Some Accounting Benefits Are Obscured In “The Cloud”

by Mark Gibbons 1. August 2016 14:21
The use of “cloud” storage technology supported by services such as iCloud, Amazon Web Services, and Dropbox has achieved ubiquity in our everyday lives for applications such as photo storage, transferring documents, and remote server hosting. The business applications are many, and accounting is among the professions that is enthusiastically embracing the cloud for a variety of obvious, and some less obvious, reasons. In addition to well-documented advantages such as cost, accessibility, bandwidth, and disaster recovery, assurance professionals are discovering that the use of cloud-based technology can make service delivery better in a variety of other ways. Audit teams are often in different locations utilizing the same data, which can cause version control as well as security issues. Cloud services can eliminate difficulties inherent in multi-location audits by allowing teams to contemporaneously access the same data, eliminating version control ambiguities. Using cloud services reduces the exposure to human error by keeping information from being directly loaded on multiple users’ laptops, which are particularly vulnerable to loss from theft and human error. Software updates can be implemented with minimal disruptions to an engagement. And, data privacy and cybersecurity are better than what many accounting firms could promise on their own, because the companies that host services for accounting and financial firms are held to strict SOC2 standards, their livelihood depends on their ability to keep sensitive information secure, and they have access to and budgets for the latest cybersecurity resources. The result is cloud services are increasing productivity and reducing costs, adding value to the audit process. It is this value that is driving adoption of cloud services by the accounting profession. According to the most recent Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey from the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section, use of cloud-based systems has increased by 66% in two years and is used by 59% and 77% of firms with $5-10 and $10+ million in revenue. Cloud technology is here to stay in the accounting profession, and clients are receiving the benefits.

How Much Longer Will You Use Microsoft Office?

by Justin Nescott 23. March 2012 13:10
  In an article in late 2011, PCMag columnist John Dvorak predicted the end of Microsoft Office. With updates including minor changes, such as a new user interface with the ribbon tab in 2007, few new elements have been added to the Microsoft Office Suite, allowing competitors create successful suites, in both power and functionality compared the MS Office.   There have been ten Office Suite versions in the twenty years that Microsoft has produced Office. However, in those twenty years, MS's only major breakthroughs to the suite were the additions of Spelling and Grammar Check. In addition, Microsoft is branching into the smart phone and tablet market and seems to be less concerned with improving the Office suite.   Google and IBM have also introduced cloud-based suites to the market. While Google Docs has gained enough traction in the market to prompt Microsoft to develop Office 365, IBM released IBM Docs, based on the failed Lotus office suite. Google and IBM have been able to beat Microsoft to the punch in the cloud-based suites marketing, allowing them to get access to corporate accounts.   Computer giants, HP and Dell will continue to monitor the development of these alternatives to Microsoft Office. As John Dvorak pointed out his recent column, The Imminent Word Processing Bloodbath, “Competition in the office suite environment is long overdue. Twenty years ago, there were dozens of competitive word processors. It was a lot more interesting then than it is now.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops their newly announced Microsoft Office 15 considering the competition forming in the market of suite and cloud-based suite products. The real question, however, is when Office 15 becomes available, will companies and individuals be using Google Docs or IBM Docs instead of Microsoft Office?
Categories: Productivity

Improving Your Speed on Windows 7 - New Features

by Justin Nescott 2. March 2012 11:00
  With all of the new features that Windows 7 offers over previous versions of Windows, it might take some getting used to. However, once you discover and begin to use some of the useful features, such as easily changing window views or pinning items to the desktop, it will make your life a little easier.   If you are just beging to use Windows 7 or would like to learn a little more about some of the new features in Windows 7, check out Windows Secrets to discover Twenty-Six ways to work faster in Windows 7.  
Categories: Productivity

Does Your Browser Look Different? IE has changed again.

by Justin Nescott 17. February 2012 11:00
  For the first time ever, Windows will be using its Windows Update feature to automatically upgrade Internet Explorer to either IE 8 or IE 9 on all computers. Although the rollout began January 17, you will not notice a difference until you receive your next Windows Update. Note that Windows XP users will only be upgraded to IE 8 because IE 9 is not compatible, while Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will be upgraded to IE 9. If you had previously selected not to be upgraded to IE 8 on XP or IE 9 on Vista or Windows 7, Windows will not update your system.   Over the years, Internet Explorer’s interface has looked very much the same after updates, as most changes were made in the programming (e.g. upgrade from IE 7 to IE 8 left physical appearance the same). However, with the upgrade from IE 8 to IE 9, users may not recognize the new Internet Explorer. To compete better with popular browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, IE developed an interface that was stripped to the bear basics (similar to Google Chrome) while some speed tests say that IE 9 is faster than Chrome and Firefox. However, IE is still limited in the variety of extensions offered (downloads that let the user customize the browser), a feature that has helped Chrome and Firefox continue successful growth.   With the upgrades being automatically installed for most users, be aware of features that might change because of the upgrade. To see how you can customize your new browser, read more on Windows Secrets’ blog – Ready or not, you’re getting IE 8 or 9. To see a comparison of Firefox, Chrome, and IE 9, please visit Microsoft’s website.
Categories: Productivity

Browsing the Internet – Why Not use Google’s Browser?

by Justin Nescott 23. January 2012 12:47
  Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or another browser, you most likely use Google for your web searches. However, in most browsers, the Google toolbar has to be installed or you must navigate to Google.com to use the Google search engine.   In just over three years, Google Chrome, Google’s web browser, has surpassed Mozilla Firefox and trails only Internet Explorer in the worldwide browser market share (Chrome edges Firefox, grabs second browser spot). Chrome is very simple to use but packs many additional features, extensions, and themes into the browser that can be easily added and customized. One of the key features of Chrome is the address search field. In most browsers, the URL (web address line) can only accept a complete web address (e.g. www.urishpopeck.com) and will not accept a search term (e.g. Urish Popeck). Chome, however, will accept either entry, allowing the URL to act as a Google search bar, so there is no need to install separate toolbars that fill up your browser’s page (Internet Explorer almost always has some installed).   To see some of the most essential Google Chrome extensions offered, read PCWorld’s article. For more information and to download Google Chrome, visit Google’s website.
Categories: Productivity

Urish Popeck Has Gone to the Next Level!

by Tom Current 13. July 2011 12:55
During the process of overhauling our web site, we have been mindful that increasing traffic to the site is one of our primary goals in the graphic  redesign and content update of www.urishpopeck.com. Many of my colleagues at Urish Popeck have heard me talk (harp on? badger them?) about the importance to our firm of upgrading our new media presence - posting topical content, blogging, increasing our collective social media activity. Following is some of the rationale that is driving our new website development: · When rewriting a web page, we focus more on utilizing keywords and key phrases, and not merely communicating a message or theme; · We are looking to boost staff involvement in specific groups on relevant professional topics on key social media sites. If we can have our staff start a group or be active participants in a group, it builds credibility in a more meaningful way than just saying “we do this or that.” Through blogging and e-newsletter articles, we are focused on providing timely, topical content, not just the obligatory “static” fact sheets. This doesn’t have to be leading edge analysis. If we can help to educate visitors and demonstrate we’re actively involved with current issues relevant to our clients and the accounting profession, that reinforces our credentials and the image we want to project.
Categories: Productivity