And now, “The Case of the Vanishing DOS.” When we last left Creative Solutions—perhaps at the user conference in 2000—a significant number of attendees still used the MS-DOS operating system, which is something akin to still using quills for writing letters.

But at CSI’s recent conference at Disneyworld, Windows-based products were as widespread as people wishing guests to, “Have a magical day.” Something has changed. There were a handful of people attending one of the CSI discussion tables devoted to DOS to Windows migration (These discussions are a tradition. Users can sit at something like a score of tables with different topics. They can rotate to other tables at a set time.)

But it went way beyond DOS, and this subject goes way beyond attendees at the CSI conference. There have been voices raised in the market, that just maybe, accountants spend way too much time criticizing themselves for being behind on technology. It’s just not true anymore, judging from the CSI users, many of whom operate small tax and accounting practices.

They may not be technology gurus, but they have become much more knowledgeable than before, certainly than at the CSI conference three years ago.

In fact, one user, who had been profiled for his Internet use early in 2000, noted that while then his firm had been among the avant-garde in having high-speed Web access, now it is merely running with the pack.

This new generation of accountants has ideas about the future of their hardware and software systems. A show of hands during a session led by Tom Davis showed that while many have not yet implemented a paperless system, three quarters in attendance plan to do so in the next year, a result Davis said has been typical. There was much less discussion of the basics and more discussion of wireless technologies and use of the Internet.

These practitioners aren’t technologists, but most of them aren’t afraid of it any more. No, for many accountants, the mystery of technology has vanished, leaving them to dwell on the enduring mystery of business.

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