Prediction 7 — Android Becomes King (after BlackBerry) (DRAW): iPhones are currently the coolest device around, but my friends with AT&T service know all the places they will drop service, which creates enough frustration to want to go back to another service. While those firms that are on BlackBerry will continue to support them, those looking to upgrade to a smartphone will shed their older RIM devices, HP/Palms, Microsoft Mobiles (now Microsoft Phone), and we predict the Android devices in accounting firms will overcome the number of iPhones to be number two on the smartphone list this year. While Android did overcome Apple this year, we didn’t predict that the BlackBerry users would also switch in droves. While there still “may be” slightly more BlackBerry users in firms at the end of the year, we can’t honestly take the WIN without any definitive survey results.
Prediction 8 — Tablet Application Developed (LOSE): Tablets have been around but not adopted in firms beyond consultants looking for a cool tool to make them look on the bleeding edge (me included). While some applications line OneNote are phenomenal, the reality is that we don’t see firms use tablets for tax returns and audits because the software just isn’t there yet. Windows 7 adds touch capability natively so our prediction is that accounting application vendors will finally take notice and at least one will roll out a tablet/touch-capable application or announce plans to do so in 2011. Nope, nada, zip, not even close, solid LOSE. (I wish one of the engagement application vendors would take note and LEAP ahead of the competition with touch capability!)
Prediction 9 — Green Will Be Cool to Accountants (DRAW): I think we can finally start seeing the “greening” of the accounting profession taken to heart. This will promote the use of digital vs. paper delivery and more sustainable practices because studies will show it is good for business (and becoming more cost effective, which always catches our ear). While there has been a lot of press about the “greening” of the profession, and firms are implementing environmentally sound processes (including transitioning to “less-paper” technologies), it has not been obvious that they are doing it to save Mother Earth, so we will have to settle for a DRAW.
Prediction 10 — Security Breach Freaks Out Profession (DRAW): It’s bound to happen, and I am guessing that 2011 will be the year. A major security problem will occur, creating National legislation protecting privacy and forcing a security response for firms that will have to scramble to implement a solution. This will drive firms to outsource more of their IT support or to move applications to secure “cloud” platforms that can be managed by teams of security professionals. There were lots of financial institution breaches in 2011, and even PricewaterhouseCoopers had to pay for credit monitoring services for 77,000 Alaska Retirees whose data was breached, but this was not enough to “Freak Out” the profession, so we will take a draw on this.
Okay, for our 2011 predictions, we pulled off 4 WINs, 2 LOSSes, and 4 DRAWs, which we feel honesty reflects our predictions. With that out of the way, we present our 2012 guesses to help you direct this year’s technology spending: