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CIA-II Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) basics |

CIA-II basics - Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Updated: 2024

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Exam Code: CIA-II Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) basics January 2024 by team

CIA-II Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

2019 CIA exam Syllabus, Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing

100 questions l 2.0 Hours (120 minutes)

The CIA exam Part 2 includes four domains focused on managing the internal audit activity, planning the engagement, performing the engagement, and communicating engagement results and monitoring progress. Part 2 tests candidates knowledge, skills, and abilities particularly related to Performance Standards (series 2000, 2200, 2300, 2400, 2500, and 2600) and current internal audit practices.​

Domains Collapse All

I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)​

​ ​ ​Cognitive Level

​​1. Internal Audit Operations

A​ ​​​Describe policies and procedures for the planning, organizing, directing, and monitoring of internal audit operations Basic

​B ​Interpret administrative activities (budgeting, resourcing, recruiting, staffing, etc.) of the internal audit activity Basic

2. Establishing a Risk-based Internal Audit Plan

A ​Identify sources of potential engagements (audit universe, audit cycle requirements, management requests, regulatory mandates, relevant market and industry trends, emerging issues, etc.) Basic​

​B ​Identify a risk management framework to assess risks and prioritize audit engagements based on the results of a risk assessment Basic​​

​C ​Interpret the types of assurance engagements (risk and control assessments, audits of third parties and contract compliance, security and privacy, performance and quality audits, key performance indicators, operational audits, financial and regulatory compliance audits) ​Proficient

​D ​Interpret the types of consulting engagements (training, system design, system development, due diligence, privacy, benchmarking, internal control assessment, process mapping, etc.) designed to provide advice and insight Proficient​

​E ​Describe coordination of internal audit efforts with the external auditor, regulatory oversight bodies, and other internal assurance functions, and potential reliance on other assurance providers Basic​

​3. Communicating and Reporting to Senior Management and the Board

​A ​Recognize that the chief audit executive communicates the annual audit plan to senior management and the board and seeks the board's approval ​Basic

​B ​Identify significant risk exposures and control and governance issues for the chief audit executive to report to the board ​Basic

​C Recognize that the chief audit executive reports on the overall effectiveness of the organization's internal control and risk management processes to senior management and the board​ ​Basic

​D ​Recognize internal audit key performance indicators that the chief audit executive communicates to senior management and the board periodically Basic​

II. Planning the Engagement (20%)​

​ ​ ​Cognitive Level

​​1. Engagement Planning

A​ ​​​Determine engagement objectives, evaluation criteria, and the scope of the engagement Proficient

​B ​Plan the engagement to assure identification of key risks and controls Proficient

C​ ​Complete a detailed risk assessment of each audit area, including evaluating and prioritizing risk and control factors ​Proficient

D​ ​Determine engagement procedures and prepare the engagement work program ​​Proficient

​E ​Determine the level of staff and resources needed for the engagement ​​Proficient

III. Performing the Engagement (40%)

​ ​ ​Cognitive Level

​​1. Information Gathering

A​ Gather and examine relevant information (review previous audit reports and data, conduct walk-throughs and interviews, perform observations, etc.) as part of a preliminary survey of the engagement area Proficient

​B Develop checklists and risk-and-control questionnaires as part of a preliminary survey of the engagement area Proficient

C​ ​Apply appropriate sampling (nonstatistical, judgmental, discovery, etc.) and statistical analysis techniques ​Proficient

2. Analysis and Evaluation

A Use computerized audit tools and techniques (data mining and extraction, continuous monitoring, automated workpapers, embedded audit modules, etc.) Proficient

​B Evaluate the relevance, sufficiency, and reliability of potential sources of evidence Proficient

​C Apply appropriate analytical approaches and process mapping techniques (process identification, workflow analysis, process map generation and analysis, spaghetti maps, RACI diagrams, etc.) ​Proficient

​D Determine and apply analytical review techniques (ratio estimation, variance analysis, budget vs. actual, trend analysis, other reasonableness tests, benchmarking, etc.) Basic

​E Prepare workpapers and documentation of relevant information to support conclusions and engagement results Proficient

​F ​Summarize and develop engagement conclusions, including assessment of risks and controls Proficient​

​3. Engagement Supervision

​A Identify key activities in supervising engagements (coordinate work assignments, review workpapers, evaluate auditors' performance, etc.) ​Basic

IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)

​ ​ ​Cognitive Level

​​1. Communicating Engagement Results and the Acceptance of Risk

A​ Arrange preliminary communication with engagement clients Proficient

​B Demonstrate communication quality (accurate, objective, clear, concise, constructive, complete, and timely) and elements (objectives, scope, conclusions, recommendations, and action plan) Proficient

​C ​Prepare interim reporting on the engagement progress ​Proficient

​D ​​Formulate recommendations to enhance and protect organizational value Proficient​

​E ​​Describe the audit engagement communication and reporting process, including holding the exit conference, developing the audit report (draft, review, approve, and distribute), and obtaining management's response Basic​

​F ​​Describe the chief audit executive's responsibility for assessing residual risk ​Basic

​G ​​Describe the process for communicating risk acceptance (when management has accepted a level of risk that may be unacceptable to the organization) Basic​

2. Monitoring Progress

A ​Assess engagement outcomes, including the management action plan Proficient

​B ​Manage monitoring and follow-up of the disposition of audit engagement results communicated to management and the board Proficient

Additional noteworthy elements related to the revised CIA Part Two exam syllabus:

The syllabus features greater alignment with The IIAs Performance Standards.

The exam covers the chief audit executives responsibility for assessing residual risk and communicating risk acceptance.

The largest domain is “Performing the Engagement,” which makes up 40% of the exam.

