Are you still wondering – who’s using the cloud?
You’ve been hearing the hype about the cloud for a while. Perhaps you’ve even been thinking about making the leap to hosting your applications in the cloud.
In many cases, you’re using the cloud and may not even realize it. After all, your email is hosted online, even if it is downloaded to your email client. You pay bills and may even sign your kids up for little league – all online.
Small- to mid-sized businesses use the cloud for access, scalability and reliability. You can access your client database while on vacation in Bermuda, increase your storage capacity if you get a new customer or client, and have next to no down time.
So the question isn’t really who uses the cloud, but why not make better use of the cloud? If you are not making good use of the cloud, examine your reasons. Here are some pointed out in Together in the Cloud:
- Comfort Zone
- Hidden Agendas
Many small company owners & managers know the benefits of maintaining the business books; they also know just how time intensive it can be!
Proper bookkeeping is solely for the benefit of operating a company; it is a must for business owners to keep up to date with their P&L and revenue targets.*
From CPA Practice Advisor by Kacee Johnson
Get the White Paper – A Specialized Cloud for Accountants
Presently there are MANY accounting software packages available off the shelf, with some being industry standards, and some being more niche specialized. Amidst the decision-matrix there is a growing move towards selecting cloud-based accounting and virtual server software hosting, which functions and is accessed via the web. This basically means that the bookkeeping and accounting processes happen online, rather than localized to an individual PC.
Cloud Accounting Concerns
One essential concern company owners have with cloud accounting is data security. This in itself should not be an overriding concern; cloud access is only granted by permission from authorized account holders. The best cloud hosting companies invest significant capital in security and backup. Essentially, data may actually be safer than if it was stored locally. For example, data could be lost through theft of hardware or failure when stored on an office computer or server. Such risk is minimised when data is stored in the cloud and protected by high levels of security and backup procedure.
Cloud Services for Law Firms is gaining traction among attorneys for several good reasons.
Advocates and early adapters of Cloud Services for Law Firms maintain that its chief advantages include economy, simplicity and accessibility.
Get the white paper: Cloud9 Legal Cloud Report
See also: Interest in Paperless Law Firm Capabilities Picking Up
Cloud Services for Law Firms now include legal practice management solutions, document management and data storage, secure document and information platforms, hosted secure email exchanges, digital dictation services and billing/time tracking. Cloud-based SME platforms are innovative, economical and increasingly viable for legal practices of all sizes.
Cloud Services for Law Firms Advantages
Law firm cloud computing advantages include reduced overhead due to decreased IT costs, increased ease of IT maintenance and support,
Taking advantage of law firm cloud computing allows attorneys to focus on providing legal services while the cloud provider updates, upgrades and maintains the practice management, accounting, time tracking, and other applications on both a regular and emergency basis.
How can cloud based servers add immediate real value to a small business or professional practice?
Cloud computing has ushered in new possibilities to enhance small business IT processes by leveraging computer technology at an unprecedented new pace. From unleashing untapped IT resources with cloud based servers, to allowing staff members to use their personally selected BYOD smart devices for work, to reducing IT costs operating and maintenance costs, operating from the cloud allows businesses to remain focused on core business objectives.
There are a myriad of ways in which small business cloud based servers can accelerate small business value. A qualified cloud service provider can assist your small business to implement best practices for your specific needs, your customers, and your overall operational model.
Lowering IT Costs
Cloud based servers allow small businesses to rapidly scale and explore technologies that are needed when they are needed, while foregoing the total cost of owning and maintaining such technologies.
Ten Attributes of Good Cloud Service Providers
Small business cloud computing is growing rapidly with increasing number of new players. If you are just beginning to look for a cloud service provider, here are the top considerations you should hold firmly in mind.
See also: Just How Secure Is Your Cloud?
1. Top Technical Expertise
Cloud service providers should not be approached like a commodity: it is not as elementary as providing you with the lowest rate computer in a server farm. Reliable cloud computing demands much technical expertise to initiate the right system that warranties sufficient security for your data and allows you to run your business without interruption. Key consideration should be placed on the quality of the cloud service provider’s support team and their technical adroitness.
