Many CPAs are starting to realize and embrace the role they play in helping their clients adopt technology, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs. The survey also found that nearly 40 percent of CPAs identify themselves as catalysts for innovation.
The AICPA released the survey results today at its Digital CPA: 2012 CPA2Biz Cloud User Conference. Hosted by CPA2Biz, the conference aims to help firms provide accounting and back office services and operations by leveraging the cloud.
“We’re at a defining moment in the accounting profession,” said Erik Asgeirsson, President and CEO of CPA2Biz. “It’s now possible for small- and medium-sized businesses to tap powerful technologies that make them more productive and offer faster, better insight into financial decision-making. But most of these companies need a tech-savvy business advisor to help them take advantage of these opportunities, and that’s a role CPAs are uniquely qualified to fill.”
The survey, which polled 624 AICPA members, also found that of the majority of CPA firms that embrace their roles as technology champions, 11 percent are already “digital” firms, operating completely in the cloud. While many CPAs and their firms seem to have made the transition or are making the transition to the cloud and helping their clients, there is still approximately 17 percent of CPAs who believe they do not play a role in helping their clients adopt emerging technologies.
Security issues, change management and general apprehension about the effectiveness of cloud technology remain the top obstacles preventing cloud adoption for many CPAs and firms. The survey also found that, according to respondents, the biggest benefits of adopting cloud technology are, in order:
- Ability to work virtually and expand geographic reach
- No worries about software updates, maintenance or troubleshooting
- Confidence in business continuity and recover during a disaster
- Improved productivity
- New service options for clients
- Increased visibility into CPA firm and client finances
The conference kicked off with an economic outlook discussion by William Dunkelberg, Chief Economist of the National Federation of Independent Business, and a post-election analysis by George Will, political commentator. The conference will continue with keynote speeches by Asgeirsson, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, GCMA and Geoffrey A. Moore, business strategist and author of “Crossing the Chasm.”