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Yearly Archives: 2015
A recent study of Go.On UK has found that in the UK around 12 million people and 1 million small businesses are lacking the five basic digital skills of managing information, communicating, making payments, solving problems, and creating material online. Accordingly, these digitally excluded individuals and businesses are at great risk to miss out on vital job skills as well as crucial profit-making abilities. This article published on the BBC Technology website illustrates why missing the digital train is not an option in 2015!
In our last blog post, we linked to a video that explains XBRL in plain English. Still, interested students of accounting information systems might wonder whether it is worth their time to acquire XBRL skills. This article by Bill Sheridan and Jeff Drew from 2012 clarifies why XBRL might add an edge to accountants in the job market.
Our textbook dedicates an entire chapter to XBRL, the eXtensible Business Reporting Language. Its importance to the accountant becomes obvious when considering that it provides a standard for electronic business reporting. This video by XBRL Spain provides a great, quick overview what XBRL means, without the need for knowing code first.
From many chats with my accounting students, a large number of them seem to get the impression that studying AIS enables them to only pursue an accounting career. They more often than not react surprised when they learn that studying AIS opens career paths as financial or systems auditors, consultants, or even to upper management levels like CFOs. This article on Investopedia provides more details on these professions, their corresponding education requirements, and further links for the student interested in studying AIS.
We have often stated in this blog that the role of the accountant is changing. This change is heavily driven by new achievements in technology like cloud computing that enable anytime-anywhere access to decision-relevant data. At the same time, businesses acquire a plethora of data about their customers – so much data that professionals need the knowledge, skills and tools to excavate what is relevant, and what is not. As accountants, we should be in the middle of this “data excavation site”, handling this data mine to discover its treasures. This ACCA article argues that the finance profession (including accounting) needs to extend its reach and apply its core skills of gathering, manipulating and providing relevant information to a much larger data set. To enable accountants to do so, they will need to be the link between the IT department running the tools that enable real-time analytics of big data, and the business that needs to make sense of the results and put it in a strategic context. This will add skills to accounting that include data analytics and software engineering, leading to a hybrid role of accountants in the future.
The newest generation of cars are much more than just four wheels and a steering wheel. They contain more software-controlled features than the USS Enterprise, and in times of people being online at all times, so are their new cars’ onboard systems. This seemingly useful addition to our road journeys, however, also bears a risk that any online device potentially faces: being accessed (read: hacked) by a third party. As the American car manufacturer Tesla recently found out, a lack of control who is able to access (and manipulate) the onboard software may lead to severe ramifications, as this BBC article details. Ultimately, it demonstrates that everything that could go online (like fridges, clothes, watches or vehicles) needs to have a plethora of control features attached to it.
Accounting firms working for businesses have access to a myriad of internal customer data critical to their decision-making and business success. As such, cybercriminals might not only target the businesses themselves, but also the accounting firms that harbour crucial data of their customers. In this highly interesting technology feature of the Journal of Accountancy, three experts on this issue discuss the responsibility of accounting firms to safeguard their customer data against cyberattacks, and the rising need to spruce up their own technology knowledge.
Technological change has always been one of the common issues faced by accountants. What can accountants do to keep up with the pace of change. An article from CGMA provides some useful tips.
Very often there are media reports on security breaches and identity theft. And quite often companies get the blame. Mostly however it is the user that is the weak link. Take for example this article where many U.S. taxpayers online details were compromised. The article notes how details were hacked from other websites and these same details were used to gain access to the IRS online tools. So how can such breaches be prevented. Simply have different passwords for each site. But that’s tricky! Well not really, use a password manager like Dashlane which randomly generates passwords. It will also auto fill them in your browser and remind you to change them at regular intervals. Simple, and more secure than reusing the same password.