What if your firm was asked to improve productivity by 5% this year? To achieve that level of productivity improvement, you need to know all of your options. Improving your technology capabilities by adopting cloud services is one of the best ways to improve your productivity as an accountant.
What Are Cloud Services?
Let’s take a moment to define our terms before continuing further.
- Traditional Software. Also known as “on-premises software,” traditional software used to be sold and delivered on CD and DVD. Today, traditional software is usually provided as a download. Traditional software is installed on a single computer at a time. If that computer is damaged, lost or loses power, you cannot access the software or data.
- Cloud Software/Services. Also known as “Software as a Service,” cloud services are accessed by connecting to a server which stores the program and all of your data. If you have ever used Gmail, Yahoo Email or Hotmail, then you have used “cloud” email. Instead of taking hours to install new software, accessing cloud services usually takes just a few minutes.
The Path To Improved Productivity
If you are comfortable with traditional software, you may wonder if it makes sense to consider a change. In our opinion, switching your firm to cloud services improves productivity in several ways. First, cloud services offer greater cost flexibility. Second, cloud services let you and your staff work from any location so you can make the most of travel. Third, cloud services reduce the risk of business disruption.
It’s important to note that there are several types of “cloud” services. In this article, we will focus mainly on “Software As A Service” (SaaS) solutions like Microsoft Office 365. Other types of cloud services include “Infrastructure As A Service” (IaaS) and business process outsourcing (“BPaaS”). According to Gartner, an IT research firm, global spending on SaaS exceeds $100 billion US.
Cost Optimisation With Cloud Services
When you purchase traditional software, you generally have limited flexibility and fixed costs. As a result, your software arrangements cannot easily keep pace with changes in your firm. If you hire several employees next week, just think of all the steps you must go through to set them up. You need to place an order for a new computer, set up their phone and get all of their required software in place. Unfortunately, installing and configuring the software to fit your firm’s requirements takes time and money. Use the following strategies to optimise your costs with cloud services:
Buy only the software you need. Rather than buying a large number of software licenses, cloud services make it easy to buy what you need. If you need to reduce your costs as business conditions change, you can easily do that with cloud services.
- Continue Using Your Favourite Software. Do you rely on Microsoft Office for your daily work? Microsoft has made this popular software available as a cloud service called Microsoft Office 365.
- Reduce Setup Time. Some accounting firms hire new staff each year. If you’re not careful, those new hires will sit around with nothing to do if you do not have computers ready to start work. With cloud services, most of their software can be prepared for use in minutes. The result? New hires become productive more quickly.
Improved Productivity Outside The Office
Think about all the clients you serve each year.
Depending on the client’s business, you may have to visit their office several times to carry out work and develop the relationship. During those client visits, you need access to your files and applications. For example, you may have discovered ways to optimise the client’s accounts receivable process and create a presentation to explain the idea. However, the client may ask for additional details to better understand the proposal. If you are using cloud services, you can easily retrieve additional data and answer client questions quickly. Clients will notice your improved speed and take note.
There are other ways to boost productivity with the flexibility provided by cloud services.
- Work From Home. Each year, more professionals demand the ability to work from home in order to better meet the demands of their life. Failing to accommodate this trend will slowly erode your reputation as a desirable employer. Providing work from home flexibility does not have to be costly. The same cloud service can be accessed at the office and at home.
- Work During Travel. Do you have a long train ride to and from the office each day? According to the Guardian, over three million British worker “commute daily for two hours or more.” With a cloud service like Microsoft Office 365, you can make the most of this time. It’s a great option to make the most of the quiet morning hours before you arrive at the office.
Reducing Business Risk With Cloud Services: The Business Continuity Advantage
Accountants face significant business risks each day in their work. What if a computer failure caused you to lose your data and reports right before a critical client deadline? How would you explain that failure to your client? As part of your strategy to reduce these business risks, we recommend including cloud services.
- Building/Facilities Risk. If your office loses power, your computers and data may be damaged. If you adopt cloud services, lost productivity will be minimised as you will be able to quickly switch to alternatives. Many companies have work from home policies as part of their business continuity strategy.
- Improved Data Backup. Backing up the firm’s data is an excellent practice. Unfortunately, on-site backups may be damaged or lost in the event of a fire or other facilities problem. By using a cloud applications and data backup, your data is stored securely off site at a secure data centre.
Find Out If Cloud Services Are Right For Your Firm
Contact us today to request a productivity and risk assessment of your current technology arrangements. In our experience, we usually find several ways to reduce risk and improve productivity. Moving to cloud services could add thousands of pounds to your profits.
Contact us to see how your company can optimise technology.