Cloud Accounting... Get Off? Or Get On?
Cloudy, With the Chance of Profits
Everyone seems to be talking about the cloud…
So what is it? And What is all the fuss about?
Whether you are a lover or a hater of the web; if you’re a fan of new technology, or a pen-and-paper-loving technophobe, make no mistake – accounting (and much more besides) is moving inexorably to the cloud…
If you aren’t really aware of what “the cloud” means – if you haven’t yet got your head up in there and figured it out, then it’s probably fair to say you’ve been keeping that head buried deep in the sand.
Don’t be offended, though, it’s taken a lot of us a good while to come around to trusting this new way of doing things, but as you’ll soon discover, those who’ve made the move and have been breathing the rarefied atmosphere of cloud-based techworld are really beginning to reap the rewards….
Over the past five years, a revolution has been taking place. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), has become a huge marketplace. With those companies building cloud-based service software being valued higher and higher, while “traditional” software manufacturers selling one-off licenses are being left behind. Forecasters estimate that the SaaS market will generate more than $106 billion USD in revenue in 2016. The whole cloud market, including the huge Infrastructure-as-a-Service players (think Amazon) is expected to be in the region of $160 billion.
As the industry has gathered momentum, the writers of cloud software and apps have become better funded and challenged to offer more. Now, especially as big players have entered the market and released cloud accounting software of their own, the results are greatly improved integration and functionality. This allows quite clever systems, yielding ever increasing automation, to be pieced together out of modular parts. Early adopters of these systems – forward-thinking small business owners – are now seeing great results in terms of efficiency and control of their companies.
At the big money end, larger corporations are having systems – entire platforms – put together and tailored to their needs. Developers offer highly sophisticated, adaptable software applications that tie together the marketing, sales, customer and staff experiences and reach all staff and stakeholders via the web and social media channels. These systems are sometimes capable of learning from and reacting to data collected by the software or provided by huge web-based companies. This PaaS (Platform as a Service) model, offers to up the pace at which business is done by increasing the rate of interactions inside and outside of the company, making products and information readily accessible, and by adapting to market forces automatically.
Welcome to the world of the “connected” business.
We are, in fact, still in the midst of a revolution. Perhaps we always will be. Change seems to occur at an ever increasing pace, so how on earth are we expected to keep up?
The truth is that the changes that occur, whilst pushing the adoption of new technologies and methodologies, are also (somewhat paradoxically) controlled by the rate of adoption. If people go with the change, the new becomes the norm; if people reject the change, it doesn’t take hold. Once, however, enough people adopt the new ways, then we see change become unstoppable juggernaut, an irresistible force…
This, like it or not, is what we’re seeing with the cloud. The little, fluffy wisp of five years ago has grown through its cumulonimbus phase and is headed for supercell.
There is, understandably, still fear amongst many; I myself was, for a while, somewhat ambivalent. But whatever your feelings regarding the security and stability of web-based systems, the banks, governments, and plenty of businesses considered “too big to fail”, are all already storing valuable information up there.
So, in my opinion, it’s either change or die; get on it or get left behind by it.
I said hey, you, get onna my cloud.
If you’re quite baffled by all this new-fangled techy stuff, but want to know more, keep an eye out here more and more articles on the subject over the coming weeks and months. To start though, you might want to take a look at our web business glossary here.
We recently conducted and are compiling reviews of a number of SaaS options, both for accounting and for complimentary business-management needs. We’ll be posting the results soon (after we’ve had a look at a couple of late entries).
If you think that you might wish to utilize cloud-based systems in your own business, yet need some advice as to where to start (there is a hell of a lot out there), you can contact Chrysalis Accounting Solutions for a free consultation and get some invaluable advice.