Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac, Pat Romanski, David Bermingham

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
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide 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 ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...