A portion of the exam requires candidates to demonstrate a basic comprehension of concepts; another portion requires candidates to demonstrate proficiency in their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
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Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Question: 480
Confirmations are a highly regarded form of information. Confirmation is most effective
in addressing the existence assertion for the
A. Addition of a milling machine to a machine shop.
B. Sale of merchandise during regular course of business.
C. Inventory held on consignment.
D. Granting of a patent for a special process developed by the organization.
Answer: C
When inventories are held by an outside custodian, such as a consignee, the internal
auditor ordinarily obtains direct confirmation in writing from the custodian. Confirmation
of consigned goods is most likely to be effective for the existence and rights-and-
obligations assertions.
Question: 481
Observation is considered a reliable engagement procedure, but one that is limited in
usefulness. However, it is used in a number of different engagement situations. Which of
the following statements is true regarding observation as an engagement technique?
A. It is the most effective engagement methodology to use in filling out internal control
B. It is the most persuasive methodology to learn how transactions are really processed
during the period under review.
C. It is rarely sufficient to satisfy any assertion other than existence.
D. It is the most persuasive technique for determining if fraud has occurred.
Answer: C
Observation is effective for verifying whether particular assets such as inventory or
equipment exist at a given date. However, it is of limited use in addressing other
assertions. Thus, it provides less persuasive information about the assertions of
completeness, rights, valuation, and presentation and disclosure. For example, merely
observing inventory does not determine whether the engagement client has rights in it.
Question: 482
One engagement procedure for an engagement to evaluate facilities and equipment is to
test the accuracy of recorded depreciation. Which of the following is the best source of
information that the equipment in question is in service?
A. A review of depreciation policies and procedures.
B. A comparison of depreciation schedules with a listing of insurance appraisals for the
same equipment.
C. A comparison of depreciation schedules with the maintenance and repair logs for the
same equipment.
D. A review of inventory documentation for the equipment.
Answer: C
The maintenance and repair records provide information that equipment exists and is in
use. Equipment in service is more likely to require maintenance than retired equipment.
However, the best information is the internal auditor's direct observation.
Question: 483
Which of the following documents provides the most persuasive information concerning
the existence and valuation of a receivable?
A. A credit approval document supported by the customer's audited financial statements.
B. A copy of a sales invoice to the customer in the engagement client's records.
C. A positive confirmation received directly from the customer.
D. A customer's purchase order in the engagement client's records related to the credit
Answer: C
A positive confirmation by the debtor is the most reliable information other than payment
that the receivable is a valid asset and that it is properly valued. This information is
especially reliable because the customer has no incentive to confirm a nonexistent
obligation and because the documentation has not been under the engagement client's
Question: 484
A bank internal auditor wanted to verify the accuracy of the general ledger balance of a
depository account. One engagement procedure used in this process was to mail positive
confirmations to statistically sampled depositors. However, the number of replies
received was not adequate to form a valid conclusion about the account's accuracy. What
action should the internal auditor take to accomplish this objective?
A. Assume that the no replies represent tacit agreements by the depositor, document the
results, and perform no further work on this engagement procedure.
B. Expand the original confirmation demo to include additional depositors.
C. Verify accuracy of the depositors' addresses. Retail confirmation requests a second
time with a notation indicating that it is a second request.
D. Mail negative confirmation requests to all non-replies and document results of testing.
If necessary, telephone depositors to inquire about any disagreement with balances
Answer: C
A positive confirmation asks the debtor for a reply. It may ask the respondent to state
whether (s)he agrees with the information given or request that the recipient fill in the
account balance or provide other information. The latter type of positive confirmation is
called a blank form. The negative confirmation asks for a response only when the debtor
disagrees. Positive confirmation is therefore useful when an internal auditor wants to
obtain documentary information to verify account balances. If the internal auditor fails to
receive positive confirmation, alternative procedures including second and third requests
should be employed.
Question: 485
Which of the following statements describes an internal control questionnaire?
A. It provides detailed information regarding the substance of the control system.
B. It takes less of the engagement client's time to complete than other control evaluation
C. It requires that the internal auditor be in attendance to properly administer it.
D. It provides indirect information that might need corroboration.
Answer: D
An internal control questionnaire consists of a series of questions about the controls
designed to prevent or detect errors or irregularities. Answers to the questions help the
internal auditor to identify specific policies and procedures relevant to specific assertions.
They also help in the design of tests of controls to evaluate their effectiveness. The
questionnaire provides a framework to assure that specific concerns are not overlooked,
but it is not a sufficient means of understanding the entire system. Thus, the evidence
obtained is indirect and requires corroboration by means of observation, interviews,
flowcharting, examination of documents, etc.
Question: 486
During interviews with the inventory management personnel, an internal auditor learned
that salespersons often order inventory for stock without receiving the approval of the
vice president of sales. Also, detail testing showed that there are no written approvals on
purchase orders for replacement parts. The results of detail testing are a good example of
A. Indirect information.
B. Circumstantial information.
C. Corroborative information.
D. Subjective information.
Answer: C
Corroborative information is evidence from a different source that supplements and
confirms other information. For example, oral testimony that a certain procedure was not
performed may be corroborated by the absence of documentation.
Question: 487
Which of the following engagement objectives will be accomplished by tracing a sample
of accounts receivable debit entries to customer invoices and related shipping
A. Sales are properly recorded.
B. Sales are billed at the correct prices.
C. Accounts receivable represent valid sales.
D. Customer credit is approved.
Answer: C
By vouching sales transactions from the accounts receivable ledger back to the sales
invoices, the internal auditor verifies that these accounts receivable are properly
supported by sales. These sales should then be vouched back to related customer orders
and traced forward to shipping documents. The purpose is to detect fictitious sales and
assure that each sale is properly documented and posted to the accounts receivable
subsidiary ledger. The latter objective also requires sales invoices to be traced to the
accounts receivable subsidiary ledger.
Question: 488
Management believes that some specific sales commissions for the year were too large.
The accuracy of the recorded commission expense for specific salespersons is best
determined by
A. Computation of selected sales commissions.
B. Calculating commission ratios.
C. Use of analytical procedures.
D. Tests of overall reasonableness.
Answer: A
Sales commission is based on the application of a ratio to the amount of the sale. The best
information about the accuracy of sales commission expense for specific individuals is to
recomputed the amounts derived from a demo of transactions. These tests should be
done at the same time as procedures testing accrued liabilities.
Question: 489
An internal auditor traces copies of sales invoices to shipping documents to determine
A. Customer shipments were billed.
B. Sales that are billed were also shipped.
C. Shipments to customers were also recorded as receivables.
D. The subsidiary accounts receivable ledger was updated.
Answer: B
If the invoices in the demo can be correctly matched with shipping documents, some
assurance is given that items billed are also shipped.
Question: 490
A large manufacturer has a transportation division that supplies gasoline for the
organization's vehicles. Gasoline is dispensed by an attendant who records the amount
