Accountants more tech savvy than people think

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The accountancy profession is far more-cutting edge than its given credit for, according to a new survey by CCH. While the public still sees accountants as little more than spreadsheet jockeys with an obsession for specialist software packages, the truth is the profession is embracing a whole host of new technologies according to its members.

Only a quarter (28%) of the general public perceived accountancy as a dynamic profession where new technologies are embraced compared to half (53%) of all accountants. For example, three quarters (74%) of accountants are happy to use an iPod, and 58% are comfortable on social networking sites compared to the publics perception of only 59% and 44% respectively. According to the research accountants are 50% more likely to have a Facebook page than the g...

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Don't have time for facebook
Too busy posting on here!

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And another one
Those figures were presented by Wolters Kluwer UK CEO Catherine Wolfe at the 2020 conference.

One surprising statistic is that 37% of UK firms have not introduced online filing. I suspect that came from a different survey, given the apparent tech saviness of the group of 300, but still an astonishingly high figure.

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Tech savvy accountants? Seems like it
Mark Lee is right to scrutinise the methodology of this survey. As the person responsible for commissioning it at CCH, I have to admit that we too were surprised by some of the findings.

To be sure that we had an authentic survey on our hands we commissioned leading pollster ICM to conduct it, using a combination of omnibus research and, for the accountants, its panel of respondents who we have to believe are a reliable bunch. The way the questions were couched was in accordance with good research practice. For example, and in answer to Mark’s question, respondents received a prompt on what ‘social networking’ means (“Facebook, LinkedIn, etc”) if it was necessary during the interview.

We thought the results would have been rather the opposite of what emerged, based not just on our own popular perceptions but our proximity to the wisdom of people working in the profession, like Mark. However, a telling statistic that perhaps answers the question about the real usage of Facebook by accountants is the number of Facebook friends they typically have. The result was somewhat greater than the average member of the public that ICM polled for us – 74% of our sampled accountants have more than 50 ‘friends’ compared to 44% of our sampled consumers.

Incidentally, another (unpublicised) surprise was the low membership rate of LinkedIn among our sample of accountants. Perhaps some way still to go there.

I’m pleased that our research is generating practical debate about - and within - the profession, and the ways in which technology could help shape its future.

David Wells
Wolters Kluwer UK

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Great news about Facebook
Great to hear that having a Facebook account makes me tech savvy. I thought it was just another sign that I was sad and socially inept.

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