CPA's and accounting professionals are often early adopters of new technologies. Because the industry requires such vast amounts of complex data entry and processing, the tech industry has always been a natural fit. But, going beyond the brute computational strength of computers, CPA's are using technology to market themselves and engage their clients in new and exciting ways.

Just take a look at popular social media venues like Facebook and Twitter and you'll discover thriving communities of CPA's and accounting firms interacting online and extending their capabilities beyond the borders of the office. Social media is just one example of how CPA's are using technology to change their industry today. Let's take a brief look at three exciting technologies that will change the way CPA's do business in the years to come.

SmartPhones:
As computing technology continues its inexorable march toward microscopic sizes, the user enjoys greater freedom and mobility. In fact, newer SmartPhones and Blackberry devices are more powerful and connected than desktops or laptops were just a decade ago. With USB interactivity, high capacity SD cards and other increasingly universal media, tomorrow's CPA will accomplish far more while enjoying a more active, and engaged relationship with clients, the community, and life in general.

Cloud Computing:
The advancement of SmartPhones is only assisted by the simultaneous development and increasing popularization of Cloud Computing. One company, Intacct Corporation, has recently teamed with the AICPA's CPA2Biz subsidiary in an effort to bring cloud computing services to firms. By eliminating the need for individual machines to store and process data or applications, cloud computing promises secure access to business or personal data from any broadband connected computer in the world. When combined with adoption of IFRS, the globalization and mobilization of the professional accountant is fast becoming a reality.

XBRL:
XBRL, or eXtensible Business Reporting Language, uses an organized system of element tags to represent financial reporting concepts or functions. The user can call up these concepts or functions using readable labels in a variety of real world human languages. As the user compiles a digital financial report, the repetition of concepts, formulae or functions can thus be handled intelligently by the computer. This will improve the accuracy, automation and speed of reporting financial data. The industry-wide application of XBRL is considered a key step in the eventual shift to IFRS, and has already been mandated by the SEC. Learn it now, and get a head start on your competition!

CPA's have embraced technology since the first computer crunched the first number. It's a natural fit. But, as sofware, computing, and electronics continue to advance, it can be difficult for CPA's to keep up stay ready to to take advantage of their benefits. Here are a few resources that will help you stay on top of the technology game.

CPA Trendlines

WebCPA

Accounting Tomorrow Blog

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