Top 30 firms create IT directors forum

Jim Greenfield, PKF

Greenfield: collective learning

IT directors from the top 30 accountancy firms have banded together to form
the Accounting IT Directors Forum to improve information sharing.

Spearheaded by Jim Greenfield, national IT director for PKF, the forum will
let IT directors meet face to face to discuss technology topics affecting the
accountancy profession.

The forum is born of IT directors’ frustration with the lack of knowledge
sharing in the industry.

‘The legal sector, which has been doing this for some time, has made strides.
We are evaluating independently and repeating each other’s mistakes,’ said

After discussing the idea with peers, Greenfield set up the independent
forum, whose first meeting was attended by IT directors from Baker Tilly, Tenon
and Grant Thornton, among others.

‘They [legal industry] get together and swap ideas, but there hasn’t been any
forum of that nature for the larger accountancy firms for a number of years.’

‘The objective is to learn from our collective experiences of what we have
been doing independently,’ Greenfield said. ‘Together we can save time and money
by collaborating on that information.’

The forum is currently only open to IT professionals, although there is scope
for inviting suppliers to attend. They will have to be recommended, but could
then attend discussions on a particular topic.

Subjects to be discussed at future forums include IT security in the
accountancy industry.

‘Security is a very big subject,’ said Greenfield. ‘If all the firms had good
security, it would benefit us all. If one firm had weak security, that could
affect us too.’

Although the May meeting was attended by the top 30 firms and the next
meeting in July has attracted interest among the top 50, the Big Four firms have
been notable only by their absence.

‘The problem with the Big Four is identifying the right people in the right
department to attend,’ he said.

All senior partners, IT directors and managers of accounting practices are
welcome to attend sessions of the forum, which is setting up a website to
publicise its activities.

For more information, contact

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