Accountants are working hard to stay on top of software piracy in their firms, according to a survey by the Business Software Alliance, but there is a "strong disconnect" between what accountants are saying they know is wrong and what they are actually doing.

The study by the BSA, a trade group representing software manufacturers, surveyed 303 accountants regarding their attitudes towards software piracy in the workplace. While 91 percent of accountants feel that software piracy is a risk businesses shouldn't take, 10 percent say that it occurs in their workplace, and 32 percent say that it occurs in the industry as a whole. The survey also found that four of five accountants wouldn't want to work for a firm that uses unlicensed software, most know that it's wrong to share software with co-workers without proper licensing, and most say that cost is not a justification for using unlicensed software.

Yet, according to the survey, one in 10 says that at least some software in their own workplace is used without proper licenses. Nearly a third say that at least some of the software in use in their profession is pirated.

In workplaces where software management policies are in place, however, accountants are less likely to condone piracy, are more aware of specific measures in place to prevent it, believe that even suggesting the use of unlicensed software could lead to discipline, and are more likely to report piracy. They are more likely than employees at companies with no policy in place to prefer that their employer use licensed software, and are less likely than accountants who work for companies with no policy in place to condone sharing software at work.

Seventy-two percent of professionals at companies with software management policies in place say that they likely would report software piracy at work. At companies with no policy in place, only 43 percent report such willingness.

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