Cloud computing is not a new innovation, but it’s only recently that specialised professions such as accounting have come to recognise its many potential benefits.
The term ‘cloud computing’ has been swimming around the internet for many years now, but it’s only lately that the concept has begun to move from being simply a tech one to an application that’s actually being used in most workplaces.
The delayed acceptance of cloud computing into business operations and workplaces was due to most business owners being unable to grasp in real terms what they could benefit from it. Now, more and more businesses have begun to see the light, with an increasing number of companies viewing cloud computing as a ‘must have’.
If, unlike these companies, you are still unclear about what cloud computing is, a brief explanations is in order.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing can be described as the use of secure data centres to store servers and the data they hold. This stored data can be easily accessed by their owners or authorised users from anywhere in the world via the web.
This implies that if a business is using cloud computing, it has no need to have servers or data stored within its offices. Instead, its data can be accessed conveniently with the use of a computer or smart device any time it’s needed, as long as there’s internet access.
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With cloud computing, any number of computers or other devices can access the same data via the cloud, without impacting its performance. This is possible due to the unlimited storage and processing resources provided by a cloud system provider. It’s basically a more convenient, secure, and cost-effective way for a company to handle all its data and information, without having to be physically responsible for it.
Types of commonly used cloud systems
The cloud can be generally divided into private, public, and personal. Organisations that are known to make use of public cloud are Facebook and Google. Private clouds on the other hand are used by companies who would like to secure their information on a hosted data centre. The purpose of this is to enjoy better efficiency, enhanced security, and more reliability.
Personal cloud provides authorised owners access to a single location where all their personal information can be stored. There’s also the option to share access to this stored data with anyone the cloud owner chooses.
How accountants are using the cloud to their benefit
As earlier stated, various enterprises have begun taking advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing to expand their operations. One particular field where use of the cloud is gaining more eminence is that of accountancy.
Typically, accountants like to minimise loss and risk, whilst maximising profit. With cloud computing, this can be easily accomplished in a variety of ways.
- Reduces operational costs
Cloud computing allows businesses such as accounting firms to significantly reduce their running costs by taking away the need for purchasing and maintaining expensive servers or an extensive IT department. This means less is spent on software, hardware, energy bills, and a variety of other overheads.
- Increases mobility
With cloud computing, stored data can be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day. This means that the staff of such an accountancy firm can accomplish a lot, even when they’re not physically present in the office. It also allows for company employees to easily communicate and share information with one another, when a staff member is away in another geographical location.
- Simplifies IT management
According to experts, “…businesses are opting for cloud hosting solutions so they can cut costs from all sorts of angles…”
Establishments that have their own in-house servers normally need to have competent IT staff available to monitor and maintain the servers. Aside from the cost of upgrading and housing the servers, there’s also the cost of paying IT department staff, even when their services aren’t required.
With cloud hosting, such costs are unnecessary, as accountancy firms get to enjoy the benefits of using a server, but without any of the hassle or cost of babysitting one. Support needs or service issues can all be handled by the service provider, and very little IT intervention is needed.
- Automatic software updates
Hardware upgrades and software updates are all taken care of by the cloud hosting provider. This means the accounting firm will always have the latest and the best, without having to lift a finger – and at a reduced implementation cost.
- Reduces the time and cost of processing documents and data
Cloud based solutions also provide for the integration of document scanning, which makes it convenient to scan invoices and have them automatically sent to the accounting system, whenever needed. Such entries can be easily accessed and the information used for a variety of purposes. Such ease and efficiency can significantly minimise the time it takes to fulfil certain functions, as well as minimise the cost of operations for both accountants and clients.
Large accountancy firms aren’t just made up of accountants. They usually have supporting departments and implementing a cloud system within such an accountancy firm facilitates synergy across various departments.
Collaboration is essential, because even though each department has a unique role to play, tasks must be fulfilled in a manner that doesn’t clash with the activities of other departments.
With a cloud system, departments can effectively work together on projects and help each other with updates in real time.
For an accountancy firm to enjoy the many benefits of what cloud computing has to offer, it’s best to opt for the services of a reputable cloud system provider, who can deliver as required. With quality cloud computing, more is possible at less cost, including the analysis of huge volumes of data and speedy release of information.
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