High-performing accounting firms are more likely to leverage technology to help them optimize performance in areas such as staffing, client service and practice management, according to a new survey.

The survey by CCH found that high-performing firms are significantly more likely to leverage technologies that support paperless processes and mobile workers, including Software-as-a-Service technology. Nearly 25 percent of high-performing firms report having professional staff working remotely, and they are putting in place solutions to support a growing number of mobile workers. For example, 72 percent report supporting wireless laptops; 60 percent support BlackBerries, iPhones or other PDAs and smart phones; and 25 percent support wireless mini-notebooks and netbooks.

Within the next three years, approximately one-third of the firms say it will be important to have accounting-specific mobile applications, including document management and tax and accounting solutions. Not only do high-performing firms see equipping mobile workers as a way to boost productivity and better serve clients, but 71 percent also say that deploying a mobile workforce directly benefits staff in such ways as improving work/life balance and improving staff efficiency and morale.

The CCH survey also found that 75 percent of high-performing firms already have a paperless strategy, and 52 percent have been executing on this strategy for at least the last three years. Within three years, 90 percent expect to have a paperless strategy.

Approximately 30 percent of high-performing firms are using one or more SaaS applications, and that is expected to grow to 55 percent within three years, according to the survey. Today, 32 percent of high-performing firms use knowledge management systems, and that is expected to exceed 50 percent in three years. 

Forty-one percent of partners at high-performing firms leverage social media for professional use, the survey found. Partners find the most value from online communities. The top tools used for marketing are firm blogs, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and professional online communities.

For a complete copy of the survey, visit http://CCHGroup.com/HighPerformance.

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