Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Technology 2012 Preview

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Technology 2012 Preview

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

CPAs, whether in public practice or in industry, face a dizzying array of technological choices as 2012 approaches. To help everyone prepare for the year ahead, the JofA gathered the three technology keynote speakers from the AICPA's 2011 Practitioners Symposium/TECH+ Conference to discuss the hottest tech topics in the accounting industry. The nearly 90-minute conversation covered a wide range of technical issues critical to all CPAs.

Participating in the call were:

* David Cieslak, CPA/CITP, aka Inspector Gadget, a principal with Arxis Technology

* Randy Johnston, executive vice president of both Network Management Group Inc. and K2 Enterprises.

* Rick Richardson, CPA/CITP, founder and CEO of Richardson Media & Technologies.

Moderating the call were:

* J. Carlton Collins, CPA, technology and accounting systems consultant and author of the JofA's monthly Technology Q&A column.

* Jeff Drew, senior editor covering technology for the JofA.

Following are edited excerpts of the discussion about software and hardware trends, security issues, social media and video. In the November issue, we excerpted parts of the discussion about mobile technology and cloud computing (see "Technology 2012 Preview: Part 1," Nov 2011, page 46). For a longer version of the forum, including an online-only excerpt discussing tech-based revenue streams, and audio clips from the conversation, go to journalofaccountancy.com/tech.

SOFTWARE TRENDS FOR 2012

Drew: Let's talk about some of the key software opportunities going into 2012. What is available or coming out that the CPA must have or that might be overlooked or underutilized?

Cieslak: The cloud is probably going to heavily influence any of the new software offerings. I think we're going to find some new vendors popping up on the scene with some innovative stuff, and quite honestly, some of the more long-standing vendors, if they're not going to be coming out with cloud-based offerings, may very well find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

The other thing I think we're going to see, and this will continue to push our imagination and the envelope at least for the near term, (are) the apps for some of these portable devices. So you think about the app stores that have popped up around all the different tablet devices. Literally, most of these applications (and) many of these vendors didn't exist two years ago, and today they're moving thousands, if not tens of thousands, of copies of a neat application that they've written. And as we see more and more of that that's being targeted or developed specifically for the financial community, that will continue to help us move on down this road together. Richardson: The one thing that I think a lot of CPAs don't think about as much is workflow itself and this tailoring of the workflow to the practice or to a certain CPA practice model. We're going to see more and more software offerings targeting that specifically. Some have done it in a more traditional way and migrated it to the cloud, in the case of things like Thomson Reuters or CCH, and other companies, like this new Xero, (offer) incredible opportunities to take what we do and get it digitized into a format that provides for easy access anywhere and far more control and basic quality on the data we're working with.

Having said that, I think the apps are where things are today One of my absolute all-time favorite apps is called Siri, which was originally developed out of a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) government research project as an intelligent assistant. [Apple bought Siri in April 2010 and incorporated the technology into the iPhone 4S, released in October.] And while it tends to be used for things like finding the best restaurant close by or ordering a cab in New York, I don't think it's going to be too long before we start seeing companies targeting a system-type product that can, in fact, provide us with other types of things that we never thought we'd be able to have at our fingertips, that are professionally based. …

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