Accounting firm technology trends: Take the survey, get the results

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The 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey from Tankersley Consulting is now open and has begun gathering responses. The survey will be open to participants through Feb. 15, 2019.

Participants will be eligible to receive a copy of the full report in a PDF e-book, expected to be delivered in May 2019, at no charge. Meanwhile, the current edition can be purchased here for instant download as a PDF e-book and in print.

Creating value-added service offerings, cybersecurity and recruiting are the top three challenges of managing a modern accounting firm, according to early results from the survey. So far, it also shows that firm owners and administrators are working hard to change their practices and provide their clients with new value-added advisory services. These services, which include offerings like family office management, budgeting/forecasting, cybersecurity assurance and CFO-for-hire require firms to work in more narrow industry niches so they can provide their clients with the insights they need to optimize their businesses. Many innovative firms are working to create these new services, which are expected to displace much of the traditional compliance work currently performed by firms.

Cybersecurity has been a hot topic in the profession in recent years, and the annual survey has been showing more and more firms using security awareness training services such as KnowBe4 and advanced e-mail filtering services like Mimecast. Despite these efforts, a majority of the early respondents reported they have emailed tax returns to clients, and 5 percent of respondents reported they have suffered downtime due to computer malware.

With the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 coming in less than a year, firms are accelerating adoption of Windows 10. The early responses this year show that Windows 10 is the primary desktop operating system for 72 percent of the respondents, up from 56 percent in 2018, while Windows 7 is still dominant at 15 percent of firms, down from 28 percent in the previous year.

The digital e-book with the survey results provides insights on topics including practice management, technology management, operating systems, technology hardware, software, data storage and management, remote access issues, tech spending, decision making, annoyances and trends.

The survey is run by Brian F. Tankersley, CPA, CITP, CGMA, of Tankersley Consulting; and Randy Johnston, CEO and founder of Network Management Group, Inc. CPA firms interested in participating can take the survey here.

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