Category Archives: Accounting & Auditing

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The CIA Exam Is Changing In 2019: How Might This Affect You?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The IIA has identified a need for certain elements of the CIA syllabus to be updated and aligned in accordance with changes to the global business environment, and internal audit practices.

The course will continue to consist of three parts, but some areas of the CIA exam will change in 2019. So what amendments are being introduced, and when exactly will they take effect?

Part 1: Essentials of Internal Auditing

  • The revised version of the syllabus contains six domains, rather than three
  • The largest of these is now Governance, Risk Management and Control, which accounts for 35% of the exam
  • Contrasts between assurance and consulting engagements are included in the new exam format

Part 2: Practice of Internal Auditing 

  • The new syllabus includes four domains instead of three
  • Performing the Engagement is the largest domain, making up 40% of the exam
  • There is greater alignment with the IAA’s Performance Standards

Part 3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing 

  • The revised syllabus includes four domains, rather than eight
  • Cyber security risks and emerging technologies are covered in the new syllabus
  • There is a new sub domain on data analytics

In all parts of the new exam, your depth of knowledge will be tested at ‘Basic Level’ where you demonstrate your basic understanding of concepts and processes, and ‘Proficient Level’ where you apply this knowledge, make judgements, and come to conclusions.

When will the changes take effect?

The revised exams come into effect in January 2019, in English only, but IIA Global are working with affiliates around the world to introduce the changes in other languages – in these cases, the transition will be a gradual process, starting in 2019.

What happens if you're in the process of taking your exams, or you've taken the course prior to 2019?

Your CIA certification won’t be affected if you’ve already passed your exams - if you’ve passed one or two of the exams, you won’t need to retake them. You can continue to schedule and take the older exams until January 2019, when they’ll be replaced by the new format.

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What Not To Do With Your Auditor

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The words “we’ve got the auditors in” are enough to make even a company with the most accurate of financial records tremble, and nobody in their right mind would claim it’s an enjoyable procedure; in fact, it’s probably up there with a root canal for most people.

Auditor Jokes?

There’s a considerable stream of auditor and audit-related humour out there. For example, the auditor’s answer to “How many auditors does it take to change a light bulb?” will invariably be “how many did it take last year?”. Auditors might have a reputation for being dull and grey, but they’re rapier-sharp professionals who are out to do their job. Here are some important things to bear in mind about what an auditor doesn’t do – or shouldn’t be expected to do - when they visit:

  • Their time is important too – you wouldn’t do this for any other visitor to your premises, so don’t keep your auditor waiting in reception. At best, it comes across as impolite, and at worst, they’ll wonder what you’re trying to hide in those few extra minutes.
  • They aren’t the enemy, so don’t treat them like they are – they have a job to do and even if everything is in order, you’ll learn a great deal about your own business methods over the course of the audit which can only be a good thing going forward.
  • Don’t try to hide or fudge important details – if the person with the information at their fingertips isn’t around, say so. Auditors are pretty intuitive, but they don’t tend to carry crystal balls around with them so don’t expect them to just ‘know’ something about your business.
  • Don’t expect them to sort out your problems – your auditor is not there to hire and fire, to write your next year’s business plan, or to do anything other than give a picture of where you are.

Auditors can be seen as the bad guy, but all they really want to see is good record keeping with no evidence of dubious business practice.  After all – to end with another dreadful auditor joke – they’re only viewed as mean because we live in an accrual world.

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CIA and the IT/Business Continuity Module: An Important but Unpopular Area of Study

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The IT/Business Continuity module within Part 3 of the CIA curriculum is generally much disliked by students, and known to present problems in some cases. But Information Technology and Business Continuity are fundamental parts of the syllabus, and knowledge of this area is a key aspect of your auditing role.

So why are these topics so crucial, and what can you do to get through the module without too much difficulty?

The Importance of IT and Business Continuity 

Technology plays a vital role in our work and everyday life, but with its many advantages comes the risk of data security being compromised, and cyber attacks being made against businesses large and small.

Whether due to malicious intent on the part of an employee, or third parties operating outside of the company, you have a responsibility as an internal auditor to ensure the safety of the data you hold, and also of your organisation’s systems.

As far as business continuity is concerned, when an unavoidable or accidental event occurs, such as flooding or electrical issues that cause crucial systems to fail, a contingency plan is key to minimising the negative impacts and ensuring longer-term business survival.

