In the past, companies looking to for IT or accountancy support have had to decide between buying or leasing the appropriate software. Most often, this meant going for the software which only required a lease – this negated the need to fork out hefty upfront costs, and sometimes would also allow the company to avoid a depreciating asset on the balance sheet.
In our increasingly digitised world, however, the options offered with these technologies are forever changing and adapting to new needs. In particular, recently there has been an increase in companies opting for cloud-based software, which can, in fact, be adopted without buying or leasing. In this article, we examine what cloud-based software means for accountants, and how they can utilise it to maximise its potential.
Challenges for accountants
Accountants often have to learn to navigate multiple software tools in their line of work. This is especially true for larger accountancy firms with numerous clients – according to Gavin Dixon, Managing Director of Business I.T. Solutions, “of all the types of clients we deal with, accountants are interfacing with a greater variety of 3rd party software than our clients in any other sectors.”
This poses a significant challenge for accountants, who will need to be agile enough to quickly adopt new forms of software according to various client needs. This means accountants need to be tolerant and versatile, and able to jump into learning new clients’ various business systems and processes.
In addition, not only do accountancy firms have to manage internal IT systems, but they also have to navigate different IT configurations and systems for their clients. For example, some clients may wish to keep all IT operations in-house, while another may want to connect to a cloud system.
How the cloud can help
Clearly, accountants have a variety of factors to consider when it comes to managing systems effectively for their range of clients. Fortunately, cloud-based software offers accountants the opportunity to make their job easier in various ways, and less error-prone.
One of the primary ways in which cloud-based software can help accountants is simplifying the task of keeping up to date with how their clients’ businesses are doing. For example, cloud-based software can provide accounts with real-time financial information that is easily accessible from a range of devices.
Since cloud software can integrate CRM and ERP systems online, business owners will be able to get a feel for the state of affairs of their business at any given moment. This frees up accountants, of course, from the time-consuming tasks of bookkeeping. Instead, they can focus on providing expert financial advice and consultation to clients.
The benefits of the cloud for accountants are innumerable – the most salient bonus perhaps is its cost efficiency. The cloud can mean a reduction in capital outlay for servers and physical space, reductions in energy bills, and reductions in the need for multiple backup systems. In addition, the cloud can mean that businesses require less in-person IT support, with automatic updates to software a key feature of cloud systems.