|By PR Newswire||
|November 5, 2012 06:40 PM EST||
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cloud and mobile top the list of emerging technologies transforming the tax and accounting profession, according to the 2012 CCH Technology Survey, an independent nationwide survey of more than 400 accounting professionals, conducted by ORC International for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting CEO Kevin Robert discussed the findings in a keynote address to more than 1,200 professionals at the CCH Connections User Conference in San Diego.
"We're now at a point where all the benefits that have been talked about from emerging technologies are here – firms using these technologies today are seeing tremendous benefits in productivity and the value they can deliver to clients," said Robert.
According to professionals surveyed, improved client service is the driving force behind their adoption of these emerging technologies, along with improved productivity and profitability. Firms also report that they still face challenges in leveraging technology effectively, despite its importance to their success. Specifically, survey findings include:
- The majority of firms (64 percent) said that when making decisions to invest in new technology, their top consideration is if it will enhance client service;
- Improved client service is also the top benefit firms say they realize from supporting a mobile workforce, and leveraging social media;
- In addition to cloud and mobile, social media and Big Data are emerging technologies the majority of firms identified as having a future impact on the profession; and
- Two-thirds of firms say leveraging technology is important to their success; yet 87 percent report they can do it more effectively; and fewer than 15 percent were very confident in their ability to understand and manage emerging technologies.
"Firms need to continuously monitor to ensure they are keeping up with technology changes and investing in the right technology, at the right time, to help deliver the best results," Robert said.
Emerging Technology Adoption Rates Vary, But Benefits Clear
Across industries, cloud, mobile, Big Data and social media are having a profound impact on businesses.
"Each of these technologies is powerful, but brought together they will have a game-changing impact on the profession," Robert said. "I believe we're at a tipping point, when these technologies will deliver new capabilities to firms to get closer to their clients and significantly enhance client service. In the past, firms focused on the improvements that technology could drive within the firm. That's changed. Firms are now looking at technology in a brand new way – specifically how it increases their relevance to their clients, and strengthens those relationships."
Key findings from the CCH Technology Survey related to emerging technologies include:
Adoption of cloud-based solutions varies by firm size, with 84 percent of large firms (50 or more employees); 67 percent of mid-size firms (10-49 employees); and 46 percent of small firms (1-9 employees) now using or planning to use cloud solutions in the next three years.
The top benefits of working in the cloud:
- The ability to work anytime, anywhere;
- The ability to serve clients in any location;
- Improved security and backup procedures; and
- Improved collaboration with clients.
Other top benefits include lower costs and greater value to clients.
"Having integrated solutions that are available anytime and can communicate with one another provides professionals with the ability to significantly improve their productivity and the value they can provide to clients," Robert said. "This is why CCH's Open Integration Platform is gaining the attention it has: firms want to be able to leverage the cloud to bring together the best applications from across CCH's offerings, other providers and the firm's own applications – and our platform provides that open and integrated flexibility."
Accounting professionals are increasingly mobile, with 81 percent reporting they spend time working away from the office. The average number of hours a week professionals work remotely ranges from 5.8 hours for those in mid-size firms to 8.6 hours for those at large firms.
Additionally, firms of all sizes expect an increasing number of their staff will spend more time working remotely. Among key benefits firms report from enabling mobile workers are:
- Improved client service;
- Improved productivity; and
- Work/life benefits.
"Mobility is allowing firms to cast a much wider net in attracting clients and firm talent, and it's allowing for anytime access and supporting the way many CPAs and their clients entering the market now want to work," Robert said. "These professionals expect to be able to use platforms such as CCH Mobile to quickly access tax research, software, journals as well as the latest tax industry news.
Professional use of social media remains in its infancy across parts of the accounting profession, but firms report they will be quickly embracing social media to strengthen relationships with clients and peers. According to the CCH Technology Survey, 90 percent of large firms have or will implement social media within three years, compared to 66 percent of mid-size firms and 39 percent of small firms.
Today, the average number of hours professionals use social media professionally also varies, with accountants at large firms spending 5.6 hours per week using social media compared to 1.8 hours for accountants at small firms. LinkedIn and Facebook were the leading social media sites accountants said they used professionally.
The greatest benefits professionals say the firm overall realizes from social media include:
- Improved client service;
- Increased profitability; and
- Improved support for mobile workforce.
Overall, large firms are more likely to leverage web and social media compared to small firms. But firms are still under-leveraging the collaborative power of social media, with only about one-third of firms maintaining involvement in professional online communities.
More than one-half of professionals (58 percent) reported they were concerned about social media security and privacy.
"It's important for firms to set policies, adopt best practices and train staff on how to effectively leverage social media for building professional connections," Robert said. "Social media can play a powerful role in everything from getting closer to clients, improving your marketing, engaging with peers for expanding knowledge and strengthening relationships; it also is an important resource as more firms begin to explore Big Data."
Two in three professionals (67 percent) believe Big Data will have an impact on the accounting industry in the future. Professionals surveyed also identified analytical and problem-solving skills among the top skills CPAs need to have in the future.
In fact, Big Data has the potential for significantly changing tax and accounting professionals' work. For example, bots could be used to scour the Internet for a client's financial transactions with that information then pulled into the tax return, further automating tax preparation. At the same time, many companies are challenged by a shortage of data analytic talent.
"The role of data scientist is a natural fit for accountants and plays right into one of their strongest skills," said Robert. "It also is a way accountants will add even greater value to clients in the future."
Technology Innovation: Crucial to Future Success
Today, most firms acknowledge that they take a wait-and-see approach to technology. However, many professionals also realize that their firm will need to move to a first-to-adopt approach to be successful in the future. For example:
- 41 percent of large firms today identify themselves as first to adopt; 53 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future;
- 23 percent of mid-size firms today identify themselves as first to adopt, 46 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future; and
- 6 percent of small firms today identify themselves as first to adopt, but 21 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future.
"Firms have a tremendous opportunity to use emerging technologies to their advantage," said Robert. "For example, firms that adopt an open architecture and base their infrastructure on the cloud may be able to leapfrog their current positions and be positioned for future technology gains."
For More Information
Complete CCH Technology Survey findings are in the CCH white paperKey Findings from theCCH Technology Survey: Then, Now and Next and available at CCHGroup.com/TechnologySurvey.
About the Survey
The CCH Technology Survey included quantitative interviews with 405 tax, audit and accounting professionals in U.S. firms nationwide to examine how technology has changed the profession and how professionals anticipate it will change the skills and tools they need to compete in the future. The survey was conducted for CCH online by ORC International from August 9-22, 2012. The survey reflects experiences of randomly polled tax, audit and accounting professionals working at firms ranging in size from one to more than 100 employees.
Follow the 2012 CCH User Conference
About CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com) is a leading global provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. It has served tax, accounting and business professionals since 1913. Among its market-leading solutions are The ProSystem fx® Suite, CorpSystem®, CCH® IntelliConnect®, Accounting Research Manager® and the U.S. Master Tax Guide®. CCH is based in Riverwoods, Ill. Follow us now on Twitter @CCHMediaHelp. Wolters Kluwer (www.wolterskluwer.com) is a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices.
SOURCE CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 7, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 376
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 7, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 144
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 7, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 562
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 7, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 365
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 7, 2016 01:30 PM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 7, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 347
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 7, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 349
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 7, 2016 10:15 AM EST Reads: 118
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 7, 2016 07:00 AM EST Reads: 125
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 724
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 788
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 414
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 853
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 941
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 728
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,148
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 814
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,221
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 792
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,271