CPAs in the nation’s largest firms agree they need a faster rate of adoption of new technologies such as cloud services, portable scanners and workflow tools to provide even greater client service and maintain a more productive staff.

These are the top-line results of a new study conducted by Bay Street Group and sponsored by the CloudSolutions Alliance. Managing partners, partners, senior executives and senior staff from the Top 100 accounting firms participated in the survey.

Initial results of the study, released in November 2010, found that 94 percent of the respondents said their firms are perceived by clients as technologically savvy when they adopt paperless and cloud-based technologies to speed up productivity.

“Smaller firms comprise the majority of our nation’s tax and accounting providers, and while they may never have the revenues or amount of staff common to larger firms, I believe these firms will command more trust and respect from their clients when they fully embrace and implement these technologies,” said Jim Bourke, partner at Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown, which ranked 36th on AccountingToday’s 2010 list of the Top 100 Firms. “If this full-adopter approach benefits the Top 100 Firms, then adoption of SaaS, scanners and workflow technologies will be even more beneficial for smaller firms who want to continue a very close, one-on-one business-building relationship with their clients.”

Bourke also recently authored “3 Key Tech Strategies of Successful 21st Century Accounting Firms,” a white paper describing how competitive, growth-oriented firms are leveraging technologies like document management and SaaS products to better serve clients and improve internal operations.

Other key findings in the study showed that SaaS adopters are more likely to achieve consistent and measurable increases in productivity, use the best software and equipment available, and automate workflow management. Similarly, adopters of portable document scanners are more likely to adopt new SaaS solutions, edge out the competition in adopting new technologies, and automate workflow management as much as possible.

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