A Game Changer for Small Firms

Carl Peterson, CPA, CGMA

September 5, 2018

What would it mean to your practice if you had a tool that streamlined your processes and enhanced your ability to serve clients with timeliness and accuracy? As a former practitioner in a small firm, I can say that a resource that would make us more productive and profitable would be very welcome. The good news is that one is available to you right now.

I’m sure you have all heard about the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative and the focus on envisioning the audit of the future. I’m happy to say that there are similar efforts to imagine and drive positive change when it comes to preparation, compilation and review engagements.

A shining example is OnPoint PCR, a cloud-based platform that combines AICPA expertise with CaseWare’s dynamic new cloud platform to transform how you will perform preparation, compilation, and review services. Here’s why I think this game-changing product is such an important development for small practitioners.

Your workflow is simplified with guided engagements. Once you answer some initial questions, the system builds intelligent checklists to move you through your engagement. Using built-in AICPA methodology and guidance, the system helps you reduce planning time by incorporating necessary technical considerations. Disclosure checklist optimization also narrows the necessary items to develop an optimal set of engagement procedures. And OnPoint PCR allows you to incorporate your own documentation or workpapers into the system if you choose.  

You can optimize planning time. Guided smart processes take you through all the necessary steps, from drafting a customized engagement letter and report (as needed) to documenting specific procedures using an interactive checklist specific to each engagement. While you can customize plans, you no longer must chart a new plan from scratch for each and every engagement.

You eliminate repetitive processes. Thanks to the integrated data system, you don’t have to return repeatedly to the underlying transactional data to review samples or track transactional detail. The information is it at your fingertips whenever you need it.  

You—or your staff—can work at your highest levels. New staff can begin doing productive work more quickly, while more experienced firm members can move quickly to areas where higher-level skills are needed. It’s easier to focus on consistency, quality and client needs.

You receive updates on new standards. In the PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues survey, we consistently find that complexity is one of the greatest challenges for small practitioners. OnPoint PCR regularly updates new standards to reduce the danger of overlooking critical guidance.

You’ll find collaboration easier. You can securely send, receive and track messages to and from clients and other firm members, and the engagement information can be made available to multiple users simultaneously. That means it’s no longer necessary to track down clients and walk them through the details. The system forwards your interrogatories and automatically integrates the client’s responses into the engagement when they’re received. Users can enjoy access to OnPoint PCR anytime and anywhere and save the changes in real time. The system’s graphical visualization workpapers help you review and analyze various components of the financial report and can support documentation. You can also use the underlying insights you’ve gained from the graphical display in developing observations for clients.  

You gain peace of mind. At the end of the day, there’s great value in knowing that you completed, and properly documented and facilitated a quality control process with OnPoint PCR.  

Be ready for the future

More than 19,000 U.S. firms perform preparation, compilation and review engagements as their highest level of service. After reviewing OnPoint PCR myself, I believe that those who hesitate to use it must not have seen it yet. You can learn more about it by attending CPA.com’s scheduled bi-weekly webinars, or by requesting a personalized demo that allows you to test out creating an engagement. I think you’ll agree that OnPoint PCR is a unique solution that can help you prepare for the future by building on what we’ve done in the past.

Carl Peterson, CPA, CGMA is the Association’s Vice President of Small Firm Interests. Have questions for Carl? Contact him directly at carl.peterson@aicpa-cima.com or 651-252-4618. And be sure to sign up for Carl’s Small Firm Update webcasts. The next one will take place on September 20 at 2:00 to 3:00 PM ET.