Free Site Registration


Brought to you by:
More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Forty percent of CPAs "push innovation?" I'm not buying it

Print
Email
Reprints
By Jody Padar
December 10, 2012

According to a recent AICPA technology survey, about 40 percent of CPAs “perceive themselves as catalysts for innovation for their clients.” Another 17 percent report that they “play a minimal role in helping clients embrace cloud, mobile, and other emerging technologies.” I don’t mean to come off as negative, but I simply can’t believe that the numbers are this high.

I’m a self-proclaimed cloud warrior...a truly digital CPA who runs my firm from the cloud (for six years now). As such, I’m on the road a great deal—speaking at conferences and networking with hundreds of firm owners. I talk incessantly about running a mobile firm and the value of cloud innovations, and most professionals look at me like I’m an alien.

For these folks, it’s a tough concept to grasp because it involves major change. And we all know that change isn’t easy for our profession. So, when I see that 40 percent of firms say they are catalysts for innovation, this alien feels like maybe a few of those folks are from outer space.

I want to address this gap in cloud and mobile adoption because it’s still fair to say that it’s a foreign idea to most. Based on my interactions with firm owners all year, I find that many CPAs are finding it hard to get past using the desktop version of QuickBooks, let alone adopt Xero for mobile accounting. It’s not so much about adopting new technology anymore as it is about adopting a new lifestyle—or what I call “workshift.”

Working digitally is a lifestyle change. It must infiltrate all aspects of firm operations if technology is to support us in working collaboratively with clients, communicating in a new and far more productive way, and helping our clients work more efficiently. This new workshift pushes us to do things differently, serve clients differently, to treat our employees differently…so it’s time to stop talking about the cloud and mobile and actually take action to change the professional lifestyle.

I am a bit frightened that 40 percent of CPAs (per the survey) perceive themselves as innovative, because it makes me think that we are on two different planets when it comes to defining true innovation.

Innovation is not using cloud and mobile technologies. It’s defining and applying the process utilizing the tool most effectively within your practice to enhance your professional lifestyle. We all must be on the same page first if a meaningful workshift is going to happen. While I’m clearly aggressive about my stance on this issue, it’s only because I’m passionate about helping the profession move forward. Rest assured that this alien comes in peace.

 

6 Comments

I'm not even sure I'd buy 4%, yet alone 40%. Good one Jody.

Posted by: Joel U | December 11, 2012 12:34 PM

Report this Comment


Donny-Love your comments. As IT Consultant who is a CPA I know you have a different POV. My POV was from that of a managing partner. Technology is ONLY a tool used within a CPA practice and using cloud technologies will change your practice management completely having you to be innovative in new process.

Unknown...If CPA's change their process to enhance their professional lifestyle at 100%. Why is the CPA lifestyle considered undesirable by many young CPA's. That is many firms SALY is the norm! Utilizing new processes around cloud technologies will change your lifestyle to allow you to work less and have better client relationships. That's want I want in my CPA lifestyle...not the firm I grew up in.

Posted by: jodypadar | December 11, 2012 9:28 AM

Report this Comment


Donny-Love your comments. As IT Consultant who is a CPA I know you have a different POV. My POV was from that of a managing partner. Technology is ONLY a tool used within a CPA practice and using cloud technologies will change your practice management completely having you to be innovative in new process.

Unknown...If CPA's change their process to enhance their professional lifestyle at 100%. Why is the CPA lifestyle considered undesirable by many young CPA's. That is many firms SALY is the norm! Utilizing new processes around cloud technologies will change your lifestyle to allow you to work less and have better client relationships. That's want I want in my CPA lifestyle...not the firm I grew up in.

Posted by: jodypadar | December 11, 2012 9:28 AM

Report this Comment


Based on your commment "Innovation is not using cloud and mobile technologies. It's defining and applying the process utilizing the tool most effectively within your practice to enhance your professional lifestyle." I'd argue that 100% of CPAs push innovation. Every day every one of us utilizes tools within our practices to enhance our professional lifestyles. You are on the road "a great deal". For you a mobile and cloud based system are a must. Those of us who aren't on the road "a great deal" don't really need the cloud based programs. Most of the cloud applications I've used are stripped down overpriced versions of desktop software. I don't think this is resistance to change as much as it is a practical determination of what is of most benefit to me and my practice.

Posted by: Unknown | December 11, 2012 9:09 AM

Report this Comment


Forty percent of CPAs see themselves as technology catalysts, and 40 percent of Chihuahuas see themselves as killing machines. Installing QuickBooks Pro on your client's desktop doesn't make you a "catalyst for innovation." Great article, Jody!

Posted by: gregkyte | December 11, 2012 8:53 AM

Report this Comment


At a high level I agree with you. However, I think you underestimate the role of the CPA in influencing a clients' adoption of technology. As a consultant, a lot of my clients come to me with the comment of "my auditors said we needed a system to...in a management letter comment", can you help us address this? I don't think auditors drive technology adoption in their clients, but CPAs definitely play a role in influencing the need for technology-based improvements.

Posted by: donnyitk | December 11, 2012 8:08 AM

Report this Comment

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Accounting Tomorrow, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.


Follow Accounting Today
Advertisement


Advertisement

Deloitte’s Efforts at Greater Diversity and Inclusion

April 23, 2014

Deloitte vice chairman and chief inclusion officer Deb DeHaas discusses the firm's efforts at recruiting a more diverse workforce.

Trends in the Accounting Profession

April 18, 2014

Jim Metzler, former AICPA vice president of small firm interests, and founder of Metzler Advisory Group, talks about how the CPA profession is changing.

Lessons in M&A: Client and Staff Retention

April 14, 2014

Transition Advisors president Joel Sinkin talks about what firms should do after a merger to retain their clients and staff members.

Advertisement

SLIDE SHOW

More Taxpayer Misconceptions

April 21, 2014

Apparently, there’s no end to the ridiculous things taxpayers believe.

Dumbest Employee Excuses for Being Late

March 31, 2014

Running a little late could have big repercussions, especially at a firm in the midst of busy season. From escaped zebras to must-see TV, employers told CareerBuilder some of the most memorable excuses they've heard from tardy employees.

Common Taxpayer Misconceptions

March 19, 2014

The NAEA’s collection of ridiculous things tax clients believe.

The 10 Fastest-Growing Firms in the U.S.

March 10, 2014

The firms with the highest 2013 revenue growth in our Top 100 Firms/Regional Leaders list.

Top 10 Tech Trends for 2014

March 3, 2014

As companies gain more affordable access to new technology and platforms, they also seek to make smarter investments.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement