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Question: Identify the top three challenges of managing your firm today
Source: Preliminary Results from 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.
By Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA
Creating value-added service offerings, cybersecurity, and recruiting are the top three challenges of managing a modern accounting firm, according to early results from the 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.
The early responses to this year’s survey, which closes Feb. 15, show that firm owners and administrators are working hard to change their practices and provide their clients with new value-added advisory services. These services, which include offerings like family office management, budgeting/forecasting, cybersecurity assurance, and CFO-for-hire require firms to work in more narrow industry niches so they can provide their clients with the insights they need to optimize their businesses. Many innovative firms are working to create these new services, which are expected to displace much of the traditional compliance work currently performed by firms.
Cybersecurity has been a hot topic in the profession in recent years, and we are seeing more and more firms utilize security awareness training services like KnowBe4 and advanced e-mail filtering services like Mimecast. Despite these efforts, a majority of the early respondents reported that they have e-mailed tax returns to clients, and 5% of respondents reported that they had suffered downtime due to computer malware.
With the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 coming in less than a year, firms are accelerating adoption of Windows 10. The early responses this year show that Windows 10 is the primary desktop operating system for 72% of the respondents, which is up from 56% in 2018, while Windows 7 is still dominant at 15% of firms, down from 28% in the previous year.
The digital e-book with the survey results is an invaluable tool for firm owners and administrators and provides insights on a wide range of topics, including:
- Firm Demographics
- Practice Management
- Technology Management
- Operating Systems
- Computer Hardware
- Application Software
- File and Data Storage/Management
- Remote Access/Internet/Telecommunications
- Technology Spending, Decision-making
- Annoyances and Trends