Though cloud computing continues to grow exponentially in most business arenas, accounting firms are still quite cautious about making the transition to cloud computing. Why? When questioned, most accounting firms express concerns about customer service, loss of quality, added cost, inability to customise products for clients and integration issues.
While these issues existed at the advent of cloud computing, today’s cloud service and software providers are delivering solutions that alleviate these common concerns.
Accountants must observe accounting standards as well as adhere to business, professional body and state and federal laws regarding their firms and their clients.
Outside of these standards and laws, accountants can develop their own methods for carrying out their work in the most efficient and effective ways to serve their clients and therein lies the concern about customisation. Not only do accounting firms want to tailor applications to their clients’ needs but also to their own accounting methodology.
Software suppliers are continually at work developing applications to address customisation issues and recent research shows cloud accounting is more easily customised than traditional in-office applications.
Accounting professionals also express uneasiness about additional costs attributed to cloud computing. In reality the total cost of ownership of cloud accounting applications is lower than comparable in-office solutions. Cloud computing providers offer monthly subscription options making cloud accounting solutions an ideal option even for smaller firms. Because cloud computing costs may rise as an accounting firm experiences growth and success, it is important to consider the value of cloud computing in terms of time and money saved, along with cost.
Another major area of concern for accounting firms in regard to cloud computing is integration.
Data integration on the cloud is often thought more difficult as a result of the added steps required for application access as well as time requirements that accountants feel could be better used elsewhere; but the truth is the latest middleware innovations make data integration to cloud application simple and convenient.
In the end, cloud computing actually delivers better more effective software applications for accounting firms and as software developers continue to create innovative, easy to use products the transition to cloud computing becomes easier – even for the most apprehensive accounting firms.
The secret, of course, is to engage a partner who understands the requirements, conflicts and the best way to manage the transition.
That’s where the problem often lies.