Why Cloud-Based Accountants Will Dominate their Competition

After recently discussing with a friend of mine, a top Brighton accountant, how technology has radically transformed the business landscape in recent years, I decided to write a counterpoint to my colleague’s last piece, which heeded caution for businesses looking to adopt cloud-based accounting solutions.

The fact is, while still in its infancy, it’s already not so far-fetched to say that cloud-based accounting could end up being the biggest revolution in the accounting industry since Dan Bricklin’s VisiCalc was released in 1979.

What is Cloud-Based Accounting Software Exactly?

In simple terms, it means that the software is based in cloud storage online, and therefore can be accessed from any place at any time, and will always be functional and ready.

The introduction of cloud software has begun a revolution of accounting and book keeping globally. Services such as Xero and Intuit have become irreplaceable tools for accounting professionals worldwide, and the trend is only projected to continue.

The efficiency, security and affordability of cloud-based accounting software has made on-premise alternatives seem outdated in a small matter of years, if not months.

But What Makes Cloud-Based Accounting Superior?

There are numerous reasons why cloud-based accounting software is such a booming industry, but it all comes down to the fact that it makes keeping track of accounts for businesses as simple and intuitive as possible.

There’s no need for tedious book keeping tasks, as all the invoicing and cash flow management tasks can be accomplished from any location, even using mobile devices.

Why Should Accountants Use Cloud-Based Software?

The reason for such a rapid growth of cloud-based technology in the accounting industry is that those that use the software can gain a big advantage over their direct competitors.

Cloud Accounting

Here are just four of the more prominent reasons why every accountant should switch to cloud, or risk falling behind their competition:

  1. Unparalleled Access

One area where cloud-based accounting software absolutely blows all of the alternatives out of the water is accessibility.

You just can’t match the ability to quickly update invoicing, cash flow management and other data in a matter of seconds, no matter where you are. This allows for an unprecedented accuracy and dynamic data evaluation, which can make all the business decisions that much more precise.

This also can make collaborative tasks easier than ever. Accessing the same information from multiple locations simultaneously make it a huge step forward from how the process went just a few years ago.

  1. Real-Time Data Updates

Another amazing benefit of cloud-based software is the real-time data updates, which gives you the opportunity to get insights and make decisions based on the ever-changing dynamics of your business.

It has never been easier to quickly see if a decision is working or not, since all the users of the cloud software get updates instantly, without any manual data-entry work, which usually creates a lag between what’s actually happening and the data that is available.

You simply can’t get this with traditional accounting software and thus it gives a significant advantage to any accountant who switches to cloud.

  1. No Maintenance Requirements

One of the more frustrating parts of being an accountant is having to deal with things that are not directly related to your specialty, like dealing with a bug on accounting software and spending hours on the phone with a representative, trying to fix the issue yourself.

With cloud alternatives, you only have to worry about doing your own job. The maintenance is handled by the developers, since it is accessible online. Therefore, even on the off chance that some issue might occur, you can be sure that a team of world-class experts will deal with it in a matter of minutes.

After all, you do have a reputation to maintain, and not being able to do your job because of software malfunctions can instantly make you seem unprofessional to your clients, so avoiding these situations should be one of your highest priorities.

  1. Your Data is More Secure than Ever

While backups have been employed by accountants as a safety net for many years, they were never a completely effective solution because constant manual data updates made the backups obsolete in a matter of days. Not to mention that backups are expensive to maintain, and a real hassle to keep updated.

And since the current, updated version usually ended up on just one computer, that meant losing everything was always just a hardware or operating system malfunction away.

All of this has changed with the introduction of cloud-based accounting software.

Now, any security issues that might have been present have become obsolete – the user data is being kept on state-of-the-art servers, where they are being protected by the most advanced technology to make sure that no one can breach or compromise the information.

What’s more, the data is kept on multiple locations and is updated simultaneously, thus ensuring that no matter what might happen, your information will always be available for you to access.

 

Conclusion:

Cloud-based accounting software is here to stay. More and more accountants every day are realizing that the tremendous benefits offered by going cloud is something that can’t be ignored if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

The possibilities offered by accessibility and real-time data updates, and the security of having your data protected and the software always operational make cloud-based accounting the undeniable way of the future in the industry.

