Top Tech Priority is Improved Client Service

Accounting firms making investments in technology are doing so to improve client services rather than improve internal processes, a new survey says.

A survey of 400 U.S. accountants by software provider CCH found that 64% of firms making technology investments said improved client service was their top priority in supporting a mobile workforce and social media, the Journal of Accountancy reported. Cloud technologies are credited with improving collaboration with clients.

“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,” Kevin Robert, CEO of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, said at the CCH Connections User Conference in San Diego Nov. 5. “In the past, firms focused on the improvements that technology could drive within the firm. That has 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.”

The findings include:

  • 87% of the accountants surveyed said that their firms could be doing more to leverage technology, but fewer than 15% said they were very confident in the ability of their firms to understand and manage emerging technologies.
  • 4% of small firms (fewer than 10 employees) have written plan for emerging technologies compared with 35% of midsize firms (10-49 employees) and 46% of large firms (50 or more employees).
  • 85% of accountants at large firms reported using a smartphone, a tablet, or both, compared with 71% at midsize firms and 50% at small firms.
  • 90% of large firms either already have implemented or will implement social media and smartphones within three years.

The full report is available at CCHGroup.com/TechnologySurvey.