Tech+ has attendees cloud-gazing
AICPA tech conference highlights the growing importance of cloud computing
Cloud computing may not yet be the best
solution for every accounting firm, but it was
clear from many of the sessions at the recent
AICPA Tech+ Information Technology Conference, held here, that practitioners need to
be aware of how the medium can, and will,
change the way they do business.
With the institute co-locating its technology confab with its annual Practitioners
Symposium this year, there was no lack of
information on how the more than 800 attendees should be thinking about running
their business and what tools and strategies
they’ll need to consider in moving forward.
The one theme among the technology-fo-cused sessions that emerged loud and clear
was that the profession needed to look no
further than the cloud to see where technology is headed.
In a keynote that focused on an update of
professional issues, 2009-2010 AICPA chairman Robert Harris reiterated the need for accountants to be considering cloud-based solutions for their practices and their clients.
“I am seeing a significant growth in Web-based services in the market; in fact, 95 percent of organizations will increase their use of
cloud-based services,” said Harris, a principal
at Harris, Cotherman, Jones, Price & Associates CPAs, in Vero Beach, Fla.
Harris recognized that the combined conference —which occurred for the first time
this year — offered attendees a lot of information on how they can grow their business and
serve their clients, ultimately urging them to
be proactive about their practice initiatives.
“You don’t have to go out and create the
next wheel; just take home one or two new
ideas that you can use to help your firm and
your clients and you will be successful,” said
Harris. “Think about the bottom line of the
services you offer; in most cases, anyone can
replace that. What you need to do is put the
services that you want to offer clients in a for-
mat that is more effective for them. Don’t wait
for them to come to you.”
The rising importance of cloud-based tech-
nologies to the accounting community has
also been showcased via CPA2Biz, the mar-
keting portal for the AICPA’s products and
services, and more specifically in CPA2Biz’s
Trusted Business Advisor Solutions program,
which currently lists six technology partners,
BY SETH FINEBERG / LAS VEGAS
Washington News Bureau:
all of whom feature SaaS offerings.
The most recent CPA2Biz partner was
announced during the conference, as Web-based audit confirmation services provider
Capital Confirmation was added to the growing list of program members, which also includes Bill.com, Copanion, Intacct, Paychex
and XCM Solutions.
Also during the confab, project-focused
ERP software maker Deltek Inc. made an
offer to acquire Denmark-based enterprise
soft ware concern Maconomy, a purchase that
would effectively give Deltek an additional
600 customers in 60 countries — particularly
advertising, public relations and consulting
companies, and accounting firms.
Of the 35 technology-centric information
tracks during the conference, over a dozen
focused specifically on cloud and SaaS-based
products, initiatives and issues.
One of the more well-attended sessions
focused on the total cost of ownership of
SaaS products and services. Hosted by CPA
and tech consultant Geni Whitehouse, the
session, titled “Calculating the True Cost
of Ownership in a SaaS World: Is It Really
Cheaper?” made the case that although SaaS
accounting offers great promise, the reality is
that no SaaS solutions currently live up to that
promise, and that a great deal of scrutiny is
called for before switching to the cloud.
“The fact is that it is hard to make account-
ing software as we know it work in the cloud;
you just can’t reconfigure an on-premise ac-
counting solution and call it SaaS, and right
now no solution is 100 percent SaaS for what
CPAs need,” said Whitehouse. “The guys that
are making it work to any degree are native to
the cloud, but there are still costs and other
promises that need a closer look before you
She stressed that there are good cloud-
based solutions that accountants can use,
but they require close examination before
selecting and “buying into the promise.”
“I think it will take us a while as a profes-
sion to get over our data being somewhere
else, but we have made great strides and at
the end of the day, if you are going to change
anything you do, it has to be a good time
for you to do it, not just because there are so-
lutions out there for you to use,” said White-
Published by SourceMedia Inc.,
One State St. Plaza, 27th Fl.,
New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 803-8200/Fax: (646) 264-6828
E-mail: Ac Today@sourcemedia.com;
staff are firstname.lastname@example.org.
(unless otherwise indicated in parentheses).
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Bill Carlino
Managing Editor Daniel Hood
Senior Editors Liz Gold, Roger Russell
Technology Editor Seth Fineberg
Ex. Director, Creative Services Sharon Pollack
Associate Art Director Wen-Wyst Jeanmary
Contributing Editors Ted Needleman;
5025 Durham Road,
Correspondent Ken Rankin
Editor-in-Chief,WebCPA Michael Cohn
Exec. Director of Mfg. Stacy Ferrara
Distribution Manager Michael Candemeres
Group Marketing Dir. Ed Hanasik
ADVERTISING AND BUSINESS SERVICES
VP and Group Publisher Robert Whitaker
Associate Publisher Gary DeHart
Advertising Director Jack Lynch
Marketing Manager Susan Zeqiri
Assoc. Production Manager Ricardo Rivera
To subscribe: $109 per year. Group discounts are available.
Call (800) 221-1809.
Customer service: Call (800) 221-1809
or e-mail email@example.com.
Free conference copies:
To arrange for shipment four weeks prior to meeting date,
call (212) 803-8810.
REPRINTS AND LIBRARY SERVICES
Material in Accounting Today may not be reproduced
without express written permission.
Article reprints: Godfrey R. Livermore,
Director of Reprints & Alternative Media Sales
Tel: (888) 909-6366 Fax: (212) 803-1577
VP Business Development
Advertising Sales Coordinator
EVP & Managing Director,
Banking and Capital Markets
EVP & Managing Director,;Bruce Morris
Professional Services & Technology
EVP & Chief Content Officer David Longobardi
SVP, Inside Sales & Tech Adam Reinebach
SVP,;Director of;Celie Baussan
Operations & Technology
Director of Human Resources
Douglas J. Manoni