Therefore, even today, using in-premise accounting software means that you are fighting an uphill battle against others who have access to a much faster, more efficient and safer accounting solution.

Cloud Accounting Software: What To Be Aware Of

advantagesanddisadcantages

Cloud computing is a wise choice for many companies, but some issues have to be considered by users. A large number of companies are using online accounting solutions such as Xero even though a few of them find it hard to use these tools effectively. Essentially some factors have to be considered before businesses begin to use an accounting software. This will ensure that the company remains operational and that the online accounting software in use is reliable and beneficial.

Online Solutions do not Apply to Everyone

The cloud-based accounting solutions are not universal. Even though some users will find them beneficial, other users will find it hard to use online accounting software due to reliance on the internet. Furthermore, there is a lack of control over the data as the information is stored by a third party. The accountant does not have control over the system, how it works and the data stored. Moreover, these applications lack some advanced features that accountants might need. They also have user and data limitations in that the user can only access certain aspects of the software. This means that the accountant will have less control over the software in comparison to offline data sources. These could be overlooked, because obviously, when an accountant sells her services, they would prefer to highlight the positive benefits of using cloud technologies rather than the negatives. Furthermore, the applications cannot support the applications a business has, but instead, it relies on what the cloud-solutions developer can provide.

Confidentiality

There is a lack of confidentiality when a business relies on a third party for their accounting needs. The business is sharing its financial data with another company, and this is a risk for the business as the information can be used for their personal gain. Additionally, the financial information can be accessed by unwanted parties such as governments which can easy audit and review our data, especially when the provider relies on servers located in different countries.

Lack of Backup

Even though cloud solutions have a backup functionality, you cannot store the information on your computer. In case the company decides to use a different provider, then you will face problems when transferring the data. The new provider might use software that is incompatible with the previous provider, and the business ends up losing its financial data. Additional, the business can choose to continue paying the previous provider, and this leads to additional costs for the business.

Horizontal Nature

A large number of the cloud-based accounting solutions are horizontal in nature. These solutions are often designed to meet the bookkeeping needs of small business. However, some companies have unique requirements that might not be met by the software.

Despite the disadvantages, the accounting software is useful in meeting the basic needs of many businesses. It includes sales tax, banking features, job costing, fixed asset tracking, inventory and basic accounting. Many companies are suspicious about revealing their financial information to an outsourced company. However, this will be less risky if there is a good and professional relationship with the outsourced company. Moreover, the outsourced company should be reliable, and it should provide the necessary support to ensure that the cloud-based solutions work as expected and at all times. This will ensure that businesses can rely on cloud-based accounting software, and they will experience the benefits.

The Digital Revolution

  digital-transformation

          The digital transformation is now. This maxim, uttered by Jean-Marc Lagoutte, vice president and CIO of Cigref Danone, epitomizes the atmosphere of the General Assembly of the Club of large companies, held on Tuesday 8 October. Red wire of the event, the institution that brings together the CIOs of large French groups, has stressed the upheaval by the transition to the digital world in the organization of firms, both in terms of their governance and their business model. This has been stressed by the different Vice Presidents of Cigref that have succeeded, to a packed house. This shift represents a vast upheaval of the value creation process, as noted by Jean-Marc Lagoutte.

The CIO however recalled that in this digital transformation, providers too should adapt to the new digital culture. Jean-Marc Lagoutte has therefore advocated among CIOs in the room a model of co-construction with suppliers. Because these two worlds are in his opinion, very “interdependent” in this transformation to digital. “Suppliers must also make their digital transformation, with, in addition, their position as ‘knowledgeable parties,'” he explained. “So providers and user companies have an incentive to cooperate to ‘cracker’ digital transformation.” “Or disappear,” he blurted out, referring to the “value co-construction”.

