Cloud technology is set to be the software of choice for Australian accounting firms over the next few years. A survey conducted by Sage Software of more than 400 firms indicated that businesses are embracing cloud technology for themselves and their clients. Furthermore, 43 per cent of the respondents saw that a major shift would happen sooner, rather than later. Another trend from the survey revealed that accounting businesses were now more willing to invest in software as they understood its ability to improve both business efficiency and productivity.
Although the shift may be slow to take off for the majority of firms, change is definitely brewing across the country—but why?
Why is there a shift to the cloud?
Companies are increasingly aware that they need to keep up with client needs and be as dynamic as possible in a technologically driven market. Seemingly, the only way to compete is to be better and faster than your competitors; in an accounting sense, that involves the ability to access timely information and business intelligence to make decisions.
Cloud computing allows accounting firms to do just that, no matter their size or budget. Ease of access to applications in real-time, offsite backup and relative affordability are just a few of the benefits that are starting to get firms across Australia onside.
The advantages of cloud computing
The thought of switching the way you or your accounting business operates may be hard to swallow, but we’ve outlined the key benefits as to why this could prove advantageous.
By using a cloud system, less focus is placed on the mechanics of preparing accounts, leaving more time to spend on understanding business objectives and providing insightful advice. Accountants have the opportunity to become more than a bookkeeper or a once-a-year tax preparer, and transform into a strategic player within the firm and to their clients. This may bring in more clients and profitability as a result of improved efficiency.
When connected to a cloud solution, data and software can be accessed anytime and just about anywhere in the world. This is an important benefit not only to employees who may work remotely or need to access information during a client meeting, but it can also assist with office expansion to other premises, whether locally or internationally.
Backup & Recovery
Cloud solutions are usually more reliable in terms of recovery than their in-house server counterparts. When you’re backing up in the cloud and your local IT system goes down, it can be easily recovered via the cloud. That’s not to say that accountants should not backup their data anywhere but the cloud, but there is less risk involved when a local system is known to be unreliable. The speed at which the system can be deployed is also worth mentioning, as it can be up and running within a matter of minutes should there be an emergency.
The reason why cloud computing is often seen as cost-effective is that savings can come in a variety of forms; one being that a business doesn’t have to buy, upgrade or maintain their services and related hardware. Other advantages include the reduced levels of electricity from not having the servers in-house, reduced IT maintenance costs and not having to make an upfront investment in software or purchase software for each computer in the business.
Understanding the benefits of cloud computing, and acknowledging that this is where the industry is heading, is essential for accounting firms and the businesses that use them.
Written by: SCU Online