News & Releases

Trust and Business Insight are More Critical than Ever in the Digital Age, CPA.com CEO Says

CPAs are Well-Positioned to Deliver a Strategic Blend of Compliance and Advisory Services

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Dec. 6, 2018) – Technology is transforming all major practice areas within the accounting profession, and CPAs will increasingly adopt a more strategic role in delivering trusted information and insights, the chief executive of CPA.com said.

"Our priority is to help build an ecosystem that allows CPA firms to succeed in delivering both the trust driven by compliance work and insights from emerging advisory services," said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, in a keynote speech at this week's 2018 Digital CPA Conference. "This has been an effective approach with client accounting advisory services, and the same lessons are now being applied to tax, audit and assurance services."

Asgeirsson went on to speak about how the cloud, artificial intelligence and digitized data are reshaping practice areas:

  • Client accounting advisory services (CAS) – Virtual CFO and controller services are becoming firmly established and firms are embracing best practices. The focus is now on automating data inputs, building scale and deepening advisory insights with high-value business intelligence. As a critical next step, CPA.com is helping to define, develop and standardize metrics that will allow CAS practices to measure performance and benchmark against peers.
  • Audit and assurance services – “We’re seeing the convergence of accounting and auditing services,” Asgeirsson said. “You can’t have cloud auditing, with the power of artificial intelligence-driven efficiency and insight, without cloud accounting.” On the assurance side, CPA.com, AICPA and CaseWare International this year launched OnPoint PCR, a dynamic, smart solution for preparation, compilation and review engagements. In a major commitment to innovation, the AICPA, CPA.com, CaseWare and a consortium of leading CPA firms are collaborating on the development of a Dynamic Audit Solution, elements of which would benefit all audit practices.
  • Tax – Driven by client demand, CPA practices are moving beyond tax compliance to integrated planning services that incorporate retirement and other financial and life planning services.

The AICPA and CPA.com are planning expanded training and curriculum to support the continued extension into advisory services. CPA.com also continues to play a key role in fostering innovation through thought-leading initiatives, such as its executive roundtables – including one at this fall’s World Congress of Accountants in Sydney, Australia – with key accounting technology providers, firm leaders and influencers from within the profession. The company also oversees, in collaboration with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, a startup accelerator focused on early-stage companies in fintech and educational technology. The selection process begins this month for the accelerator’s second class of promising ventures, who will gain access to and insight from senior leaders of the AICPA and CPA.com, as well as highly regarded advisors from the profession.

The company announced that next year’s Digital CPA conference will be held in Seattle from Dec. 9-11, 2019.

About CPA.com

CPA.com brings innovative solutions to the accounting profession, either in partnership with leading providers or directly through its own development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on emerging technologies and as the trusted business advisor to practitioners in the United States, with a growing global focus.

Our company’s core mission is to drive the transformation of practice areas, advance the technology ecosystem for the profession, and lead technology research and innovation efforts for practitioners.

A subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the company is also part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s most influential organization representing the profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.

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CPA Firms Connect with Value of OnPoint PCR

Ease of Use, Efficiency and Confidence in Proper Documentation Seen as Key Elements of Preparation, Compilation and Review Engagement Solution

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Dec. 4, 2018)

– Early-adopter CPA firms are confirming the effectiveness and value of OnPoint PCR, a smart, cloud-based solution that transforms how CPA firms conduct preparation, compilation and review engagements.

Launched this past summer, OnPoint PCR was jointly developed by CPA.com, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and CaseWare International Inc. By integrating content and methodology into a leading cloud platform, OnPoint PCR allows firms to enhance engagement quality while being more productive.

The dynamic solution eliminates unnecessary steps and offers tailored, intelligent guidance for everything from drafting a customized engagement letter and report to documenting specific procedures.

"I have been using super-long checklists for years, and it is a lot of work to pare down those guides into what's relevant for my practice," said Jennifer J. Mansfield, CPA, a sole practitioner based in Tucson, Ariz. "That’s why the minute I saw the OnPoint PCR solution, I knew it would be a game-changer for me."

The solution takes aim at the pain points where firms are struggling the most:

  • Guidance is built in to enhance practitioners’ professional judgment and help them avoid common pitfalls, giving them the tools and confidence to get their work done.
  • OnPoint PCR’s checklists are active and dynamic, working behind the scenes as practitioners move through the process, showing only relevant procedures and requirements based upon the information provided.
  • Requests for client information are embedded directly into the solution, making it simple to get the right data at the right time as part of a natural workflow.
  • Integrated content and methodology reduces anxiety for firms that recognize they are overworking engagements but still fear being non-compliant.
  • Direct imports of popular online client accounting products, such as QuickBooks and Xero, give firms access to what they need without requiring clients to export trial balance data in advance.

