Rose Report: Issue 3
Accounting in the Cloud
What is the cloud? For those who don’t consider themselves tech savvy, the idea of cloud-based computing can seem vague and intimidating. But even people who don’t think they know the answer to the question above likely rely on the cloud every day.
E-mail programs such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are all cloud-based, as are social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A comparison of Google Docs to Microsoft Word illustrates the benefits of the cloud. Whereas a Word document saved on a home computer can only be edited from that single computer, the same document created using Google Docs can be accessed and altered from anywhere in the world. Not only that, the author of the Google Docs document can invite others to access the document from their computers to make changes to it. And while the Word document can accidentally get deleted and become lost forever, the Google Docs version cannot. That level of convenience is why the cloud is so useful.
Really, “cloud” is just a buzz word for a relatively simple concept: Websites and data that can be accessed from any location, by any device that connects to the internet. And just as the internet never breaks or loses information, nor does the cloud. That’s because information stored in the cloud constantly gets backed up, meaning it isn’t vulnerable like data housed on a server that could shut down.
So how can the cloud be useful to the accounting world? Many accounting software’s are now offering cloud alternatives, others such as NetSuite are completely cloud based. Obviously, the fact that data in the cloud is immune to getting lost is a plus. But there are other benefits. First, accountants who use cloud-based software do not have to worry about maintaining servers, since the program is housed on the internet. System administration and updates to the accounting program are also not the concern of the accountants, since they get handled automatically by the supplier of the software. Unlike traditional accounting software—where the user buys one version, and in order to update the program, must continue buying newer iterations of the software as they become available—cloud based accounting programs update automatically, meaning users never have to worry about keeping track of the latest versions. Over time, this leads to an often dramatic reduction in IT costs.
Many businesses gain access to cloud based accounting software and services through finance and accounting outsourcing firms like Rose Financial Services (RFS). RFS clients have remote access to their information from anywhere in the world. For many businesses, converting their own accounting software to a cloud-based solution is too complex of an undertaking. Using a cloud-based firm like RFS is often a more cost effective way to access the benefits of the cloud.
Of course, when a company moves information from its own servers into the cloud, questions about data security inevitably come up. But according to CIO.com, a publication that serves chief information officers, 82 percent of US companies trust the cloud enough to use it. Even more telling: IT professionals are predominantly satisfied with cloud security; with 85 percent of them reporting that they’re confident in their cloud provider’s ability to provide a secure environment.
Better security, lower total cost of ownership, worldwide remote access, routine back-ups, and automatic software updates are just a few of the many benefits of using a cloud based accounting solution.