Security gets top spot in technology priority survey

Security—both of computer networks and information—tops the technology agenda of US management accountants in 2012, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Institute of CPAs.

The 2012 Top Technology Initiatives survey polled more than 2,200 AICPA members in an electronic balloting process that ran from January 17th to February 15th. One-third of the respondents said that they worked in business or industry.

The survey found that while securing the IT environment ranked as the top tech priority for US management accountants, more than 70% of them believe that their organisation is doing a good job with IT security. Confidence rates ran above 50% for all of the top 10 priorities except one, “Leveraging Emerging Technologies”. Only 37% of the management accountants surveyed are confident that their employer is using new technologies in a way that maximises operational efficiency and return on investment.

The views of management accountants were in line with those of entire AICPA group surveyed. (Click here to read about the full survey results on

The chart below lists the top 10 tech priorities as reported by US management accountants. The number in parentheses is the percentage of survey respondents who are confident or highly confident that their organisation is handling the task appropriately.

The top 10 technology priorities amongst B&I respondents for 2012 are:

  1. Securing IT environment (70.9%)
  2. Managing risk and compliance (75.3%)
  3. Managing and retaining data (65.7%)
  4. Managing system implementations (59.9%)
  5. Enabling decision support and managing performance (52.2%)
  6. Leveraging emerging technologies (37.0%)
  7. Governing and managing our IT investment/spend (62.9%)
  8. Managing vendors and service providers (60.2%)
  9. Ensuring privacy (67.1%)
  10. Preventing and responding to fraud (68.1%)

The AICPA has conducted the Top Technologies Initiatives survey for years, but the 2012 version marks the first time the survey has broken out top priority results for the B&I, or management accountant, segment.

“Management accountants are increasingly being called upon to help with the governance and management of technology in their organisations,” says Donny Shimamoto, CPA/CGMA, chair of the AICPA’s Information Technology Executive Committee. “The AICPA Top Technology Initiatives survey Business & Industry results provide an indicator of what a broad cross-section of management accountants see as the priorities for—and what can have the most impact on—their organisations in 2012. Management accountants should compare the list to their own organisation’s initiatives list to help validate that their organisation has considered the initiatives that their competition is considering and is appropriately prioritising those initiatives that may provide the most value to their organisation.”

The survey also asked about which technology initiatives management accountants expect to have the most impact on their organisations during 2012 and found:

Other technology initiatives to be considered as most impactful (amongst B&I respondents)

  1. Information security
  2. Business process improvement with technology
  3. Control and use of mobile devices
  4. Remote access
  5. Staff and management training
  6. Data retention policies and structure
  7. Project management for deployment of new technologies
  8. Privacy policies and compliance
  9. Spreadsheet management
  10. Overall data proliferation and control

Click here to access the top-line survey results.

Jeff Drew ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.