Welcome!

.NET Authors: Pat Romanski, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, ChandraShekar Dattatreya, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Jim Kaskade

News Feed Item

Report: How the Cloud Changes the Game for CPAs Offering Client Accounting Services

The cloud is reinvigorating client accounting services for small and midsize businesses, and CPA firms that want to take advantage of this trend need to help their clients embrace digital technologies, according to Geoffrey Moore, tech consultant and bestselling author of “Crossing the Chasm.”

Moore recently interviewed dozens of thought leaders and technology advocates in the accounting profession and found that work involving accounting and back office operations – known more formally as “client accounting services” – has rapidly become a cloud-fueled field of growth for CPA firms. His findings are collected in a research report, “Accounting Services: Harness the Power of the Cloud,” released today at Digital CPA: CPA2Biz 2012 Cloud User Conference, an event hosted by the technology subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, CPA2Biz.

“Our fundamental premise is that, in the past, major barriers to productivity made (client) accounting services a low-margin activity that was unattractive to pursue,” Moore wrote. “In today’s online digital era, we believe these barriers can be removed, and the practice can be reengineered into a high growth, high profitability line of business.”

Moore said three major shifts are driving innovation in the accounting profession:

  • From paper to digital. Moving to web-based solutions means data is updated instantly and accessible anytime. “Paper is the anchor that keeps (client accounting services) practice margins at unacceptably low levels, so driving it out of the system is fundamental to building a sustainable business,” he wrote.
  • From physical to digital presence. Technology improvements mean most business interactions can take place virtually, which broadens the geographic reach, potential client base and hiring pool for firms. Face-to-face meetings should be reserved for critical interactions that warrant it.
  • From generalization to specialization. Many small to midsize businesses are taking advantage of an explosion in global outsourcing opportunities, and are already predisposed to shedding business operations outside their core competencies. CPA firms that can identify industry niches – restaurant franchising, retail chains, nonprofit management – can use their expertise to build intelligent, repeatable processes that serve their clients’ needs.

Moore outlined a progression for evolving a client accounting services practice: 1) Move to the cloud, 2) Adopt systems of engagement, 3) Adapt business intelligence to manage data powerfully and present information simply for clients. The latter stage allows CPA firms to move away from “write-up,” transactional work and gives clients what they most need – high value, forward-looking business analysis from a trusted advisor.

“The key to capitalizing on this new set of opportunities is to free up professional time to devote to such analytics, to use that time to determine the key performance indicators for your client’s business, and to work with the business intelligence software to develop simple dashboards that make performance factors readily visible,” Moore wrote.

How fast should firms be moving through those stages? Moore said it’s a judgment call.

Visionary firms seek fast growth and are already tech-savvy – they’re likely to be all-in for change, he said. Pragmatists are generally satisfied with firm operations, but want to shore up underperforming areas – going to a paperless office might represent a good medium risk, medium reward step for them. Conservative firms are happy with the status quo and reasonably sure of customer loyalty. They might subcontract client accounting work to a more tech-friendly firm, and buy in to innovation later in the adoption cycle to save costs.

Moore said there’s no right answer for the category firms choose, as long as they realistically evaluate their goals and needs on technology. To ease this process, CPA2Biz has created two mobile applications that can help CPA firms and their clients assess where they fall on Moore’s spectrum of technology adoption, as well as decide which strategies best suit them going forward. Available for both iPhone™ and iPad™, the CPA Practice Assessment Tool is designed for accounting firms, while the Crossing the Chasm Assessment Tool is designed for general business use. Both are available for download from the Apple App Store.

“Geoffrey Moore’s research report on client accounting services is a call to action for firms,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA2Biz. “Our assessment tools are a great first step that CPAs and their clients can take in mapping out their move to the cloud.”

About Geoffrey A. Moore

Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker and business advisor to many of the leading companies in the high-tech sector, including Cisco, Cognizant, Compuware, HP, Microsoft, SAP, and Yahoo!. Moore divides his time between consulting on strategy and transformation challenges with senior executives and speaking internationally on those same topics. He has written six books, including the recently published Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past. His first book, Crossing the Chasm, addresses the challenges of gaining initial adoption for disruptive innovations and continues to be required reading in business schools and entrepreneurship curricula.

About CPA2Biz

CPA2Biz, a subsidiary of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, provides best-in-class marketing and technology services to support accounting professionals throughout the U.S. Its Trusted Business Advisor solutions are web-based tools that enable small- and mid-size accounting firms to build more collaborative and strategic relationships with their business clients or employers. For more information, visit www.cpa2biz.com, the leading e-commerce site for the accounting profession.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
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.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...