A new study has identified a set of common attitudes and behaviors toward technology adoption that set apart highly successful accounting firms.

The study, by Bay Street Group LLC, found a strong relationship between high performance and a firm’s view of technology as a strategic asset. It also uncovered significant gaps between high- and low-performing firms in key areas that could serve as a guide to success for other accounting firms.

The results show that high-performing firms are 27 times more likely than low performers to always regard technology adoption as a competitive advantage. They are also seven times more likely to understand there is always an opportunity cost associated with delaying technology adoption.

As a result, high performers are eight times more likely to be among the first to adopt new technology and 11 times more likely to always encourage employees to explore new technologies and better ways of doing things.

The research was sponsored by XCM Solutions, LLC, a developer of cloud-based workflow technology for accountants. The findings were released in a new white paper, “Seven Habits of Highly Successful Firms,” by XCM CEO Mark Albrecht, CPA, MST.

“The results were enlightening, but not for the correlation between high performance and a technology-progressive attitude,” said Albrecht. “We expected a relationship, based on our own experience with technology progressive firms. What was surprising was the size of the disparity between high and low performers in their attitudes and behaviors in the seven critical areas the study identified.”

A total of 300 randomly chosen practitioners from firms of all sizes participated in the online survey, “Top Tech Strategies for 2011.” The study suggested that the achievement gap will continue to widen between high- and low-performing firms, particularly as the pace of technology adoption increasingly changes the client service and practice management landscapes.

Albrecht will share findings from the study at the AICPA National Tax Conference in Washington, D.C., in November, and on his blog, “Going with the 'flow.” The study was completed in the spring of 2011, and the white paper is available for download on the XCM Solutions Web site at www.xcmsolutions.com/whitepaper.htm.

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