*Sources: CloudTweaks and Sleeter Goup
You will be migrating confidential enterprise data to a third-party server. You really must able to trust the cloud computing provider. Query their representatives and determine if they are they team with whom you can trust your confidential corporate data. Ask for references and client testimonials. Research the cloud service provider completely before trusting them with your resources. Also, look for their industry accreditations and awards.
With our third and biggest annual Cloud Summit behind us, we will be recapping the benefits proffered by the Summit’s showcase vendors, beginning with an overview and white paper from SurePrep, a cloud technology that garnered a lot of excitement among attendees.
Integrating traditional paper-based processes with paperless technology offers tax and accounting practitioners the organizational and review flexibility of paper plus the efficiency of a digital workflow
White Paper author David Wyle, CPA, leads the SurePrep team as president and CEO. Prior to SurePrep, he founded ePace! Software and was a CPA with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. Over the years, David has emerged as a leading voice in the tax and accounting profession, specifically in the areas of the paperless office.
Over the last decade, the accounting and tax professions have undergone a slow and steady evolution to the paperless office—a transition that began in the area of audit. As audit professionals started to reap the rewards of more efficient, paperless workpapers, tax practitioners took note and soon followed suit—putting the tax department at the center of the paperless movement.
While no longer in its infancy, the era of cloud computing services is relatively new and must circumnavigate a number of challenges that could impede further growth.
“The best way a company can protect itself is to team up with reputable providers and to avoid unintentionally compromising data security by rushing to escape limitations caused by metered bandwidth.”
Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented pace. Large and small businesses are accelerating their bandwidth consumption as they increasingly make use of the many opportunities the cloud has to offer. Companies particularly appreciate the availability of services that were once only available to enterprise-level firms, such as data storage, security, billing support, and business voice.
A recent ISF survey found two major trends that are accelerating the cloud computing explosion, and therein lies the rub -
The smart enterprise: The need to boost efficiency and optimize the use of assets will continue driving organizations to greater use of cloud computing, including both “public cloud”, “private cloud” and “hybrid cloud”. Organizations should make best use of these without increasing complexity and costs.
Pavlov and Cloud Computing: How Will We Ever Overcome Our Old Paradigm Anxiety?
It is intriguing to ponder why some wrestle with the cloud-computing paradigm of data management. It often seems more secure to some to have our most important files and software applications in close proximity to our station where we can have a visual on the server where it all resides. Similar to ‘Pavlov’s dog’ we are pre-conditioned towards the familiar as the safer option. For instance when we believe we must own the applications and the location where they reside “because its safer and more convenient that way.”
See also – Server Still Under The Mattress?
“After all we own our home, our vehicles, and our money. And yet even that is not the truth in its entirety,” writes Don Cleveland at the industry newsletter CloudTweaks. “For most of us, however, the mortgage holder can be considered at least a part owner who requires us to have insurance and make payments. And if all of us decided to visit our money at the bank on the same day we would be disappointed yet we rest assured that the government has guaranteed it, and the banks are taking care of it.”
Hosted QuickBooks for the Modern World of Business
21st century technology is altering the way businesses and their CPAs do accounting. The agencies that stay on the cutting edge of this trend will benefit from improved efficiency, reduced IT costs and greater flexibility. However, embracing this technology also can mean considering new business models.
Hosted QuickBooks is a simple concept
A case in point: The way hosted QuickBooks works is easy to grasp. Instead of paying a licensing fee to have software installed on your local desktop or office server, you pay a monthly service fee for a hosted QuickBooks provider to host the application remotely. You then access the hosted QuickBooks from any computer, and because your data is now as well hosted on the provider’s remote servers, anyone who uses the hosted QuickBooks system sees the data in real time.
See also: Cloud9 Nabs Top Accounting Cloud Hosting Award
Get the: Accounting Cloud White Paper
Cloud Accounting and Storage: The Twenty First Century Way to Account for YOUR Business*
When a small business buys an accounting or tax preparation application, like Intuit, Drake or Sage, typically its installed on one or two computers and stored within a local network where individuals access the integral business and financial information. However, if the local network or server or application(s) crashes, the information is lost, and users must rely on the backup – assuming it was backed up.
