Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Tim Hinds, Pat Romanski, Anders Wallgren, Liz McMillan

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 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

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 ( 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 ( 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
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.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn 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).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...