Top 100 Firms: New Technologies Boost Client Retention and Revenue Growth

Survey Shows 82% of CPAs at Top 100 Accounting Firms Tie New Technology Adoption to Client Retention and Firm Growth.

Bay Street Group Research finds accounting firm partners are embracing document management and Software-as-a-Service solutions to meet client needs and expectations.

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The accounting profession’s largest U.S. firms believe they are nearly 100 percent focused on client needs and expectations, and perceived by their clients as technologically savvy with the adoption of paperless and cloud-based technologies to speed productivity.

“It’s clear that firms must provide as many resources as possible to save their clients time and money. These include easy-to-use portals and other applications to enable the exchange of documents and information.”

These and other preliminary findings are the result of a new study commissioned by Fujitsu and SpeedTax, and conducted by the Bay Street Group, a NY-based custom research and strategic consulting firm for the professional tax, accounting and finance community.

Fujitsu, the market leader in document imaging scanners and services, and SpeedTax, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), fully automated sales tax management solutions, formed an alliance earlier this year to help CPAs and accountants understand the integral, client-focused relationship between document management, SaaS and sales tax/compliance. The new alliance offers combined thought leadership from both companies, which translates into business value for CPA firms of all sizes.

Managing partners, partners, senior executives and senior staff from Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms for 2010 participated in the survey; and while the full results and analysis will be released in January 2010, here are the top-line preliminary findings:

  • With an overwhelming 82% of respondents believing new technologies are changing client expectations – and nearly 90% stating they are perceived by clients as technologically advanced – almost 75% of respondents believe their firms need to provide multiple document scanners to their staff and adopt new SaaS solutions.
  • Firms should position themselves with clients as a true business partner by discussing commitment and focus; 94% of respondents believe their firms are highly focused on client needs and expectations.
  • Through the adoption of workflow, scanning and SaaS solutions, firms can demonstrate they have the experience and knowledge to make any client matter more efficient and productive.

Bourke

“The systems and processes implemented by the Top 100 firms are a good litmus test that all other firms – from sole practitioners to large, local organizations – should follow,” said Jim Bourke, CPA.CITP, partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC. Bourke recently authored “3 Key Tech Strategies of Successful 21st Century Accounting Firms” (10 pages, PDF), a white paper describing how competitive, growth-oriented firms are leveraging technologies like document management and SaaS to better serve clients and improve internal operations. “It’s clear that firms must provide as many resources as possible to save their clients time and money. These include easy-to-use portals and other applications to enable the exchange of documents and information.”

“We’re thrilled that executive management in the nation’s largest firms recognize the significance of leveraging document management, SaaS and related workflow technologies, but we’re even more pleased that the firms realize they need to talk about making a commitment to solve client problems through technology implementation and experience,” said Scott Francis, vice president of marketing at Fujitsu. “This shows that productivity has been elevated to a more strategic level rather than focusing solely on task-based processes. For example, firms that consistently educate clients about the business advantages of document-management technologies have a good opportunity to increase client retention.”

“SpeedTax has spent the last three years educating the profession on SaaS-based sales tax services, and along with Fujitsu, how document management integrates to improve workflow; these preliminary findings appear to validate our activities,” said Anton Donde, CEO at SpeedTax. “We look forward to continuing to work on education and thought leadership initiatives that further contribute to firm growth via client satisfaction and retention.”

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a leading provider of ICT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 170,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.6 trillion yen (US$50 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.

Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. is an established leader in the Document Imaging industry, delivering innovative scanning solutions and services that enable our customers to solve critical business productivity issues and streamline operations. We provide cutting-edge document capture solutions for business and personal environments, backed by a comprehensive portfolio of service and support programs. For more information about Fujitsu Document Imaging solutions and services, please call 800-626-4686. For more information, please see: http://us.fujitsu.com/fcpa

About SpeedTax

SpeedTax is an easy-to-use, affordable and technologically advanced Software-as-a-Service sales tax solution. SpeedTax performs real-time, automated sales tax calculations, integrates seamlessly with its customers’ financial or e-commerce systems, and provides automatic returns preparation and filing, while enabling reporting, treasury management and audit defense with sophisticated, web-based compliance management and reporting tools. SpeedTax currently keeps customers up-to-date on more than 17,000 taxing jurisdictions nationwide. SpeedTax helps businesses of all sizes to accurately and affordably outsource the most tedious, repetitious and time-consuming aspects of sales tax compliance – researching, calculating, posting, reporting and remitting sales taxes – while simultaneously acquiring the ability to better manage their business via online, real-time access to sales tax data. For more information, visit www.speedtax.com, or call 888-349-2441.