My Most-Used iPad Apps

Here are the apps from my main iPad screen

My iPad allows me to add plenty of apps, but only a few are on my main screen. Here is my present screen.

My main iPad screen

My main iPad screen

 

Skitch – A screen capture app. It allows me to capture whatever is on my screen and edit what I capture. I can add annotations such as arrows, boxes, and text.

Digits – A calculator with big numbers. The app allows me to maintain a running tape of the numbers I have keyed in; this tape can be emailed to others. I can also type text next to a particular number.

Checkpoint – A library of accounting and auditing publications. You must pay for the publications, but Checkpoint provides powerful search capabilities.

Keynote – A slide presentation app. I use Keynote more than Powerpoint. The Keynote background slides are the best. Presentations can be saved to iCloud.

Twitter – A social communication tool. I use it to make short (less than 140 character) posts about my day, usually related to accounting and auditing. My handle: @ChasBHall.

Pandora – Music app. I can pick a channel and listen to whatever type of music I desire. There is a free version, but I pay around $5 per month for the add-free version.

Weather – Weather app. I start my day by checking the weather, and, when I’m going out of town, I check my destination’s weather before I leave.

Gmail – Email app. I use this app for most of my email.

Slack – Group email app. I use this app to communicate with my teams. I mainly use this app to chat with my Quality Control team member. The communications are stored by category (and I can set up whatever categories I like — e.g., XYZ Audit). The basic package that I use is free.

Kindle – Amazon’s book reading app. I buy most of my books from Amazon and read them here. I can highlight phrases in my books that are accessible in my Amazon account–and the highlighted information–for all my books–is searchable and can be copied and pasted.

Holy Bible – You Version Bible app. I start each day with this app. You Version is free and provides several different translations.

Evernote – Storage app. I create “notes” inside Evernote and store whatever I desire. This is my electronic library. I have saved thousands of articles and research. Several different tags can be applied to each note, so you can quickly find the information you need.

1Password – Password storage app. I store almost all of my passwords here (presently over 150). Security experts tell us to use strong, unique passwords. This app allows me to do so.

Reminders – Reminder app. I may need this app the most (especially as I get older). I place to-do items here with time and date–a notification pops up when it’s time to act.

Basecamp – Project management app. I can see all of my current projects with all the steps necessary to complete each one. I can see what my project management teams (e.g., audit teams) have completed.

Stitcher – Podcast app. I listen to podcasts as I walk each morning, gaining valuable insights. My favorite podcast: Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life.

Audible – Audible book app. I listen to books while I’m on the road (or when I am exercising). I have a monthly plan (about $15 per month) that allows me to get one book per month.

GetResponse – Social media contact app. GetResponse is a paid app that allows me to see who has subscribed to my blog. It also provides statistical information about responses to my weekly RSS emails that I send to my blog subscribers. Subscribe below.

Zoom – Online meeting app. I can host online meetings and share information from my screen. Those in the meeting can see me as I talk with them.

Canva – Social media creation app. I use this app to create pictures and slides for sharing in my blog or presentations. I pay about $1 for each picture download, but this is a powerful app that allows your creative side to shine.

Your Thoughts?

What apps do you find most helpful?

I am looking forward to presenting a full day class on understanding and implementing SSARS 21. It will be my pleasure to share this information with McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC.

Date:August 17, 2015
Event:Understanding and Implementing SSARS 21
Sponsor: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC
Venue: Macon Centreplex
Public:Private

How to Perform Audit Risk Assessments

Part 1: Practical steps to performing audit risk assessments

Do you know someone who suffers from risk assessment averseness? Patients with this illness possess an extreme dislike for thinking before acting. They live in the land of the objective–bank confirmations, vouching, and searching for unrecorded liabilities. They disdain the subjective–inquiring about processes, observing segregation of duties, thinking about inherent risk. To them, auditing is science, not art. It’s concrete. You hear them say “that front-of-file stuff is just to make peer reviewers happy.” After all, “there’s work to do.” And they know what to do. It’s all there in the prior year file.

There is only one cure for this thought-borne disease. It’s understanding the advantages of risk assessment and planning.

Picture is courtesy of DollarPhoto.com

Picture is courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Audit Risk Model

Let’s start with the audit risk model. How is it defined?

Put simply, it is:

Risk of Material Misstatement = Inherent Risk X Control Risk

This is the framework for gaining an understanding of:

  • The entity
  • Transaction cycles and account balances

Do I Need to Understand the Entity?

The audit standards require that we understand the entity and its environment. I like to start by asking management the question, “If you had a magic wand that you could wave over the business and remove one problem, what would it be?” The answer tells us a great deal about the entity’s risk. I want to know what they think and feel. The visceral is a flashing light saying, “Important!” And believe me, every business owner or manager worries about something. Your clients understand their businesses. This is where they live. The wise auditor taps into that knowledge.

Risks can be thought of as threats to objectives. Your client’s fears tell you what the objectives are.

Other questions that can be entertained include:

  • How is the industry faring?
  • Are there any new competitive pressures?
  • Are there any new opportunities?
  • Are there any changes in key vendor relationships? Can the company still obtain necessary products?
  • Are there pricing pressures?

Now let’s delve into accounting controls.

Do I Have to Understand Controls?

In every audit, we must understand the client’s internal controls. “But my client has no controls.” Really? It is doubtful that a client has no controls. They may have few, but almost every entity has some controls. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Who signs checks?
  • Who has access to checks (or electronic payment ability)?
  • Who approves payments?
  • Who initiates purchases?
  • Who can open and close bank accounts?
  • Who posts payments?
  • What software is used? Does it provide an adequate audit trail? Is the data protected? Are passwords used?
  • Who receives bank statements? Who opens them? Who has online access? Does anyone review cleared checks for appropriateness?
  • Who reconciles the bank statement? How quickly? Does a second person review the bank reconciliation?
  • Who creates expense reports? Who reviews them?
  • Who bills clients? In what form (paper or electronic)?
  • Who opens the mail?
  • Who receipts monies?
  • Are there electronic payments?
  • Who receives cash onsite and where?
  • Who has credit cards? What are the spending limits?
  • Who makes deposits (and how)?
  • Who keys the receipts into the software?
  • What revenue reports are created and reviewed? Who reviews them?
  • Who creates the monthly financial statements? Who receives them?
  • Are there any outside parties that receive financial statements? Who are they?

These are examples of what we need to understand before we plan the audit. Why? Because risk is a function of processes. Understanding informs us. It directs us.

Remember this: Numbers are the narrative.

And this: To change the story, change the figures.

And for auditors: See if the story is true–or if it changed (whether by accident or intentionally).

How do we do this?

We look for indicators of false numbers (false stories). Do the accounting processes allow for false numbers?

As a kid, I once stole five dollars from my father. His internal control of laying his billfold down on his dresser every night did not work well. When he asked who took the money, I changed the story from one of fact to fiction (also known as a white lie). I tried to change the narrative.

My father inquired, but he also observed, and my reaction gave me away.

Auditors are to use the following in performing risk assessments:

1. Inquiry

2. Observation

3. Inspection

Inquiry alone is never sufficient. Combine observation and inspection with inquiries.

And what is the purpose? To know where risks lie.

Your Thoughts?

We’ll pick up here in my next post about risk assessment. Feel free to share this article with those you know who suffer from audit risk assessment averseness. Friends don’t let friends audit without thinking.

What unique risk assessment procedures do you use? Since this is an art, there are myriad ways to gain an understanding of clients and their processes–and I’m always looking to learn more.