Steps Accounting Firms Can Take To Move To Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is changing how accountants do their business. It is a rather simple and uncomplicated model of how technology continues to find solutions in improving business functions. Cloud computing providers have already provided a lot of services to cater to the needs of accounting firms and accountants. Most of these services deal with internal accounting firm applications and solutions where accountants can work with their clients.
When an accounting firm decides to take advantage of cloud computing, it is highly significant to consider the internet connectivity because the internet plays a vital role in cloud computing systems. Once you avail of cloud computing, you also have to move to a higher bandwidth internet subscription. As much as possible, you have to buy the internet service offering the best bandwidth availability you can afford. As your accounting firm grows, your bandwidth needs will also grow. Also, you may have to inform your internet service provider about the significant rise in bandwidth usage during the usual accounting busy season.
You don’t need to be locked with bandwidth contracts for a long time because technology is continuously evolving which drives internet service providers to offer more services at a lower price. You may also consider blocking some media sites which stream huge amounts of information to end users. Instead of blocking these sites, some companies initiate internet acceptable use policies which determine acceptable and unacceptable utilization of your company’s bandwidth. However, for better management of bandwidth, you can implement both. You can have an internet acceptable use policy and, at the same time, block sites which stream a lot of data.
When an accounting firm first migrates to the cloud, it is expected that it has no knowledge about which applications to migrate first. Although a lot of accounting applications can be migrated to the clouds, the best and easiest application to migrate is the applications for tax preparations. Tax applications on the clouds offer accountants flexibility because tax returns can be generated anywhere and anytime. This move will greatly benefit those accounting firms who want to improve their employees’ work-life balance. This also benefits the younger generation of employees who desire to work differently than the previous generations ahead of them. More importantly, updates to the tax software become the responsibility of the cloud computing provider.
The next phase of migration must move document or content management of the accounting firm. Document management becomes a breeze with cloud computing. An accounting firm employee will just need keywords or phrases to be able to search voluminous data hosted in the clouds. Recovery of information is faster with cloud computing than physically going through file cabinets for the needed information. Data is also protected and secured from unauthorized access by other employees.
Aside from tax and content, the accounting firm can then migrate other practice areas like CPE and Education Tracking; Employee Evaluation; Electronic Workflow; and Practice Management. Aside from migrating applications specific to the accounting profession, the accounting firm can also move other solutions common with other industries like e-mail. Applications used to collaborate with clients can also be migrated to the clouds. There are applications available which lets an accounting firm bill a client and provides a way for that client to pay online. Most of these applications can even be integrated to the current accounting system being used by the accounting firm.
Moving your applications and data to the clouds may not necessarily decrease overall spending. Although the clouds provide reduced spending on on-premise infrastructure, an accounting firm may need to spend more money on internet service, space allocation subscriptions, and storage. In essence, cloud computing does offer a lot of benefits to accounting firms. However, extreme caution must be exercised in choosing the right cloud computing vendor in order enjoy all benefits the clouds can offer.
Florence de Borja
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