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Best of 2007: Technology

If you wanted to know the implications of XBRL, what people were saying about AS5, why the financial aspects of Second Life should be regulated, or how to make better use of spreadsheets, this was the year for you.

In the spotlight early this year were some continued themes from 2006, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s new Auditing Standard No. 5, which clarified that audits should dwell only on areas ripe for missteps in reporting.

As 2007 wore on, the Securities and Exchange Commission marched slowly but inexorably toward mandating the use of XBRL, the fledgling format for filing financials online. Late 2008 is the likely time frame for a final decision, depending on how much havoc is wrought by such potential stumbling blocks as XBRL’s incompatibility with IFRS and resistance from big companies that sell financial data.

Some the year’s most compelling articles focused on Web-based systems that enjoyed their first popularity among consumers but that finance departments are now using. These included an examination of the need for regulating the financial aspects of the virtual world Second Life and a look at videos available on YouTube containing tips for using Excel. In fact, once again this year finance executives flocked to articles that served as tutorials for navigating Excel and other popular spreadsheet programs more easily.

Other articles covered such diverse topics as increased reliance on services that automate the accounts-payable function, a close collaboration between the internal audit and IT departments at MGM Mirage, new guidelines for testing IT systems for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, the burgeoning trend of consumers exerting great influence on business technology, and Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.

Read on to see our editors’ choices for the best technology articles of the year on CFO.com.

(To see all of our technology and software articles, check out the technology section of our archive.)

Tickling the Keyboard: 10 Spreadsheet Tips

Basic shortcuts to smooth the use of Excel.

AS5: Clarification or Confusion?

The PCAOB says its replacement for Auditing Standard No. 2 will focus auditors on only the most important controls and technology. But it could just create more confusion.

Now Playing on YouTube: Microsoft Excel

The subjects of these free videos range from making a Gantt chart to reviving a romance by using a spreadsheet.

Why Danny Ocean Won’t Go Back to Bellagio

MGM Mirage’s internal audit and information technology cops are on the prowl.

A Truce in the Sarbox Tech War?

Will companies and their auditors ever agree on how to test information technology systems for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance? The Institute of Internal Auditors hopes its new guidelines on IT controls will help.

GAAP Goes Interactive

The SEC creeps closer to making XBRL mandatory.

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