Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jim Kaskade, Lori MacVittie, Janakiram MSV, Andreas Grabner, Pat Romanski

News Feed Item

CCH Nationwide Survey Finds Cloud, Mobile Top Technologies Driving Change for Tax and Accounting Profession

Firms Look to Emerging Technologies to Enhance Client Service; Drive Productivity, Profitability

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cloud and mobile top the list of emerging technologies transforming the tax and accounting profession, according to the 2012 CCH Technology Survey, an independent nationwide survey of more than 400 accounting professionals, conducted by ORC International for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. 

Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting CEO Kevin Robert discussed the findings in a keynote address to more than 1,200 professionals at the CCH Connections User Conference in San Diego.

"We're now at a point where all the benefits that have been talked about from emerging technologies are here – firms using these technologies today are seeing tremendous benefits in productivity and the value they can deliver to clients," said Robert.

According to professionals surveyed, improved client service is the driving force behind their adoption of these emerging technologies, along with improved productivity and profitability. Firms also report that they still face challenges in leveraging technology effectively, despite its importance to their success. Specifically, survey findings include:

  • The majority of firms (64 percent) said that when making decisions to invest in new technology, their top consideration is if it will enhance client service;
  • Improved client service is also the top benefit firms say they realize from supporting a mobile workforce, and leveraging social media;
  • In addition to cloud and mobile, social media and Big Data are emerging technologies the majority of firms identified as having a future impact on the profession; and
  • Two-thirds of firms say leveraging technology is important to their success; yet 87 percent report they can do it more effectively; and fewer than 15 percent were very confident in their ability to understand and manage emerging technologies.

To download the survey white paper, CCH Technology Survey – Technology in Accounting: Then, Now and Next, visit CCHGroup.com/TechnologySurvey. To view video clips of Robert's address, click here.

"Firms need to continuously monitor to ensure they are keeping up with technology changes and investing in the right technology, at the right time, to help deliver the best results," Robert said.

Emerging Technology Adoption Rates Vary, But Benefits Clear

Across industries, cloud, mobile, Big Data and social media are having a profound impact on businesses.

"Each of these technologies is powerful, but brought together they will have a game-changing impact on the profession," Robert said. "I believe we're at a tipping point, when these technologies will deliver new capabilities to firms to get closer to their clients and significantly enhance client service. In the past, firms focused on the improvements that technology could drive within the firm. That's changed. Firms are now looking at technology in a brand new way – specifically how it increases their relevance to their clients, and strengthens those relationships."

Key findings from the CCH Technology Survey related to emerging technologies include:

Cloud Solutions

Adoption of cloud-based solutions varies by firm size, with 84 percent of large firms (50 or more employees); 67 percent of mid-size firms (10-49 employees); and 46 percent of small firms (1-9 employees) now using or planning to use cloud solutions in the next three years.

The top benefits of working in the cloud:

  • The ability to work anytime, anywhere;
  • The ability to serve clients in any location;
  • Improved security and backup procedures; and
  • Improved collaboration with clients.

Other top benefits include lower costs and greater value to clients.

"Having integrated solutions that are available anytime and can communicate with one another provides professionals with the ability to significantly improve their productivity and the value they can provide to clients," Robert said. "This is why CCH's Open Integration Platform is gaining the attention it has: firms want to be able to leverage the cloud to bring together the best applications from across CCH's offerings, other providers and the firm's own applications – and our platform provides that open and integrated flexibility."


Accounting professionals are increasingly mobile, with 81 percent reporting they spend time working away from the office. The average number of hours a week professionals work remotely ranges from 5.8 hours for those in mid-size firms to 8.6 hours for those at large firms.  

Additionally, firms of all sizes expect an increasing number of their staff will spend more time working remotely. Among key benefits firms report from enabling mobile workers are:

  • Improved client service;
  • Improved productivity; and
  • Work/life benefits.

