Moving your accounting firm’s business processes and data can be a huge upheaval, resulting in a dramatic shift in the way things are done day-to-day. It’s important for the decision makers in your firm to consider the benefits and risks associated with making the move to cloud solutions, and what that journey is likely to entail.
If you’re just beginning to look into cloud solutions, it can be difficult to understand what to consider. Below, you’ll find 4 factors to be aware of when deciding whether to make the leap to cloud solutions or not.
Cloud Solutions: A Big Boon to a Big Business, But A Sunk Cost if You’re Small
Price will always be a definitive factor in making purchases, particularly if you’re an accounting firm. When a big business makes a decision to move their processes to the cloud, it’s often a smart financial decision.
Big businesses typically spend a fortune on multiple servers, advanced storage solutions, software maintenance and other such infrastructure costs. Moving to a cloud solution that provides scalable storage and applications that are regularly updated and easy to access from any location makes sense.
However, if you’re a smaller accounting firm, a cloud solution might not seem like financial sense. Cloud solutions can appear to be expensive and cost-prohibitive, often costing more than what you’re used to paying today. Ensure your firm understands the costs involved, and make a decision based on whether a cloud solution will make your business more streamlined, and whether you’re likely to see a quick return on investment.
Why is Your Firm Considering the Cloud?
It’s vital your accounting firm consider why they’re moving to the cloud. What are your businesses’ goals in making the move? If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know if you’ve achieved your goals?
Set aside time to discuss with relevant members of your firm to make clear goals for a cloud solution, and how exactly moving to the cloud would improve the way in which you work.
Will it free up time for other work? Will it reduce IT costs? Will it give your accounting staff more flexibility to work remotely, to meet clients out of the office, for example? Take the time to understand what you’re looking for in a cloud solution, and you’re much more likely to get the most out of making the move. Common reasons our clients move to the cloud are centred around resiliency, security and accessibility.
There Are So Many Clouds…Which One is Right for Your Accounting Firm?
Cloud is a big buzz word in the world of business and accounting; but with companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offering cloud solutions – not to mention the many others – it’s difficult to make the right decision for your accounting firm.
When considering which company to go with, make sure to look at the follow elements and how effective each company is at delivering on them:
- Cost-to-performance ratio; is what you’ll pay outweighed by the value you’ll receive?
- Security; being able to protect sensitive company and client data.
- Tailoring their cloud solutions to your unique business needs.
Each company has its own focus; the big three – Amazon, Microsoft, and Google – have their own values and unique benefits. Amazon’s Web Services platform for example focuses on high volume, offering a wide range of services, but requires significant foresight and planning to avoid unnecessary costs.
Have your firm do its research, using its goals (read the previous section for advice on goals) as a benchmark for what you should be looking for from your chosen vendor.
What’s Being Kept In-House, and What’s Going to the Cloud?
Not all of your accounting firm’s systems have to be on the cloud. In fact, it’s often wise to consider each part of your firm’s business and get a clear understand of what’s most effective – in terms of cost, time, resources and benefits – to move to the cloud.
Related to figuring out your goals for moving to the cloud, make a decision around which areas are most benefitted by the cloud. Would it make most sense to focus on storing your files and emails, or is your firm’s focus solely on disaster recovery and back-up solutions?
One thing to bear in mind: If you’re considering moving software to the cloud, many pieces of specialized software require additional licensing to be used, while some don’t offer a cloud option at all. Some software vendors may not offer cloud-related support, leaving your accounting firm stranded if anything goes wrong.
Consider each part of your business; pieces of software, typical day-to-day processes used by your staff, and so on, to get the full picture of which elements of your firm should be in the cloud, and which are more appropriate staying on-site.