You’re Not Tech-Savvy If You’re Not Cyber-Safe, Too

Digital padlocks illustrationSecurity must be both a priority and a habit.

By Ranica Arrowsmith
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

As the profession faces a future filled with the promises of artificial intelligence, machine learning and ever-increasing automation, it’s easy to forget a key point: Without security, technology can come back to bite you.

MORE FROM AFOTS: Lions and Tigers and Blockchain and Bots, Oh My!

 

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Lions and Tigers, Blockchain and Bots, Oh My!

Digital computer blockchain illustrationExpect more drudgery to be automated.

By Bob Scott

Many accounting professionals are still grappling with mobile devices, social media and cloud computing. But the Next Big Things are already being hyped and debated.

And even though they will take years to move into the practical realm for practitioners, it’s time to at least learn the buzz words and understand the concepts because these technologies have the potential for as much change and disruption as we’ve seen in the things we are still trying to understand during the current century.
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4th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey Results and Survey Book Published

Garrett, left. Johnston, right

Randy Johnston, President, Network Management Group, Inc., Leslie Garrett, PhD, CEO of Insight Research Group announce the release of the 4th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology (AFOT) Survey results and survey book.

The 4th Annual AFOT Survey results book features the past three years of survey data, trend lines, thought-leadership from accounting channel leaders and consultative insight. “I continue to be amazed that I learn something from every version of our survey. The 4th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey provided insights about CPA firm strategies that I have not seen anywhere else. It is clear that this measure of technologies in use in the practice of accounting provides leading indicators of changes to come in the profession and the technologies used to solve client and firm problems. My only hope is that more and more firms would participate to benefit from the receiving the results for free as a benefit of participating,” said Johnston.

“We designed our survey results book to clearly display survey results and trend lines, making it easier to glance at the data and quickly assess the information or opt to dive deeper into the state of many facets of the profession. We also segment and present the data by size of firm to aid partners, shareholders, owners and IT professionals working in tax, accounting, and bookkeeping firms benchmark their operation,” said Garrett.

Learn more about the 4th Annual AFOT Survey here: https://store.cpatrendlines.com/shop/afot/

Key facts about the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey:

  • Although there are many good surveys, there is not another independent survey that has this level of complete information about the technology U.S. tax, accounting, and bookkeeping professionals are using in their practices.
  • The intent of this survey is to discover valid, factual actionable information and to deliver a resource that provides trend lines and consultative content based on precise results of multiple years of data gathered using this survey instrument
  • Multiple years of data presented in an understandable way using charts and tables that reveal trends as they are developing.

Hey You, Get onto My Cloud!

Cloud strategies mean different things to different people.

By Randy Johnston
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

I can make this very simple. Do you or your clients need to work someplace other than the office? For most of you, this answer is simple. Yes!

The next question is also pretty simple. Do you need to run traditional desktop solutions, or is a solution available that runs in a web browser?

MORE TECH:  Soloists, Small Firms Must Take Software Seriously  |  How the Smallest Firms Can Make Better Technology Decisions  |  Soloists, Small Firms Cite Tech Challenges  |  Soloists, Small Firms Cite Top Challenges

 

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If everything in your world runs in a browser, then any computer will work, and you can be done reading this blog post. However, if you have any desktop solutions that you need to run remotely, you will need a hosted option for that application. You can host applications privately or publicly. READ MORE →

SURVEY: How Different Sizes of Firm Approach IT Spending

Money pouring out from a notebook computerPlus 4 IT rules to live by.

By Randolph P. Johnston, Leslie Garrett and Brian F. Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Many practitioners think CPA firm information technology is easy, and the really hard work is done with people who have large databases, etc.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Ins and Outs of Email, Document Storage | Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 | Accounting Firms Add New Service Lines | Why Every CPA Firm Is a Tech Company at Heart
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Nothing could be further from the truth, as it would be normal for a staff tax preparer to have as many as 12 applications open at once. Very few things are as important to your firm’s effectiveness and efficiency as the reliability and effectiveness of your technology.
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SURVEY: The Risks of Subscription-Based Software

Businessman working on laptop with binary code in the backgroundPlus 7 key findings on SaaS, remote access and more.

By Randolph P. Johnston, Leslie Garrett and Brian F. Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

While subscription-based software has significant advantages, it also has some significant risks that need to be considered, including contingency planning, data backup, and data extraction and export when ending the relationship.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Ins and Outs of Email, Document Storage | Cloud Software Improves Financial Reporting | Accountants Quit Trying to Manage IT Themselves | How Top Tech Vendors Are Failing CPAs in the Cloud | Master Change, Master the Future
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Firms should have a clear plan for how they will operate if the cloud service is down for a day or more, including having enough data offline to permit manual preparation of payroll, invoices and other time-sensitive transactions.
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SURVEY: Ins and Outs of Email, Document Storage

Businessman touching virtual buttons in server roomJudicial rules are another consideration.

Key Findings

  • Thirty-eight percent archive email by storing it locally or on the PC or a local server.
  • Forty-four percent have no document retention policy for purging digital files.

By Randolph P. Johnston, Leslie Garrett and Brian F. Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

There are practical solutions for email archiving and document retention policies available to firms of all sizes.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 | Accountants Quit Trying to Manage IT Themselves |Workflow Management Concerns Many Firms | Accounting Firms Add New Service Lines | How Top Tech Vendors Are Failing CPAs in the Cloud | Master Change, Master the Future | Why Every CPA Firm Is a Tech Company at Heart
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We know that 56 percent of firms have email hosted outside the office. While all firms have the option to either run a solution in-house or to have a third party handle this obligation, the firms who use hosted email could also utilize add-in services for this task.
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