Cloud and mobile top the list of emerging technologies transforming the tax and accounting profession, according to the 2012 CCH Technology Survey, an independent nationwide survey of more than 400 accounting professionals, conducted by ORC International for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting CEO Kevin Robert discussed the findings in a keynote address to more than 1,200 professionals at the CCH Connections User Conference in San Diego.
“We’re now at a point where all the benefits that have been talked about from emerging technologies are here – firms using these technologies today are seeing tremendous benefits in productivity and the value they can deliver to clients,” said Robert.
According to professionals surveyed, improved client service is the driving force behind their adoption of these emerging technologies, along with improved productivity and profitability. Firms also report that they still face challenges in leveraging technology effectively, despite its importance to their success. Specifically, survey findings include:
- The majority of firms (64 percent) said that when making decisions to invest in new technology, their top consideration is if it will enhance client service;
- Improved client service is also the top benefit firms say they realize from supporting a mobile workforce, and leveraging social media;
- In addition to cloud and mobile, social media and Big Data are emerging technologies the majority of firms identified as having a future impact on the profession; and
- Two-thirds of firms say leveraging technology is important to their success; yet 87 percent report they can do it more effectively; and fewer than 15 percent were very confident in their ability to understand and manage emerging technologies.
To download the survey white paper, CCH Technology Survey – Technology in Accounting: Then, Now and Next, visit CCHGroup.com/TechnologySurvey. Video clips of Robert’s address are online here.
“Firms need to continuously monitor to ensure they are keeping up with technology changes and investing in the right technology, at the right time, to help deliver the best results,” Robert said.
Emerging Technology Adoption Rates Vary, But Benefits Clear
Across industries, cloud, mobile, Big Data and social media are having a profound impact on businesses.
“Each of these technologies is powerful, but brought together they will have a game-changing impact on the profession,” Robert said. “I believe we’re at a tipping point, when these technologies will deliver new capabilities to firms to get closer to their clients and significantly enhance client service. In the past, firms focused on the improvements that technology could drive within the firm. That’s changed. Firms are now looking at technology in a brand new way – specifically how it increases their relevance to their clients, and strengthens those relationships. “
Key findings from the CCH Technology Survey related to emerging technologies include:
Adoption of cloud-based solutions varies by firm size, with 84 percent of large firms (50 or more employees); 67 percent of mid-size firms (10-49 employees); and 46 percent of small firms (1-9 employees) now using or planning to use cloud solutions in the next three years.
The top benefits of working in the cloud:
- The ability to work anytime, anywhere;
- The ability to serve clients in any location;
- Improved security and backup procedures; and
- Improved collaboration with clients.
Other top benefits include lower costs and greater value to clients.
“Having integrated solutions that are available anytime and can communicate with one another provides professionals with the ability to significantly improve their productivity and the value they can provide to clients,” Robert said. “This is why CCH’s Open Integration Platform is gaining the attention it has: firms want to be able to leverage the cloud to bring together the best applications from across CCH’s offerings, other providers and the firm’s own applications – and our platform provides that open and integrated flexibility.”