IIA and ISACA pool resources and expertise

At the end of September the IIA and ISACA announced they had reached an agreement to “create a basis for cooperation and collaboration” between the organizations.

The agreement is formalized in a Memo of Understanding that has been signed by both parties. The MoU lists a few areas where this agreement makes cooperation possible:

  • Speaking and exhibiting at each other’s conferences, seminars and events
  • Conducting jointly sponsored events
  • Mutually recognizing, where appropriate, each other’s continuing education programs for continuing education credits to satisfy requisite certification requirements
  • Participating in training and educational programs offered by either association where such collaboration benefits the attendees
  • Encouraging similar cooperation and collaboration among local chapters of ISACA and The IIA (an activity that already thrives in many places throughout the world)
  • Identifying opportunities for joint projects that advance the global internal audit profession and the professional standing of its members
  • Engaging in periodic discussions on matters of public policy that impact the internal auditing profession
  • Where appropriate, coordinating and promoting unified messages and responses to standards setters, regulators, and legislators globally, and providing them with information regarding best professional practices

In order of value to each organization’s members, the top 3 in my mind are:

  1. Joint projects to advance the internal audit profession
  2. To me this is going to have the biggest impact on stakeholders because the combined knowledge and experience in both groups should lead to higher quality standards and improved best practices. Perhaps a combined set of standards down the road?

  3. Recognizing each other’s continuing education
  4. For members of both organizations this is huge. Program content frequently overlaps (e.g. the IIA’s GTAGs) and internal audit departments generally have staff with CIA and CISA designations (as well as CA and CPA, and others), so significant cost savings may be realizable.

  5. Collaborating on continuing education
  6. This could open up each organization’s continuing education programs to the other one’s members, which immediately introduces fresh topics and facilitators to both groups. Synergy here will allow members to broaden their training, and provide an easier transition from one to both certifications.

The agreement should work out to be a win-win-win — for the organizations, members, and stakeholders. What do you think?


Accounting firms are not marketing with blogs

Law firms continue to outpace accounting firms when it comes to harnessing the power of blogs to market their services to current and potential clients. A recent post by Michelle Golden asks the question “Isn’t Your Firm Blogging Yet?” and the answer apparently is no.

The post quotes this one from LexBlog founder Kevin O’Keefe, which brings to my attention that 53 of 200 AmLaw firms have a blog (or sometimes more than one). There is no comparable data for accounting firms, but Michelle maintains a pretty comprehensive list of accounting related blogs on her site, which includes my own.

(My views do not represent those of my accounting firm, but you can find my latest post on the home page as of this past weekend. In a sense, you can say BDO in Canada blogs.)

Seems like a good time to reprise an article I wrote about a year ago for Canadian accounting and finance industry publication The Bottom Line. It was titled
Blogs can be important marketing tools“, but I don’t think the title was insistent enough because the message hasn’t been heeded within the profession it seems.

Blogs are all about having more personal and meaningful conversations with an audience about a topic. When you’re an accountant or accounting firm, blogs are a way to reach people interested in your expertise, whether they’re fellow accountants interested in discussing the profession or potential clients looking for an accountant with an aptitude for technology and an ability to stay on top of the trends.

This stuff still rings true, so take mine and Michelle’s and Kevin’s advice: Get started with your blog today.


Professional 2.0: beacon or buzzword?

Rick Telberg is conducting a survey of CPAs about their thoughts on the future of the profession and what they see as some challenges and issues facing professionals. He shares a few early responses in a recent post:

“An increasing number of young people do not want to seriously work toward the accounting professional status of CPA.” I wonder if there was any evidence provided to back that up, because Rick isn’t sharing (yet). It did make me question why I’ve been reading so many articles about how exciting and even sexy being an accountant had become post Sarbanes-Oxley. Am I not sexy anymore?

Others cited the shortage of new talent coming on the scene, or the barrage of regulations and complexity as their top concerns as they look to the next decade and beyond. The talent thing will sort itself out in the long run, and the worst of it is probably past us. Regulations and complexity will reward those that go the extra mile to stay educated.

“CPA 2.0” and “Profession 2.0” are used to describe the ultimate direction of the profession by a final respondent, as he suggests that it will shift into more of an industry. “Systemization will be the buzz word for the next five years. CPAs will really begin to run their firms like a business.” I don’t agree.

There will be successful entrepreneurs that can take some aspects of the services provided by accounting firms today and “systemize” them, gaining efficiencies and making a tidy profit. But the profession will endure. In many respects it will thrive because of the opposite of systemization: By differentiating based on service, by pricing based on value, and by upholding the ethics and integrity required of a professional.

If you’re interested, take part in the survey.

Accounting Blogs

Impossible to hide

A comment by Dennis Howlett in one of his recent posts forms my inspiration:

I can only ever be the judge of what I think might work in a situation where I have incomplete information. I could be completely wrong. But that’s where the blog metaphor makes such a positive difference. It is impossible to hide in a blog. You get caught out sooner or later.

He was talking about being asked to recommend someone for a job in tech PR, but the sentiment is pretty close to my feelings about this blog, which recently turned a year old and is going stronger than ever.

I’ve never tried to come off as much of an expert – I have some knowledge and I’m eager to share it with anyone who will listen. I’m nearly a full-fledged CA, but the designation means that I have to keep learning, not that I’m done.

That’s the great thing about blogging. You learn by writing, by sharing your thoughts and reading others.

Anyway, I guess that quote made me think about why I like this blog, what I get out of it, and why I’ve kept on with it for just over a year now. Here’s to the next year!


Microsoft plunges into social networks with accounting and finance site

This is probably the type of thing I should be blogging about. The phrase “right in my wheelhouse” comes to mind. The intersection of several of my favourite things: accounting, technology, and social networks.

Microsoft Dynamics logoMicrosoft has announced a new “community” around Dynamics Live specifically for accounting and finance professionals. The site isn’t named yet but if you join now you can participate in the poll to rename it and vote for any of three uninspiring names: Capital Chat, Finance Forum, or Net Knowledge.

I joined up, the better to assess its chances at gaining a foothold in a rapidly evolving sphere.

Networks are only as good as their users, and LinkedIn already has a bundle of them. I wonder whether another network focused on this demographic, even if its further specializes at first in accounting and finance, can really offer something new.

Microsoft is planning to advertise the community through their Dynamics product, but the community may be perceived to be advertising for their other products.

I’ve read that Dynamics has respectable market penetration, and personal experience bears that out as several clients I personally work with use it. If Microsoft can harness their current users into producing quality content for the community, they may hold the key to attracting new users.

What do you think?