Tech Trends in 2017 for CPA Firms
July 27, 2017
Here is a controversial but honest observation: Technology and American accounting firms used to be like oil and water. Just a few years ago, many small niche firms were characterized by old school accountants that refused to adapt to the latest technology trends, including cloud computing for businesses.
In 2017, that’s changed.
Today, failing to adopt new technology isn’t even possible because consumers are demanding faster services, smarter and more accurate accounting practices, and a better price. We’re rapidly approaching the point of no return for accountants that refuse to adapt to the pace of our digital society. The migration to the cloud is proceeding rapidly for all but the stodgiest of accountants. Failing to roll with these kinds of tech changes will quickly leave on-premise legacy accountants falling behind.
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How is Tech Changing the Accounting Business?
The biggest change in accounting, of course, is the rising adoption of software or infrastructure service-in-the-cloud models. While we’d normally be the foremost advocates for cloud computing for business, there is one caveat: in order to maximize cost efficiencies, we think CPAs will time their cloud migration to fit the natural replacement of legacy on-premise platforms. As a result, the Journal of Accountancy predicts that the remaining small to mid-sized CPA firm will migrate to the cloud gradually over the next ten years. Hybrid models are already widely used; many small CPA firms use online QuickBooks, Microsoft 365 for office, or other cloud-based software in addition to their on-premise solutions.
With cloud adoption, comes discussion of cyber security. The exploits of hackers are more frequently appearing in the news, and every firm that houses sensitive client data is at risk. In addition to teaching employees about phishing scams housing ransomware, the push to ramp up digital security may also include hiring a managed service provider in a security-as-a-service model. Digital security is necessitating the use of data encryption and 24/7 network monitoring, which are typical components of an outsourced IT model.
Another trend sweeping the accounting profession is artificial intelligence. H&R Block has thrown down a gauntlet for any competing CPA firm with their adoption of IBM Watson. Now customers can interact in real time with cloud-based artificial intelligence as they sit in front of their monitor – and their tax consultant. H&R Block’s advertising suggests that the mind of this big machine, coupled with the firm’s experience will help maximize a client’s refund. In fact, this is probably true.
AI is machine learning and it is the most powerful computing model created to date. Sophisticated algorithms aside, it creates a new standard in cloud computing for businesses in the accounting field.
Cloud Computing for Businesses – Staying Competitive
Whether it’s managing your migration to the cloud or handling security-as-a-service, TOSS C3 is particularly focused on their work with CPA firms around the country. To find out more, get a free assessment of your firm.
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