CPA2Biz has released a new digital white paper written by technology consultant and author Geoffrey Moore that discusses the impact that cloud-based products are having on client accounting services for firms of all sizes.

[IMGCAP(1)]Moore recently interviewed dozens of thought leaders and technology advocates in the accounting profession and found that work involving accounting and back-office operations – or client accounting services – has rapidly become a cloud-fueled field of growth for CPA firms. His findings are collected in a research report entitled “Accounting Services: Harness the Power of the Cloud,” which was released at the Digital CPA: CPA2Biz 2012 Cloud User Conference.

In the paper, which is actually available in digital form on the iPhone and iPad, Moore describes three major shifts that are driving innovation in the accounting profession: moving from paper to digital, Web-based solutions; firms moving from a physical to a more digital presence; and from being a “generalist” firm to specialization in particular industry niches.

Moore also outlined a three-step progression for evolving a client accounting services practice:

1) Move to the cloud

2) Adopt systems of engagement

3) Adapt business intelligence to manage data powerfully and present information simply for clients. The latter stage, he said, allows CPA firms to move away from “write-up,” transactional work and gives clients a more “high value, forward-looking business analysis from a trusted advisor.” 

“The client services roadmap is about having a viable practice and with the digital movement, I see no excuse for adding a non-digital client going forward, “ said Moore. “If a client is not ready to make the move with you, spend some time helping them along, but ultimately they have to do business the way you do business. The simple fact is the industry is going to reorganize around the cloud, and firms have to understand that there are clients that can cause you to go backwards.”

Moore noted that there are several stages in the technology adoption curve: the innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and the laggards. He said the early adopters are visionaries who are motivated to try new technologies, while the early majority are the pragmatists and tend to buy technology after they’ve received solid reference and safety measures that guard against potential failures. Moreover, he felt that more of the accounting profession is in the early majority phase and will be at more of an advantage than the late majority or the laggards.

“The key to capitalizing on this new set of opportunities is to free up professional time to devote to such analytics, to use that time to determine the key performance indicators for your client’s business, and to work with the business intelligence software to develop simple dashboards that make performance factors readily visible,” said Moore. He added that it is up to firms to be their own judge on how fast they should be moving through the technology adoption stages.