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7 Things to Consider Before Moving to Cloud Accounting Software

November 14th, 2018

7 Things to Consider Before Moving to Cloud Accounting Software

Are you thinking of moving your accounting firm’s data to the cloud? If so, you will soon be joining hundreds of other accounting firms who have reduced costs and improved their profitability by doing the same. But despite the numerous advantages the cloud offers, firms still need to do their homework before migrating to the cloud or choosing a provider. Making a well-informed decision can help you avoid any hassles later on and improve convenience for you and your clients.

Before you move to the cloud, here are seven important things you should consider.

How easy it is to use

When your organisation migrates to the cloud, your firm’s employees as well as your client base will need to start operating on it as well. Because of this, you need to evaluate how simple it is for various individuals to use. If the software is too technical for a layman to use, your internal staff and clients will be reluctant to make use of it.

There are broadly two features you need to look at to understand the technology’s ease of use:

  • The dashboard: One of the biggest advantages of moving to the cloud is that it gives all stakeholders complete real-time visibility. To make full use of this, the online dashboard design needs to be simple to use. The increased transparency will foster trust and is the key to strengthening client relationships.
  • Logins: Both your internal team as well as your clients will need to regularly log into the cloud. If this process is too cumbersome, it might defeat the purpose of switching to the cloud.

 How reliable the CSP is

 Today, there are a number of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). However, not all of them are created equal. Before choosing the provider that is best suited to your organisation’s needs, you need to vet each of your options. Don’t go by the brand’s claims alone; you need them vetted by unbiased third-parties as well.

The two most reliable ways to go about this is through:

  • Accreditations: Each country has a governing body for the accounting industry. In the UK, for example, it’s the ACCA. These bodies often evaluate CSPs and certify them if they pass all the requirements. A certification from a prestigious governing body automatically lets you know that a CSP is legitimate and reliable.
  • Testimonials: Always check for reviews of a CSP before settling on one. You can go through forums and look for recommendations. If you have connections with others who are in the field, you can also ask them to recommend a CSP.

Does the CSP provide easy customer support?

Using cloud software does almost eliminate the need for your IT department to conduct regular maintenance checks. However, you still need adequate support to set up the software, integrate your firm’s existing data with it and offer solutions in case of any issues in the future. 24×7 customer support is crucial as time is of the essence when it comes to accounting. If there is a security breach or if the software malfunctions, you cannot waste a second in getting it fixed. But apart from round-the-clock support, the CSP should also provide staff that can train your internal teams about how to use the cloud and facilitate a smooth transition.

Assess organisational challenges to adoption

Migrating to the cloud is an almost instantaneous process, however, adjusting your organisation to it is not. Depending on your firm’s technological maturity, you might need to restructure your internal and external processes in order to adapt to the cloud. The instant nature of the cloud, which is its greatest benefit, can also be its greatest danger if you implement it without preparing your firm. Since it can be added immediately, it doesn’t give your firm any time to adjust to such a massive change. To avoid any potential roadblocks along the way which can affect the efficiency of your firm, it’s crucial that you do a complete analysis of your firm’s cloud-readiness. This way, you can take proactive measures to ensure that you don’t face any issues down the road.

Assess the real business impact

Numerous reports on cloud technology stress the financial benefits of shifting to the cloud. However, you can’t rely on these numbers alone for an accurate estimation of how cloud technology will impact your accounting firm. Before choosing a CSP -even before deciding to shift to the cloud- your team needs to conduct a complete cost-benefit analysis of this change. The final estimation that this analysis provides can point your firm towards a budget for a CSP and will help finalise your decision.

 Choose the type of features you require

‘The cloud’ is actually an umbrella term for a type of software that comes with many different features. Depending on the size, functions and budget of your firm, the exact mix of features you require. This can help avoid paying for expensive features that you don’t actually need.

The best way to finalise on a list of features is to look at your client portfolio and their specific requirements. There will some basic functions such as payroll computing will be common across all clients. Apart from that, your clients might need specific features depending on the industry they work in, currencies they deal in, whether they are shareholders or have their own business, etc.

Assess the security gaps in the cloud

Data security and privacy have always been played a big role in the accounting industry, however, with the introduction of GDPR, they have never been more important. Before moving to the cloud, you need to ensure that there is zero room for any security breaches. One of the most important security features that the CSP should have is a multi-layer security login. Numerous people from across departments will be logging into the cloud, but not all of them need visibility into every process. Having a separate login at each level can prevent your data from being stolen or misused by falling into the wrong hands.

Migrating to the cloud is undoubtedly one of the best strategic decisions an accounting firm can make. It can simplify internal operations and also make a firm better-equipped to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.

To learn more about Sundaram Business Services and how we can support your organisation, visit sundarambizserv.com

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