[IMGCAP(1)]According to the findings of the AICPA Horizons 2025 project, technology will continue to have a major impact on the profession. The word “technology” encompasses a broad universe of products, applications and services, however, which can make it difficult for CPAs to target the areas that most deserve their attention.

As chair of the 2013 AICPA TECH+ Conference, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many of the latest technology developments and trends. There are three that I think will be especially important to CPAs in the near term.

  • BYOD. Bring your own device, a policy of allowing employees to use their own mobile technology in the workplace, has gained popularity among Fortune 500 companies during the last 24 months, and now this concept if finally getting long overdue attention from the profession. With the introduction of new mobile device management applications and the continued consumerization of the market, employers are facing an increased demand from their partners and staff to connect non-company-owned devices into corporate resources. A concept once forbidden by most companies, this is now become an accepted way to do business.
  • Big data. This is all about managing and analyzing the tremendous amount of financial and operational data that is out there. The significant volume of digital data that exists today in corporate America is creating opportunities for the profession. Many firms have discovered new revenue streams in this area, not to mention ways to fill gaps during traditionally slower revenue months. In addition, many of the tools available to analyze big data can be obtained by everyone from sole practitioners to the Big Four.
  • Cyber threats and storage demands. Along with opportunities for the profession, the existence of big data also creates opportunities for those desiring to harm or exploit such data. The ever-changing cyber-threat landscape and related incident response is something every professional should know about. In addition, the explosion of storage of big data by third parties is creating new revenue opportunities for firms offering services in the Service Organization Control, or SOC, arena.

These are some of the top issues to emerge from the annual AICPA Top Technologies Initiatives, which helps CPAs stay up to speed on hot tech topics by gathering information from the profession’s tech experts to spotlight priorities and concerns of greatest importance to CPAs.
Technology clearly presents many opportunities for CPAs who want to harness its potential in their own work. CPAs should make use of all the resources available to them to stay informed about and ready to respond to this fast-changing area.

 James C. Bourke, CPA.CITP.CFF.CGMA, a partner and director of firm technology at Top 100 Firm WithumSmith+Brown, is the chair of the 2013 AICPA TECH+ Conference, which will take place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from June 10-12, in partnership with the AICPA Practitioners Symposium. He is a past president of the New Jersey Society of CPAs and currently serves on the AICPA Board of Directors and AICPA Council. Reach him at jbourke@withum.com.