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How CPAs use software.

The speed with which computer software is being developed is mind-boggling. While white-hot competition is the key reason so many new and improved programs are being introduced, two other reasons contribute to the accelerated pace: the rapid acceptance of Windows, which requires new coding formats, and the decreasing cost of memory, which spurs publishers to develop programs that take advantage of the extra memory.

In a survey of members of the American Institute of CPAs in public practice and in industry, it's clear that accountants are turning to these more powerful programs that are coming on the market. The survey results follow:

Tax software. As is evident from exhibit 5, on page 42, the choice of tax software depends heavily on the size of the CPA firm and the company. The leaders are Lacerte, ProSystem fx, Fast-Tax, TurboTax, Arthur Andersen and 1040 Solutions.

Time and billing software. Timeslips holds the lion's share of this business among small and medium-sized firms. In large firms, Practice Management holds the lead. And among national and international firms, customized products hold sway.

Audit software. Of the brand products, Accountant's Trial Balance, Audit Program Generator and Fast have most of this market. However, among national and international firms, customized products lead.

Spreadsheets. Lotus 1-2-3 is still the leader in the spreadsheet market, but its share is eroding. Excel and Quattro Pro are gaining in almost all accounting offices.

Word processing. WordPerfect is the leading word processor among public and industry accountants. Depending on the size of the office, between 55% and 82% use it. However, Microsoft Word, a Windows product with many more features, is beginning to cut into WordPerfect's share, especially among large CPA firms, where 37% use it, and among CPAs who work for companies that are medium-sized (22%) and very large (18%).

Databases. Among public firms, the old standby, dBASE still controls the database market (holding as much as 58% in one category), but the relatively new Paradox is gaining quickly. Among industry accountants, the trend is similar: DBASE is used by more than half of CPAs, with Paradox now holding about a fifth of the market.

Database services. Remotely accessed databases or information services are used in only 30% of all CPA firms. The most widely used database or information service is LEXIS, to which 16% of all CPA firms subscribe. In industry, about 35% of CPAs use outside database or information services. The most widely used are CompuServe and Dow Jones; about 10% of the CPAs subscribed to each. When asked why a business does not use an external database or information service, most accountants answered they had no need for them; others said they were too expensive.

Only 25% of the responding CPAs say they are interested in communicating with other accountants nationwide through an on-line bulletin board. Approximately half of both public and industry accountants say they would use a computerized database comprising accounting publications of the American Institute of CPAs, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the General Accounting Office, the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Accountants today are using more diverse types of application software to perform a wider range of accounting tasks than ever before. The results of this study highlight the significant influence computer technology continues to have on the practice of accounting.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Computer & Technology Surveys
Author:Lindsey, Howard C.
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:How CPAs use computers.
Next Article:How CPAs manage computer technology.

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