Time’s up for older software

Accountancy firms are being forced to upgrade their IT systems due to Microsoft withdrawing its support for a number of products, according to hardhitting research.

According to accounting solutions provider CCH, and despite the hype surrounding new product announcements, the industry is slow to upgrade its systems, especially to Windows XP.

Only 9% of respondents intend to implement Office XP, with 16% planning a move to Windows 2000 Workstation, and 13% moving to Windows 2000 servers over the next 12 months.

CCH conducted the research among 483 UK accountants in order to gauge what IT packages accountancy firms are currently using and their plans to upgrade their systems, particularly following the launch of Windows XP.

It discovered 61% of respondents have users running Windows 95, 69% have users running Windows 98, and only 21% of interviewees had users on Windows 2000.

This research suggests implementation dilemmas for firms as Microsoft has withdrawn its support for Windows 95, and has announced it will discontinue support for Windows 98 by 2003.

Ray Sieber, managing director of CCH, said: ‘It is widely predicted that Windows XP will dominate the marketplace, but for the accounting industry this has not been the case so far.

‘By withdrawing support for such popular products, Microsoft is attempting to leave accountants with no choice but to upgrade their systems, but they appear to be fighting back. I think people are becoming fed up with the relentless upgrade path and the cost, inconvenience, disruption and risk it brings with it,’ he added.

Accountancy firms will also be affected when Microsoft withdraws support for NT4.0. Some 42% of accountancy firms currently use NT4.0, making it the clear leader. Only 10% of respondents use Windows 2000, 11% Novell Netware 4.0 and 6% Novell Netware both 5.0 and 5.1.

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