"The first thing that caught my eye with OnPoint PCR is how you can fill out the engagement acceptance form, and it completes your engagement letter and representation letter for you automatically," said Amanda VanKleeck, CPA, quality control director of Varney & Associates, CPAs, LLC, of Manhattan, Kan. "It takes the extra step out of manually reconciling the checklists and the letters. You really put in less effort to get the work done."

Content is automatically updated as standards evolve, giving practitioners more confidence and peace of mind that they are in compliance. "Firms often talk to me about the anxiety of keeping up with standards," said Carl Peterson, the AICPA’s vice president of small firm interests. "With OnPoint PCR, you’re guided with current standards as they change, eliminating excess work. That should help reduce anxiety and increase the firm’s bottom line."

OnPoint PCR was a recipient of CPA Practice Advisor’s 2018 Tax & Accounting Technology Innovation Award earlier this year. For more information about the solution, please visit cpa.com/onpoint.

About CPA.com

CPA.com brings innovative solutions to the accounting profession, either in partnership with leading providers or directly through its own development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on emerging technologies and as the trusted business advisor to practitioners in the United States, with a growing global focus.

Our company’s core mission is to drive the transformation of practice areas, advance the technology ecosystem for the profession, and lead technology research and innovation efforts for practitioners.

A subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the company is also part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s most influential organization representing the profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.

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RIVIO Builds New Opportunities Beyond Private Company Financial Statements

Clearinghouse Continues to Gain Traction with CPA Firms

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Dec. 4, 2018) – Almost one-in-five of the top 100 accounting firms are now using RIVIO Clearinghouse, a private financial company information exchange developed by CPA.com and Confirmation. And with more uses for the platform being developed beyond the secure delivery of financial statements, RIVIO is increasingly serving as a centralized, streamlined distribution hub for firms of all sizes.

With the number of public companies declining sharply since the 1990s and more than $1.8 trillion in private capital raised in 2017, the marketplace is embracing RIVIO as a means to create transparency and trust in key financial data. The secure platform ensures that lenders, investors and other authorized users can obtain access to financial statements and other key documents from validated CPA firms, all delivered unaltered by management.

"We continue to see the application of RIVIO for multiple uses across the firm and business landscape," said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. "With the digitization of financial data and the emergence of a new family of assurance services beyond financial reporting, RIVIO has great value as a differentiator for firms and a robust, secure connection point to clients. It’s efficient, easy to use and fills a critical marketplace need."

RIVIO is driving value for CPA firms in three key areas:

Efficient digital workflow

RIVIO creates a centralized delivery hub that allows accountants to quickly select documents, create projects, and route reports securely to clients. It standardizes the report assembly and issuance process, giving CPA firms more control while improving efficiency. Critical alerts and notifications are automated – if a firm updates or withdraws a financial report, for example, the platform automatically notifies each recipient of the document.

Fraud prevention

An alleged $10 million financing fraud this past fall involving the parent company of Newsweek and several related entities offers another proof of concept for the solution. The alleged scheme revolved around the creation of a fictitious auditor – if the lenders had required receipt of the financial statements through RIVIO, the fraud could not have occurred. “This was a high-profile case but there are many similar frauds out there that don’t get the same media coverage, so it’s more common than you think,” said Brian Fox, president and founder of Confirmation

Enhancing advisory services

RIVIO is providing value for other uses beyond the distribution of audited financial statements. In the assurance category, for example, Systems and Organization Controls (SOC) examinations are in high demand for CPA firms and their clients. SOC reports are sophisticated reviews of a company’s internal controls over financial reporting, processes and cyber-readiness, among other areas, and help demonstrate that a potential vendor or business partner is taking the necessary steps to protect data privacy and availability and the integrity of their systems. Most variations of the reports are not public, however, and in fact require non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) from parties who wish to view them. New one-click functionality permits authorized users to sign the confidentiality agreements and gain immediate access to a SOC report, a streamlined process that gives clients maximum control and still creates documentation at each step.

To learn more about the clearinghouse and its applications, please visit RIVIO.com.

About CPA.com

CPA.com brings innovative solutions to the accounting profession, either in partnership with leading providers or directly through its own development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on emerging technologies and as the trusted business advisor to practitioners in the United States, with a growing global focus. Our company’s core mission is to drive the transformation of practice areas, advance the technology ecosystem for the profession, and lead technology research and innovation efforts for practitioners. A subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the company is also part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s most influential organization representing the profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.

About Confirmation

Confirmation is the digital platform and global network trusted by audit firms, banks, law firms, and credit managers to quickly and securely verify financial data. Founded in 2000, Confirmation invented electronic confirmations and reshaped and modernized the audit confirmation process. Today, Confirmation helps nearly 1 million clients across 160 countries confirm more than $1 trillion in financial data every year. Learn more at Confirmation.com.