"Mobility is allowing firms to cast a much wider net in attracting clients and firm talent, and it's allowing for anytime access and supporting the way many CPAs and their clients entering the market now want to work," Robert said. "These professionals expect to be able to use platforms such as CCH Mobile to quickly access tax research, software, journals as well as the latest tax industry news.

Social Media

Professional use of social media remains in its infancy across parts of the accounting profession, but firms report they will be quickly embracing social media to strengthen relationships with clients and peers. According to the CCH Technology Survey, 90 percent of large firms have or will implement social media within three years, compared to 66 percent of mid-size firms and 39 percent of small firms.

Today, the average number of hours professionals use social media professionally also varies, with accountants at large firms spending 5.6 hours per week using social media compared to 1.8 hours for accountants at small firms. LinkedIn and Facebook were the leading social media sites accountants said they used professionally.

The greatest benefits professionals say the firm overall realizes from social media include:

  • Improved client service;
  • Increased profitability; and
  • Improved support for mobile workforce.

Overall, large firms are more likely to leverage web and social media compared to small firms. But firms are still under-leveraging the collaborative power of social media, with only about one-third of firms maintaining involvement in professional online communities.

More than one-half of professionals (58 percent) reported they were concerned about social media security and privacy.

"It's important for firms to set policies, adopt best practices and train staff on how to effectively leverage social media for building professional connections," Robert said. "Social media can play a powerful role in everything from getting closer to clients, improving your marketing, engaging with peers for expanding knowledge and strengthening relationships; it also is an important resource as more firms begin to explore Big Data."

Big Data

Two in three professionals (67 percent) believe Big Data will have an impact on the accounting industry in the future. Professionals surveyed also identified analytical and problem-solving skills among the top skills CPAs need to have in the future.

In fact, Big Data has the potential for significantly changing tax and accounting professionals' work. For example, bots could be used to scour the Internet for a client's financial transactions with that information then pulled into the tax return, further automating tax preparation. At the same time, many companies are challenged by a shortage of data analytic talent.

"The role of data scientist is a natural fit for accountants and plays right into one of their strongest skills," said Robert. "It also is a way accountants will add even greater value to clients in the future."

Technology Innovation: Crucial to Future Success

Today, most firms acknowledge that they take a wait-and-see approach to technology. However, many professionals also realize that their firm will need to move to a first-to-adopt approach to be successful in the future. For example:

  • 41 percent of large firms today identify themselves as first to adopt; 53 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future;
  • 23 percent of mid-size firms today identify themselves as first to adopt, 46 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future; and
  • 6 percent of small firms today identify themselves as first to adopt, but 21 percent say they will need to take this approach in the future.

"Firms have a tremendous opportunity to use emerging technologies to their advantage," said Robert. "For example, firms that adopt an open architecture and base their infrastructure on the cloud may be able to leapfrog their current positions and be positioned for future technology gains."

For More Information

Complete CCH Technology Survey findings are in the CCH white paperKey Findings from theCCH Technology Survey: Then, Now and Next and available at CCHGroup.com/TechnologySurvey.

About the Survey

The CCH Technology Survey included quantitative interviews with 405 tax, audit and accounting professionals in U.S. firms nationwide to examine how technology has changed the profession and how professionals anticipate it will change the skills and tools they need to compete in the future. The survey was conducted for CCH online by ORC International from August 9-22, 2012. The survey reflects experiences of randomly polled tax, audit and accounting professionals working at firms ranging in size from one to more than 100 employees.

Follow the 2012 CCH User Conference

Follow what's happening this week at the 2012 CCH User Conference in San Diego on Twitter: @CCH_User_Conf and on Facebook.

About CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com) is a leading global provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. It has served tax, accounting and business professionals since 1913. Among its market-leading solutions are The ProSystem fx® Suite, CorpSystem®, CCH® IntelliConnect®, Accounting Research Manager® and the U.S. Master Tax Guide®. CCH is based in Riverwoods, Ill. Follow us now on Twitter @CCHMediaHelp. Wolters Kluwer (www.wolterskluwer.com) is a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices.

SOURCE CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-tim...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...