PracticeAccounting FirmsProfession keen to invest in IT

Profession keen to invest in IT

Accountants want to invest more in IT products and offer more online services to clients, according to the fifth annual Accountancy Age/Sage accountants in practice survey.

Link: Click here to view the results

Nearly half of accountants (42%) are looking to spend between £1,000 and £5,000 in IT in the next year, compared with 36% a year ago.

The survey also found that the Inland Revenue, despite struggling to deal with high profile IT disasters involving tax credits and national insurance, has generated slightly more confidence among accountants for its delivery of electronic services. Just 39% said that they had no confidence in the Revenue’s IT abilities compared with 55% a year ago.

But while the improvement is noted, only 31% are ‘fairly’ or ‘very confident’ – which suggests that the Revenue has still some way to go before everyone is convinced that it has turned a corner.

Further figures showed that offering IT advice generated less than 10% of most accountants’ practice revenue, a figure that has barely altered in the last three surveys.

The importance of offering IT advice to clients has also continued to wane – only 59% of accountants believe it to be important, compared with 69% in the 2002 survey and 83% in 2001. The report suggested that this figure will continue to fall if offering IT advice continues to generate such a small share of accountant’s revenue.

But some accountants see value in reselling accounting software packages to their clients – 27% of respondents found this to be important, compared with 43% who said it was not. In fact the survey found that 39% of accountants do resell software as part of the services they offer clients, as opposed to 28% in 2002.

The use of payroll software has increased to 88% of respondents, from 78% in the last survey. But accounting software stills remains the most popular software for accountants – 92% use it in their practice.

Few accountants use customer relationship management software, according to the survey. Only 16% use CRM, which is designed to help a business to manage its clients.

More than 500 accountants took part in the survey which was carried out on the internet.

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