issued on a serially prenumbered gasoline disbursement form, which is then given to the
accounting department for proper recording. When the quantity of gasoline falls to a
certain level, the service station attendant prepares a purchase requisition and sends it to
the purchasing department where a purchase order is prepared and recorded in a gasoline
purchases journal. Which of the following engagement procedures best determines
whether gasoline disbursements are fully recorded?
A. Compare the gasoline purchase requisitions with the gasoline disbursement records.
B. Select a number of gasoline purchases from the gasoline purchases journal and
compare them with their corresponding purchase orders. Ascertain that the purchases are
serially prenumbered, are matched with purchase requisitions, and are authorized by
someone independent of employees of the service station.
C. Perform analytical procedures comparing this period's gasoline consumption with
prior periods.
D. Match the quantity of gasoline disbursed according to disbursement forms with an
independent memorizing of quantity disbursed at the pump.
Answer: D
Physical information is best obtained through direct observation or inspection by the
internal auditor. Because the gasoline disbursement forms are prenumbered, the internal
auditor is able to match them with the independent memorizing of quantity disbursed at the
pump to test the completeness of disbursement records.
Question: 491
To control daily operating costs, an organization decreased the number of times a
messenger service was used each day. Despite those measures, the monthly bill continued
to increase. What procedure should the internal auditor use to detect whether improper
services were being billed?
A. Reconcile a demo of messenger invoices to pickup receipts.
B. Test the mathematical accuracy of a demo of messenger invoices.
C. Scan ledger accounts and messenger invoices.
D. Observe daily use of the messenger service.
Answer: A
When the amount charged for a service increases as an entity reduces its use of the
service, the possibility exists that the entity is being charged for service not received. The
internal auditor should reconcile a demo of messenger invoices to pickup receipts. By
multiplying the number of trips authorized by the charge per trip, any discrepancy can be
Question: 492
To determine whether credit controls are inconsistently applied, preventing valid sales to
creditworthy customers, the internal auditor should
A. Confirm current accounts receivable.
B. Trace postings on the accounts receivable ledger.
C. Analyze collection rates and credit histories.
D. Compare credit histories for those receiving credit and for those denied credit.
Answer: D
Credit policy should maximize profits by balancing bad debt losses and the increase in
sales derived from granting credit. One concern in an engagement to review credit
management is whether credit policies and procedures are fairly administered.
Question: 493
To test whether debits to accounts receivable represent valid transactions, the internal
auditor should trace entries from the
A. Sales journal to the accounts receivable ledger.
B. Accounts receivable ledger to the cash receipts journal.
C. Accounts receivable ledger to sales documentation.
D. Cash receipts documentation to the accounts receivable ledger.
Answer: C
By vouching sales transactions from the accounts receivable ledger back to the sales
invoices, the internal auditor verifies that these accounts receivable are properly
supported by sales. These sales should then be vouched back to related customer orders
and traced forward to shipping documents. The purpose is to detect fictitious sales and
assure that each sale is properly documented and posted to the accounts receivable
subsidiary ledger. The latter objective also requires sales invoices to be traced to the
accounts receivable subsidiary ledger.
Question: 494
Cash receipts should be deposited on the day of receipt or the following business day.
Select the most appropriate engagement procedure to determine that cash is promptly
A. Review cash register tapes prepared for each sale.
B. Review the functions of cash handling and maintaining accounting records for proper
separation of duties.
C. Compare the daily cash receipts totals with the bank deposits.
D. Review the functions of cash receiving and disbursing for proper separation of duties.
Answer: C
A standard control over the cash receipts function is to require that daily cash receipts be
deposited promptly and intact. Hence, the total of cash receipts for a day should equal the
bank deposit because no cash disbursements are made from the daily receipts. To
determine whether cash receipts are promptly deposited, the internal auditor should
compare the daily cash receipts totals with bank deposits.
Question: 495
Which of the following engagement procedures will provide the least relevant
information for determining that payroll payments were made to bona fide employees?
A. Reconcile time cards in use to employees on the job.
B. Examine canceled checks for proper endorsement and compare to personal records.
C. Test for segregation of the authorization for payment from the hire/fire authorization.
D. Test the payroll account bank reconciliation by tracing outstanding checks to the
payroll register.
Answer: D
A payroll account proof tests the completeness assertion. However, it has no bearing on
the validity of the transactions.
Question: 496
Which of the tests provides the least significant information when testing for suspected
fraudulent sales?
A. Tracing a demo of inventory removal slips from inventory through billing to the
sales journal.
B. Performing analytical tests of sales by comparing sales and gross margins overtime.
C. Performing analysis of write-offs and sales returns, and comparing the amounts over
the past several years.
D. Confirming sales transactions with customers and investigating nonresponses.
Answer: A
Tracing a demo of inventory removal slips is least likely to provide evidence of
fraudulent sales because it applies to transactions that have apparently been properly
authorized and documented.
Question: 497
The most reliable information an internal auditor can assess when determining an
organization's legal title to inventories is
A. Monthly gross profit and inventory levels.
B. Purchase orders.
C. Paid vendor invoices.
D. Records of inventories stored at off-site locations.
Answer: C
Mere possession of inventory does not signify that another party does not have a claim to
it. For example, the inventory may be held on consignment. Payment of vendor invoices
is the culmination of the purchases-payables cycle. The paid invoice evidences the
purchaser's ownership of the inventory.
Question: 498
An internal auditor has set an engagement objective of ascertaining the reasonableness of
the increases in rental revenue resulting from operating costs passed on to the lessee by
the landlord. The internal auditor has already inspected the lease contract to determine
that such costs are allowed. Which of the following engagement procedures will best
meet this objective?
A. Inspection of documents.
B. Observation.
C. Inquiry.
D. Analytical review.
Answer: D
Computation of the rates of increase in operating costs passed through to the lessee from
period to period in relation to inflation rates provides an initial view of the reasonableness
of the increases.
Question: 499
An internal auditor has set an engagement objective of determining whether the planned
rate of return on investment in international operations has been achieved. Which of the
following engagement procedures will best meet this objective?
A. Inspection of documents.
B. Observation.
C. Inquiry.
D. Analytical review.
Answer: D
By comparing the rate of return achieved with the budget for international operations for
the last several time periods, the internal auditor can determine the variances from budget
and determine the adequacy of the return on the investment.
Question: 500
Which of the following is the most appropriate engagement procedure to test the
processing of interbank transfers?
A. Analyze a demo of interbank transfers throughout the period including period-end
B. Obtain cutoff bank statements for each bank account and reconcile them to accounting
C. Send bank confirmation requests to each bank in which accounts are maintained and
reconcile the completed forms to accounting records.
D. Trace all bank deposits recorded in accounting records near the end of the fiscal period
to supporting documentation and to bank statements.
Answer: A
If the engagement objective is to test compliance with processing procedures, the
appropriate procedure is to examine a demo of transfers and trace them to the
accounting records, including the period-end bank reconciliation for each account.
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Financial Certified basics - BingNews Search results Financial Certified basics - BingNews Table of Contents No result found, try new keyword!Day trading means buying and selling securities rapidly — often in less than a day. Here is how to get started day trading. Thu, 04 Jan 2024 23:14:00 -0600 en-us text/html What is a certified check? Definition, uses and cost