So how can you get through this module with relative ease?

  • Take a wide perspective of the IT hardware, software, and controls that are in place, as well as focusing on the individual elements of this module – you’ll get a better view of how systems work as a whole.
  • It’s easy to forget that the risk of a physical IT security breach within a business is as great as with the systems and software, so take into account the importance of controlling physical access to hardware, and the security levels of staff.
  • If you feel overwhelmed by the technical aspects of this module, don’t forget that ‘common sense’ actions often provide the means to carry on business operations at a time of crisis - retaining older technology in reserve, for example, when new computers are purchased.
  • We are here to support you throughout your CIA certification, but particularly when you’re struggling to understand certain areas of the course, such as information technology and business continuity.
  • Study of our comprehensive text books and learning materials can be supplemented by further reading on the subject of IT – for example on managing the risks inherent in any computer information system, and how to successfully develop and implement a business continuity plan.

For more information and advice on studying the IT/Business Continuity module within Part 3 of the CIA syllabus, call one of our helpful and supportive team. We can guide you towards further reading materials, and provide the reassurance you need.

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You no Longer Need to Know a CPA to Become a CPA

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) has announced some exciting news for those wishing or already undertaking the CPA who might have issues finding a licensed CPA to sign off their experience requirement. They have launched the Experience Verification which provides applicants with access to an interview with a licensed US CPA. Furthermore a local provider will conduct a thorough authentication of the applicants work experience. This supports one of NASBA’s goals which is to make the CPA available to professionals globally.

How will it work?

There is a four step process:

  • The applicant’s circumstances are assessed by a NASBA Client Manager, who will also guide them through the application process
  • A local provider verifies the applicant’s work experience
  • The applicant is interviewed by a licensed US CPA
  • A report is prepared and submitted to NASBA and is also made available to the candidate

Applicant requirements

For an applicant to be able to use the Experience Verification service they must have passed the CPA examination, have 1-2 years of accounting experience, and also have met the Board’s educational requirements for licensure.

Fees and timescales

The process usually takes 4-6 weeks, but occasionally it may take up to 12 weeks. The fee is $500 for US candidates and $700 for international candidates.

In Summary

This new process marks a positive development for many candidates who find it difficult to identify a licensed CPA to assist them in verifying their experience. Candidates interested in the Experience Verification process are encouraged to contact a Client Manager who can provide more assistance on the process and which jurisdiction might be most appropriate for application.

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Understand Basic Accounting Concepts and Stay a Step Ahead With CIA

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

When it comes to studying for professional exams, you can’t go wrong by proactively researching some of the basic ideas and concepts behind each module. One area where you can particularly benefit from a little extra study is accounting, especially when you reach part three of the CIA curriculum.

Part three incorporates a financial management module covering financial and management accounting, with topics including accounting terminology, financial statements and how they’re used, basic accounting concepts, and underlying principles.

Why do you need to cover these topics ahead of class?

Here’s why you should take control of your learning, and get a grasp of these accounting basics in advance:

  • You’ll save time in class - the instructor will be able to progress through the course without having to explain numerous basic accounting terms and concepts
  • You can stay motivated and not become demoralised by falling behind your peers
  • Confidence in your own abilities and understanding will increase
  • A clear appreciation of the basic concepts underpins your entire learning experience, and helps you apply the concepts in practical assignments
  • It helps you to understand the subject rather than simply learning facts
  • Your chances of success increase greatly when you undertake independent study. It’s an important element of your time as a student, and allows you to gain a wider perspective of the subject as a whole.

Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor represents a magnificent achievement, and provides a significant boost to your career. As with most areas of study, however, when you’re proactive in seeking out relevant information, the curriculum becomes easier to manage.

Learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals by looking through our website. We offer clear instruction and comprehensive ongoing support to help all our students succeed.

 

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Pass the CPA REG Exam First Time

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The CPA Regulation (REG) exam is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of taxation at a federal level and the law in a business context. Therefore this section tends to be a cause for concern for candidates who either don’t have taxation experience or don’t have a natural ability to memorise lots of tax facts. The aim is of course to pass first time, which is why we have pulled together our top tips.

