The message of the AICPA’s 20th Annual Top Technology Initiatives Survey is clear—CPAs are placing great importance on information security.
Security-related matters dominated the top three spots in the ranking of initiatives affecting IT strategy, investment and implementation. Information security management was voted the most important initiative for the seventh straight year.
Privacy management climbed from fourth last year to second place as state legislation to protect consumer personally identifiable information continued to proliferate in 2008. Increased concern over data protection led survey respondents to cite secure data file storage, transmission, and exchange as the third most important issue for the upcoming year. The appearance marked a debut among the top 10 for the initiative. Identity and access management ranked seventh.
Training and competency rose from no. 13 to six, as managers seek to prepare staff to fully integrate new technologies into their organizations. Mobile and remote computing climbed from ninth on last year’s list to fifth this year.
The survey of AICPA members included 732 respondents working in finance, accounting and technology who ranked 33 technology initiatives they predicted would have the most significant impact on their or their clients’ organizations in the next 12 to 18 months. The survey was conducted between Nov. 11 and Dec. 5.
The top 10 most important technology initiatives for 2009 are as follows:
1. Information Security Management
2. Privacy Management
3. Secure Data File Storage, Transmission and Exchange
4. Business Process Improvement, Workflow, and Process Exceptions Alerts
5. Mobile and Remote Computing
6. Training and Competency
7. Identity and Access Management
8. Improved Application and Data Integration
9. Document, Forms and Content Knowledge Management
10. Electronic Data Retention Strategy
The survey was conducted under the supervision of a task force co-chaired by David M. Cieslak, CPA, CITP, GSEC, former chairman of the AICPA’s Information Technology Executive Committee, and Mary R. MacBain, CPA, CITP. A complete list of definitions and additional information is available at www.aicpa.org/toptech.