Portions of this article were drafted using an in-house natural language generation platform. The article was reviewed, fact-checked and edited by our editorial staff.

A certified check is often used for a large financial transaction and is considered a more secure form of payment compared with a personal check.

Whether you’re buying a car or closing on a house, understanding the ins and outs of a certified check can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your finances. Here’s a breakdown of the basics of a certified check, including what it is, its uses and its potential risks.

Key takeaways

  • A certified check is a personal check that has been Tested by a bank.

  • A certified check is typically used for a large financial transaction or in a situation when the buyer and seller hasn't conducted business with each other before.

  • It can be more expensive than other payment options and may not be offered by all banks.

What is a certified check?

A certified check is a personal check that an account holder’s bank has confirmed is backed by sufficient funds and bears a legitimate signature.

The amount of money on a certified check is earmarked solely for the payment of that check. The bank stamps the check or adds some other marking to indicate that it is certified.

That’s why a certified check is considered an “official check.”

When to use a certified check

Certified checks are typically used in large-dollar transactions, such as a down payment on a car.

They are also used in transactions when the buyer and seller don’t know each other. If you’re buying an expensive item from an online marketplace, a certified check guarantees a seller that you have adequate funds for the purchase.

A standard check doesn’t offer that assurance.

How much does a certified check cost?

A certified check will cost more than some other payment options. While personal checks typically cost a few cents each, you can expect to pay $15 to $20 for a certified check.

Not only are certified checks more expensive, but it is also difficult to find a bank that offers them. Many banks sell cashier’s checks and money orders, but not certified checks. Even big, traditional banks tend not to offer them.

“They’re a feature that banks offer to their customers, but they’re not as readily used, historically, as cashier’s checks (or) money orders,” says Ben Craigie, a vice president of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. “There’s just some banks that don’t have that service.”

If you need an official check, inquire at your bank about the payment options it offers.

Certified check vs. cashier’s check: What’s the difference?

The terms “certified check” and “cashier’s check” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. A certified check is drawn against the bank customer’s account; a cashier’s check is drawn against the bank’s funds.

“Certified [checks] kind of fall into that same umbrella as cashier’s checks in the sense that they’re both considered official check instruments,” says Craigie.

A certified check is a personal check from an account that has been certified by a bank. The bank certifies that the account holder’s signature is authentic and that the amount of money needed to make the transaction is in the account and has been set aside for the payment of the check. A signature, stamp or some kind of marking shows that the check is certified.

With a cashier’s check, the bank withdraws the money from your account and issues you an official bank check made payable to the person or business you are transacting with. The money is guaranteed by the bank, using its funds. Usually, the bank prints the name of the payee on the cashier’s check before it’s issued.

How to protect yourself from fraud

A legitimate certified check is as good as cash because the bank has Tested the signatory’s account and signature and set aside the funds to pay it.

Even though a certified check is a more secure payment instrument than a standard personal check, counterfeits are possible.

When it comes to official checks, which covers certified checks and cashier’s checks, trust but verify, Craigie advises.

To protect yourself against fraud, ask the bank that certified the check to confirm that it’s authentic. “You can always call the bank that the check is drawn on and verify the legitimacy of the item in your possession,” Craigie says.

Don’t call a phone number that’s on the check, Craigie says. Instead, verify the bank’s phone number on your own. Go to the bank website, visit a branch office or use some other official method.

Bottom line

A certified check is a reliable form of payment for large transactions as well as when dealing with unfamiliar parties. While it may be more expensive and not widely offered by banks, it guarantees that the funds are available and the signature is authentic. However, it’s important to remain cautious of potential fraud and verify the legitimacy of the check with the issuing bank.

Bankrate’s René Bennett contributed to an update of this story.

Mon, 18 Dec 2023 22:35:00 -0600 en-US text/html
4 Financial Numbers Everyone Needs to Know No result found, try new keyword!You can get a good idea where you stand financially by keeping tabs on a few key numbers. Here's what they are and how to find them. Sun, 31 Dec 2023 09:00:12 -0600 en-us text/html 10 SMART financial goals to set for 2024

You may have to book more sessions after your initial visit, or one might suffice to help you get organized. Heath says, it’s ultimately up to you to determine if you need an ongoing relationship that’s valuable to you and justifies the ongoing fee. “Some clients like the peace of mind and discipline,” he says. “Many couples appreciate having an impartial third party to mediate their financial decisions. Plenty of singles benefit from having someone to talk to candidly about finances in lieu of a partner.”

The best way to prep for a financial planning session is to ask the planner what they require from you, and then have your documents ready to meet with them, Heath says. That way you can get the most out of your time together, and come out with a solid plan. 

7. Invest in GICs or other investments

Arguably, the best financial gift you can deliver your future self is investments. Depending on where you put your money, you could grow it with compounded interest.

GICs, for example, are low-risk investments that are great for saving towards life goals like tuition or a wedding. Putting your money in a GIC is like making a loan to a financial institution. You deposit your money for a set amount of time like 30 days up to 10 years, depending on the term, and the institution gives you back your money plus the interest earned on your deposit at the end of the period. If you think there’s a chance you’ll need the money sooner, consider a cashable or redeemable GIC. The interest rate will be lower than with non-redeemable GICs, but you can cash out anytime. 

One thing to note is the risk/return tradeoff with investments. Riskier investments like stocks can come with higher potential returns. Many young investors start out with exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are a basket of assets like stocks. ETFs have built-in diversification, which helps reduce your portfolio risk. If you’ve never invested before and you’re not sure how to begin, consider speaking with a financial advisor and signing up for the MoneySense Invest newsletter. And keep reading. Find out if investing is right for you and how to get started:

8. Make a will and powers of attorney 

An Angus Reid survey found that 80% of Canadians under 35 don’t have a will. If you’re just starting out in your career and haven’t accumulated many assets, you might wonder why you’d need a will.

If you were to pass away without a legal will, the government would divide up your estate—your bank accounts, possessions, investments and other assets—between your parents or next of kin. It might not be split up in the way you wish it to be, and if you have a common-law spouse, they would likely be left out. This could cause a lot of worry and distress for your loved ones in an already difficult time. 

If you want to write a will and you don’t have a complicated tax situation, an online will platform like Willful or Canadian Legal Wills could work. However, if your situation is a bit more complicated, you may wish to speak with a financial advisor or lawyer who works with estate plans.

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Using generative artificial intelligence as a financial tool

As the New Year approaches, many people are addressing financial resolutions. But a significant number of Americans feel like they’re behind on achieving their money goals.

About 80 percent of Americans didn’t increase their emergency savings this year, according to a exact Bankrate survey. Nearly one-third of households (32 percent) have less emergency savings now than at the start of 2023.

Generative AI has emerged as a useful tool for financial advice, offering consumers a free way to receive customized guidance on everything from creating a budget to managing an investment portfolio.

Key takeaways

  • Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that picks up patterns and uses that information to create content, including financial advice.

  • Americans are becoming more comfortable with using AI tools to help manage their personal finances and achieve financial goals.