Be clear on the exam structure and timings

There are 5 testlets making up the REG exam. The first two are multiple choice, each containing 38 questions. After these have been submitted, there is a 15 minute optional break which does not contribute to the overall exam time of 4 hours. After the break there are the remaining three testlets which are task based simulations. Testlet three has 2 simulations, and testlet four and five have 3 simulations each.

The REG exam is 4 hours in total with no restrictions on how to use your time. Therefore it is important to consider in advance how much time you should spend on each section. The best way to do this is by doing practice exams. As a rule of thumb the multiple choice questions take 1.5 hours and the task based simulations take 2.5 hours.

Know the scoring weights

The concepts tested and their relevant weights are as follows:

Federal tax procedures and professional ethics and responsibilities – 10-20%

Business law – 10-20%

Federal property transaction taxation – 12-22%

Federal individual taxation – 15-25%

Federal entity taxation – 28%-38%

Whilst these weights gives a relative indication of the importance of a section from a scoring perspective, it does not provide the insight to permit a candidate to not study all of the topics on the syllabus.

50% of the score is attributed to the multiple choice questions, and the remaining half to the task based simulations.

Quick tips

Here are a few of our top quick tips to pass REG first time:

  • Practice as many multiple choice questions as you can
  • Be ready to memorize a lot of tax facts
  • Break up tax studying with something else
  • Take a revision class

In Summary

As with any exam, preparation is key to success. However, there are of course specific attributes of any exam that need to be considered and planned for. This will help you to plan not only your revision time, but also your performance within the exam itself. Explore our various tools and resources designed to help you pass the exam from the first attempt!

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What to Buy the Accountant Who Has Everything

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Accountants are difficult to buy for. The same is true of any professional (or indeed anyone), but buying gifts with accountancy in mind that are either fun, useful, or practical can be tricky. However, if you apply those three principles when choosing a gift for an accountant – or indeed anyone else – you can’t go far wrong.

The fun gift

Think along the lines of Secret Santa type presents. Fun gifts can also overlap with both useful and practical, but if they can make the accountant recipient laugh too, so much the better. For example, a chocolate calculator is appropriate, amusing, and a useful snack for those long tax-season working hours. Slogan t-shirts and mugs are also appreciated; what better than professing a love of spreadsheets, or a refusal to give you a salary increase when drinking coffee?

The useful gift

Accountants have a tendency to be desk-bound and therefore sit down for long periods during their working day. If their workstation is set up properly, this can lead to a range of problems; anything from a bad back, to a crick in the neck if they’re prone to propping the phone under their chin and talking at the same time, to RSI if they don’t take proper keyboard breaks. Ergonomic back cushions, wrist rests, or even kneeling chairs are thoughtful gifts for those glued to their offices.

The practical gift

Both initial training and continuing professional development can be very expensive. Starting a CPA fund that can be topped up periodically for the accountant in your life can be the most thoughtful and practical gift of all. The CPA exam is difficult and takes a lot of work to pass, so removing worries about how to afford training in the first place can actually be a huge help to an accountant in their preparation. Make sure other friends and relatives have details of the account to help out too.

Of course, accountants are people too, so the usual gifts of socks and handkerchiefs at Christmas and birthdays are always useful standbys (sometimes, they’re even wanted!). However, using the fun/useful/practical model can help you take the headache out of gift-giving, and keep your accountant happy!

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Don’t Lose Your CIA Designation – How to Complete and Report Your CPE Hours

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Now you’ve attained the status of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), you’ll need to meet the requirements of your professional body with regard to continuing professional education, or CPE.

All you have to do to maintain your CIA certification is complete and report the required number of CPE credit hours each year, referencing the courses or events you’ve attended, and learning activities undertaken.

Use CCMS Online 

CPE credit hours should be reported by 31st December each year via the IIA’s online portal, the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS). Candidates who live outside North America may need to report the information directly to their IIA Affiliate.

A new requirement for 2018 is that at least two CPE credit hours should be completed in the area of Ethics.

So what might be the best types of education and learning activities to undertake, and how do you access them?

Registry of CPE Providers and Other Learning Opportunities 

The Chartered IIA has developed a registry of approved CPE providers to help you assess and choose suitable activities, but you can also carry out other forms of continuing professional education.

