Accountants have been urged to adopt enterprise web 2.0 collaborative technologies, in order to enhance their professional offering.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) claimed that individuals must streamline business processes via the use of social media tools if they are to improve customer accounting practices in the future.

In a new report, ‘Adopting enterprise web 2.0 collaborative technologies in business: the implications for management accountants‘, CIMA warned that few accountants are systemically using social networking.

However, those that did use the latest online tools reported improvements in their effectiveness.

The study found quantification of the ‘soft’ or intangible benefits of enterprise web 2.0, such as improving coordination, knowledge accessibility, and relation building amongst people and teams, remains “a challenge” for management accountants.

CIMA said there are difficulties using accounting frameworks to identify the business value of these tools.

The organisation noted that some of the cost and benefits can be measured and quantified, but there are other intangible benefits that cannot be calculated through accounting models.

Naomi Smith, research and development manager at CIMA, said the profession is experiencing “a generational effect” emerging, as both trainee accountants and newly qualified professionals are using technologies more extensively than others.

“Accountants need to take advantage of the opportunities that social networking tools present as they offer new ways of improving communication with others in the business, particularly with those at a distance,” she stated.

“By utilising these tools we are giving more power to employees to create their own way of organising knowledge, workplaces, and business processes.”

Jim Norton, the recently-inaugurated president of BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT, announced in March that the organisation would make better use of social media to communicate with members.

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