Unlike most industries that are rapidly changing year after year, the CPA and accounting industry’s overall business structure and services have remained relatively the same. But, with automated accounting software, such as QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint coming into the market, CPA firms are looking for ways to stand out.
A great way to gain a competitive advantage is by adopting technology that allows CPA firms to enhance their product offering and customer service by being more productive and efficient. Over the last year, we’ve seen a number of our clients adopt technology that has evolved their reporting model and enabled them to provide assurance that the financial information is accurate and reliable. In addition to improved reporting and reliable information, CPA firms’ customers want to know their data is going to be protected.
In order to deliver, CPA firms and their partners are continuing to research and embrace the new generation of technology that can help them stay relevant and on top.
Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, says “We’re seeing broad pickup in cloud services and other emerging technologies. The next wave that leads to greater productivity and capabilities for advanced firms is fuller integration of these technologies and the elimination of bottlenecks in work processes.”
The 2016 National Management of an Accounting Practice survey found that the use of cloud services by CPA firms has grown since 2014, with 56 percent of all firms surveyed saying they use cloud-based software, which is up from 48 percent in 2014 and 29 percent in 2012. Among other findings of the survey:
- Some 38 percent of firms provide staffers with tablets or mobile monitors to work remotely, with 91 percent of the largest firms ($10 million in revenue and up) doing so.
- Some 49 percent of firms are using social media for business development, while 29 percent are using it for recruitment, although the latter is far more common for larger firms.
- Some 43 percent of firms text clients to obtain information, although the practice is far less common in larger firms with more formal client communications.
- Some 30 percent of firms use Skype to communicate with colleagues and clients, compared to 10 percent in 2014.
- Only seven percent of firms indicate that they do not operate in a paperless environment.