Top 3 Concerns of Moving to the Cloud
I have truly enjoyed traveling the country this year sharing what I have learned about incorporating the cloud into my everyday business activities and introducing some of the exciting products Intuit® is providing to accountants.
When it comes to online financial tools, accounting professionals are now overwhelmingly looking for remote access, security, cost effectiveness and efficiency. Moving into the cloud was vital to allow me and my staff to work remotely despite geographical location. All of my business activities are now quickly and easily accessible because all the information I need is only a key stroke away.
When presenting at the “Freedom in the Cloud” tour events sponsored by Intuit, the accounting professionals I speak with are either just beginning to consider working in the cloud or are slowing moving in that direction.
One common denominator I have found is that most accountants have very little experience with working with QuickBooks® Online. In addition, most accountants are not familiar with QuickBooks Online for Accountants. According to Intuit, subscriptions for QuickBooks Online are up 28.1%. It is clear to see that the national trend by consumers is steadily moving toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, such as Quickbooks Online.
When speaking with accountants across the country who are looking to move their business to the cloud, there are several universal concerns:
One of the most important concerns is the security of data. If you are presently using QuickBooks Online, you already have the same security standards as seen with other financial institutions. When I ask the accountants I speak to how many se online banking, I typically get 100%. In addition, when working on a virtual server, you are able to monitor the IP address being used to access the data.
The second concern I hear from a lot of accountants is cost. I find that working in the cloud is actually more cost effective. Hardware upgrades become a thing of the past. Software can be paid for on a monthly basis as opposed to upfront. The main additional cost consideration is expanded bandwidth connectivity in office or remotely. This cost continues to decline.
Finally, I often hear the concerning question, “How long is this transition going to take to move to the cloud?” This is not an overnight process. Take a few business applications that you use and see how they can be incorporated on the cloud. Methodically work through the transition and before you know it, you will no longer have a need for that filing cabinet or server that you once had in your office.
There are a few trends that I have seen over the past couple of years that I feel are vital to living in the cloud world:
Paperless: While not the buzz word anymore, going paperless is still very important if you plan on being able to use all functionality of the cloud.
Quickbooks Online Accountant: Assists accountants in managing their client base from a portal with helpful tools. Also allows the accountant to quickly move in and out of client company files in a rapid fashion, plus added functionality for the accountants to perform their monthly task.
Third-Party Integration with Quickbooks Products: This is the ecosystem of products that allows accountants to perform a multitude of duties for clients that could not be done effectively inside Quickbooks alone.
Virtual Servers: Virtual Servers create a central location to gather and work on client’s data. It is managed by 3rd Party IT professionals and allows you as the advisor to focus on accounting as opposed to becoming an IT specialist.
Tablet in the Workplace: More and more functions can be done effectively from the tablet in the workplace. There are new apps coming out every week to allow us to complete many tasks previously only done on a computer.
If you have recently considered moving into the virtual world or if you presently already have one foot in the door, I strongly urge you to attend a Freedom In The Cloud session. The speakers share personal stories of their experience with the cloud transition. They also discuss how to incorporate the tablet into everyday business. There is also an opportunity to actually see the products and their functionality during an interactive time with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online for Accountants. At the culmination of the session each, participants will be prepared to take the QuickBooks Certification Exam.