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THE CPA & THE COMPUTER

THE INTERACTIVE YELLOW BOOK

A Review by Paul D. Warner

I recently attended a multimedia sym- posium where most of the presenters were from academia. Many of the presentations described how multimedia could be used in the classroom to enhance the students' classroom learning experience. The classroom model is great for the student, but many practitioners find it impractical for use in providing CPE for themselves and their busy professional staffs.

One-on-one, computer-based CPE is an attractive alternative. It requires an interactive multimedia approach which is lacking in most of the classroom models. The participants at the multimedia symposium had the opportunity to observe what venders are doing in the interactive training field. One such vender is Evoke, who has released two CD-ROMs for CPE: Kess' 1995 Individual Income Tax Update (it is being revised for 1996) and The Interactive Yellow Book. Both use the power of multimedia to provide an engaging and enjoyable way to gain 8 hours of CPE credit. I tested The Interactive Yellow Book.

The Interactive Yellow Book uses full-motion video clips, full-color graphics, sounds and "hot-linked" text to cover all generally-accepted government auditing standards for financial statements and financial and performance audits.

Course Content

Evoke utilizes licensed course content from the AICPA, which includes--

* General Standards

* Recent Yellow Book Changes

* Yellow Book CPE Requirements

* External Quality Control Review

* Field Work Standards for Financial Audits

* Reporting Standards for Financial Audits

* Field Work Standards for Performance Audits

* Reporting Standards for Performance Audits

Practice Aid Materials

In addition to the course material, Evoke's Yellow Book includes practice aids which can be used in your practice. They includeč

* sample reports which comply with the Yellow Book general standards.

* uniform review guides for single audits, which contain checklists and reports designed to assure that the scope of desk reviews and quality control reviews fulfill their objectives and are consistent among agency audit organizations.

* proposed legislation.

* guide to GAO online information.

Primary Source Material

Along with the course content, the CD-ROM provides all the related primary source material which is referenced throughout the course. The technology used allows these source materials to be referenced as needed:

* Government Auditing Standards "Yellow Book" 1994 Revision

* Related Statements on Auditing Standards (SASs)

* GAO interpretations of CPE

Program Operation

The program presents the user with three choices--Course, Authority, and Test. The Course and Authority segments are completely integrated. As a result, you do not have to track through the material in a linear manner. In fact, the interface invites you to go off in different directions to explore topics more fully. The flexibility is reinforced by the extensive use of audio and video clips which provide timely advice and give you tips on handling important issues.

The course segment consists of the following topics:

* Introduction to the Yellow Book

* Qualifications Standard

* The Independence Standard

* Due Care and Quality Standard

* Field Work/Financial Audits

* Reporting /Financial Audits

* Field Work/Performance Audits

* Reporting /Performance Audits

Clicking on any one of the topics brings up a brief audio/visual description of the segment's content. A table of contents is also presented. The course material is accessed by clicking on a table of contents topic.

The course material contains imbedded icons which allow you to directly access citations from the Yellow Book, GAO interpretations, etc. which support the course text. Other icons bring up comments, examples and questions. There is even a bookmark capability. In addition, any of the material contained on the CD-ROM can be printed.

The test is also linked to the appropriate section of the course material so that the answers can be checked. You cannot change the answer to a question once you have answered it unless you completely retake the entire examination.

The Authority Segment

The Authority segment consists of the following topics:

* Yellow Book

* CPE interpretation as it applies to the Yellow Book

* SASs (only those applicable to GAGAS)

* Practice Aids which includes--

* illustrative unqualified opinion on general-purpose financial statements

* illustrative report on compliance

* illustrative report on internal control

* illustrative report on schedule of Federal awards

* uniform desk review guide for single audits.

CPE Credit

The Interactive Yellow Book provides an easy way to obtain 8 hours of CPE credit. You complete the exam included on the disk, then print and fax your answers to Evoke. Evoke handles and processes the user's certification within 48 hours.

Minimum System Requirements

Windows 3.1 or later, 486/33 MHz CPU, 8 MB RAM, 2 MB available hard disk space, 640 x 480 256 color monitor, 2x CD-ROM, Sound Blaster or compatible sound card, speakers or headphones, printer. (I ran the program under Windows for WorkGroups and Windows NT and did not encounter any operational problems.)

Additional CD-ROMs can be purchased for $15 each plus shipping and handling.

Evoke

6150 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 365

Pleasanton CA 94588

(800) 250-5888 *

Paul D. Warner, PhD, CPA, is technology editor of The CPA Journal and a professor and head of the accounting department at Hofstra University.

Editors:

Paul D. Warner, PhD, CPA

Hofstra University

L. Murphy Smith, DBA, CPA

Texas A&M University

AUGUST 1996 / THE CPA JOURNAL



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