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Brian Stork — 35


Vice President of Application Development, Drake Software

Franklin, NC

Education: B.S. in Computer Science, Mars Hill College

Professional Associations/Memberships: NACTP PIRC

Civic Involvement: Youth Soccer Coach, Church involvement – Deacon, Teacher

Hobbies: Spending time with my wife and kids, running, reading about American history, traveling and keeping up with Florida Gator football.

Cell phone: HTC Touch Pro 2, and I’m not a huge fan. My next phone will be a Droid.

Favorite app: Online Banking. It was something I didn’t adopt initially, and now I don’t know what I’d do without it. I practically throw a tantrum if for some reason I have to hand write and mail a paper check.


Do you embrace cloud computing? We’ve utilized the SaaS model of cloud computing to deliver a 1040 income tax preparation product to our multi-site customers, and THEY LOVE IT! The home office can get new sites up and running simply by sending them a URL and login credentials. Assuming they have a computer with Internet access and a fairly recent web browser, they can be up and running in minutes. Feature updates are centralized, backups all happen at Drake and the application runs on a fully redundant co-located network, which is essential to maximizing uptime.

How is cloud computing changing the accounting profession, and how concerned are you with the security issues related to cloud computing? Cloud computing has accelerated the transition from face-to-face correspondence to electronic correspondence. Why have your clients make a special trip to your office to deliver a document when they could hit pause on their DVR and do it via a web portal at home? It has generated a need for a new type of product where we are extending our applications for accountants to connect them with their customers over the Web. Ensuring security in this environment is essential. One security breach in an application could be catastrophic to a business.

Do you foresee the majority of firms still implementing servers for the majority of their computing in their offices five years from now or do you think they will be outsourcing this component to vendors who specialize in this area? In five years, many business applications will be run over the Web using centralized networking, which will minimize the need for firms to house and maintain servers. I’m not sure it will be the majority, but it will definitely be the trend.

How many monitors do you have on your desk? Two.

What operating system and version of Microsoft Office is installed on your work computer? Windows 7(64 bit), Office 2007.

NOT including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? Chick-fil-A. In an industry that seems to struggle with customer service, they manage to excel. I also admire the stance they have taken to be closed on Sundays. Both are indications of a company with the right priorities.

Do you use online resources like webcasts for CPE training? At Drake, we offer online CPE training for tax professionals through, utilizing a third-party application called ToolBook. This training is available to anyone needing CPE. We are an IRS-qualified sponsor of CPE for Enrolled Agents and we are registered with NASBA and the California Tax Education Council. Our employees receive a lot of their CPE through webcasts and other online resources. It’s more cost effective and there is a large variety from which to choose, making it easy to find the course content each CPA or EA needs.

Do you subscribe to a magazine and/or local newspaper? I read our local newspaper, but I do most of my reading about industry news, and news in general, online.

Are you using social networking (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook) as a marketing tool for your practice/business … or do you use such sites for personal use only? Have you gained any clients or seen other demonstrable benefits from the use of social networking? We have some things in the works, but social networking is not yet a major component of our marketing plans.

What ONE piece of technology could you absolutely not live without? Internet search technology, specifically Google. I find myself using it constantly at work and at home.

Do you listen to podcasts? I’ve listened to some and recorded one, but I don’t listen to them often.

What is an “old school” business practice or process you’d like to see changed in the next five years and why? Many consumers still find comfort and security in receiving a hard copy (CD/DVD) of their desktop-based software. In five years, I think the vast majority of consumers should find the same comfort and security with Internet distribution. The cost savings from not having to duplicate and ship hard copies can be used to provide better products and services for the consumer. Ease of access and high availability are two critical components in making this transition and I think we, as IT companies, need to understand the concerns and provide solutions that put consumer’s minds at ease.

What are some ways your firm/business has gone “paperless” and/or “green” in the last two years? The biggest push has been in the accounting department. We had decades of historical data stored in paper form, and there has been a huge “scan and shred” initiative over the past year. We’ve also implemented a high-end document imaging solution to help us streamline the workflow.

How many hours of the day are you plugged in and responsive to client needs? And what tools/products make it possible for you to have flexibility? Our company puts an enormous emphasis on customer support. Many of us carry smartphones everywhere we go so we can provide timely responses to customers via email or phone. Many of us also have VPN access so we can remote in from home and work just like we were sitting at our desk, which is very beneficial during the busy season. In application development, we are also responsible for many internal applications so our customer base also includes many internal departments.

What sports team/championship event do you absolutely refuse to miss? Florida Gators College Football and the SEC championship game.

What are some of your favorite books, movies, music, websites and TV shows? I read a lot of books about the American Revolution. I’m fascinated by our story of independence. My favorite movies follow the same theme, “The Patriot” and the “John Adams” miniseries stand out. I listen mainly to alternative Christian music. I’m definitely a sports nut so I spend a lot of time on or watching one of the many ESPN TV channels.