  • Financial advisors are also incorporating generative AI into their services to streamline tasks like research, stock market analysis and generating reports.

AI financial advice data and statistics

Despite a strong economy, many Americans are struggling to achieve their financial goals as 2023 comes to a close.

Nearly half of Americans are struggling to be financially secure, according to a Bankrate survey. Still, many of the Americans surveyed are optimistic about their financial future — 46 percent of Americans who don’t feel financially secure believe that they will someday.

About 2 in 5 Americans (41 percent) surveyed blamed insufficient retirement funds as the primary factor fueling their feelings of financial insecurity. Building an emergency savings fund is another common aspiration, yet 60 percent of Americans feel they’re behind on meeting this goal, too.

More people are now turning to AI platforms, like ChatGPT, as a cost-effective way to manage their finances. The public debut of ChatGPT in November 2022 has boosted consumer awareness of AI’s potential: The chatbot currently has over 100 million users and the website generated 1.6 billion visits since June 2023.

Americans and their financial goals

For many Americans, their financial landscape feels like a battlefield — an on-going struggle to save for major life events while combating rising prices.

While inflation is down significantly from the summer of 2021, interest rates remain at their highest level in more than 15 years. From buying a car to purchasing a home to paying down credit card debt, consumers are feeling the impact of broader economic factors on their bottom line.

Americans feel behind in achieving their financial goals due to a variety of factors:

  • 57 percent of Americans who have not increased their emergency savings since the beginning of 2023 blame rising prices and inflation.

  • 56 percent of Americans who are employed believe they’re behind on retirement savings, according to a September Bankrate poll.

  • 73 percent of aspiring homeowners cite affordability as their primary obstacle keeping them from owning a home, according to a Bankrate report.

For Americans struggling to get ahead, AI offers a way to obtain personalized advice and financial information at home for free.

“AI can be a useful tool to understand how to organize basic finances like budgeting, saving, and paying down debt,” says Stephanie Genkin, a certified financial planner and founder of My Financial Planner, LLC in Brooklyn, New York. “While not always 100 percent reliable, it’s a great place to start to gain financial literacy.”

AI financial tools

In the not-so-distant past, managing money often meant sitting down with a financial advisor or conducting your own in-depth research. Information wasn’t always readily available — or free.

Flash forward to today, when the financial industry is experiencing a digital revolution. Consumers now have access to easy online banking, handy budgeting apps and even robo-advisors that use complex algorithms to help with investing.

While these advancements make money management more convenient and accessible, the advice they offer — if any — is often generic.

That lack of personalized guidance is changing with artificial intelligence, specifically AI chatbots. These digital assistants offer the potential to fill the gap between individuals struggling with financial goals and the guidance they need to achieve those goals.

Platforms like ChatGPT offer more than just casual conversations with a robot. They provide access to financial planning information and insights once only available for a fee from an advisor.

One big advantage of AI is its ability to analyze vast data sets quickly. AI can review your income, expenses, savings, investments and financial goals, offering advice tailored to your unique situation. Users can also get guidance on creating a budget or understanding insurance products.

Other AI-driven financial tools include:

  • Automated budgeting and expense tracking

  • AI-driven investment platforms for smart investing

  • Personalized financial planning tailored to your goals

  • Debt management strategies

  • Improving financial literacy

Screenshot of someone using chatGPT

Consumers are also getting more comfortable with the idea of AI-integration in financial planning. In fact, nearly 1 and 3 investors would be comfortable using generative artificial intelligence to receive financial advice, according to a report by CNBC.

However, it’s crucial to note that while generative AI can be a valuable tool, it can’t replace human judgement. Sure, AI can analyze large amounts of data, but it’s not going to provide you with specific investment recommendations. Certain aspects of your financial life still require a more nuanced approach.

Also, OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, warns that the chatbot “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

For consumers, AI can enhance financial decision-making but it can’t replace it. Experts recommend finding a reliable source to vet information provided by a chatbot.

“I wouldn’t make any big financial decisions without also speaking to a fiduciary,” says Genkin.

Keep in mind:While AI chatbots are efficient tools for time-saving activities, some of the content generated can be unreliable or outdated.

How AI can be used in financial advising

Consumers aren’t the only ones using AI to manage money.

For years, financial firms have utilized the technology for everything from fraud detection to credit scoring. As generative AI evolves, more financial advisors are finding new ways to incorporate the technology into their workflows to streamline everyday tasks such as research, stock market analysis and report generation.

Jeremey Finger, a certified financial planner and founder of Riverbend Wealth Management in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, says he thinks chatbots can be an efficient tool for advisors by helping them simplify tasks like drafting emails to clients.

“I think the danger, especially for clients, lies in assuming the information it provides is true,” says Finger. “It also can’t ask a client thoughtful follow-up questions. It only works off the information you put in.”

For example, if someone with a disability or terminal illness fails to input those details into a chatbot, the advice they receive won’t be tailored to their needs.

“To assume AI is taking those things into consideration is poor judgement,” says Finger.

How to choose the right financial advisor

Robo-advisor: A type of automated financial advisor that provides algorithm-driven portfolio management and investing services with little to no human intervention.

Financial advisor: A professional who is paid to offer financial advice to clients. They typically offer guidance on retirement, personal finances and investments.

Rather than turning to AI chatbots, there are other options available if you need personalized financial guidance, including traditional advisors and robo-advisors.

The rise of AI has seen a parallel surge in the popularity of robo-advisors. While not a new concept, robo-advisors have become more sophisticated with the integration of AI, offering users a cheaper and more convenient way to invest.

But creating a comprehensive financial plan involves more than a data-driven investment strategy. Selecting the right financial advisor, whether human or AI-driven, is an important step in achieving financial goals.

Not everyone needs to work with a human advisor, but doing so provides valuable insight and context you might not get with generative AI or even a robo-advisor. Estate planning, which involves drafting legally-binding documents to pass along your assets after you die, is one example of a complex situation that warrants speaking to a human advisor.

But how do you select the right financial advisor? Here are a few tips:

  • Look for a fiduciary: A fee-only fiduciary is a professional that’s ethically bound to work in your best interest — not the interests of insurance companies or financial institutions. They’ll provide unbiased, personalized advice that you can trust.

  • Check their designations: Certain designations carry more weight in the financial planning industry than others. A certified financial planner, for example, must complete at least three years of experience, pass a rigorous exam and maintain on-going education.

  • Understand their fee structure: Advisors can get compensated in several ways. Make sure you understand how an advisor is paid and that the price fits your budget.

  • Ask questions: Interview several advisors before making your decision. When you meet with potential advisors, ask about their experience and inquire about specific cases they’ve handled. Pay attention to their communication style and transparency.

