July 9th, 2015 by adminIt is true that CPAs who embrace technology have access to tools that increase productivity, efficiency, and success, but a few concerns plague the industry. Technology requires a balance, proactivity, and discretion. To help CPAs navigate the industry and remain abreast of the current issues, the AICPA releases its list of the top concerns for CPAs, now and in the future. In the past decade, technology found itself on the list. Keeping up with technology The AICPA points out that young CPAs will have a hard time keeping up with technology, current trends, and future habits. Technology provides CPAs with important tools for accuracy, productivity, networking, collaborating, and meeting with clients. Not only does technology influence a CPA’s position, but it also affects the lives of the CPA’s clients and partnerships. A CPA needs to understand the impact, the demands, and the changes to assist better the clients and his/her own career. Social media is a current technology that a CPA must embrace, yet be cautious about at the same time. Social media addresses communication concerns, modern technology use, and networking. While some companies still frown upon social media use, modern CPA firms are embracing the technology to promote an industry awareness, maintain relations, and to promote marketing and collaboration. CPAs must embrace the benefits of social media to create a global awareness, and to use it in a way that promotes their careers. Social media has the potential to increase “knowledge worker productivity by 25%,” which according to the AICPA, has the potential to result in a $900 billion to $1.3 trillion dollar impact in all sectors. Cloud security and reliability Many CPAs are turning to the cloud to increase data capacity, assist in recovery, to provide access to a vast talent pool, and to reduce costs. The cloud takes the CPA out of the office and turns the professional into an accessible resource with a far greater reach in the industry. The cloud is inexpensive to implement, it permits remote connectivity, it allows CPAs to reallocate resources, and it assists in data recovery and backup. One of the biggest concerns, however, is the security and reliability of such a service. Because the cloud is an off-base service, as it is housed on the web, security threats concern users. This is especially true for users who use personal cloud services, without knowing the difference between a business-strength service and a personal service. Not knowing how each works, what the support options are, and the available services for each, puts CPAs and the data they collect in a precarious situation. To address such security concerns, CPAs need to do extensive research about the cloud services available to them, the support that accompanies each, and the strategies for securing the system outside of the office. A professional IT team helps CPAs devise the best data strategy, set up the cloud, and establish security protocols to maintain the integrity of the system. Compliance and industry regulations CPAs are the keepers of all things personal for their clients. CPAs store critical data and personal information to maintain relationships with their clients, provide the best, most comprehensive services, and to improve efficiency. All come with great responsibility and industry regulations. If a CPA fails to remain up-to-date with the systems, software and protocols, the hammer can come down hard. To remain compliant, a CPA has to perform regular security checks, software updates, patches, and audits. However, a regular schedule sounds good in theory, but a CPA is in the business of accounting, not IT. To ensure a CPA is updated and compliant, the professional should consider managed services that take the IT burden off the CPA and places it is the hands of IT professionals. An IT service must complete each task without busting the CPA’s budget or requiring downtime.