Opportunity Exists for CPAs to Better Leverage Emerging Technologies: AICPA Survey
Published on 3/14/2012
NEW YORK (Mar. 14, 2012) - Like other business professionals, CPAs continue to wrestle with the best strategy to maximize the benefits of emerging technologies, such as mobile devices and cloud computing, according to the 2012 Top Technology Initiatives Survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
Survey takers said they are successfully meeting most of their technology priorities, from information protection and privacy to data management. A majority said their organization has appropriate policies in place to deal with data security concerns, and necessary steps have been taken to insulate IT networks and servers from cyber-attack. At the same time, CPAs were less certain about avoiding a data breach due to the loss of a laptop, tablet or other mobile device.
“The ability to tap critical information on the go, virtually whenever you want, is changing the way CPAs do business,” said Anthony Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP, the AICPA’s senior vice president of finance, operations and member value. “But it imposes new burdens, too. CPAs and the clients and companies they work for need to stay on top of technological shifts, make the right decisions on access, security and privacy, and map out new areas of growth. It’s clear we’re still working our way through these challenges.”
Most survey takers said their firms had the knowledge, financial wherewithal, and access to sufficient staff and training resources to adopt new technologies. Yet they were significantly less confident about developing new revenue streams from those innovations.
“CPAs by our DNA tend to be a pretty skeptical group,” said David Cieslak, a principal in the computer consulting firm Arxis Technology and a CPA who holds the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) credential. “We tend to be very cautious. We see the potential of new technologies, but we also want to be certain about their long-term viability and security.”
As in past years, the survey measures the anticipated impact of certain issues over the next 12 to 18 months for CPAs and their clients. Topping the 2012 list are 1) information security, 2) remote access and 3) control and use of mobile devices. All three have a bearing on the challenges that stem from the growing ubiquity and mobility of data, and represent a slight shift from last year.
The top three in 2011 were 1) control and use of mobile devices, 2) information security and 3) data retention policies/structure.
This year’s survey asked respondents to rate their organizational goals for technology in the coming year. The leading technology priorities for 2012, and survey takers’ assessment of how well their organizations are meeting them, are:
- Securing the IT environment (62 percent)*
- Managing and retaining data (61 percent)
- Managing risk and compliance (65 percent)
- Ensuring privacy (62 percent)
- Leveraging emerging technologies (34 percent)
- Managing system implementation (52 percent)
- Enabling decision support and managing performance (46 percent)
- Governing and managing IT investment/spending (56 percent)
- Preventing and responding to fraud (60 percent)
- Managing vendors and service providers (56 percent)
The Top Technology Initiatives Survey was conducted electronically among AICPA members from Jan. 17 to Feb. 15. With 2,259 responses, the margin of error was plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.The survey was overseen by the AICPA’s Information Technology Division.
Courtesy of AICPA