If you need expert guidance when it comes to managing your money or planning for retirement, Bankrate can help you get matched with a financial advisor in minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a financial advisor?

    A financial advisor provides guidance to help clients manage their money and plan for their financial future. They help track, manage and balance investments as well as offer advice on syllabus like retirement planning, insurance, buying a home and budgeting.

  • What is generative AI?

    Generative AI is a branch of artificial intelligence that involves machines creating content — such as text, images or videos — based on patterns and information learned from massive datasets.

    Generative models, like ChatGPT, produce human-like responses and can assist in a range of tasks, including financial planning.

  • How do I achieve financial goals?

    While the process of achieving financial goals looks a little different for everyone, there are three general steps to follow: Clearly define your goal, identify your time frame and monitor your progress.

    You can set yourself up for success by making your goals specific, measurable and achievable. For example “I want to make more money” isn’t a specific goal, but “I want to increase my salary 30 percent over the next three years” is.

    Once you’ve defined your goal, don’t just set it and forget it. Designate specific times to check your accounts and make adjustments as needed. It’s generally recommended to review your progress at least once a month for short-term goals and once or twice a year for long-term goals.

Mon, 25 Dec 2023 20:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
What’s the Difference Between Accountants and Bookkeepers?

Both accounting and bookkeeping play an important financial role in business, there is a difference between the two. Bookkeeping is a direct record of all purchases and sales your business conducts, while accounting is a subjective look at what that data means for your business and cash flow strategies. An accountant can be considered a bookkeeper, but a bookkeeper can’t be an accountant without proper certification.

Learn more about the differences between accounting and bookkeeping below. 

Bookkeeping vs. accounting

Bookkeeping is a transactional and administrative role that handles the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions, including purchases, receipts, sales and payments. Accounting is more subjective, providing business owners with financial insights based on information gleaned from their bookkeeping data.

“Bookkeeping is designed to generate data about the activities of an organization,” said D’Arcy Becker, chair and professor in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Department of Accounting. “Accounting is designed to turn data into information.”

Bookkeepers handle the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions while accountants provide insight and analysis of that data and generate accounting reports.

What does a bookkeeper do?

Bookkeeping, in the traditional sense, has been around as long as there has been commerce ― since around 2600 B.C. A bookkeeper’s job is to maintain complete records of all money that has come into and gone out of the business. Bookkeepers record daily transactions in a consistent, easy-to-read way. Their records enable accountants to do their jobs.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right accounting software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

These are some typical bookkeeping tasks:

  • Recording financial transactions
  • Posting debits and credits
  • Producing invoices
  • Managing payroll
  • Maintaining and balancing ledgers, accounts and subsidiaries

One of a bookkeeper’s primary duties is maintaining a general ledger, which is a document that records the amounts from sales and expense receipts. Ledgers can vary in complexity from a sheet of paper to specialized bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks and Xero, to track their entries, debits and credits. [Read our review of QuickBooks and our Xero review to learn more about these tools.]

Each sale and purchase your business conducts must be recorded in the ledger and some items will need documentation. You can find more information on which transactions require supporting documents on the IRS website.

There are no formal educational requirements to become a bookkeeper, but they must be knowledgeable about financial syllabus and accounting terms and strive for accuracy. Generally, an accountant or owner oversees a bookkeeper’s work. A bookkeeper is not an accountant, nor should they be considered an accountant.

Bookkeepers record financial transactions, post debits and credits, create invoices, manage payroll and maintain and balance the books.

What credentials does a bookkeeper need?

Bookkeepers aren’t required to be certified to handle the books for their customers or employer but licensing is available. Both the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) offer accreditation and licensing to bookkeepers.

AIPB certification requires bookkeepers to have at least two years of full-time work experience and pass a national exam. To maintain the credential, bookkeepers are required to engage in continuing education.

The NACPB offers credentials to bookkeepers who pass tests for small business accounting, small business financial management, bookkeeping and payroll. It also offers a payroll certification, which requires additional education.

To earn the certified public bookkeeper license, bookkeepers must have 2,000 hours of work experience, pass an exam and sign a code of conduct. They must take 24 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their license.

A bookkeeper with professional certification shows they are committed to the trade, possess the skills and expertise required and are willing to continue learning new methods and techniques.

What does a bookkeeper charge?

The salary or rates you’ll pay a bookkeeper depend on your business and its bookkeeping needs. Three main factors affect your costs: the services you want, the expertise you need and your local market.

  • Services: The bookkeeping services your business needs and the amount of time it takes weekly or monthly to complete them affect how much it costs to hire a bookkeeper. If you need someone to come to the office once a month to reconcile the books, it will cost less than if you need to hire someone full-time to handle your day-to-day operations. Once you know what tasks you need the bookkeeper to do, estimate how long it will take to complete those tasks. Based on that calculation, decide if you need to hire someone full-time, part-time or on a project basis.
  • Expertise: If you have complex books or are bringing in a lot of sales, hire a certified or licensed bookkeeper. An experienced bookkeeper can deliver you peace of mind and confidence that your finances are in good hands but they will also cost you more.
  • Local market: Your business’s location can also influence how much you pay for a bookkeeper. If you live in a high-wage state like New York, you’ll pay more for a bookkeeper than you would in South Dakota. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary for bookkeepers in 2021 was $45,560 or $21.90 per hour.

Advantages of a bookkeeper

There are several advantages to hiring a bookkeeper to file and document your business’s financial records. Here are a few to consider:

  • Organizational services: Bookkeepers can help you track and organize your financial documents and reports. If you later decide to hire an accountant, your bookkeeper will already have detailed, compiled records of your business to reference, potentially saving you money in accountant fees.
  • Lower cost: Bookkeepers typically charge lower fees for their services than accountants. The specific amount varies based on the amount of filing and documentation you need.
  • Direct assessments: While accountants provide detailed analyses, a bookkeeper can deliver you a straightforward look at your business’s financial standing. Accountants, on the other hand, can offer estimated or biased analysis. 

What does an accountant do?

An accountant analyzes the financial data a bookkeeper records and provides business owners with important business insights and financial advice based on that information. These are some typical accountancy tasks:

  • Verifying and analyzing data
  • Generating reports, performing audits, and preparing financial reporting records like tax returns, income statements and balance sheets
  • Providing information for forecasts, business trends and opportunities for growth
  • Helping the business owner understand the impact of financial decisions
  • Adjusting entries

“Accountants look at the big picture,” explains John A. Tracy in his book Accounting for Dummies. “[They] step back and say, ‘We handle a lot of rebates, we handle a lot of coupons. How should we record these transactions? Do I record just the net amount of the sale, or do I record the gross sale amount, too?’ Once the accountant decides how to handle these transactions, the bookkeeper carries them out.”

