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5 Technologies Transforming CPA Practices

Shutterstock_150531497One message keeps coming up at the AICPA ENGAGE Conference: technology is changing the profession, and CPAs have countless opportunities to incorporate it into their practice. Across conference sessions, conversations keep coming back to the ways practitioners can benefit from deploying to the cloud, embracing social media, providing cybersecurity-related services, using mobile devices and understanding big data. Here’s how: 

1) The Cloud 

In a recent Facebook Live session, conference presenter Jim Bourke discussed the many ways the cloud can improve a CPA’s practice. It allows staff from around the country to work together to serve clients. It houses data without the burden of purchasing dedicated servers and the infrastructure and personnel to maintain them. It gives CPAs access to client information anytime and anywhere. And it keeps that information secure. “Data is more secure on the cloud than it is sitting in your own office,” Bourke said. 

2) Social Media 

By embracing social media, CPAs can build client relationships, market their services, and position themselves as thought leaders. CPAs can also use social media to stay current on news and events, and to research people—from clients to new hires—and companies, both clients and vendors. The AICPA has developed several tools to help practitioners develop and evolve their social media strategy. 

3) Cybersecurity 

With new technologies come new threats, including those related to cybersecurity. However, even this provides CPAs with an opportunity to serve their clients and the public. In April, the AICPA introduced its new cybersecurity risk management reporting framework, which allows organizations to communicate about – and CPAs to report on – cybersecurity risk management efforts. 

 4) Mobile 

While mobile devices certainly make CPAs more accessible to their clients, the opportunities extend far beyond just emails and text messages. New apps allow firms to do business anywhere. For example, the Microsoft Flow app automates processes and tasks, while the Power BI app allows CPAs to access business data on their mobile device. Other apps scan and store documents, auto-populate data, and offer access points for encrypted information. 

 5) Big Data  

Data analytics enables CPAs to test 100 percent of transactions, and to more easily detect and analyze trends, anomalies and risks. This can improve the effectiveness of an audit and bring additional insights to stakeholders. Robust data analytics also means that CPA firms can apply similar analysis routines to different data sets without having to redevelop the analysis every time. 

For more information on technology trends transforming the profession, check out the AICPA’s Facebook Live sessions from ENGAGE.  

Lindsay N. Patterson, CAE, Senior Manager-Communications and Public Relations, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

 Technology courtesy of Shutterstock.

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