RoseRyan Partners with Tech Firm

RoseRyan of Newark, Calif., has entered into a new strategic partnership with AST Private Company Solutions that will allow the firm to utilize AST’s Astrella capitalization table and ownership data management platform.

Astrella is a new cloud-based software-as-a-service platform that brings together blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics. RoseRyan professionals will use Astrella to support private companies that require ownership tracking and exit modeling and integrate the data into their client company’s financial reporting.

“During every critical phase of the company, and even during economic turmoil as we are now are experiencing, companies depend on RoseRyan to provide the right level of financial expertise and support,” says RoseRyan CEO Dave Roberson. “Working with the leadership team of Astrella and their other partners, we find the same collaborative fit as we promote in our culture at RoseRyan.”

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Armanino Launches Data-Driven Return-to-Work Solution

San Ramon, Calif.-based IPA 100 firm Armanino LLP has launched a new suite of return-to-work tools designed to help businesses take a thoughtful, strategic and safe approach to reopening, with preparations related to technology, people policies and operations planning. The new COVID-19 Return-to-Work App provides real-time insight and visualization related to everything from employee wellness monitoring to workspace scheduling, as well as access to the firm’s COVID-19 Recovery Tracker.

The suite’s people policies provide access to HR consultants who help organizations update policies regarding remote working, health testing, workplace safety programs, travel, family and sick leave management, CARES Act employee retention credits and more. Operations guidance, meanwhile, prepares businesses for reopening by focusing on everything from lease renegotiation and insurance policy reviews to tax matters affected by a changed work environment, company privacy policies and workplace visitation rules.

“When the time comes to reopen, each business has a responsibility to create a work environment for returning employees that prioritizes safety and protects the company through risk mitigation planning,” says Jenn McCabe, a consulting partner at Armanino and a member of the firm’s Rapid Response Team. “Using our Return-to-Work App, businesses can securely and discreetly work with employees to monitor COVID-19 symptoms and generate floorplans that meet CDC social distancing guidelines. Additionally, they need to consider appropriate HR policies and operations guidance that appropriately responds to new challenges and potential liabilities created by the pandemic.”

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AICPA Warns Against Overconfidence, Updates Digital Assets Auditing Guidance

The AICPA has updated last year’s guidance on auditing digital assets.

The new material, contained in Accounting for and Auditing of Digital Assets, is based on professional literature and experience from members of the AICPA Digital Assets Working Group and AICPA staff, and is specific to U.S. generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). Digital assets are digital records on a distributed ledger that use cryptography for verification and security.

“This non-authoritative guidance goes a long way in helping auditors consider the potential risks unique to the digital assets ecosystem and the skillsets needed to conclude whether to accept or continue an engagement,” says Susan S. Coffey, AICPA executive vice president.

The practice aid provides auditors with information to consider when accepting or continuing audit engagements that involve digital assets. CPA firms should assess:

  • The current industry expertise and understanding of digital assets.
  • Management’s competencies and capabilities to maintain the entity’s books and records and secure its assets.
  • The client’s integrity and commitment to compliance with laws and regulations and its overall business strategy and the role the entity serves or intends to serve within the digital assets ecosystem.

“Overconfidence in the digital assets ecosystem is a real risk,” says Amy Steele, chair of Digital Assets Working Group. Steele is also an audit and assurance partner at Deloitte & Touche. “This Practice Aid is a great step at highlighting some of the unique challenges and considerations for auditors seeking to perform audits in this ecosystem.”

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MNP Acquires Outsourced IT Company Next Digital

Calgary, Alberta-based MNP is set to acquire outsourced IT service and support company Next Digital effective Aug. 1.

Focusing on areas in Alberta and western Canada, Next Digital’s services include managed IT, hardware and software procurement, IT project management, data protection and cloud services. Next Digital’s Andrew Jackson, Shawn Kubiski and John McLaughlin will join MNP as partners.

“The needs of Canadian organizations are quickly evolving in this dynamic environment, and we are constantly working with our clients to better understand how we can best support them,” says Sean Devin, national leader of MNP’s technology solutions practice. “This merger reflects our commitment to always look for new ways, including the use of new technologies, to help our clients reach their full potential.”

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Armanino COVID-19 Tracking Tool Moves to Phase Two

Following an initial launch in May, San Ramon, Calif.-based IPA 100 firm Armanino LLP has rolled out an upgraded iteration of its COVID Recovery Tracker tool, which captures county-by-county COVID-19 case trends in real time to get sense of where there are increases in infections versus areas in decline or holding steady. Phase two adds pertinent foot traffic, home versus away and transportation data to the tool, providing users with a more detailed view of rolling new cases, state guidance updates and traffic patterns as parts of the country reopen for business.

Foot traffic data is measured by location type, including everything from airports and hotels to office spaces and child day cares to bars, restaurants and retail spaces. The home versus away tracker uses GPS ‘pings’ from anonymous mobile devices to measure if people are staying at home (the nighttime location of the device), or when out, how long they are away from home. And the new transportation tracker uses driving, walking or mass transit data to detect trends in how people are moving from place to place.

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EisnerAmper Rolls Out Blueprint for Social Distancing

As companies begin returning to physical offices, New York-based IPA 100 firm EisnerAmper has created a new COVID-19 workplace distancing solution to help them do so safely.

