Wednesday, May 19, 2010

InformIT article on Cloud Computing - Good read

I came across this article by Robert McHale from InformIT published on May 3, 2010, and I had to share it. This ties nicely with my post earlier in April.

This article points out important risks and legal requirements associated with cloud computing. As accountants, aspiring accountants, and other professionals, it is important that we stay current on these topics in order to advise our clients through unchartered waters.

Hope you enjoy!

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for the conference on June 25 in Austin, TX, please do so. You won't want to miss out on the incredible learning and fun!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Registration is now open for the 2010 Young CPAs Conference

Register for TSCPA’s third annual Young CPAs and Emerging Professionals Conference to be held June 25 at the Austin Wyndham Garden Hotel and Conference Center to improve your networking skills, hone your social media tactics, get valuable updates on issues affecting the accounting profession, technology updates and much more.

Designed specifically for young CPAs, CPA candidates and accounting students, you can earn up to six CPE credit hours at the conference while learning about conflict resolution and negotiation, diversity in the workplace, and trends of highly effective finance organizations. The conference also includes sessions on cyber crime, social media for businesses and technology trends.

One of the best parts about this conference is that it’s tailored for your particular career stage to help young professionals like you climb additional rungs on the ladder.

Plus, this daylong event comes at the recession-sensitive price of only $95 for TSCPA CPA and candidate members. That low price includes six CPE credit hours, breakfast and lunch.

Save your seat today for this can’t-miss event and be sure to invite your colleagues, friends and former classmates to attend as well.

We hope to see you there.

Financial Literacy Social Media Day

TSCPA's second annual Financial Literacy Social Media Outreach Day is this Friday, April 30. The purpose is to bring awareness to the financial literacy information available at Last year, the TSCPA reached more than 11,000 people with its financial literacy message.

Please send the following message through your preferred social media outlet:

Looking to improve your personal finance I.Q. or know someone who is? Visit the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants' consumer website at

The TSCPA would like to measure its reach, so please email Kelly Hardwick at by 12pm Monday, May 3 and tell him how many people your message reached. Besides serving our clients and employers, CPAs have a role in educating the public about basic financial education. With the information it provides, the TSCPA hopes to help individuals make wise financial decisions. Please participate this Friday to help spread the message.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Computing in the Clouds

Cloud computing. This has been as hot of a topic as eggs on pavement in the Texas' Summer heat. Well, maybe not that hot, but it's been a term that so many people have thrown around in today's business, but many people may not fully understand it and why it is important to know. The purpose of this post is to give everyone a briefing over cloud computing and why it matters.

Who coined the phrase "Cloud Computing"? While there is no definite owner, I did come across this interesting blog post by
John Willis. It's a quick read, and thank you John!

Here's a quick intro to Cloud Computing 101 courtesy of my work colleagues, Mike Pinch and Patrick Helmes:

Cloud computing could be one of the largest revolutions in the history of the Information Technology industry. While there are many benefits, the potential to introduce risk is high unless risks are assessed and mitigated before moving into the "cloud." As accountants, auditors, aspiring accountants, and students, understanding cloud computing and the associated risks that come along with it will be the key to making the move to cloud computing successful and secure.

The “cloud” is a term (used by IT) from the telecom industry during the 1990s and is still a concept/idea rather than an exact science. In theory, cloud computing basically means the mass centralization of computing resources. Once centralized, a mass amount of information, processing, and software can be made available by tapping into this so-called cloud. Cloud computing is a broad term, and is still in its early stages of its development, but there are three cloud computing services in use today: infrastructure, platform, and software.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is likely to be used by businesses. IaaS allows businesses or users to create their own virtual data centers, including servers and firewalls, on-demand. For example, these virtual data centers would be housed in clouds such as Amazon.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is similar in concept, except, rather than creating your own virtual data center, you are provided a standard technical platform and toolset to use and can upload your applications into the cloud to run on this platform. The key difference between IaaS and PaaS is that IaaS requires you to build, deploy and manage your virtual hardware remotely, while PaaS only requires that you code your applications to run in the provided environment. An example of this is Google’s App Engine.

Software as a service (SaaS) takes it one step further and allows individuals to use applications that have been developed and deployed on the Web. SaaS examples include Google Apps package of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. These three models of cloud computing are likely to appeal to distinct groups of users:
  • IaaS will appeal to businesses looking for complete control over data;
  • PaaS appeals to independent developers and Web designers; and
  • SaaS will generally appeal to home users or business users looking for low-cost alternatives to traditional software.
I hope that this posting creates a deep interest in this topic. For more on this topic, please register for our conference on June 25, 2010 in Austin, TX.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Tax Day!

