Findings from a recent survey from CPA2Biz, the technology services subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, indicates that more CPA firms are using cloud-based services despite a notable rise in security concerns.

Specifically, nearly half of survey takers said they were using cloud-enabled business services to some degree in their firms, up from 44 percent a year ago. At the same time, they expressed concern over cloud vendors’ ability to manage data breaches and maintain effective internal controls, with 43 percent identifying themselves as “somewhat confident” or “not confident at all” – the two lowest categories – up sharply from 15 percent a year ago. 

These and other findings from a recent online survey were revealed here at the 2013 Digital CPA Conference.

The online survey was conducted from Sept. 30 to Nov. 5 and polled 312 CPAs who represent a mix of small to large public accounting firms.

Other key findings from the survey showed:

  • Information security concerns continue to be the main barrier to entry for firms and clients looking to try cloud services for the first time.
  • Client acceptance is the No. 2 barrier, but this may be more a reflection of how firms are positioning their service offerings than a reticence to switch to the cloud.
  • Almost a third of survey takers said their firm is pursuing specialization as a business strategy. 
  • The overwhelming majority of CPAs continue to say they have a critical role to play in technology adoption for their clients.

“These results underscore what we’ve preached for some time,” said CPA2Biz president and chief executive Erik Asgeirsson. “Web-based services are here to stay. But firms need to do their homework, put in place well-defined service agreements and choose vendors who have a demonstrated commitment to ongoing technology assurance services.” 

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