Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey – for Firms of All Sizes

Delivering critical decision-making data to firms of all sizes.

By Randolph P. Johnston and Brian Tankersley

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See more results from the Accounting Firms Operations & Technology Survey by CPA Trendlines here


  • Firms of all sizes.
  • Responses from across the nation
  • Firm-to-firm benchmarking
  • Expert commentary & analysis
  • Essential data, trends, and comparisons for making smarter technology buying decisions

The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey report features 89 survey questions and overall results for each survey question presented in easy-to-understand charts and tables. The report also provides survey results by size of firm broken down by solo practitioners, small firms, mid-sized firms, large firms, and extra-large firms.

The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey examines the inner workings of accounting firms including operations and the technology being used by firms of all sizes. Guidance and direction for this survey were provided by an advisory board composed of executives who have established tenure and credibility in the profession. The national promotion of the survey was a collaborative effort with promotion partners resulting in an equal opportunity for participation from accounting professionals working as sole practitioners or accountants working in firms of all sizes. The survey has approximately three times the number of respondents necessary to establish validity for the U.S population of accounting and bookkeeping professionals. The findings reveal the overall responses and further expand on results to show responses based on the size of the firm.

Look inside: Free preview of sample pages
Look inside: Free preview of sample pages



By Randolph P. Johnston and Brian Tankersley

We launched this survey project to discover the most comprehensive information about technology U.S. accountants were using in their practices. Although there are many good surveys, there were many unanswered questions. The intent of this project is to discover and share factual, actionable items and insights that are not available from any other source.

Our primary goal in producing this research is to deliver a reference tool accounting professionals can leverage when making operational and technology decisions.

The first step towards accomplishing this goal was to develop a validated survey instrument vetted through an advisory board of several of the industry’s highly respected thought-leaders. The second step in this process was to ensure national participation from firms of all sizes to further validate results. The final step was to develop and publish the findings, a collection of the survey questions, participant responses, and analysis.

The insights, experience, and analysis provided in this survey have been accumulated through the hundreds who took the survey and our team’s thousands of hours consulting with firms of all sizes around the U.S.

Our entire team hopes that this study helps you better understand how firms are currently using technology as well as how our profession is changing the way it works to better meet the needs of our clients and employees.

All practitioners have seen massive changes in how our profession works over the years. When the editor, Brian Tankersley, started his first job as an auditor with a Big Six firm in 1992, he was given a couple of mechanical pencils, a couple of pens, a well-worn leather audit bag, and told where to find the columnar paper and the reinforcement labels. Over 20 years later, many of the menial tasks which punctuated that first year in the profession are now performed by computer software, allowing modern firms to accomplish more work with fewer staff people.

Computer hardware and software are not the only tools that have changed our profession. The speed with which the world has adopted mobile and cloud technologies is also amazing. Most Americans now have a smartphone, at least one cloud-based personal e-mail account, and store documents in digital format. Our profession must continue to evolve and meet client needs for real-time information, or we will be left behind by history. This rethinking of how and where we work and collaborate with others increases some short-term risks to your firm but is necessary for your practice’s long-term survival.


Each with detailed statistics, trends, and expert consultant advice:

1. Practice Management

2. Technology Management

3. Operating Systems

4. Computer Hardware

5. Application Software

6. File & Data Storage/Management

7. Remote Access/Internet/Telecommunications

8. Technology Spending, Decision-Making, Annoyances & Trends


See more results from the Accounting Firms Operations & Technology Survey by CPA Trendlines here

Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey – for Firms of All Sizes