*Sources: CloudTweaks.com and Sleeter.com
The popularity of Cloud Computing Accounting Hosting has grown dramatically over the last five years. The poster child for this movement is (of course) Cloud9 Real Time,* but there are hundreds perhaps thousands, of business software applications now being provided securely and cost effectively over the Internet using a reliable cloud computing host.
*See: A Specialized Cloud For Accountants – White Paper
In recent years, increasingly, accounting firms (and small businesses in general) are turning to cloud computing services to host their accounting and tax software. Instead of installing the accounting application on your local desktop computer, you can utilize a cloud service and access your company’s financial information online. Continue reading
As an accounting professional, you understand the value cloud services can bring to your practice –
- helping you boost efficiency and drive more profitability into your business. But how do you take the next step in making it happen for your firm? Simple. Look across the workflows in your practice that are the most paper and time intensive, pick an area to focus on, pick a few clients to test a new workflow with – and measure the results. Sound easy enough? (Don’t worry, we’ll help you get there…)
CLICK TO REGISTER: Weds Sept 5th 1PM-2PM CDT
In this interactive webinar, we’ll show you how SmartVault can be integrated into common workflows in your practice – tax preparation, bookkeeping, “clean up” and virtual CFO services – so that you can work more efficiently, be more responsive to your clients, and ultimately deliver more profit to your practice.
The ideas of cloud computing and cloud accounting are simple.
The accounting and other office applications are on the Internet, which CPA practices do not need to purchase, load, or maintain. There isn’t anyneed to hire technicians because these firms only need a broadband Web connection and a browser. Gone are the network switches, operating systems, applications, and servers at the local area. For cloud-borne operations, such things belong to the cloud, the Internet, and the cloud computing provider.
Infographic source: CloudTweaks
A CPA or other accounting firm can benefit from cloud computing in different ways. One, the overhead is quite low. System administration, upgrades, and maintenance become the responsibility of the supplier and everything happens in the cloud. Therefore, the practice need not pay a manager to monitor any software/hardware work which usually occurs during weekends or at night. For a small firm of 100 employees, cloud computing software typically costs 50% less than software installed in the firm’s premises, in a span of 4 years.
Remember us. Cloud9 Real Time was voted Best Accountant’s Cloud by more accounting professionals. Get a free demo or take a 7-day test drive and discover why Cloud9 is the favorite cloud computing provider in accounting today!
CPA firm disasters come in many different forms:
Accounting firm server crashes, hard drive failures, disgruntled employees and of course the all too unfortunate natural disasters. When the storm hits – how prepared is your accounting practice and your clients?
Every accounting firm should have a Disaster Recovery Plan, here are the essentials to get you started:
1. Offsite backup of all accounting firm data. Tape backups are not reliable. Backups need to be regularly scheduled and automatic.
2. Know your accounting office functions. Being able to recognize what materials, procedures and equipment are essential to keep your business running is the first step to taking inventory of what needs to be recovered promptly.
3. Have a list of your accounting firm employees phone numbers readily available. Have a person in charge of contacting accounting clients during a disaster, communication is key.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing to Finance and Accounting
What exactly is the ‘Cloud?’ Many people now use the term “cloud computing” to describe many varied technologies and services. Cloud computing is not new per’se. What that simply means is that software applications are delivered using Web infrastructure where the client side is a web browser. For some varieties known by another name, this is Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS. Cloud could also mean PaaS or IaaS, but SaaS is close for this article.
What Are the Major Benefits of Cloud Computing to Finance and Accounting?
Location-Independent Data Access
SaaS and cloud hosting delivers on the pledge that has been spoken about in the software business for decades: location-independent data-access. Firms and their clients gain access to whatever they want from wherever they are.
There are major benefits if you’re a multi-location business. No longer must we be concerned about exchanging files through e-mail, telephone calls, or waiting until their computer is online another time.
Eliminate the Headaches and Cost of In-House IT