Jim Bourke is partner-in-charge of internal technology at Withum Smith + Brown (WS+B), where he oversees the internal technology group that services all the partners and staff’s technology needs. In this role, he is responsible for technology strategic planning, technology budgeting and supervising the deployment of new technologies that fall within the firm’s strategic plan.
In his “other” job as he likes to say it, he is a zealous advocate for the AICPA’s CITP credential by serving on the CITP Credential Committee and promoting the program across the nation. His enthusiastic work ethic and contributions to this field were also apparent during his former tenure as president of the New Jersey Society of CPAs.
WS+B is a full service regional accounting and consulting firm founded in 1974, with offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. The firm serves clients in many different industries including healthcare, technology, manufacturing, distribution, professional services and retail.
His work demands that he continually familiarize himself with the latest technologies. Similar to the majority of participants in the 2008 Top Technology Initiatives survey, he ranks Information Security Management (#1) number one on his own list of concerns within his organization. He also places two other initiatives at the top of his list, Privacy Management (#5) and Mobile and Remote Computing (#6).
“As we continue to change the way we work and service our clients, and adapt to the changing work ethics and styles from the Baby Boomers to the Gen-Xers and Ys, we are evaluating all forms of mobile and remote computing solutions,” he says. “With this continued push to become a more mobile workforce, we are faced with increased concerns surrounding the protection of our confidential client data that may be accessed or stored on these types of devices. We’ll continue with spending significant resources in the area of information security management as long as new and improved technologies and solutions continue to be introduced.”
Although Bourke cannot put his finger on the immediate ROI his firm realized from the use and deployment of these technologies, he says that because of the Initiatives list, the staff is more responsive to our client’s needs and concerns. It also serves as a means to address the work environment coveted by younger workers.
“I believe that as a direct result of our use of these technologies, we have been able to increase our productivity by allowing staff to do their job while away from the office. We retain staff we might have otherwise lost in the past. As a consequence, we are more efficient at meeting or exceeding our client’s expectations.”
Bourke believes the list also allows the accounting profession – who might not be as connected to the technology world as others – to identify those initiatives they may or may not be currently addressing, but should be.
“I would recommend the CPA bring representatives from tax, audit, litigation support and other areas within the practice together and review this list on an annual basis to come up with ways to ensure that the firm is keeping up with where technology needs and concerns are driving our industry.”
Bourke suggests that other firms and practices use the Top Technology Initiatives as a sanity check.
“Throughout the year, we live in our own worlds. We buy new technologies and deploy those technologies. Once a year we get this great list from the AICPA that is formed as a direct result of the coming together of those in our professions who are most in tune with the technology issues we are and will be facing over the next year. I always take time and review our firm’s technology strategic plan to ensure it is properly aligned with these initiatives.”