The accounting process produces reports that bring key aspects of your business’s finances together to deliver you a complete picture of where your finances stand, what they mean, what you can and should do about them, and where you can expect to take your business in the near future.

There is a difference between an accountant and a certified public accountant (CPA). Although both can prepare your tax returns, a CPA is more knowledgeable about tax codes and can represent you if you get audited by the IRS

CPAs have passed the Uniform CPA exam ― a challenging exam that tests knowledge of tax laws and standard accounting practices.

Are bookkeepers accountants?

Generally, accountants must have a degree in accounting or finance to earn the title. Then, they may pursue additional certifications, such as the CPA. Accountants may also hold the position of bookkeeper.

However, if your accountant does your bookkeeping, you may be paying more than you should for this service as you would generally pay more per hour for an accountant than a bookkeeper. 

What credentials does an accountant need?

Accountants’ qualifications depend on their experience, licenses and certifications. To become an accountant, they must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

There are several types of accounting certifications that accountants obtain to expand their skill sets and gain positions within larger organizations. In addition to CPA credentials, other common accounting designations are chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified internal auditor (CIA).

CPA credentials

A CPA is an accountant who has met their state’s requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Exam. They must also meet ongoing education requirements to maintain their accreditation.

When interviewing for a CPA, look for an accountant who understands tax law and accounting software and has good communication skills. They should understand your industry and the unique needs and requirements of small businesses.

CFA credentials

Awarded by the CFA Institute, the CFA certification is one of the most respected designations in accounting. In this program, accountants learn about portfolio management, ethical financial practices, investment analysis and global markets. To complete the program, accountants must have four years of relevant work experience.

CFAs must also pass a challenging three-part exam that had a pass rate of only 39 percent in September 2021. The point here is that hiring a CFA means bringing highly advanced accounting knowledge to your business.

CIA credentials

A CIA is an accountant who has been certified in conducting internal audits. To receive this certification, an accountant must pass the required exams and have two years of professional experience.

CPAs can perform some of the same services as CIAs. However, you might hire a CIA if you want a more specialized focus on financial risk assessment and security monitoring processes.

What does an accountant charge?

According to the BLS, the median salary for an accountant in 2021 was $77,250 per year or $37.14 per hour. However, their years of experience, your state and the complexity of your accounting needs affect the price.

Accountants will either quote a client a fixed price for a specific service or charge a general hourly rate. Basic services could cost as little as $20 an hour while advanced services could be $100 or more an hour.

Advantages of an accountant

Hiring a small business accountant yields significant benefits. Here are some advantages to hiring an accountant over a bookkeeper:

  • Analysis: An accountant can deliver you a comprehensive view of your business’s financial state, along with strategies and recommendations for making financial decisions. Meanwhile, bookkeepers are only responsible for recording financial transactions.
  • Expertise: Accountants are required to complete more schooling, certifications and work experience than bookkeepers. Accountants often bring much more valuable expertise to areas like taxes and investments.
  • Legal assistance: Because of their certifications and expertise, accountants can compile financial evidence or information to help your business deal with any legal issues. Accountants’ experience with corporate taxes can also help businesses avoid trouble with the IRS.

Accounting software: An alternative to hiring an accountant or bookkeeper

Your business’s accounting needs might not require the in-depth expertise of a hired professional. You might also be watching your company’s list of expenses and wondering where to reduce spending. In either case, consider handling the accounting yourself or delegating this responsibility to one or a few of your current employees.

Accounting software allows you and your team to track and manage your business’s expense reports, invoices, inventory and payroll accurately and efficiently. To choose accounting software, start by considering your budget and the extent of your business’s accounting needs.

Many accounting programs have free versions that cover basics such as tracking income or generating financial reports. Wave Financial, for example, offers most of its services for free and allows an unlimited number of users to collaborate on financial projects. [Read our Wave Financial review for more information.]

Other programs charge annual or monthly fees and offer advanced features such as recurring invoices or purchase orders. While these services come at a cost, they can maximize the accuracy and efficiency of vital financial management processes.

Check out our reviews of the best accounting software for small businesses so you can create invoices, record payments, collect receivables and run reports that help you manage your financial health.

When to hire a financial professional

It can be difficult to gauge the appropriate time to hire an accounting professional or bookkeeper ― or to determine if you need one at all. While many small businesses hire an accountant as a consultant, you have several options for handling financial tasks.

For example, some small business owners do their own bookkeeping on software their accountant recommends or uses, providing it to the accountant on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis for action. Other small businesses hire a bookkeeper or employ a small accounting department with data entry clerks reporting to the bookkeeper.

When looking for a certified bookkeeper, first decide if you want to hire an independent consultant, a firm or a full-time employee if your business is large enough. Ask for referrals from friends, colleagues or your local chamber of commerce or search online social networks like LinkedIn for bookkeepers.

You can also look at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to find CPAs with skills in certain areas, such as employee benefits or personal finance.

It may take some background research to find a suitable bookkeeper because, unlike accountants, they are not required to hold a professional certification. A strong endorsement from a trusted colleague or years of experience are important factors when hiring a bookkeeper.

3 signs you need a bookkeeper or accountant

Are you still not sure if you need to hire someone to help with your books? Here are three instances that indicate it’s time to hire a financial professional:

  1. Your taxes are complex: If your taxes have become too complex to manage on your own, with multiple income streams, foreign investments, several deductions or other considerations, it’s time to hire an accountant. An accountant can save you hours and help you stay on top of important matters, such as payroll, tax deductions and tax filings.
  2. You’re spending too much time on accounting: If you’re spending so much time taking care of accounting tasks that you’re not able to work on growing your business or keeping existing customers happy, you’re doing your enterprise a disservice. You may make more money long-term if you leave the accounting to the experts and focus on your growth prospects.
  3. Your business is experiencing growth: Doing your accounting yourself may be fine when your business is small, but if your business is in growth mode, it may be time to bring in someone to help. You could start by contracting with a bookkeeper who balances the books once a month and a CPA who handles your taxes. Then, as your bookkeeping needs increase, bring someone on staff.

Whether you hire an accountant, a bookkeeper or both, ensure they’re qualified by asking for client references, checking for certifications or performing screening tests.

Don’t leave your books untended

Accountants and bookkeepers both can offer valuable insight into your business’s financial situation, helping you make better decisions around cash flow and stay prepared when it comes to tax liabilities. For small businesses, adept cash management is a critical aspect of survival and growth, so it’s wise to work with a financial professional from the start. If you prefer to go it alone, consider starting out with accounting software and keeping your books meticulously up to date. That way, should you need to hire a professional down the line, they will have visibility into the complete financial history of your business.

