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AICPA's tech top 10

THE American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has announced its roster of Top 10 Technologies for 2004. These are the items expected to wield a powerful influence over business in the coming year.

The 2004 list breaks two records. First, there are seven items debuting as AICPA Top Technologies. Second, the 2004 survey saw the greatest number of participants — 263 — in the Top 10 Technologies' 14-year history.

Spam Technology, a new issue, came in at number two, not surprising in light of the ongoing debate about the need to protect consumers from the cyberspace equivalent of junk mail. Ironically, Privacy — number 10 in the 2003 ranking — has disappeared from the list.

Some of the older issues, however, are still relevant, though there has been a shift in their importance. Wireless Technologies and Disaster Recovery Planning make repeat showings, but have swapped their 2003 positions. Wireless Technologies is now at number five, and Disaster Recovery Planning moved down a notch to number six.

The following is the complete 2004 Top 10 Technologies roster:

i) Information security: It includes firewalls, anti-virus, password management, patches and locked facilities, among others.

ii) Spam technology: The use of technology to reduce or eliminate unwanted e-mail.

iii) Digital optimisation: Also known as "The Paperless Office," it is the process of capturing and managing documents electronically (that is, PDF and other formats).

iv) Database and application integration: The ability to update one field and have it automatically synchronise between multiple databases. v) Wireless technologies: The transfer of voice or data from one machine to another via the airwaves without physical connectivity.

vi) Disaster recovery: The development, monitoring and updating of the process by which organisations plan for continuity of their business in the event of a loss of business information resources due to theft, weather damage, accidents or malicious destruction.

vii) Data mining: The methods by which a user can sift through volumes of data to find specific answers.

viii) Virtual office: The technologies, processes and procedures that allow personnel to work effectively, either individually or with others, regardless of physical location.

ix) Business exchange technology: The natural evolution from EDI to greater business transaction and data exchange via the Internet using datasets that are transported easily between programs and databases (for example, XBRL).

x) Messaging applications: Applications that permit users to communicate electronically, including e-mail, voicemail and instant messaging.

(Source: AccountingWEB.)

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