Activities might include:

  • Attending international conferences, seminars, workshops, or other programs
  • Completing internal and external training courses
  • Presenting at events
  • Carrying out research and writing articles on audit-related issues
  • Volunteering to help the IIA, on a local, national, or international basis
  • Reading Internal Auditor Magazine, and answering questions on the content
  • Login to the Certification Candidate Management System using your username and password
  • Select ‘Complete a Form’
  • Navigate to the appropriate CPE Reporting Form
  • Enter the details of your credit hours, and activities/learning undertaken
  • Submit the form

Steps to Reporting your CPE Credit Hours on CCMS 

Don’t forget to keep your contact details up-to-date on CCMS, as regular email reminders regarding CPE reporting will be sent to you prior to the 31st December deadline.

For more information on maintaining your CIA certification, have a look through our website or get in touch with one of the team. We’ll provide valuable guidance on CPE activities, your reporting obligations, and how you can meet them.

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Study For Your CPA Anywhere, Anytime with our New CPA LiveOnline Format

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Want to study for the CPA but need the flexibility to study within your home, or even on the move? Becker and Morgan International are excited to announce the launch of LiveOnline which is a web based structured schedule of CPA course instruction. This format is also excellent for busy professionals who would be unable to make classes but still require structured support.

A dynamic multimedia experience

LiveOnline courses include the same comprehensive materials and instruction as other formats but they are provided in real time. This means that students can access instructor support as and when they need it, to get study tips, guidance, and to ask questions.

What is included?

The programme is packed full of content, support and resources. This includes:

  • 114 hours of live online review sessions including 12 hours of simulations (4 simulation sessions per part)
  • 100+ hours of recorded lectures and expert instruction
  • Over 6,800 multiple choice questions
  • Over 380 task-based simulations
  • Adapt2U Adaptive Learning Technology
  • Interactive Skills Practice includes videos and 215 interactive simulations
  • Two mock exams per exam section that mirror the CPA Exam
  • Comprehensive textbooks and interactive eBooks
  • Modularized content delivered in short learning segments to easily fit in your schedule
  • A live chat that allows you to ask questions and get immediate feedback from our expert instructors
  • Interactive study planner
  • Unlimited academic support

In Summary

The next course begins in January 2018. If you would like more information, take a look at this link. We are confident that our LiveOnline programme will offer candidates everything they need to succeed as we mirror the CPA exam in every way. This ensures that candidates have no unwanted surprises on exam day. This is just one of the many reasons that Becker students are twice as likely to pass than non-Becker candidates!

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Seven Steps to Achieving CIA Certification

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Follow these seven steps, and take a huge leap in your career by achieving CIA certification:

1. Create a profile 

Complete your personal details and create your profile on the IIA Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS).

2. Complete your application

Navigate to the CIA program application form using the ‘Complete a Form’ link. Once the application has been submitted, payment is required within 90 days.

3. Submit supporting documentation 

The ‘Document Upload Portal’ is used to upload the information needed to support your application - this should be uploaded within 90 days of application submission.

4. Register for an exam

Once your application has been approved, you can register for an exam using the ‘Complete a Form’ link within CCMS. When you’ve submitted the exam form and payment, the IIA will send you an ‘authorisation to test’ email.

5. Schedule your exam 

You should wait 48 hours from receiving your ‘authorisation to test’ email, before contacting Pearson VUE to schedule an exam. You can do this either online or by phone.

  • Online

Visit the Pearson VUE website to schedule an exam 24 hours a day. You’ll be able to choose your exam date, time, and test centre location, receiving instant confirmation on the screen, and via email.

  • Phone

You can also schedule an exam by phoning the Pearson VUE call centre, where you’ll be asked for your candidate number, preferred dates, and test centre locations.

  • Receiving confirmation

The email confirming your exam details should be checked carefully for accuracy - you’ll need to print off this email and take it with you to the test centre.

6. Complete the CIA course 

Morgan International offers extensive support to our students at every stage. You can study in the way that suits you best, using our in-depth practice materials and comprehensive text books.

7. Take your exam

You should arrive at your chosen test centre at least 30 minutes prior to the exam start time, otherwise you might not be able to sit the exam. You’ll also need to provide at least one form of official photo identification that meets IIA/Pearson VUE’s requirements.

Let us help you achieve CIA certification, and set you on the road to an illustrious career. Take a look at the detailed course descriptions on our website, or call to speak to one of our knowledgeable advisers.