For many businesses, there is often indecision over whether to make the move to the cloud. While numerous advantages are often touted, there are always concerns to be addressed, such as the security of the information being held within the cloud, the effects of changing internal systems within the company, and the cost and hassle involved in making the change.
So why bother? Let’s say you own an accountancy firm. It’s doing pretty well utilising the accounting software you currently employ – why would you want to move to the cloud?
First of all, cloud-based systems for business are the way of the future. According to leading technology researcher, Gartner, cloud computing was one of the four technology priorities for chief information officers in 2014. Meanwhile, a survey released this month by analyst firm, Telsyte, predicts enterprise spending on the cloud will reach $775 million by 2019, up from $366 million in 2015.
Let’s look at the top four reasons why you should move to the cloud with cloud-based accounting software.
1. Save Money
When you move to the cloud, you can choose to create your own ‘private’ system, or rent space from a third-party provider in the ‘public’ domain. As with many things in life, creating something from scratch can be costly.
On the other hand, choosing the so-called ‘public’ option allows you to rent space for as little as $20 a month. You don’t have to worry about set-up costs, replacing obsolete technology, maintenance or repair. System administration and server failures are covered by the cloud provider – and you don’t have to worry about version upgrades either. You simply spread the cost of the software over monthly subscription payments.
2. Improve Security
Keeping all your data onsite isn’t always the safest option. Unless you keep regular back-ups at another location, your data could be lost quite easily. There is also the possibility that information could be stolen, either by employees or hackers. A study by the Ponemon Institute found that leaks and data theft have become increasingly common in Australia, with the cost of these security breaches growing each year.
But is it any safer storing data in the cloud? Last October, a survey conducted by accounting technology consultant Smithink found that of 300 accountancy professionals, 66 per cent were either ‘moderately’ or ‘very’ concerned about data security in cloud hosting. Depending on the location of the cloud provider, there can also be concerns regarding data control. In the United States, the Edward Snowden revelations exposed government agency spying on privately held data held within the cloud.
However, many of these fears can be allayed simply by choosing a reputable local provider. Reputable providers know that their business would be severely injured in the event of a data breach, so they employ strict precautions to ensure their security is tight. By choosing the right provider, you can keep your data safe – come flood, fire or storm. Even if an employee’s laptop is stolen, no one can gain access to your data unless they have a login and password. Your data is continuously backed up, plus, you can control the level of access offered to each user.
3. Easy Access
This leads to our third point – ease of access. With traditional accounting software, data is held within one device and must be shared manually. With cloud-based accounting software, data can be shared between users, updated in real-time, and accessed from any device. This allows employees more freedom to work from home, on the train, or while travelling.
4. Save Time
There are plenty of ways in which cloud-based accounting software can save your – and your clients’ – time.
Cloud-based accounting software creates more efficient workflows – workflows that utilise intelligent document management; store client information to be used on tax returns year after year; and connect instantly and directly with the ATO. The software also uses automated processes to extract and compile data from different sources to input it within a ledger – a process that could take hours when done manually, but only minutes with the right software. On top of that, multi-user access makes it easy to collaborate online with your team, while automatic updates and back-ups save you the time and hassle of doing them manually.
All this saved time allows you to focus on other aspects of your business such as growth, expansion into new areas and relationship-building with clients. While it may take time to change internal systems and practices when making the move to the cloud, there are many advantages to making the switch.
By investing in cloud-based accounting software you can keep on top of compliance, and by using local storage and software, you can ensure your data is up-to-date with local laws.