By Julia Uglietta
Associate, Marketing and Sales
Accounting firms deal with data day in and day out. The volume of numbers that go through an accounting office each day is unimaginable. The number of emails that go in and out of the offices is inundating.
It’s not only the size issue that challenges accounting offices every day. Rather, it’s also the need to work faster while remaining efficient – in addition to improving better client and interoffice communications. These goals sound fairly standard for a successful business, right? But in fields such as accounting, where large amounts of data are being received and stored, achieving these goals can be onerous. The good news is, however, that new technology known as cloud computing is helping accounting firms attain these goals and save money too.
Taking accounting firms to the cloud is a way to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make data more accessible. Throughout the industry, the discussions about cloud computing and how many accounting practices are moving to an outsourced cloud computing model has people thinking. Accountants can see clearly that cloud computing is moving up and moving fast. Now, more firms are looking into cloud solutions before they buy that next new sever. They’re performing a cost benefit analysis, and in the process, they’re discovering that the operational expenditure associated with implementing an outsourced model is more desirable than the large capital expenditure associated with buying and maintaining all those new servers.
Not only does migrating to a cloud-based, paperless environment cut costs for accounting firms, but it also introduces new efficiencies. When you put your data and applications in the cloud and entrust a cloud provider to care for them round-the-clock, you’re achieving IT efficiencies such as:
- Eliminating the need for physical storage (throw out those old filing cabinets!)
- Upgrading to industrial strength physical security (including partial or full fault tolerance, fire protection, etc.)
- Improving backup and disaster recovery processes
- Enhancing data security
- Increasing availability (through improved power redundancy, etc.)
- Extending IT resources with a 24x7x365 team of hosting experts
For many accounting firms, this makes the decision to switch to the cloud even easier.
The most brilliant feature of the cloud is, in my opinion, its “anywhere” accessibility – which is an aspect that most accounting firms will find appealing. When your data and your applications are in the cloud, they are accessible via any Internet-enabled device whenever you need them and wherever you are. It just makes life easier. Allowing the staff to work faster (and, I might add, without necessarily increasing billable rates) allows them more time to focus on the clients’ needs.
Most customers prefer communicating with their accountant via the Internet, and in many ways, the new cloud-based dashboards, reporting applications and unified communications systems that are now available only make this easier. By enabling better collaboration and communication among geographically diverse staff and clients, accounting firms’ processes and workflows are vastly improved and the work gets done much faster – often with greatly reduced travel costs.
Life in the cloud has changed many industries’ ways of operating. Slowly but surely, accounting firms will ease into cloud computing and reap benefits that were previously unachievable any other way.