Early-Adopter Firms Share Blueprint for Building Digital Practices at AICPA Conference

Are accounting firm leaders asking themselves the wrong question when it comes to technology? That's what Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA2Biz, thinks when it comes to cloud-based systems.

“The time for wondering if your firm should move to the cloud is past,” Asgeirsson told a group of professionals at the AICPA Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, June 12. The event is the largest annual conference, CPE-opportunity and trade show for small to midsize firms interested in practice growth. “What you should be asking is, ‘What concrete steps do I need to take right now to transform my practice.’”

The accounting profession is fast reaching an inflection point on cloud-based solutions, Asgeirsson said during a panel at the conference. CPA2Biz data shows that more than 1,000 accounting firms and 5,000 of their clients are using web-based tools to improve productivity, raise profits and build better customer relationships. The benefits of moving beyond transactional work such as tax preparation and quarterly statements are clear—clients are willing to pay more for business-shaping work such as cash-flow analysis, virtual CFO services and advanced financial planning.

There is a competitive advantage for those who embrace cloud technology to make that switch--and risks for those who don’t. Geoffrey Moore, an expert on high-tech innovation and author of the bestselling business book, “Crossing the Chasm,” recently said: “Most firms are dangerously ‘unpresent’ in this digital ecosystem.”

Moore will deliver a keynote address in October at CPA2Biz's new Digital CPA User Conference in Washington, D.C., an event designed to guide firms through the transition to the cloud.

At Practitioners Symposium, leaders of early-adopter firms spoke about the necessary steps to build a successful client accounting services practice. Critical components include having a champion within the firm, choosing the right technology platform, implementing a standardized approach, focusing on industry niches and, most of all, successfully handling change management.

The payoff can be significant. Steve Chaney, a CPA from Roseville, Calif., says his firm's revenue has doubled and his client base has grown beyond projections since he adopted CPA2Biz’s suite of solutions. AICPA chairman Greg Anton told conference attendees that firms using cloud technology can boost their client accounting services revenue significantly.

"There is a lot to learn," Anton said. "I recommend you explore the educational material, training and services that CPA2Biz offers."

CPA2Biz offers guidance and a range of innovative products and services to help firms successfully make the transition to a Digital CPA practice, Asgeirsson said, including:

The portfolio of cloud-based solutions offered by CPA2Biz include bill management, accounting, workflow and payroll services through partners such as Intacct, Bill.com, XCM Solutions, Confirmation.com and Paychex. The company also develops mobile applications for the AICPA and profession, including a recently launched Journal of Accountancy News App for the iPad and a CPA exam planning tool.

CPA2Biz also offers the CPA.com Email Solutions, a service that gives AICPA members the ability to have CPA-branded email addresses. The solution won a 2012 Innovation Award from CPA Practice Advisor.