Why Are Accounting Firms Cautious To Shift To Cloud Computing?
A lot of accounting firms are reluctant to shift to cloud computing primarily because of concerns regarding service quality, cost, customization, and integration problems. Initially, these concerns may be a problem for the adoption of cloud computing but suppliers are swiftly releasing new products and services to allay these issues.
Accountants have their own way of doing things and as long as this doesn’t run contrary to accounting principles and standards then they are free to come up with easier means to finish their accounting jobs. Therefore, a problem which accountants foresee when they shift to cloud computing is that they may encounter customization problems. Thus, software suppliers like Intacct and NetSuite have created tools to help accountants with their customization needs. As more and more software applications are released by different suppliers, accounting on the cloud can proved to be easier than the traditional software applications found in the accounting firm’s office.
Data integration is another concern why accountants are wary about shifting to cloud computing. Software on the cloud can entail additional steps a software user must take in order to access cloud computing applications and it can be time consuming maintaining such operations especially when there is large number of applications a user must run. Usually, cloud computing software applications have insufficient integration tools, middleware, and APIs (application programming interfaces) which are often generously provide by applications on-site. However, with such innovative middleware products like Dell’s Boomi, SnapLogic, and Informatica, integration to cloud computing applications have become extremely convenient.
There are accounting professionals who believe that cloud computing systems are actually more expensive in terms of TCO (total cost of ownership) as compared to on-site options although initial costs of cloud computing are generally lower than the traditional accounting applications on-premises. However, extremely high initial costs for on-premise applications can’t be afforded by small companies. Monthly subscription fees, which cloud computing offers, are more empowering to such companies when they can’t afford on-premise applications.
It should be noted also that these low monthly subscription fees can prove to be more expensive in the future because companies may opt to upgrade to larger packages which will eventually add up to thousands of dollars annually. In this light, suppliers of cloud computing applications are quick to explain that such applications are really worth the cash a company pays. Any software which can save money and time for the business are justified of its price tag. Accounting firms must look into the value of the service rather than the cost.
Another great concern of accounting firms is the advantage of having on-location IT professionals who are concerned about the business because they can provide more value than any vendor supporting a lot of customers. In the end, accounting firms must compare the value of outsourcing its IT to the value of maintaining IT professional on-premise. Most accountants will surely prefer having their IT services outsourced because maintaining a team of in-house IT professionals can be such a headache. Choosing a software application is difficult but with cloud computing, the prospects are better. Accounting firms may have their hesitations but with the continuous development of software tools to make the shift to cloud computing easier, it may not take long before accountants decide to move to cloud computing.
By Florence de Borja
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