HP/CPA Tech Advisor
News and Trends Exclusively for CPAs from Hewlett-Packard

Read this article at HP.com

By Rick Telberg – Special for Hewlett-Packard

(March 01, 2004) – You may be able to squeeze a few months more of life out of your molasses-slow Windows 95 or 98 system or your sputtering single-use printer. But technological change is coming fast and hard, and it’s unstoppable. Are you ready?

To help sort it all out, the 330,000-member American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is listing the most important technologies that accountants and financial managers should be confronting today. Generated by input from hundreds of tech-savvy members, the “top ten” list is designed to pinpoint the items wielding a “powerful influence” over business today. It’s a big year: Seven of the top ten items are brand new to the list, which has been compiled annually for the last 14 years.

“Technology is changing so rapidly we can get lost in all the new developments. The AICPA developed this list of at least 10 of the most important to help accountants know at least what to focus on,” said Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA/CITP, and chair of the AICPA Information Technology Executive Committee.

Accountants today are using every last electron in pursuit of productivity, client contact, and, of course, profits.

In the AICPA ranking, information security took the top spot and for good reason according to Kepczyk. Recently, for instance, under a new California law requiring disclosure of any security breach, all 191 clients of one unlucky California CPA firm received notifications that their personal data may have been compromised when one of the firm’s notebooks had gone missing. Do you know where all your firm’s notebooks are tonight?

The seemingly unstoppable wave of spam came in at number two on the list. It’s estimated that the typical office worker may spend up to 20 or 30 minutes a day just cleaning out his or her inbox.

In third place, the dream of “the paperless office” lives on. In Columbus, Ohio, Joe Rotella at Delphia Consulting, is making headway with implentations in several companies to cut down on the costs and headaches of human-resources administration. Rotella figures some companies can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first 12 months.

Marc Mandelbaum at Docutrend in New York took on a similar challenge for a distributor of multimedia products to schools. The company’s paper-heavy system was so cumbersome they were losing sales orders. Today, customers are happy, and bills are being paid on time. Now, that’s music to any accountant’s ears.

In fourth place this year, companies are seeking to merge a plethora of legacy databases and ad hoc applications into coherent tools for management and growth. At Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain CPAs, in Brentwood, Tenn., for example, marketing director Leisa Gill reports that the implementation of a new customer-relationship management system is having a huge impact on efficiency.

And that’s just a sampling of the top four tech issues this year. Here are the rest:

* Wireless Technologies
* Disaster Recovery
* Data Mining
* Virtual Office
* Business Exchange Technology (i.e.: EDI, XBRL, and the internet)
* Messaging Applications (Instant messaging isn’t just for kids anymore.)

But What Do You Think?
That’s 10 new technologies to keep track of. But in the real world — your world — what are hard-working accountants really concerned about on an everyday basis? Tell us in this survey, and watch for the results in the next edition of the HP/CPA Tech Advisor by Rick Telberg.

Or email me directly with your story from the frontlines and maybe we’ll be able to share another nifty solution with the rest of our readers.

For more information
» HP security services
» HP wireless and mobility solutions
» HP storage services

Rick Telberg is a noted analyst and commentator for the accounting profession. He is a regular contributor to the Journal of Accountancy and the author of the At Large column in the accounting professional Insider e-newsletter. He is also former publisher and editor-in-chief of Accounting Today magazine and group publisher of Accounting Technology and Practical Accountant magazines.

Copyright 2004 Rick Telberg. All rights reserved.