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Top 10 Tech Initiatives -- 2013

The AICPA's annual list of IT priorities for accounting firms

The American Institute of CPAs has released its annual list of the top technology priorities for accountants, as determined by a survey of over 1,600 institute members.

For the first time in nine years, IT security was edged out of the top spot -- by managing and retaining data.

In other firsts, the survey was also taken by over 200 members of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, giving a picture of tech priorities across North America. Interestingly, U.S. respondents were less confident than their northerly cousins that they were handling these issues; for only two issues did more than 50 percent of them express confidence that they were adequately addressing the area, as opposed to four issues for the Canadians – and eight issues in last year’s survey. (Percent of respondents indicating “confident” or “highly confident” is included for each issue)

1. Managing and Retaining Data 1. Managing and Retaining Data

For the first time in nine years, IT security didn’t rank No. 1, edged out by concerns about how firms are looking after the vast amount of information in their control.

Same rank in U.S. and Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 55 percent; Canadian -- 57 percent

2. Securing the IT Environment 2. Securing the IT Environment

It may have dropped from the top spot, but security remains a crucial issue.

Same rank in U.S. and Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 51 percent; Canadian -- 56 percent

3. Managing IT Risks and Compliance 3. Managing IT Risks and Compliance

Keeping up with regulations and requirements -- from the states to the feds to your own clients -- is never as easy as just hitting a button.

Ranked No. 4 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 47 percent; Canadian -- 57 percent

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4. Ensuring Privacy 4. Ensuring Privacy

More and more clients, regulators and governments have an expectation of privacy.

Ranked No. 6 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 45 percent; Canadian -- 53 percent

5. Managing System Implementation 5. Managing System Implementation

Getting it set up right the first time -- and fast -- remains a top priority.

Ranked No. 7 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 44 percent; Canadian -- 47 percent

6. Preventing and Responding to Computer Fraud 6. Preventing and Responding to Computer Fraud

New technologies offer fraudsters new opportunities, but they also offer you more ways to detect and prevent them.

Ranked No. 8 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 44 percent; Canadian -- 47 percent

7. Enabling Decision Support and Analytics 7. Enabling Decision Support and Analytics

As Big Data and Business Intelligence grow in importance, being able to supply the right information at the right time will be crucial.

Ranked No. 3 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 37 percent; Canadian -- 33 percent

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8. Governing and Managing IT Investment and Spending 8. Governing and Managing IT Investment and Spending

Particularly with the cloud, finding metrics for ROI is becoming both more difficult and more important.

Ranked No. 5 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 38 percent; Canadian -- 38 percent

9. Leveraging Emerging Technologies 9. Leveraging Emerging Technologies

The world is full of amazing tools -- you need to master them before your competitors do.

Ranked No. 7 in Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 27 percent; Canadian -- 22 percent

10. Managing Vendors and Service Providers 10. Managing Vendors and Service Providers

Accountants are more entwined with their providers than ever before.

Same rank in U.S. and Canada

Adequately addressing the issue: U.S. -- 47 percent; Canadian -- 42 percent



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