We thought we would wish everyone a "Happy Tax Day"! We hope it's everything that you ever dreamed of and wished for!

Good luck to those racing to meet the deadline, and good rest to those who are finally finished!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Save the Date: 2010 Young CPAs Conference June 25

The third annual Young CPAs Conference will be held on Friday, June 25 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel & Conference Center in Austin. This daylong event designed for young CPAs, CPA candidates and accounting students will feature sessions on business skills for the workplace, social media for businesses, diversity in the workplace, negotiation and conflict resolution, a professional issues update, technology, and more. Mark your calendars and plan to attend this day-long CPE event on June 25. More details, including registration information to come. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeding the Pig

I know, I know. You read the title, and you immediately thought, why in the world is an accounting blog talking about feeding swine. We're not going to talk about techniques to feed real live pigs, we'll leave that to the pros. In fact, we're not even talking about our childhood friend, Wilbur. However, what we will be talking about figuratively is fattening a pig.

Stick with me on this illustration, and I'll tie it all back together. Let's assume that you have a pig that represents your savings or maybe even your retirement. At first, this pig starts out as a tiny pig, but you have a limited amount of time to work and get your pig fattened up and in shape - to show condition for the pay out. If you were actually showing a pig, they say that the prime condition to show a pig is between 6 and 7 months (see Selecting Your Show Pig for an interesting read regarding the selection of show pigs). You think that 6 or 7 months is a ways off. Maybe a thought crosses that you'll take a day off from taking care of your pig in order for you to go out and have fun. Well, one day isn't going to hurt you terribly, but one day sometimes turns into 2 or 3, and before you know it, weeks have gone by, and the 6 month mark is swiftly approaching. Your goal of having your pig hit its maximum weight is in jeopardy because you've been starving the pig in certain areas. What are you to do?

Well, I think this illustration relates to how many individuals approach saving for the future. We have a small pig, i.e. a small pot of resources available for savings. We look to the future and think, Man, I have plenty of time to save for retirement. Better yet, we think, well I need this now, so I'll forgo feeding my pig in order for me to have what I want now. What a slippery slope we tread when we start thinking along those lines! Before you know it, you might be caught up in the debt snowball effect where you start wondering if you are ever going to get out of your situation. Sometimes, we get caught up in the materialism or I want to satisfy my needs now, that we lose sight of the end goal. Some goals of individuals reading this post might be: live debt free, save for retirement, save enough money to go on a mission trip, save for a new car, save for college, or save for emergencies. Whatever your goal might be, we want you to know that it is possible to accomplish it, but you have to take the responsibility. You have to take the first step, and we're here to provide you with some resources to help you along your journey. Please continue reading...

Ok, so what's your point? Allow me to give some background.

We have been in a recession, and there has been a lot of debate about whether or not we are beginning to recover. I'll reserve my opinions for another time and another place, but I felt compelled to write this blog about feeding our pigs. There are many factors that led to a recession, but one of the factors was that many Americans were living outside of their means - meaning, people were spending or obligating themselves to more than what they could afford. I guess they were starving the pig.

When I graduated high school many years ago, my third grade teacher gave me a piggy bank with the slogan "Banking on a successful future." I still enjoy and use this gift today. Whenever I receive change from a transaction, I feed my pig...get it, piggy bank. While I literally put my coins in my piggy bank, we can also do the same with our left over money in a savings or investment account, AND that's the purpose of my posting. If you may be asking, "What can I do? How can I get off to the right start?" then I have the perfect answer for you: This awesome program is sponsored by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) and The Advertising Council. The goal of the campaign is to encourage and help Americans aged 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.

Here's a list of some of the many things that you can do when you visit

  • Pick a personality similar to yours in Me Save? Then choose a set of spending habits you want to change or break and find out how much you can save over a month, a year or even 35 years!

  • Sync your Feed the Pig profile with Facebook or your iGoogle Homepage to track what you can save over time.

  • Find out how much you can save no matter what course your life takes in the 5% Challenge.

  • Take a quiz to see how well you understand the psychology behind our saving and spending habits.

  • Get savings tips, which you can rate and comment on.

  • Talk to others about how they “Feed the Pig.”

  • Watch and listen to Feed the Pig TV and radio ads.

  • Learn a ton more about saving through our Resources section and our companion site,, which has advice for people at all stages of life.

I sincerely hope that you take advantage of As always, please feel free to post questions or comments, and I'll try to respond as soon as possible.