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In this Issue: June 2017

This month marks our annual focus on technology. This special brings together thought leaders on an array of cutting-edge subjects—insightful analysis on several nascent technologies as well as informed speculation on how they will affect business and accounting practice, and the risks and opportunities they introduce.

Bitcoin is a young digital currency that has shown great promise as a means of facilitating digital transactions, as well as a potential investment vehicle, but its popularity will lead to increased regulation, according to Rick Barlin. Blockchain, a decentralized, distributed database system, has been employed in bitcoin trading, but it has the potential to create more secure accounting journal entries with an accounting trail that can deter fraud, according to a pair of articles in our News & Views section.

Artificial intelligence may seem like a far-off fantasy, but Ting Sun and Miklos Vasarhelyi describe the potential applications for this emerging “deep learning” technology. Training computers to think like humans could improve audit effectiveness and decision-making. Another pair of features explores how “big data” will affect auditing practice and standards and how related data analytics can inform forensic accounting today. Deniz Appelbaum and Robert Nehmer predict that drones, mechanical robots, and software bots will increasingly assist accountants and augment their work.

Finally, the advance of technology is not without its dark side in the expanding varieties of cybercrime that many businesses have had the misfortune to encounter. Insurance can help shift the risks of cyberattacks as part of a risk management strategy, writes Yigal Rechtman. Within the executive suite, the chief information security officer is increasingly the individual tasked with safeguarding a business's data, and Joel Lanz illustrates how CFOs can grow into this role. Finally, New York State is among the pioneers in requiring compliance with cybersecurity standards; Al Alper explains how a recently enacted law will impact financial institutions—and perhaps others in the future.

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