Accountants 'in fear of new software': Survey

Two thirds of accountants struggle to learn new software packages, according to a new survey. And more than one third are even ‘afraid’ of new software, says presentation equipment supplier Digital Message.

One quarter said their fear of learning new software packages crept in over the years for a number of reasons, including being too busy, being able to delegate to colleagues, and finding other ways of doing tasks without having to learn new software systems.

Some 68% felt they were less enthusiastic about learning new software after they turned 35.

Around 150 firms took part in the survey across practices of all sizes, including Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Digital Message director Simon Ainley said: ‘Accountants, despite being clearly clever people, share similar attitudes to other professionals when learning new software systems. In short, they’re resistant to change and will go with what they already know.’

More than half of those surveyed said they use less than 40% of the functions on Word and Excel. And 29% claimed that instead of trying to work out how to use these packages properly, they seek help either immediately or after just a couple of failures.

Accountants said colleagues were the most common source of assistance (37%), followed by onscreen ‘help’ menus and referring to software manuals (29%).

The same problems arise outside the office. Almost a third said they could not programme their video recorders and the same number of older respondents said they would ask their children for help with new technology.

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