Nearly 90 Percent of CPAs Say They are Current on New Technology But 60 Percent Struggle to Use Existing Technologies
Half of Respondents are Willing to Invest in Technology as a Revenue Driver
Out of more than 130 certified public accountants (CPAs) surveyed by the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJCPA) in November, 88 percent said they were either very current or somewhat current on new technologies, yet a little over 60 percent struggle with learning how to use existing technologies at their organization. With advancements in technology evolving at an unprecedented pace, the NJCPA conducted the survey, which was sponsored by OWG, an NJCPA technology partner and IT integrator, to gain insight into how accounting professionals view technology and what challenges they face.
Of the technology struggles experienced, aside from attempting to learn existing technologies, respondents next ranked identifying new technology to consider implementing as a challenge, followed by cybersecurity and privacy concerns.
A variety of technology is being used by those surveyed, which includes everything from software related to tax, accounting and time management to platforms for virtual communications. Tax, audit and accounting software ranked the highest in usage, followed by virtual platforms (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams), remote desktops, client portals and paperless/e-signature tools. Nearly half of the respondents said they are equally effective when working remotely compared with working in the office, though 38 percent believe they are less effective and 15 percent said they are more effective.
Respondents had mixed feelings regarding software platforms when considering their use of tax software but were more in sync when it came to accounting and practice management platforms. More than 85 percent use Quickbooks for their internal accounting platforms and 12 percent use Lacerte. For those who use practice management platforms, 26 percent noted that they favor CCH ProSystem fx. ProSystem fx Tax and ProSeries Tax were equally used by survey respondents at 20 percent each, followed by UltraTax CS and Lacerte Tax at 19 and 18 percent, respectively.
More than 50 percent of those survey takers said they are willing to invest early and often in technology, being that it is a revenue driver. However, more than 30 percent said they don’t actually have an IT budget. The majority of respondents (73 percent) utilize an external IT consultant or IT services firm for their technology needs. Out of those who have an in-house IT department, 39 percent said they have less than five employees concentrated in IT, while 20 percent have more than 11 employees dedicated to IT.
In analyzing overall risk across their organizations, more than half of respondents noted their firm had performed a risk assessment, compared to 35 percent who did not and 13 percent who did not know if one had been done.
“Few professions have grown by as many leaps and bounds as accounting has, and technology has been a big part of that,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO and executive director at the NJCPA. “Our survey points out how important technology is to the accounting profession and what may be impeding some from using it further.”