A new survey from K2E Canada suggests small business accountants understand that technological disruption is a major challenge, yet few are addressing the issue.
Reports in Canadian Accountant on Tuesday (July 31) said that K2E Canada's report, "Accounting Operations and Technology Survey," revealed more than a quarter of accountants cite understanding and knowledge of new technology as one of their top three industry challenges. Specifically, workflow management is the area in which technology may be most disruptive for the profession in the coming years.
While accountants view addressing workflow inefficiencies as the most effective strategy to control costs, 43 percent of survey respondents still are not using workflow management software.
"With workflow and major efficiencies a major concern for people, it is surprising that over 43 percent do not have a workflow solution in place and that only 11.5 percent are considering a workflow solution," the report stated.
Updates to existing systems are relatively rare, too. The survey found that only 33 percent of sole practitioners and 26 percent of small accounting firms have updated their tax software in the last five years. Researchers noted that the tax software industry has addressed much of the friction that accountants may be concerned about, including issues with migrating client data onto the system and integrating the software with existing infrastructure.
According to K2E researchers, only 12 percent of sole practitioners surveyed said they were "very likely" to embrace cloud-based accounting applications, despite continued enthusiasm for cloud technology in the industry. For accounting firms with 11 partners or more, consideration for SaaS rises to 33 percent, yet none of the survey respondents have a cloud-based solution in place, researchers noted.
Only 29 percent of accountants said their technology and training budgets are more than 3 percent of annual revenue; nearly a quarter said they have no technology and training budget at all. As accountants struggle to brace for technological disruption, training "appears to be a low priority" for the industry, reports noted.