Note that Cigref is working with several leading suppliers of the sector. One remembers, for example, his work with Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and HP, to name a few. Building sites are also underway with Orange Business Services and IBM but also with Amazon or Google – members since 2008. In 2013, continues Jean-Marc Lagoutte, relations were established with Salesforce and Samsung. “We want to build a favorable ecosystem for all,” with “suppliers that evolve and new players,” recalling the mission of Cigref. This is according to him “our duty”. It does not matter if it is an IT consultancy firm in London or a large investment house in France, the ecosystem has to benefit everyone.

Trust, sharing, collective intelligence, or transformation of management methods in promoting cross – the topics covered in the reference book “Digital Enterprise & Culture”, updated and published during this General Assembly – are at the heart of Cigref’s speech. But above all, he recalls, the CIO must be “carrying the message. Because it controls the internal and external flows. ” One of the other great challenges of the transition to digital technology relies on the ability of the company to implement a strategy driven by Comex and crafts, still shows the club of big business. But beware, launches Bernard Duverneuil “digital must fit into a meaningful project. Yes to digital, but it does matter how,” he says again.

In its supportive role of big business – “a crossroads of exchange reflection and guidance,” said Pascal Buffard, club president and president of AXA Technology Services, Cigref also announced the creation of the Institute of digital transformation, in partnership with the CNAM, whose mission is to offer training programs (of 5 half days cycles) “around the issues of digital transformation.” Even smaller firms such as Prosyn, which provides IT support for small businesses, has a stake in these issues.

Another message, more of a global one, was to remember when the General Assembly of Cigref, “inevitable” digital business transformation. For Bernard Duverneuil, the CIO Essilor and vice president of Cigref, this transformation must be built on digital culture that large companies must acquire.

Augmented Reality warehouse: a failure

SAP-750x496

The idea is a good one. The operator, tasked with preparing the order of a buyer on the site is literally guided along the paths to the correct location for the “picking”by an intelligent, interactive “heads up” display. As soon as he finds one of the items ordered, it scans the barcode, his glasses record his action, and he can go to the next item. Both hands are free to manipulate objects, no effort to find the right location, virtual arrows guide through the aisles. The demonstration was impressive, but is it possible today to effectively deploy the application?

One such application is not yet deployable at warehouses, admits Isabelle Badoc, product manager at Generix end supply chain. “We tried several types of glasses and their technology is still too limited in terms of uptake. They are not good at reading barcodes, unless you’re very close to the item. In fact, it is not usable in real situations. What we wanted to do with this video is shake the market. The logistics market may find interest in the use of such glasses, and we want to push manufacturers so they do change their glasses to make them usable in the warehouse. We looked at absolutely all models in the market and quickly concluded that Google glasses were not usable for a professional use. Our developments, we conduct now with Epson. We met them and they understood the potential of the Supply Chain market for glasses.”

Paradoxically, it would not be developing applications that poses the greatest problem in this type of project. “If augmented reality requires some skills, there is no real additional cost to the development of such applications. The glasses are considered a mobile terminal, the development is the same as for a mobile application. Access to the WMS and ERP via Web Services. These interfaces existed in Reflex, our WMS, so it was relatively simple to implement these glasses,” says Nicolas Chapu.

Nevertheless, the glasses of this generation are still relatively heavy and it does not seem possible to require an operator to carry them throughout their working day. Finally, performance is still insufficient for reading bar codes. “It is not possible to read a barcode located a few meters up in height, for example. There are some limitations of this type, but the technology is evolving very quickly. We brought our prototype glasses Vuzix and we have seen progress between the two generations glasses ” Nicolas Chapu assures. SAP is also working on the issue and just signed a partnership with Vuzix to offer its first two applications on the M100 model.

Furthermore, experiments have revealed a simple problem, that of prescription glasses wearers. In practice, you can not wear two pairs of glasses stacked all day. If you can put corrective lenses on some models of glasses connected, this type of adaptation swells the TCO of the project and excludes the temporary staff, which are the people who would most benefit from this type of technology.

