Accounting firms have come a long way from using traditional pen and paper methods for accomplishing all the finance-related tasks to automating most of the routine operations with the advent of the latest technology.
One of the most prominent advances in technology to drive such changes is cloud technology.
As per the reports by Sage Group, 67% of the accountants prefer cloud-based accounting.
Cloud technology has eased the accounting tasks for accounting and tax professionals by offering flexibility and mobility to the operations. It increases the speed and accuracy to accomplish each task that further contributes to the growth of an accounting firm.
Here are six ways explaining how cloud can help accounting firms by increasing the productivity and efficiency of their employees:
1. Remote Access
The work efficiency of accountants, CPAs, and tax professionals depends upon the availability of business data. They have to travel back and forth from the office to access data in case it is hosted on the local system.
For example, QuickBooks Enterprise accounting software when hosted on the cloud allows users to access QuickBooks files and documents from any remote location in real-time from any internet-connected device, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Hence, the increased mobility eliminates the need to travel to the office or client’s place for any urgent meeting, which further saves a lot of time. This approach helps accountants and tax professionals to focus more on their core competencies and improve the client satisfaction rate.
2. Team Collaboration
Accountants, tax professionals, CPAs, and other stakeholders need to work together for the accounting firm to work like a well-oiled machine. However, limited connectivity among them due to local infrastructure can cause miscommunication and lack of transparency, further leading to increased errors in the tasks.
Cloud technology offers a platform wherein the whole workforce can collaborate and access any file or document simultaneously. The changes are updated in real-time, and one doesn’t have to wait for other teammates to email or share the files after completion of the task.
It improves the accuracy and efficiency rate of employees. Moreover, in the case of a global team, accounting firms can collaborate over a common platform and work seamlessly.
3. Scalable Resources
The requirement of IT resources in an accounting firm fluctuates from time to time. Investing in on-premise hardware and software technology can lead to high operational costs and regular maintenance.
Adopting cloud technology offers instant scalability options to its users. Accounting professionals can easily upscale or downscale resources, such as RAM, number of users, storage space, etc.
Since these resources are hosted on the cloud servers, there is no need to hire a separate team to handle the business demands. One gets high-performance resources and services whenever required. It also reduces any technology headaches as the cloud vendor takes care of the changing IT demands and regular updates.
Accountants can host any number of applications on the cloud without compromising the performance of each software. It contributes toward more billable hours of the accountants, CPAs, and tax professionals.
4. Enhanced Security
Data is of the utmost importance to the accounting firms. However, it is prone to various malware attacks and accidents that can compromise with the availability and confidentiality of information.
Using cloud-based solutions can help safeguard information from any accidental attacks. It is because all of the information is stored in far-off server farms. Therefore, even if any local device is lost or damaged, there is no harm to the availability of data.
Most of the competent cloud hosting providers implements various layers of security to safeguard information from various malicious attacks and threats, which include:
- End-to-end encryption
- Multiple firewalls
- Multi-level authentication and access control
- Antivirus and anti-malware system
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS)
- DDoS prevention system
Moreover, a reliable hosting provider offers automatic backups regularly to its users. The backed-up information is stored in geographically isolated data centers. Hence, even if one of the data centers is down, information can be retrieved from another location. It ensures business continuity and efficiency in the long-run.
Purchasing and maintaining traditional in-house infrastructure can cost a fortune to the accounting firms. Additionally, hiring IT professionals to handle these resources can add to the financial budget of the business.
Moving accounting practice to the cloud offers cost-efficient methods to its users. It drastically reduces capital and operational costs. Since the hosting providers offer scalable IT resources like RAM and storage space, there is no need to invest in hardware equipment like servers.
Moreover, accounting professionals only have to pay for what they are using as per their pay-as-you-go pricing plans. Cloud helps build a streamlined system and also eliminates the cost of hiring a separate team to maintain in-house infrastructure.
Another significant cost advantage of adopting cloud technology is that it helps implement various policies like work-from-home and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) that reduces transportation and infrastructure cost by manifolds. It further encourages accounting professionals to work on their core competencies and serve their clients better.
6. Better Monitoring
Decision-makers of the accounting firms must keep track of the performance and workflow of its employees for better efficiency. Moreover, they must have access control to grant permission to only authorized users.
Cloud technology offers a centralized dashboard for better control of the whole process. The constant access helps business owners guide their staff in the right direction and monitor any illegal activity.
Even when some of the services are outsourced, accounting professionals can easily track and get updates on the work process from any remote location. Cloud also allows admins to control permission access from the centralized dashboard. It ensures the integrity and confidentiality of data.
The work of accounting professionals involves planning, forecasting, budgeting, and more. Any disruption in the process can hinder the success of the accounting firm. Therefore, most of the cloud hosting providers offer round-the-clock support to help accounting professionals troubleshoot IT-related issues faced while using technology.
Adopting cloud technology is a one-stop solution to improve the employees’ productivity and efficiency for the growth of the accounting firm.