

The table below shows some of the common types of hardware and general risk of failure based on the number of years the hardware has been in service.

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