The Effects of Technology on the Accounting Profession ACC 340 The Effects of Technology on the Accounting Profession The adage, “Time is money” has never been more true at any point in history than it is today. For the certified public accountant (CPA), the adage holds even more significance as the more time a CPA has to spend in a project, the less valuable that project becomes. It also means less time to devote to the next project. Technology has aided the CPA in numerous ways in recent years. From accounting software to devices with accounting applications, CPAs have a variety of new technology to help save time and money.
In this paper, I will explore some of the technologies available to CPAs. Accounting technology is not new, and has been a part of calculating and tracking numbers throughout time. From Leonardo da Vinci who designed a device he labeled the “Codex Madrid” number machine to Blaise Pascal who invented the first early calculator to William Burroughs who created the first adding machine, those who specialized in numbers have sought ways of making the tasks of their profession or hobby much simpler. As time passed, more creations emerged to help accountants perform their expertise more accurately and faster.
The first computer was built midway through the twentieth century. For the nearly 50 years that followed, huge computers designed to perform the simple task of calculating mathematical equations were eventually scaled down to fit on top of desks in consumers’ homes and offices. The world of accounting went from manually inputting data into a ledger to using electronic spreadsheets that eliminated the need for ledgers, calculators, pencils, and adding machines. Out with the hardcopy and in with the software.
Many years ago California-based Intuit launched a brand of accounting software called QuickBooks patterned after its popular personal accounting brand Quicken (Loter, 2009). From its launch the software has been very popular with business owners who had little to no formal accounting knowledge. Today there are many software titles providing accounting software for small, medium, and larger businesses. Some newer titles include Sage ‘Simply Accounting’ Software, Peachtree Complete Accounting Software, AccountEdge Accounting Software for Windows and Mac to name but a few.
Accounting software has helped CPAs save time and money by allowing accountants to quickly and easily input data onto a spreadsheet, then import or export information within or even between networks. This eliminates the time-consuming method of handwriting information on paper, then physically transporting the finalized document(s) to be batched with similar document(s) from (an) other department(s). Accounting software has not been the only technological advancements for the accounting field. Mobile devices are available that allow accountants and business owners to input and retrieve data while on the go.
Of course, it is the software applications that causes the information ball to begin rolling, but it is such devices as an iPhone or iPad, a Blackberry device, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or an Android smartphone that allow accountants access to information that could accelerate calculations or computations while visiting clients or whenever the person needing information is away from his or her office. A major benefit for the CPA using a device listed above is an application called TimeWerks that allows a CPA to track, invoice, and e-mail billable time through a built-in stopwatch called Task Timer.
The application costs $9. 99 to download. High-powered business calculators called 10BIICalc can be downloaded onto an iPhone for $5. 99, and provides access to stocks, bonds, depreciation, and conversions. A store-bought similar device could cost between $30 and $100. The netbook or mini-notebook PC is another new device o which CPAs are drawn. The DisplaySearch Q3 ’09 Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report found the mini-note PC-or netbook-market grew 40% quarter over quarter and experienced nearly twice the 22% growth rate of larger notebooks (DisplySearch. com, 2011).
There is no doubt that accountants, business owners, or even the consumer who enjoys tracking his or her spending from his or her home computer appreciate that doing mathematical equations (accounting) no longer requires an abacus or clay tokens. With the advent and evolution of computers and their related software, accountants were better able to track information in real-time and completely eliminated most mistakes. This and the creation of portable devices such as iPhone/iPad has resulted in greater efficiency, accessibility, and accountability, and has altered the way accounting is performed, procured, and secured.
Accounting technology will continue to evolve, and tracking money will become even easier. References DisplaySearch. com. (2011). Mini-Note PC (Netbook) Shipments Grow at Twice the Rate of Notebook PCs in Q2’09. Retrieved May 16, 2011, from http://www. displaysearch. com/cps/rde/xchg/displaysearch/hs. xsl/090831_mini_note_pc_netbook_shipments_grow_at_twice_rate_notebook_pcs_q2_09. asp Loter, D. (2009). History of QuickBooks. Retrieved May 16, 2011, from http://business. intuit. com/directory/article-history-of-quickbooks