Developed by the firm’s enterprise technology and information group primarily for offices of 50 to 500 workers, the new tool helps create office floor plans designed to assist companies with social distancing, scheduling and entry/exit protocols. The solution can assist with assigning entry/exit times for teams and colleagues, measuring and visualizing distancing and adjusting to fluctuating distancing parameters.

“We’re extremely excited and proud to be part of the fight against COVID-19 with our Workplace Distancing Solution,” says EisnerAmper CEO Charly Weinstein. “Beyond its many analytical benefits, this tool can also help organizations strongly convey a focus on health and safety.”

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Armanino Teams With Tugboat Logic on Security Audit Process

San Ramon, Calif.-based Armanino LLP, an IPA 100 firm, is partnering with security assurance company Tugboat Logic to provide an integrated, streamlined and expedited security audit process.

The goal is to better ensure the required independence between the entities conducting audit readiness and audit examination in third-party attestations such as SOC 2 and ISO 27001 by offering a coordinated process that allows for a smoother handoff between readiness and the examination, while also maintaining the integrity of checks and balances.

Tugboat helps organizations with the “readiness phase” of the audit process with an automated risk assessment survey, a centralized operations readiness dashboard for policies and controls and a suite of third-party integrations and modules that continuously gather evidence in support of the audit. Armanino then reviews this information and collaborates with the client remotely via an integrated platform to clarify and confirm what evidence has been submitted, what evidence was accepted and what evidence tasks require more information.

“One of the main factors that delay audits is our clients suffering in silence since they may not understand some of the evidence requests from the auditor,” says Armanino partner Liam Collins. “With Tugboat Logic, Armanino auditors can prevent this by having a real-time dashboard of the audit progress, and a simple way for our clients to ask questions to our auditors when they are unsure of a request. This helps speed up audits by up to 50%.”

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Cohen & Company Launches New Stablecoin Website

Cleveland-based Cohen & Company, an IPA 100 firm, is launching a new website designed to provide transparent reporting to the stablecoin market. Available to the general public, Stableinsight (stableinsight.cohencpa.com) allows visitors to select from certain stablecoins, view the current and historic circulating coins and the collateral balance backing the coins.

The website uses data provided by third parties who have hired independent accounting firms to provide reports on their system and organization controls. Investors can use the site to monitor and confirm the number of coins listed are fully backed by fiat currencies or other collateral as prescribed by the coin issuer.

“We pride ourselves on being the leader in the alternative investment space,” says Corey McLaughlin, national MP for alternative investments. “Our clients and colleagues depend on our knowledge and experience to continue to be forward-thinking and providing the tools needed to navigate our market. Our team goes beyond traditional audit and tax services to offer these services and tools – with the launch of this website we are honoring that commitment.”

The 411 on AI

Given the growing buzz surrounding the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to disrupt some of the traditional areas of the profession, the AICPA has teamed up with Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) to release two new white papers exploring the evolving role of AI in auditing.

The first paper, A CPA’s Introduction to AI: From Algorithms to Deep Learning, What You Need to Know, acts as a foundational resource for auditors seeking information on what AI is, how it works and what it can do. The second, The Data-Driven Audit: How Automation and AI are Changing the Audit and the Role of the Auditor, shows how AI will directly affect assurance engagements by taking over repetitive tasks, improving efficiency and assessing vast pools of data.

“Like all sophisticated technology, artificial intelligence carries great potential,” says Amy Pawlicki, AICPA’s vice president of assurance and advisory innovation. “CPAs are already playing a key role in harnessing and maximizing AI’s benefits in the public interest, and those who are knowledgeable about AI and how to get the most out of it will increasingly be in great demand.”

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Tech Experts Weigh In On How Blockchain May Change Business

By this point, nearly everyone has heard or read of blockchain’s potential to revolutionize many of the practices and processes of the business world. But for many people, the specifics of how this may unfold – that is, the practical, real-world examples of just how the technology may be deployed – – are still in short supply.

That’s why Forbes recently asked its Technology Council members to share some of the very real ways they believe blockchain either has changed or will change business. Here are a few of the best:

Data Collaboration and Control

Blockchain can bridge the natural tension between collaboration and data control by acting as a system of record – like a collaborative SQL database – allowing companies to do business without having to trust partners or third parties not to corrupt mission-critical data.

Decentralized Finance

Ecosystems of financial applications built on top of blockchain networks can shift the custody of assets from banks to software, offering the potential to enhance economic activity worldwide.

Supply Chain Management

Blockchain can provide accurate, authenticated and transparent transactions with predictable, pre-approved fees and full auditability, lowering costs by removing intermediaries, increasing reliability by distributing the ledger and reducing fraud because transactions are immutable and irrevocable.

Data Connection

Because a company’s data is transparent to all parties that participate in a blockchain, chain participants can potentially see all costs, transactions and inventory between competitors, suppliers and customers, allowing for a more fair and competitive market without regulatory and middleman cost.

Cross-Industry Data Consolidation

Different businesses can cooperate with each other more effectively thanks to the connections between data storage and data users from multiple domains enabled by a single blockchain network, helping them to overcome discrepancies and create a unified, fully transparent and safe data flow.

User Authentication

Using blockchain for user authentication in digital channels provides the combination of a trusted, tamper-proof distributed ledger along with verified credentials, enabling people to have trusted, portable digital identities that they can use on any website – from their bank to their health care provider.

Human Resources

Blockchain can remove inefficiencies associated with hiring and paying employees, allowing candidates to securely update information as HR verifies credentials.