Technology Evolving Faster Than Accounting Firms

Coffee mug and cloud computing conceptsDigital workflow use rising, but remote access remains a struggle.

By Roman Kepczyk
Rosenberg MAP Survey

As an outsourced technology partner to CPA firms, I primarily deal with IT strategy and applications that improve accounting firm production.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: Will Staffing Challenges Change the Definition of Partner? | Be a Consultant or Be Left Behind | Survey: Many Firms in Transition | Technology Playing Center Stage in CPA Profession
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The 2016 CPA Firm Management Association IT Survey* pointed out that a surprising 23 percent of responding firms had transitioned to an outsourced cloud architecture. This trend points to internal IT personnel being disintermediated as they have been unable to keep up with today’s required skill set for improving firm processes as well as technical skill needed to optimizing remote access, security and disaster recovery for the firm, which firms seem to struggle with constantly.
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Your Tech Needs a Strategic Plan and a Budget

$100 bills following through a wormhole lined with binary codeThat advice you give clients? It's time to follow it yourself.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

We have all heard the saying that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up going nowhere (or … you won’t ever get there).

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Firms Need Monthly IT ‘Flash’ Reports | Outsource Some Security Functions | Centralize Contact Administration | Why You Should Process AP Digitally | Revamp Daily T&E Entry | How and Why to Establish Firm Procedures Manuals | Is Your Tax Workflow Digital Yet? | The 4 Types of Firm Knowledge | Back Up Your Bandwidth | How to Choose Which Microsoft Office Version to Use | Time to Replace a Server? Consider the Cloud | Monitor Real Estate: More Is Better
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Unfortunately, many accounting firms do not do a good job of integrating their information technology requirements into the firm’s overall strategic vision.
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Firms Need Monthly IT ‘Flash’ Reports

Tablet with green chart in hands of businessmanLike a financial statement, but for IT.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Most firms have a line partner or firm administrator overseeing the firm’s information technology department.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Outsource Some Security Functions | Use Collaboration Technology to Improve Your Firm | Standardize Your QuickBooks Support | Remote Banking Offers Instant ROI | How to Stop ‘Overauditing’
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These personnel may have an interest in information technology, but their primary responsibility often lies in other production areas. They need a way to efficiently oversee the firm’s IT initiatives and report to management.
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Outsource Some Security Functions

Annual staff training is a must-have.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Going paperless means that all firm files and client data will be digitally stored on the firm’s network, which is almost always accessible to firm personnel via internal workstations and remotely via the Internet.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Use Collaboration Technology to Improve Your Firm | Mandate Training Programs, Accountability | Portals are Vital for Secure File Transfer | Deliver All Reports Digitally | How Audit Field Equipment Has Changed | How and Why to Establish Firm Procedures Manuals | Devil's in the Details of Digital File Delivery |
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The firm has a fiduciary responsibility to protect this data from anyone not specifically authorized to view it.
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Use Collaboration Technology to Improve Your Firm

Woman having video chat with man5 sets of tools that will help.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Bridging the Gap

Amid all the discussion of improving understanding and bridging the gap in a somewhat humanistic sense, it’s important to also address the purely mechanical aspects of communication.

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For firms to optimize efficiency and client service as well as to overcome generational differences, they must select and standardize the tools they use for communication. This is another area where shared knowledge contributes to performance in addition to a harmonious culture.
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Mandate Training Programs, Accountability

Three young businessmen in office training sessionProcesses make it easier to achieve results.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For many firms, the ability to identify, standardize and implement best practices is the last remaining competitive advantage in business today as communications tools and access to technology have become available to everyone.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Centralize Contact Administration | Standardize Your QuickBooks Support | Remote Banking Offers Instant ROI | How to Stop ‘Overauditing’ | Devil's in the Details of Digital File Delivery
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To take advantage of the continuous stream of innovation and opportunities, firms must adopt a “learning culture.” This requires a formal process to capture and standardize best practices in every department within the firm so that every person can take advantage of them.
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Centralize Contact Administration

Woman entering information on computerNew information needs to be shared.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Many firms today maintain contact information within multiple applications such as practice management, Outlook, tax systems, and other marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) programs.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Standardize Your QuickBooks Support | Portals are Vital for Secure File Transfer | Deliver All Reports Digitally
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Too often, a significant amount of time is wasted in firms pulling contact information together, reconciling and verifying lists for mailings, invitations and even organizers. It is critical that firms centralize the updating of contact information for consistency.
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