How Technology Will Change Your Business This Year

Filed under: The Advisor's Blog

In recent years, we’ve seen a massive transformation in the CPA world due to emerging technologies. That trend is set to continue through 2014. The advancement of technology offers CPAs new ways to work efficiently, productively, and sometimes remotely. But the ease and flexibility offered by technology comes at a price: additional responsibility. The following are some of the most important advancements impacting CPAs today, along with the challenges they present to security and client confidentiality.

Cloud Computing. Storing data on a cloud allows you to access this information using any device, from anywhere in the world. You can share files with coworkers and clients, making communication faster and more efficient than ever before. Much of the new accounting software emerging in coming years will utilize the cloud, and it will change the way firms do business both internally and in relationship with clients.cog wheels

Mobile technology. It seems almost everyone has a smart phone or tablet these days, and the business world is catching onto the trend. When the technology is used correctly, employee productivity increases due to the renewed flexibility and efficiency of mobile devices and applications. Those who haven’t familiarized themselves with this technology need to catch up if they want to remain competitive. Handheld devices will become increasingly important in the business world, and are set to become the backbone of communication with both clients and coworkers.

Your website. Building and maintaining a website is hardly a new idea for businesses, but continues to increase in importance. In the past, a website may have been viewed as somewhat of an online brochure, or just another way to advertise your services. We’re now moving beyond the idea of websites as glorified Yellow Page ads, with internet communication leading the way in building client relationships. What this means for CPAs is that your website should contain engaging content such as blogs and videos, which can be shared across social media. More and more, your website will become the digital face of your practice. Update it often in order to stay relevant and competitive.

Security. Along with privilege comes responsibility, and this rule certainly applies to technology in the business world. While cloud computing and mobile technology each offer distinct advantages, they also bring the potential for security breaches. A breach involving sensitive client data carries the potential to ruin reputations and would cost significant amounts of money to repair the damage. Much as you wouldn’t hand over the keys to a company car without properly insuring it, firms should consult with data security experts on network security and proper encryption of files.

Additionally, with Microsoft no longer providing security patches for Windows XP, using the old operating system could lead to a significant security problem. All office computers should be updated to Windows 7 or 8, along with any personal computers employees may use to access work files from home.

Proper Training. Technology is only as good as its users; therefore it would be costly and unproductive to adopt new modes of working without properly training employees. Workers should be offered training courses on mobile devices, cloud computing, and any new software installed on office computers. Training should also emphasize the importance of securing all mobile devices with passwords, as well as physically securing them during travel. A compromised or lost device equals a security threat for any data which can be accessed by that device.





Investment Advisory Services offered through John P. Dubots Capital Management, LLC, CA License # 0822926