What is the most important technology issue for 2006 and why?

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"Safe" computing. Unfortunately, the ongoing game of one-upmanship continues between the vendors (and Microsoft) who purport to be able to protect you and your network from outside intrusions and those that continue to try to exploit computers and users for malicious purposes. This is one battle that shows no signs of let up by the players on either side of the game any time soon. It used to be that the cost of the computer was the greatest investment, than it was the software that was running on it. Now, it seems that the time to maintain and the expense of maintenance agreements to protect the computing environment is one of the most significant costs. Martin Straub, CPA, CITP

Cordell, Neher & Co.

Wenatchee, Wash.

Partner Insights

2006 is the year that XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) will be proven to be the technology that will dramatically increase transparency and accuracy in information provided to the markets, and beyond. The SEC's clear interest in XBRL is showing the way. In addition, the FDIC/FFIEC's successful implementation of XBRL for the collection of bank quarterly Call Reports has proved that XBRL will deliver both significant efficiency and quality benefits. CFOs need to gain an understanding of what XBRL is, and the potential impact that this will have on their external and internal business reporting.

Daniel Roberts

Chair, XBRL-US Steering Committee

Grant Thornton

I believe it is Software as a Service. The ramifications change the entire business models of many partners and change the way clients "buy" software.

Andy Vabulas

I.B.I.S.

Atlanta

The integration of CRM with the customer's accounting software.

Jeff Wohlfahrt

Advanced Concepts

Milwaukee

The most important issue is training and gaining operational efficiencies. Many firms have been investing heavily in paperless solutions for audit and tax processing. Now that the technical infrastructure is basically in place, our job as IT professionals is to make sure the staff know how to best utilize this technology to work more efficiently and lower operational costs in order to gain the ROIs that are possible.

Lisa Dunnegin

Olsen Thielen Technologies

St. Paul, Minn.

Intranets providing ERP and CRM information.

Tad W Remington, CMA

InterDyn-Remington

Consulting

Portland, Ore.

The most important issue for 2006 is staffing. The market has already picked up for new product sales, but the talent pool has not expanded accordingly. Growing and nurturing new talent is our No. 1 priority for 2006.

Paul Ziliak

MicroAccounting Solutions

Rosemont, Ill.

For us it will be the integration of our technology. We have several great systems, but they are not working together as well as they should be. For example, a VOiP phone system should be integrated with your accounting and CRM software packages and email should not have to be manually synchronized from your mail server to your hand-held device. We are working this year to tighten the integration between applications to enhance productivity for the entire organization.

Bryan L. Wilton,

CPA-CITP, MCP

InterDyn Progressive Group

Houston

April's Coming Attractions

Ramping Up

How are firms dealing with the shortage of help?

The VAR 100

The third-annual ranking of accounting software resellers will show just how much the market has changed in a year.

Looking at Tax Research

How is the drive to make research services easier to use and more integrateable with other applications performing?

The Distribution Game

Distributors are a major target for resellers and consultants. What needs does this market have?

Online Payroll Review

Besides self-service and online calculation, this review looks at what's new with leading services.

The most important technology issue for 2006 is Return on our Technology Investment. This return on investment can be achieved through the proper alignment of technology strategy with business strategy. However, alignment alone is not enough. It also requires top-notch implementation capabilities. The question has now become, "How do we get an appropriate return on this investment?" At LarsonAllen, in order to be considered an appropriate return, the benefits need to be realized now versus some undefined future date. In 2006, this will include the universal adoption of best practices, fine-tuning of the tools, ensuring continued quality through the solidification of all firm-wide industry templates.

Steven A. Noble, CPA.CITP

LarsonAllen

Minneapolis

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