North American accounting professionals cite data oversight as top technology-related priority

TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Managing and retaining data is the top technology-related priority of Canadian and U.S. accounting professionals, according to a joint survey conducted by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

The survey asked respondents to prioritize their top technology initiatives (TTI) for this year.

"Many organizations are facing increased risks associated with data management because of an explosive growth in volume and the complexity of information being handled," says Frank Colantonio, director of continuing education with CPA Canada. "However, in this era of big data, effective management will ultimately lead to better business decisions and service for clients."

While data oversight was the top priority among respondents, it was closely followed by securing the IT environment in both Canada and the United States.

"The good news is that the majority of accounting professionals surveyed in both countries feel comfortable in handling what they see as their two top priorities for 2013," says Jeannette Koger, director of member specialization and credentialing for the AICPA. "As we go down the list, we see concerns about dealing with emerging technologies such as mobile devices and the cloud, managing IT spending and preventing computer fraud. These are issues that all businesses in North America are struggling to confront, to some degree."

The 2013 North American TTI survey marked the first time it was jointly conducted by CPA Canada and the AICPA.

"The research allows us to take the pulse of Canadian accounting professionals on issues relating to technology," explains Colantonio. "The joint effort enables valuable comparisons to be made with their counterparts to the south."

Ranking of Top Technology Initiatives by Country (with Confidence Level for Meeting Goal ─ Percentage of survey takers who identified themselves as "confident" or "highly confident" that their organization is adequately addressing the category)

  Canada United States
1.      Managing and Retaining Data (57 per cent) Managing and Retaining Data (55 per cent)
2.      Securing the IT Environment (56 per cent) Securing the IT Environment (51 per cent)
3.      Enabling Decision Support and Analytics (33 per cent) Managing IT Risks and Compliance (47 per cent)
4.      Managing IT Risks and Compliance (57 per cent) Ensuring Privacy (45 per cent)
5.      Governing and Managing IT Investment and Spending (38 per cent) Managing System Implementation (44 per cent)
6.      Ensuring Privacy (53 per cent) Preventing and Responding to Computer Fraud (44 per cent)
7.      Managing System Implementation (47 per cent) Enabling Decision Support and Analytics (37 per cent)
8.      Leveraging Emerging Technologies (22 per cent) Governing and Managing IT Investment and Spending (38 per cent)
9.      Preventing and Responding to Computer Fraud (47 per cent) Leveraging Emerging Technologies (27 per cent)
10.      Managing Vendors and Service Providers (42 per cent) Managing Vendors and Service Providers (47 per cent)

Additional information is available on-line at and at

Survey Methodology
The 2013 North American Top Technology Initiatives Survey was conducted electronically among AICPA members from February 11 to March 6, with 1,670 responses received. Some 36 per cent of U.S. survey participants work in public accounting, 36 per cent are in business and industry positions, and 28 per cent work in consulting, government or not-for-profit organizations.

An identical survey was conducted among Canadian CPAs and chartered accountants from February 14 to March 5, with 219 responses received. The breakdown by sector is business and industry (40 per cent), public accounting (25 per cent), government and military (15 per cent), consulting and law (10 per cent) and non-profit (10 per cent).

The margin of error for the AICPA portion of the survey is +/- 2.4 percentage points. For the CPA Canada portion, it is +/- 6.6 percentage points.

About CPA Canada
CPA Canada is the national organization representing the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) profession in Canada. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) created the organization on January 1, 2013, to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the CPA banner. CPA Canada is responsible for providing services to CAs and CMAs on behalf of CICA and CMA Canada as well as to CPAs and CGAs participating in the unification effort. CPAs will serve the public interest across all sectors of the economy with integrity, sound ethical practices, disciplined regulation and proven strategic management and financial expertise. Accounting bodies representing almost 90 per cent of Canada's professional accountants are committed to unification or have already merged under the CPA banner.

About the AICPA
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the world's largest member association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 386,000 members in 128 countries and a 125-year heritage of serving the public interest.  AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.

The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; fraud and forensics; business valuation; and information technology. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation to elevate management accounting globally.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at



For further information:

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Tobin Lambie, Principal, Media
CPA Canada
(416) 204-3228

Jeff May
(212) 596-6122


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