RealTime IT News

Accountants Put Security First

UPDATED: Top U.S. accountants say Information Security Management is the most important technology initiative of 2007.

A survey of more than 1,500 CPAs conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) also showed greater awareness of private- and public-sector data breaches, as well as new compliance and e-discovery issues.

Identity and Access Management jumped to second place on the list of CPA concerns, from sixth place a year ago, and Privacy Management nudged its way up from fifth to fourth place. Conforming to Assurance and Compliance Standards was third on the list.

Four new initiatives made their debut in this year's top 10, also reflecting an increase in the number of dispersed and mobile employees and the need to more closely manage information: Securing and Controlling Information Distribution; Mobile and Remote Computing; Electronic Archiving and Data Retention; and Document, Content and Knowledge Management.

The AICPA has conducted this survey for the past 18 years.

Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA, said the survey is important because it helps CPA "stay abreast of the latest technology initiatives and provide guidance regarding its impact to their clients and employers."

The survey was conducted in December by a task force led by David Cieslak, who chairs the AICPA's information technology executive committee. Participants were asked to rank the top 30 technology initiatives in order of importance.

Cieslak said the results reflect what the accounting community sees as important issues and what is going to give them the best return on investment.

"I'm amazed that security has been No. 1 for five years running now," he told internetnews.com. "In fact, several of the initiatives -- security, privacy, identity management -- revolve around security. The fact that these issues remain front and center is encouraging, but our work is not done."

Rounding out the survey were Disaster Recovery Planning and Business Continuity Management (ranked fifth) and IT Governance (ranked sixth).