CPAs feel secure with top tech priority | Special report covers world of IT and finance | Cloud computing isn't a cure-all
 
April 5, 2012
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Tech Update
CPAs feel secure with top tech priority
The top technology priority for CPAs is securing the IT environment, but their biggest area of doubt is in making the most of new technology, according to the AICPA's 2012 Top Technology Initiatives survey. More than 60% of respondents are confident about their firm's information technology security. However, only one-third said their organization can tap into fresh technology to improve performance and generate additional revenue. Journal of Accountancy online (3/14)
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Special report covers world of IT and finance
The Financial Times offers a special report on the connection between technology and finance. Topics include collaboration between IT and finance professionals, battling data theft and cloud computing's growing role. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (3/20)
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Cloud computing isn't a cure-all
Cloud computing is a popular concept, but it's not necessarily right for every business. For example, one company found that using a cloud solution would lead to higher costs and organizational complexity, Rob Livingstone writes. "Just make sure that when you launch your own cloud initiative, the driver is not enthusiasm for the technology but a deep knowledge of your own business requirements," he writes. CFO.com (3/6)
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How Big Data changes the way CFOs do business
Data growth is giving chief financial officers additional sources of information to consider to fine-tune their business strategy. One company uses data analysis to optimize the deployment of trucks to save money on fuel and other resources. Managers can get updated information about the fleet by logging into a data portal. "Everyone's looking at the same thing, which improves collaboration and internal reporting," said Terri Deane, vice president of treasury at Maines Paper & Food Service. CFO.com (3/27)
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Latest iPad enters growing mobile market
Tablet use in the U.S. soared to more than 40 million devices from the introduction of the original Apple iPad in March 2010 to the end of 2011. It took smartphones seven years to reach the 40 million mark. Some predicted that by year's end, mobile devices will outnumber people on Earth. CGMA Magazine (3/2012)
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Emerging Trends
Software promises revolution in data modeling
Software vendors are cooking up more tools to allow businesses to undertake data modeling more quickly and at a lower cost, Robert Kugel writes. Such tools occupy a space between traditional spreadsheets and complex enterprise systems. Expect to see more of them as companies catch on to their value in the form of data-based decision making. Big Fat Finance Blog (3/8)
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Internal audits zero in on technology risks
More companies are focusing their internal-audit functions on risks associated with cloud computing and social networking, according to a report from consulting firm Protiviti. Companies are being challenged to address enterprisewide risks raised by the growing use of technology and are still learning to use technology in the audit process. CFOworld (3/21)
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5 steps that can improve your decision making
Executives should take care to avoid judgment error that can undermine their decision making, according to a report by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. The report outlines a five-part process to help executives make better decisions by minimizing bias, such as confirmation bias. Key steps include considering alternatives, gathering information and formulating a rationale before making a decision. Journal of Accountancy online (3/2)
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Security Corner
Mixing data in the cloud raises legal risks for innocent users
Some users of storage website Megaupload were unable to access their data after company servers were seized by law-enforcement agents. The example highlights legal risks of storing users' data together in the cloud, Thomas Trappler writes. Companies can protect their information by vetting providers' business practices and ensuring data are partitioned to avoid unintended seizure. Computerworld (3/20)
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Security officers lower cost of data breach, report says
The cost of a data breach fell last year for the first time in seven years, the Ponemon Institute reported. The average cost of a data breach dropped from $7.2 million to $5.5 million between 2010 and 2011. The cost of each stolen record declined from $214 to $194. Companies that have a chief information security officer were most capable of dealing with a data breach at a lower cost. CFO.com (3/21)
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Millions of bank cards may have been compromised in data breach
Visa and MasterCard said the financial information on millions of credit card and debit card accounts may have fallen into the hands of hackers through a security breach of a third-party vendor. Atlanta-based Global Payments said it detected an intrusion into its computer systems and "card data may have been accessed." The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/2), CNET/Security blog (4/1), The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (4/1)
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Regulatory & Legislative
Analytics help companies monitor regulatory change
Analytic tools can help companies stay current on the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Companies are deploying Web-based and visual analytics to monitor and comply with rules in various fields. The approach allows companies to integrate requirements into their business strategy in real time. SmartDataCollective.com (3/26)
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FTC proposes protection for consumers' online privacy
The Federal Trade Commission unveiled action that companies should take to protect consumers' online privacy. The regulator said Internet users will have a simple "do not track" option by year-end. Meanwhile, the EU proposed requiring companies to seek permission before tracking users. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (3/26), CQ.com (subscription required) (3/31)
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IMTA Community News & Events
Complete Guide to the CITP Body of Knowledge is available
The marketplace is changing. Companies are looking at technology as a way to improve operations and efficiency. Take advantage of this guide as an educational and technical resource to help build on your competency. The Complete Guide to the CITP Body of Knowledge is available to accounting professionals with interest in IT and information management. This guide is an in-depth and comprehensive review of fundamental concepts of the CITP Body of Knowledge. It is designed not only to assist in a candidate's preparation for the CITP examination but also to enhance your knowledge in the marketplace. Note: An additional discount of as much as 45% is offered to IT Section members and CITP credential holders! Purchase the guide!
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Mandatory CITP exam is coming in July
Beginning in July, the CITP exam will be required to attain the CITP credential. The deadline to apply while leveraging existing credential requirements is May 25. Find out whether you already qualify and apply for the CITP credential! Visit AICPA.org/CITP to learn more about eligibility requirements.
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CITP Exam Sponsorship Program: See whether you already qualify!
The IT Section introduced the CITP Exam Sponsorship Program to assist CPAs interested in information management and IT and who want to complete the CITP exam and obtain the CITP credential. The sponsorship is designed as a reimbursement of expenses incurred in preparing for and taking the exam. Find out whether you qualify for the sponsorship. Download the application and take advantage of this great incentive.
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AICPA News
AICPA submits comment letter regarding COSO exposure draft "Internal Control -- Integrated Framework"
The IT Section and representatives from the IT Executive Committee participated in a discussion and provided feedback to the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission's exposure draft "Internal Control -- Integrated Framework" on aspects of the framework that address information technology and information management. Learn more by visiting AICPA.org/COSO or reading the March issue of Information Technology Corner.
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Controllers Workshop is coming to Las Vegas in May
This year, the AICPA Controllers Workshop West will be held May 17 and 18 at Bellagio in Las Vegas. The workshop is an intensive, two-day conference that provides controllers and other senior managers with professional development, technical knowledge, ideas and innovative solutions from top industry experts. IT Section members and CITP credential holders save an additional $100. Register!
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SmartQuote
To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so."
-- Sir Walter Scott,
Scottish writer
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The Information Management and Technology Assurance Section provides CPAs with a vast array of resources, tools and information about IT risk and IT assurance, emerging IT trends, data analytics, business solutions and security and privacy in one convenient location. The IMTA Section also provides special member benefits to IMTA Section members and CITP credential holders including access to the annual Top Technology Initiatives Survey results and analysis and free access to Safari Books Online.

About the CITP credential:
The AICPA offers the Certified Information Technology Professional credential exclusively to CPAs with the unique ability to bridge business and technology while meeting the strict requirements for a CPA license, as well as additional training and experience in emerging IT trends, IT risk and IT assurance, business solutions, data analytics and security and privacy. One of the requirements to obtain the CITP credential is that a candidate pass the comprehensive examination. The AICPA prepares the CITP examination for assessing candidates' understanding of the AICPA's CITP body of knowledge as noted in its content specification outline. Build your credibility and distinguish yourself from other professionals in the marketplace. Become a CITP and a trusted business adviser.
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