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Impacts of Advancing Technology on Accounting and Auditing

Similar to many fields including transportation, artificial intelligence and film-making, the auditing industry has been revolutionized tremendously by advancements in technology.

According to MGI Worldwide, an international network of audit, tax, accounting and consulting firms, "to ask oneself what impact technology has on the public accountant's work is redundant," and the greatest technological contribution has been the el

ectronic worksheet.

Prior to accounting software programs, entries were logged manually and frequent calculation errors led to hours of tedious recalculation. The introduction of Visicalc, one of the first computer programs for accountants in 1978, significantly reduced 20 hours of work into 15 minutes, according to Dan Bricklin, Visicalc's creator.

A Forbes article credited Momenteo, FreshBooks, Xero and Wave Accounting as powerful tools to reduce unnecessary time in accounting for both small and large companies. Reducing time has given accountants increased opportunities to grow their people skills as well, according to, which wrote that the "stereotypical 'task-oriented' accountant is as outdated as the 'shoebox full of receipts.'"

The latest technological advances in accounting programs have allowed for electronic imports of information rather than manual inputs completed by employees over extended hours. The significance of these programs is that it allows accountants to spend more time analyzing their clients' data.

Arif Zaman, a Group Internal Audit Manager at HSA Group, wrote that with advanced technology playing a larger role in auditing, cloud computing, cybersecurity, mobile computing security and social media audits are just a few of the trending topics regarding the impact of technology on accounting.

President of Hurewitz And Company Matt Hurewitz said that software programs have allowed for increased efficiency and accuracy for his line of work.

"I guess 25 years ago when I was working at Ernst and Young, computers were just starting to come out," Hurewitz said. "You were using Lotus 123 as a software program, but you were still carrying around these huge sheets of paper that were called 12 column. So if you were going to add something up, do an analysis or do a calculation, you wouldn’t do it on a computer."

Calculations were done on a 12-column paper where accountants "would have double check," he said.

"Nowadays, you don’t do any mathematics by hand like that," Hurewitz said. "You’re entering everything into Excel and to spreadsheets. I don’t even know if the Lotus software is still around, and that makes it so much faster and much easier to do our analysis."

Technology has improved the auditing process for his clients as well.

"So I think probably it’s helped make auditing more efficient, more cost effective and probably cheaper because clients don’t have to pay us to spend all that time doing long calculations that now the computer helps us get done in a fraction of the time," Hurewitz said.

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