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AICPA and Leading CPA Firms Commit to Dynamic Audit Solution Initiative

Collaboration Will Position the Accounting Profession for Success, AICPA CEO Says

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (Oct. 22, 2018) – The American Institute of CPAs and a significant number of the nation’s largest accounting firms are moving forward with a multiyear initiative to create a new, innovative process for auditing using technology.

The goal of the collaborative effort – with contributions of time, talent and funding by leading CPA firms, the AICPA, its technology arm, CPA.com, and the AICPA’s technology partner, CaseWare International – is to develop a transformational auditing methodology supported by a state-of-the-art technology platform. Some $50 million has been committed to develop the new Dynamic Audit Solution methodology. In addition, CaseWare has invested tens of millions of dollars to build out their new cloud platform and has plans to continue this level of investment to support further advancements. The output of this Dynamic Audit Solution initiative would be available to the more than 14,000 firms that have auditing practices in the United States.

“Technology is poised to disrupt auditing as we know it,” said Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, who discussed the Dynamic Audit Solution collaboration at the fall meeting of the AICPA’s governing Council. “We can take a more cautious approach to change, automate here or there using existing methodology, or we can boldly reimagine what auditing in the future will look like. To me, and to the firms that have committed to this initiative, the choice is clear.”

The AICPA began discussions with firm leaders about pursuing a Dynamic Audit Solution two years ago. The plan is to develop a dynamic, flexible and scalable platform that uses the power of automation, data analytics and updated methodologies to transform auditing. Some 40 percent of the AICPA’s Major Firms Group have committed funds to the initiative.

“We called on firms with the scope and resources to handle a substantial investment of time, money and brainpower, and the response has been phenomenal,” Melancon said. “It’s a great testament to the foresight and vision within the profession.”

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in 137 countries and territories, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at www.aicpa.org/press.

About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 667,000 members and students across 184 counties and territories in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.

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CPA.com Names Two Recipients of 2018 Innovative Practitioner Award

Honorees Were Instrumental in Launching New CPA Firm Services Related to Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence

NEW YORK (Oct. 11, 2018) – Two pioneering CPA firm leaders – one an early champion of blockchain services, another an advocate of artificial intelligence in the audit process – have been named recipients of CPA.com’s 2018 Innovative Practitioner Award, which recognizes innovation in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting.

The honorees are:

  • Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA, a partner with Garbelman Winslow in Maryland. Samantha and her team of small firm practitioners are successfully integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in auditing for small businesses, nonprofits and local government. Using an external AI platform, the firm has improved the audit process and helped reduce the risk of material misstatements for its clients. As an early adopter, Samantha is providing valuable input to help make the technology more usable for other firms.
  • Jagruti Solanki, CPA, CGMA, senior manager for Aprio, LLP, a CPA-led professional services firm. Jagruti helped launch the firm’s blockchain services group and has been instrumental in developing best practices for accounting and financial reporting related to the digital distributed ledger technology. Among other services, her team helps clients navigate blockchain implications for domestic and international accounting, as well as tax obstacles associated with tokenization, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency. Jagruti is being promoted to partner at Aprio next year in recognition of her leadership on initiatives such as blockchain that drive growth and profitability for the firm.

“Samantha and Jagruti define what being an innovative practitioner is all about: the ability to assess where the profession is going, incorporate emerging technologies to either improve an existing service or launch a new one, and then successfully position the practitioner’s firm as a leader in that area,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “Both blockchain and AI stand to make a big impact on the profession and our honorees are both advancing strategies around these technologies for their firm.”

The two co-winners will be invited to attend the 2018 Digital CPA Conference as guests. This year’s event will be held Dec. 3-5, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center outside Washington, D.C.

CPA.com also named the second-place winner of the award: Matt Armanino, chief operating officer and CFO advisory services practice lead for Armanino LLP. To help small and midmarket clients deal with disruptive change, Matt launched a Strategy and Transformation practice area in the firm. His team taps the firm’s cross-functional expertise in audit, tax and consulting to create recommendations to spur client improvement in strategy, operations, process and technology. In its first full year, the Strategy and Transformation practice area produced over $1 million in revenue, with additional opportunities created in other practice areas. Matt will become CEO of Armanino LLP in 2019.

Award winners were chosen in part through the vote of their peers. Some 1,839 people cast votes online for finalists. An advisory panel of CPA.com and the American Institute of CPAs also gave their recommendations for winners. The voting and internal review each carried equal weight in the final selection process.

To read more about the winning practitioners, please visit the award page. More information about the Digital CPA Conference can be found at digitalcpa.com.

About CPA.com

CPA.com is known for bringing innovative solutions to the accounting profession, either in partnership with leading providers or directly through its own development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on emerging technologies and as the trusted business advisor to practitioners in the United States, with a growing global focus.

Our company’s core mission is to drive the transformation of practice areas, advance the technology ecosystem for the profession, and lead technology research and innovation efforts for practitioners.

A subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the company is also part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s most influential organization representing the profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.

Read more

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