COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our world. In a relatively short space of time, few areas of life have not been impacted by the pandemic — the way we interact, think about money and consider work has significantly altered.
As so many of us globally get comfortable in this new way of life, innovative organisations across industries have capitalised on growing technology trends to reimagine the way we conduct business.
Cloud computing software has grown considerably in recent years, fast becoming a popular choice for CPAs and firms everywhere as they adapt to remote working. But what is cloud accounting? And how does this new technology support accountants working remotely?
In this article, we’ll discuss this exciting trend and explore the benefits (and risks) cloud-based accounting software offers accountants working remotely.
38% of European businesses already use cloud-based financial software. As remote working continues to grow in popularity, that number is expected to increase. But, what is cloud-based accounting?
To answer that, we first need to understand cloud computing. Put simply, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services, including servers, databases, storage, networking, and analytics — all via the internet, or “cloud”. Cloud computing promises to lower operational costs, run faster and offer more flexibility to businesses across sectors.
Cloud accounting moves all the functionality of traditional accounting online. Before cloud-based financial software, accounting was desktop-based — installed and run from the hard drive of a computer.
- Access anywhere, anytime — with cloud accounting, CPAs have access to their accounts wherever they have an internet connection. Perfect for travel, on the go, and of course, remote working, cloud accounting offers the flexibility to access key financial data from smartphones and tablets.
- Real-time information — cloud-based financial software promises real-time reporting. CPAs can benefit from immediate, up-to-date overviews of their client’s financial health. In the fast-paced world of business, instant information is essential for strategic decision making. Whether in the office or at home, cloud accounting makes it easy.
- Multiple Users — cloud-based accounting software supports multi-user access, making collaboration with other accountants, advisors and clients simple and straightforward. This approach ensures everyone’s on the same page, even when out of the office.
- Secure data — accountants, clients and businesses enjoy safe and secure access to their financial information at any time, without the need for USB drives and email back and forths containing sensitive data. A significant benefit for accountants working away from their desktops at the office.
- Avoids time-consuming updates — with cloud-based accounting, CPAs are always working with the latest version of the software and avoid cumbersome system updates that eat away the day.
- Internet access — accountants can only access cloud-based technology through a stable internet connection. Unreliable networks, from either the service user or provider’s side, can cause considerable headaches for CPAs working from home.
- Hacking — often the biggest concern when using cloud-based accounting software, security risks can pose potential threats for accountants and their clients. As the confidential data is no longer localised and held instead on the cloud, the possibility for breaches and attacks increases.
- Client compliance — For clients unaccustomed to cloud-based systems, there’s the potential for missed deadlines and costly mistakes that cannot be easily rectified while CPAs work remotely.
- Monthly Cost — while the subscription-based model of cloud computing software is often a benefit for accountants and firms, essential financial add-ons such as security and recovery systems can incur hefty costs for CPAs.
Cloud accounting has revolutionised the efficiency of accounting, but does this new technology support accountants working remotely?
As we’ve seen, it’s not without risk. Increased potential for cyberattacks and incurred costs can cause significant problems for accountants and clients, while something as simple as a faulty internet connection could spell disaster.
The benefits of cloud-based accounting software, however, prove that the world of finance is changing. Flexible, fast and functional, cloud accounting empowers CPAs to work from anywhere — even in the face of a global pandemic.
With all the same functionality as desktop accounting, paired with minimal installation, automatic updates, backups, portability and instantaneous access, cloud accounting offers a modern day upgrade to traditional processes.Interested in learning more about emerging accountancy trends in 2021? Read our blog here.
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