The Target Data Breach

24560276_SA
Security experts believe that the security breach that Target suffered in late 2013 might cost considerably more than the $ 162 million initially estimated by the company in its annual report that same year. Target said that in fact it has accumulated $191 million of gross expenditure in 2014 to manage the consequences of the breach of security, after the $17 million of net expenses in 2013 – after compensation by insurance, and $46 million of future compensation.
But spending could progress even further, because a judge has given the green light to financial institutions to continue their quest for compensation by Target for their own financial losses caused by the attack. That verdict could open Target up to a whole slew of court cases, settlements, and ultimately, expenses.
And the continuation of other proceedings against the company received the legal green light last January: a collective case brought by customers claiming to have been harmed by the breach that made their personal data vulnerable. Up to 70 million Target customers may have been affected by the security breach that was followed by the resignation of the RSSI of the company.
The breach may have allowed the collection of personal data including the name, address, email address, and phone number of customers, as well as the details of 40 million credit and debit cards. Up to three million payment card details are suspected to have been sold on the black market and used fraudulently before the banks managed to cancel the others.
“Taking into account the pending claims, the cost of the incident could exceed one billion dollars,” said Eric Chiu, president and co-founder of HyTrust. For him, “this could serve as a strong example to show that companies need to place data security as a top priority, especially around internal threats which is how most breaches occur today.”
Targeted phishing attacks have recently been identified as the initial step in what has been described as the most daring digital breach to date and which has led financial institutions worldwide to lose $ 1 billion. Steve Hultquist, chief evangelist at RedSeal, for its part considers that significant investment in proactive security analytics and process improvement have produced good results at Target.
“Invest now or pay later. This is the message that we are all taking from the Target incident. Making strategic investments now is a wise preventive measure to keep the organization and its customers safe.”
In its financial results forecasts for the last quarter of 2014, Sony estimated $15 million in costs of investigation and remediation related to the attack on its Sony Pictures subsidiary by the end of the year. But like Target, many feel that the actual costs will be considerably higher, and this number does not take into account any fines, costs of legal proceedings, and damage to the company’s reputation.
For its part, Home Depot, another victim of pirates last year, said they suffered a net expense before tax of $35 million for the attack which it experienced. But the group acknowledges that they are again, for now, unable to estimate certain costs attributable to that attack.

Cloud maturity: AWS leads but Microsoft virtually doubles cloud revenue

Amazon Webservices (AWS) is continuing to grow its cause over rival public cloud companies, while Microsoft experienced 96% year-on-year progress in 2014.

Analyst Synergy believed quarterly cloud structure service profits – including infrastructure-as a service (IaaS), system being a service, exclusive cloud and hybrid cloud – reach the $5bn milestone, with following 12-month profits exceeding $16bn.

Complete cloud revenues for 2014 became by 48% in the previous year.

The revenue growth demonstrates increasing acceptance of public cloud services within the organization, especially with interest in IaaS.

Synergy mentioned that in 2014, AWSis share of the global market was 28%, accompanied by Microsoft (10%), IBM (7%), Bing (5%), Salesforce (4%) and Rackspace (3%).

Research manager John Dinsdale and synergy Research Group chief expert stated the traction built-up at AWS and Microsoft is very extraordinary.

“They have an ever- they are also benefitting from a slowdown inside the tremendous and broadening profile of companies -extreme cost opposition that was a of the initial 50% of 2014 he said.

Amazon Tom Szkutak recently proved the company’s responsibility to rising shareholder value while in the AWS enterprise by positioning its cloud business around the company’s balance sheet.

At its re discussion in 2014, Amazon unveiled a database engine termed Aurora, that’ll target classic enterprise database choices from IBM Oracle and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Nadella has extended to represent Orange Active Directory and Office 365 as entrypoints to the company’s cloud that was public.

Microsoft claims to get more than 350m Violet Active Directory customers, which is at the heart of Microsoft’s unit management method, which spans desktop products, laptops, supplements.

Managing director Gavin and aWS UK recently said in a appointment that unlike classic IT providers, cloudservices do not involve the exact same amount of frenetic exercise to close deals.

” since the customer determines once they certainly will come and move and utilize AWS as they please We’re not there to close a at the conclusion of the quarter,” he said.

Perhaps, it’s this flexibility that’s built cloud services that are public appealing to organizations.