Accountants turning to the cloud more
December 31, 2013

Every so often, new technologies emerge that take an industry by storm. New tools can allow office workers to become much more productive, and efficient, saving time and money. For instance, consider digitization - this technology has allowed office workers to abandon paper records and save time that would otherwise be spent thumbing through folders and files.

In terms of accounting trends, the latest technology to appear on the horizon and change the game is the cloud. This has been around for a number of years, but recent information has suggested that an increasing number of business accountants are starting to place forms, information, programs and records on a platform they can access from any Internet-enabled device.

Increasing interest in cloud services
According to a recent CPA2Biz study, the volume of CPA firms using the cloud is steadily increasing. Almost half of all respondents explained that they started using cloud services within their firms, which is a solid increase from the 44 percent who said the same in 2012. 

While there are a number of concerns for those using the technology, such as vendors' responses to data breaches and internal controls, interest in these tools is on the rise. This simply means that accounting firm owners need to make sure they are only investing in the highest quality cloud platforms for best results.

"Web-based services are here to stay," noted CPA2Biz President and CEO Erik Asgeirsson. "But firms need to do their homework, put in place well-defined service agreements and choose vendors who have a demonstrated commitment to ongoing technology assurance services."

Follow guidelines
If using the cloud is new to a business, the American Institute of CPAs has released a number of guidelines on how to make the most of the technology within accounting firms. For instance, the group makes it clear that there are different types of cloud computing methods, and firm leaders can pick and choose which strategies work best for their company. Moreover, the texts point out the various benefits of using the cloud, like increased personal productivity, workflow advantages, CRM and other perks.

If accountants and bookkeepers are still unsure of how they can leverage the technology within their firms, they could look to an early 2012 interview featured in the Journal of Accountancy, which outlines the various advantages, challenges and ways they can better ensure connectivity in the workplace. For example, the interview with various experts revealed that one of the biggest perks is the fact that firms can better interact with their clients when they're on the cloud, because it enables real-time conversations.

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