CPAFMA has authored the longest-running paperless benchmark survey focused exclusively on the accounting profession (since 2003) with the intention of providing firm administrative managers actionable information to improve their firms.  This year, four *NEW* Administrative questions were added to the 2017 Paperless Benchmark Survey to identify emerging trends impacting our own CPA firm back office operations.  These questions focused on the applications firms were using for recruiting, evaluations, CPE tracking and storing of CPE certificates.  Below we summarize those items which may provide a solution to one of the administrative issues you are facing today!

Digital Tool for Recruiting

Only one out of seven firms (14% of survey respondents) were managing their recruiting with a dedicated application/service so we would place this technology in the “emerging” category.  BambooHR (3%) and JazzHR (2%) were the top two selections of peer firms followed by individual firms selecting UltiPro, Ascentis, Halogen, Mangrove, ADP, Bullhorn, Silkroad, MyStaffingPro, and Exacthire.  As human resources is a trending issue in most of our firms, look for these applications to be discussed more in the future.

Digital Tool to Manage Employee Evaluations

One fifth of responding firms (21%) were using a dedicated evaluation tool.  The top three firm selections were: Performance Pro (4%), Halogen (3%) and Bamboo (2%).  While another 2% of firms had developed their own products, there were a significant number of firms using tools integrated by their payroll provider (i.e ADP, UltiPro, Paychex, Paycor, etc.) which we anticipate will be the fastest growing solutions in the future.

CPE Compliance

61% of respondents tracked their CPE records digitally with 25% stating they did so within their Practice Management application and 7% utilizing Excel internally.  However, the remainder of firms were using web-based applications with Thomson Learning (formerly Reqwired/LearnLive) garnering 13%, Micron CPE Manager 4% and both CPELink and AICPA LMS getting 2% adoption).  With more applications being run in the cloud, we expect the latter products to become even more prevalent in future years.

CPE Certificate Archival

The 2017 survey found that almost half of the firms (47%) were storing their CPE certificates digitally.  While 10% utilized Thomson Learning and 3% Micron CE Manager, the bulk of the firms that were keeping CPE Certificates were storing PDF images on the network (probably to support their internal Practice Management and Excel spreadsheets).

Each of these questions were exploratory in this year’s survey and while CPE Compliance and Archival are on their way to becoming standardized products, we see the HR products having to evolve some before the best long-term solutions become apparent.  To learn more about the results of the 2017 survey and solutions selected by peer firms, the CPAFMA website has a recorded webinar to get you up to speed in under an hour!

This article was originally published on The CPA Firm Management Association’s blog and has been modified for the audience of this blog.  Copying or distribution without the publisher’s permission is prohibited.

Roman Kepczyk
Roman Kepczyk offers over 25 years of CPA firm experienceRead more...



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