Attending the AICPA Tech+ Conference was an eye opener in terms of how much now goes into a firm’s decision whether to continue as or purchase new hardware or applications, and the related security issues. It also taught me how much of an impact technology can have in unexpected ways. For example, when I got to the conference I discovered the attendees only had access to the sessions online and on a memory stick. No paper was given out and those without a laptop were at a tremendous disadvantage. Many of the PowerPoint slides shown were hard to read or changed before you could complete taking notes. Of course, I lost the memory stick an hour after it was given to me. There was also, at least initially, difficulty getting wireless access at the conference, and making a connection to the Internet in your room was an effort. But my favorite experience with technology had to do with food. At the deli at the hotel, I ordered a takeout order of two hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut. The clerk entered my order in the computer and said the order would be out shortly. After waiting a long time, the clerk finally walked the 10 feet to the open kitchen only to find the printer there was jammed so the order was never received. The next night a reservation was made for my party of four, but when we got to the restaurant it couldn’t be found in the computer, even though a hostess remembered typing it in. These technology hiccups still bother me, but I discovered at the conference that these blips don’t bother the techies at all. A number described the initial difficulties that they had in working with Vista and Office 2007. They talked of their difficulties fondly, and with an acknowledgement that they’re even expected. All of us should adopt the techies’ philosophical view, as they fully understand that the difficulties discovered will be cured in the next version of the application or product. They don’t see it as a problem, but rather as a path to the solution. Of course, I’m a little slow, because my solution, even if a new printer is used, is to have the deli clerk yell out “Two with everything on it” when he types in my order of hot dogs at AICPA Tech+ 2008. PS:ENTRY PERIOD CLOSING SOON FOR PRACTICE INNOVATION AWARDS Practical Accountant's Practice Innovation Award is given annually to public accounting firms that take the lead in developing a new service area, improving services to their clients, or promoting efficiency in the practice of public accounting. Firms submit a brief but detailed description of the innovation (or innovations) that they believe fits the above criteria. They should detail the resulting benefits, especially any associated increase in revenue or cost savings. Most submissions are about 300 words. Winners will receive a plaque and be profiled in our September issue. Prior years' winners can participate as long as the submission is on a different basis from their award-winning innovation. Judging is by Practical Accountant's editorial staff. Submissions, with the name of the firm's contact person, must be received no later than June 29, 2007, preferably by e-mail. Regular mail should be addressed to Howard Wolosky, Practical Accountant, SourceMedia, One State Street Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10004. The e-mail address is Howard.Wolosky@sourcemedia.com   

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