Mobile Devices Top CPAs' Tech Survey Rankings

CPAs and financial executives for the first time rated t he proliferation of smartphones, tablet computers and mobile devices in the workplace as their top business technology concern, according to the AICPA’s 2011 Top Technology Initiatives Survey .


Mobile devices edged out information security, which had topped the list of tech concerns several years in a row.


The survey data is intended provide feedback regarding the technology issues that are of greatest importance over the next year to 18 months as well as emerging technologies on the horizon.


The findings were based on responses from nearly 1,400 CPAs nationwide specializing in information technology. The initiatives included in the survey are intended to represent the CPA’s unique perspective regarding what they believe will impact financial management and the fulfillment of other fiduciary responsibilities such as safeguarding of business assets, oversight of business performance, and compliance with regulatory requirements.  


The following is a list of the 2011 top technology initiatives in order:


  • Control and Use of Mobile Devices
  • Information Security
  • Data Retention Policies and Structure
  • Remote Access
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Process Documentation and Improvements
  • Saving and Making Money With Technology
  • Technology Cost Controls
  • Budget Processes
  • Project Management & Deployment of New Technology


While mobile devices topped overall survey rankings for the CPA profession, CPAs in public practice worry about data retention while CPAs in business and industry consider information security as a key concern. The ranking of the technologies varied greatly for CPAs in both groups, and the overall list above is based on combined rankings.


For CPAs in business and industry, the top five technology initiatives were:


  • Information Security
  • Control and Use of Mobile Devices
  • Data Retention Policies and Structure
  • Budget Processes
  • Remote Access


For CPAs in public practice, the top five technology initiatives were:


  • Data Retention Policies and Structure
  • Remote Access
  • Control and Use of Mobile Devices
  • Information Security
  • Staff and Management Training


Additionally, this year’s survey asked CPAs to identify the top technology questions asked by audit committees, CFOs and chief information officers. The top five most likely questions were: 


  • Is our information security policy adequate?
  • Are we ensuring that our data and technology resources are protected against hacking, viruses or other compromises?
  • Are our current internal controls and IT governance policies and procedures effective?
  • How can we best implement document retention and e-discovery policies?
  • Can our data remain safe if we utilize cloud computing/software as a service (SaaS) services?


For the first time, CPAs were asked to predict in the survey the technologies they foresee rising in importance.


The top emerging technologies were:


  • Touch-screen technology
  • Implementation of voice recognition
  • Deployment of faster 100GB LAN networks
  • High-performance supercomputing
  • Digital signage and displays
  • Introduction of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)


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