Tejas Vemparala and Shayna Waltower also contributed to this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Tue, 19 Dec 2023 09:59:00 -0600 en text/html
Pa. education bill requires basic financial literacy for high school students

Balancing a checkbook. The basics of taking out a business loan. The impact of a home mortgage.

For the average high school student, these don’t sound like exciting concepts. And in adulthood, they don’t get much more exciting. But they are essential. And state legislators want all high school students to be able to take a class that will help them understand the basics of finances.

Part of Senate Bill 843, the omnibus education bill approved last week in Pennsylvania, includes a provision that high schools offer a stand-alone personal finance course.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” said Gennaro Piraino, superintendent in the Franklin Regional School District. “We offer a personal finance course, and we’re now looking at different places where we can put it into our curriculum. We have some business courses and we’re looking at offering components of this in our family and consumer science courses at the high school.”

Pennsylvania becomes the 25th state to guarantee access to basic financial education literacy, according to nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance.

State Sen. Chris Gebhard, R-Lebanon County, sponsored the original bill.

“An alarming number of our high school students are currently entering adulthood and the workforce without an appropriate knowledge of basic financial concepts,” Gebhard said. “I want them to have the best foundation possible as they start their own lives — far too often, the financial decisions our younger generations are making have led to unintended consequences that have put them at an economic disadvantage later in life.”

Colten Oakes of Murrysville graduated from Franklin Regional in 2019. He did not take the personal finance class and said most of his guidance about managing money initially came from his parents.

“I did take some classes like that during my time at Point Park University,” he said. “It did feel very beneficial and I did come out with a better understanding of debt and how to tackle it.”

Pennsylvania school districts will be provided with resources and training to effectively implement the course, including from the Department of Education, who will collaborate with experts and educators to share high- quality course materials and model curriculum.

The course requirement will go into effect with the 2026-27 school year. It would include syllabus such as budgeting, saving, credit management, investing, loans, interest rates and other entry-level financial concepts.

Monessen High School teacher Joanne McClellan is busy familiarizing her first class of juniors with those concepts. The district added a mandatory financial literacy course to its 11th grade curriculum this year.

“Every school should offer it,” McClellan said. “When I left high school, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

She said conversations with students have generated a lot of questions and interest, “even with students who wouldn’t normally engage otherwise.”

“A lot of kids didn’t realize that, if you’re getting paid $15 an hour, you’re not really getting that much after the deductions,” she said. “We talked about labor laws. Some of my students found out they’d been asked to work at times when they shouldn’t have been.”

After the holiday break, McClellan’s class will discuss income taxes and the impact of large purchases, such as cars and homes, to round out the semester-long course, before a fresh group of students takes their seats.

“I really think it’s a good thing,” Piraino said. “It won’t solve all the financial literacy problems we have, but at least students will have a basic understanding of things like filling out a check, what something like a car really costs, or if I get a 30-year mortgage, what is the real long-term impact of that?”

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at or via Twitter .

Mon, 25 Dec 2023 20:01:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Edward Jones' Wangen receives Certified Financial Planner certification

Dec. 27—Financial Advisor Jaclyn Wangen of the financial services firm Edward Jones in Austin, has received the Certified Financial Planner or CFP, certification, granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board).

Becoming a CFP professional expands a financial advisor's knowledge base in the following areas:

* Financial management

* Tax-sensitive investment strategies

* Retirement savings

* Insurance planning

* Education planning

* Estate Considerations

In addition to the education and examination components of certification, Wangen also has committed to abiding by the CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

Wangen's office is located at 1405 15th Ave NW in Austin. She and branch office administrators Mary Flaherty and Shelby Hullopeter can be reached at 507-437-7601. You can also visit her website at

Wed, 27 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Regent Education's Financial Aid and Scholarship Management Product Suite Receives TX-RAMP Level 2 Certification

New certification underscores Regent Education's commitment to helping customers comply with a wide range of security certification and policies

FREDERICK, Md., Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Regent Education, a leader in SaaS-based financial aid and scholarship management solutions, announced today that the Regent Education product suite received TX-RAMP Level 2 Certification. This certification, applicable to institutions within the state of Texas, demonstrates Regent Education's ability to help customers manage security and risk and comply with policies beyond the basics that many solutions meet. (PRNewsfoto/Regent Education)

Adhering to security certifications and mitigating risk continues to be top-of-mind for colleges and universities nationwide. Regent Education's TX-RAMP Level 2 Certification reinforces its commitment to delivering solutions that provide institutions with peace of mind, taking into account the confidentiality and integrity of the data, the availability of its solutions, and the specific privacy policies and compliance requirements issued by state and national governing bodies. 

"Regent Education takes its role in mitigating cybersecurity risks and protecting customers' systems and data very seriously," said Ron Dinwiddie, Chief Product Officer at Regent Education. "We are excited to demonstrate this commitment through our TX-RAMP Level 2 Certification, and look forward to working with institutions in the state of Texas as they implement our suite of financial aid and scholarship management solutions."

Regent Education automates the financial aid and scholarship management lifecycle across all enrollment and educational models. Designed by financial aid experts, Regent's holistic, cloud-based, SIS-agnostic platform integrates with key campus systems, enabling institutions to increase efficiency, deliver students greater transparency into borrowing options, and make every institutional scholarship dollar count. As a result, institutions can better meet - or exceed - their enrollment goals. 

While TX-RAMP Certification is specific to institutions in Texas, Regent Education is committed to helping institutions manage security and risk and to comply with a wide range of certifications and policies, including SOC I and SOC II compliance. If you have questions about certifications or policies specific to your state or institution, please reach out. We're happy to explore how we can help. 

About Regent Education
For over 10 years, Regent Education has enabled colleges and universities to simplify and automate the management of the most complex financial aid scenarios, maximize institutional scholarship dollars, eliminate enrollment barriers, and exceed enrollment goals. Backed by a group of forward-thinking EdTech investors, Regent Education focuses solely on financial aid, putting its 400 years of collective higher education experience to work, delivering a holistic suite of SIS-agnostic, cloud-based solutions designed to meet an institution's scholarship and financial aid needs across all enrollment and educational models. Learn more at

Media Contact: 
Heather Hodgson

Cision View original content to obtain multimedia:

SOURCE Regent Education

Tue, 19 Dec 2023 01:35:00 -0600 en text/html
Manulife Financial: Strong Revenue And Dividend Growth While Share Price Skyrockets (Downgrade)
Businessman using laptop with AI tech auto insurance service concept, travel insurance data management, fast solve problem, service, digital transformation, protection, digital application.

Poca Wander Stock

Stock & Industry Snapshot

Let's kick off 2024 with my first research note, returning back to the financials sector again and a relatively under-covered insurance company out of Canada.

Some quick facts about Manulife Financial (

Mon, 01 Jan 2024 23:12:00 -0600 en text/html

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