Why Cloud-Based Accountants Are Outperforming the Competition
By Greg Atkinson (MChem, ACA)
Accountants wise enough to harness today’s powerful cloud technology are reaping a significant productivity boost. With the ability to make your accounting practice more streamlined and reliable than ever before, cloud-based solutions are fresh enough to keep your business booming, while also providing it with a serious competitive edge.
When you make the switch to cloud software, both you and your clients will benefit from technological advantages like improved security, ease of access, real-time data, and effective scalability. Cloud services continue to gain global momentum, and those professionals who are late to discover the cloud’s many inherent rewards will soon find themselves outpaced by their competitors.
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Cloud Computing in a Nutshell
When you work with platforms that exist entirely online, such as those offered by companies like Xero, Sage, and NetSuite, you have the advantage of networking with remote high-performance servers and sophisticated computing applications.
While allowing you to work from your own internet-enabled devices, cloud-based technology eliminates the need for personal computer software and hard-drive data storage. This means no more purchasing, installing, updating, or maintaining software programs and local servers because everything you need is taken care of by reliable and experienced cloud platform providers. It also means a diminished need for dedicated office and IT space, as well as the extra staff that go along with managing these resources.
In addition to the built-in efficiency and cost savings offered by working in the cloud, intrinsic security is top-notch and offers many advantages over PC-based technologies. Financial and accounting professionals world-wide are benefitting from the ability to safely and remotely access their data from anywhere, at any time, in order to stay one giant leap ahead of the competition.
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Why You Should Adopt a Cloud-Based Approach
With data that focuses on hard facts and figures, the accounting profession readily lends itself to taking full advantage of a cloud-based business strategy. Let’s explore the five top reasons why.
Reason #1 – Real-Time Performance
Whether they’re revenue, expense, or inventory-related, when you use cloud-based accounting software, all of your entries and reports are updated in real time. With no lag or delay in the transfer of information from point to point, both you and your accounting team can feel confident that the data you access at any given moment is completely up to date.
As an accountant, your performance inevitably hinges on an ability to make decisions and advise clients in as timely a fashion as possible. Putting out and preventing fires is easier when you have full access to the financial information you need, and when reports are both current and accurate.
From calculating payroll to preparing annual returns, cloud-based operations let you execute your many roles far more efficiently than those companies that continue to enter, reconcile, and update their accounting data using outmoded technologies.
Reason #2 – Instant Access
All you need is an internet connection to gain access to all of your accounting files and figures from wherever you happen to be. When you work in the cloud, it’s no longer necessary to be tethered to one physical location.
You and your team can make software entries and updates remotely from smartphones or laptops while commuting, traveling for business, or working from home. Not only does this convenience profoundly increase productivity, it removes the need for software licensing in order to support multiple user activity.
Instant remote access to everything you need, when you need it, means that the ceiling on the number of clients your business can effectively handle is virtually infinite, and that any associated costs for office space and staff is greatly reduced. It also means less risk, since sensitive financial information can be accessed by multiple team members and the need to share data outside of the secure cloud environment no longer exists.
Reason #3 – Better Scalability
Scaling your business, or that of your clients, is much easier to accomplish when you implement cloud-based technology. You only use and pay for those software tools, modules, and data storage features that are relevant to your specific work needs on a daily basis.
As your business grows and changes, your cloud-based operations can evolve right along with it, allowing you to implement updated solutions and relevant applications quickly, and giving you far better control over the entire scaling process as a result.
You can also enjoy the advantage of letting someone else, the cloud platform specialists, worry about the automatic and timely installation of any program upgrades and updates, when necessary.
Reason # 4 – Maintenance-Free Software
The cloud sits head and shoulders above PC-based accounting software when it comes to dealing with maintenance issues. Software bugs and program errors can cause headaches for any business at the best of times, but as a data-driven profession, accounting firms are that much more susceptible to the loss of irretrievable financial information.
While the competition struggles to recover from the loss of credibility associated with computer software glitches and breakdowns, cloud computing means your business can simply leave maintenance to the experts.
Inside the cloud, both software and hardware technologies are overseen and tended to by professional cloud providers. With a reputation for quickly and effectively resolving network issues, these dedicated companies eliminate the stress, time, and cost related to managing and maintaining the software programs that are crucial to your operations.
Reason #5 – Advanced Security
Protecting clients’ confidential financial data is a top priority for every accountant. The state-of-the-art coding and encryption technologies used by today’s cloud-based applications offer an added layer of security you can count on. And these online solutions help you to avoid the risks that many PC-based programs are exposed to on a regular basis.
With personal computer-based accounting software, you run the risk of losing irreplaceable data through system crashes, software viruses, and malfunctioning back-up hardware. Having to manually transfer data from one location to another through email, external drives, or shared computer files can leave you vulnerable to information hijacking and data corruption.
Reputable cloud providers ensure that the information you enter and exchange within the framework of their software applications is highly protected. In addition to modern password and encryption methodology, data exchanged in the cloud is scattered and dispersed over multiple servers in various locations, further preventing its unauthorized access or deletion.
Harnessing the Competitive Cloudburst
Cloud-based accountants are taking an innovative approach to doing business that’s allowing them to make the most of their time and skills in the aim to better serve their clients. The cloud offers significant competitive clout when it comes to working cost-effectively and working more responsively.
Not only do cloud-based operations let you stay in real-time contact with all of your data, they let you get going on new and better software solutions with minimal lead times and nominal costs.
Cloud computing services are expected to grow by another 16% in 2016. Whether you’re just getting started, or are looking for ways to crank up your company’s established performance, you can be up and running competitively inside the cloud in virtually no time at all.
About the Author
Greg Atkinson (MChem, ACA) is a Chartered Accountant with the family firm of Atkinsons Chartered Accountants in the UK. Specializing in helping both new and established businesses alike make the move to cloud-based solutions, Greg successfully promotes the benefits of streamlined accounting and more effective management reporting.
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