Monday, October 26, 2009

When will Accounting Technology catch up?



The Great Recession will greatly affect accounting technology over the next 4-5 years. With retirement portfolios taking big hits near retirement baby boomers have decided to hang on. Many in this demographic (I say many, not all) are late adopters of technology. As such it means that the move to newer technologies in most industries will slow down a little bit. Just two years ago, the stage was being set for a younger generation to start pushing new exciting technology very rapidly but that is going to slow down quite a bit. At the top of the page the Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Bell Curve gives us a great look at our different users in the accounting world. So who's using what in today's accounting tech world?

Innovators - The top 2.5 percent are our Cloud Computing and SaaS enthusiasts. They're probably using VOIP phones and texting their friends. If they're using Quickbooks they're already buying from the Intuit Marketplace. They have a website and they use it, the probably even know a little HTML. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Puh..lease! They've been dialed in for a long time. Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are already old hat.

The early adopters - In the same vein as the innovators but they're waiting for the bugs to get worked out. They're waiting on Windows 7 and some may still use Windows XP. They may have some information on the Cloud but they're more than likely doing it for cost savings and ease of use. They like being cutting edge but not to the point that systems fail. They're using Twitter and definitely have a website. They also have already updated to Quickbooks 2010. They're not as likely to be using VOIP phones as they're not entirely sure of the advantage but some do have them.

The early majority - They're using Quickbooks though probably just 2009. They have websites but aren't entirely dialed in to social media just yet. They're running Windows XP and as far as life goes there are no new big technology changes coming down the pike. They've heard of the Cloud but it looks dark and stormy to them. They may have social media accounts but it's mostly because some young college graduate insisted that they start one. Their first tweet was "trying to figure out how this works".

The late majority - Depending on the business there's a possibility they don't even have a website. Generally rely on word of mouth and the belief that they don't need to really advertise if they have a great product. They're using Windows XP and have software that's at least 2-3 years old and believe "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it".

The laggards - Our favorite pen and paper or even DOS users. Insisting that "it works for me!". Come on, everybody knows one. They're the AMC Pacer of software users. The late majority include a number of accounting professionals who due to the economic downturn will still be working for the next few years rather than opting for retirement.

So what does this mean overall for accounting technology? It means that things have slowed and will be that way for another few years. Don't expect the Cloud to take over anytime.

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