CPA's Use Of Accounting Information Systems Tools

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Benjamin P. Foster
Julia N. Karcher
Alan S. Levitan


CPAs, relational databases public practice, AIS, accounting information systems, accounting tools


This paper reports the results of a survey of CPAs, about half of whom are in public practice. The survey attempts to determine which applications and tools CPAs use most frequently, and their perceptions of future use of those applications and tools. Not surprisingly, spreadsheets and word processors are most widely used, followed by tax software. Beyond those basic applications, a substantial proportion of respondents reported regularly assessing controls and designing or modifying the design of accounting systems. Over 40 percent of respondents indicated that they used relational data base systems, while flowcharts remain a popular documentation tool. Respondents thought that the performance of all the tasks and use of all the applications would either increase or remain the same in the future. Relational data base systems had the greatest expected increase in future use. Survey results indicate that CPAs not in public practice use some different skills than those in public practice. Thus, data are gathered about actual applications. These findings, in turn, have academic applications for programs that base curriculum decisions on the skills presumed to be pratical.


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