From the July 2012 Issue.
As tax and accounting professionals make plans to move their firms forward, certain buzz words continuously show up: SaaS, on-the-go, real-time collaboration, the Cloud, mobile, instant, client portal, mobility. It’s obvious that success in tomorrow’s world is reliant upon professionals and their clients having access to the information they need the most when they need it. This year’s Tax and Accounting Technology Innovation Awards reflected that concept, as all winners were SaaS or mobile app technologies.
“The fact that all of this year’s Innovation Award winners are web-based products or tools underscores the growing importance of SaaS solutions for accounting and tax professionals,” said M. Darren Root, CPA.CITP, Executive Editor of CPA Practice Advisor.
The awards were presented at a reception held in June at the California Accounting and Business Show and Conference in Los Angeles. The Innovation Awards, now in their ninth year, were initially conceived by former Executive Editor Greg LaFollette, CPA.CITP, who is now Vice President of Product Strategy for CPA2Biz, which received its first award recognition this year. Winners are selected by CPA Practice Advisor’s editorial advisory board and awards committee, which include thought leaders and tax and accounting professionals from across the country. The committee looks for technologies that are new or recently enhanced to help professionals and their clients streamline workflow, increase accessibility and security and improve the client collaboration process.
“When the Innovation Awards were started by Greg in 2004, when he was the Executive Editor, it was a great addition to the profession and vendors, helping identify and reward positive technology trends,” Root said in remarks during the presentation ceremony. “What’s interesting is that we’ve now come full circle: Greg started the awards nine years ago and this year, he and CPA2Biz are getting an Innovation Award.”
“Thank you, Greg, for starting this great tradition that has come to be respected throughout the profession, and also for giving me something to do on Monday nights,” laughed Root, before presenting CPA2Biz with the award trophy for the CPA.com email solution.
While many of today’s mobile solutions are created to streamline collaboration between professionals and their clients, several award recipients highlighted the importance of collaboration among vendors as well. When tax and accounting software and solutions easily integrate into a firm’s existing accounting system and each other, it helps tax and accounting professionals more effectively meet the needs of their clients. Erik Asgeirsson, President and Chief Executive Officer of CPA2Biz pointed out in his acceptance speech that vendors also benefit when their solutions can integrate with each other.
“It’s important for this community to get together,” said Asgeirsson. “We all are collaborating quite a bit, driving a lot of innovation and a lot of value for a market that’s not just supporting accounting firms, but it’s also supporting small businesses across America.”
“Often times, we wind up partnering together and I think it’s really great to see everybody get a little piece of this award,” said Mike Sabbatis, President and CEO of CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, which received recognition for its ProSystem fx Document system. “Honestly, from CCH, I’m really happy about getting this award tonight, but to each of you I think there’s something to work for. This is a good place to get recognition.”
The 10 finalists, including the winners listed below, are: Bill.com Receivables; CCH ProSystem fx Document; CPA.com Email Solutions from CPA2Biz; Intuit Online Mobile Payroll; Accounting CS Client Access from Thomson Reuters; AvaTax 1099 from Avalara; BillQuick 2012 from BQE Software; Concur Small Business Edition; Fujitsu fi-6130z and SmartVault Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook.