You’ve no doubt read about or heard to term ‘cloud computing’ flying around your office or workplace at various points in recent years and being touted as the next big thing for businesses. If you’re an IT expert of any kind then of course you’ll know all about the benefits that computing in the cloud can offer. But for the rest of us, the subject and its advantages can seem slightly obscure.
So, in case you’re wondering or you’d like to know a little more, here’s a rundown of some of the key benefits of using cloud computing in the context of company accounting.
Any technology being introduced into the context of business operations large or small needs to prove its worth as far as efficiency and cost effectiveness are concerned and cloud computing is no exception. Big businesses might invest heavily to save money in the long term by having their own cloud servers available in-house but for smaller companies, the access to unlimited data that the cloud offers will be enabled through third party service providers. By carrying out accounting via these services, companies save themselves the costs associated with storing, accessing, protecting and utilising that information.
Cloud computing makes data and information available instantly and on a practically unlimited scale to anyone using associated platforms. In the context of accounting and finance, that means that files can be arranged with great clarity and rendered instantly accessible to relevant parties at a moment’s notice.
The simplicity of using a single platform and keeping all relevant information together can offer very notable benefits over time. What a cloud-based system offers ultimately is a unified way of managing, assessing and processing all aspects of corporate finances.
Allied to the instant accessibility of cloud-based accounting systems is an almost unlimited physical flexibility in terms of how and from where important financial information can be accessed. So, because all relevant data is stored virtually and on third party servers, members of an organisation or a business can log in and view accounting files from anywhere. The upshot of which is that accounting and finance professionals are becoming steadily more mobile and able to carry out their work from anywhere and on any device, whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet computer.
Collaboration in the context of accounting and finance doesn’t necessarily mean brainstorming or working as a team at every moment of the working day. But what it can mean with cloud-based systems is that relevant parties can all see what one another is doing in a way that delivers very worthwhile collaborative potential. Essentially, what cloud-based platforms deliver is much greater visibility for all parties within a given department, which ultimately means problems and progress can be more easily and routinely identified.
It might seem as if transitioning accounting and finance processes to cloud-based platforms could be a risky endeavour from a data security perspective. However, providers of cloud services are more aware than anyone of the need for their systems to be very, very close to 100 percent secure.
It is easy to assume that data on your computer’s hard drive is safe and sound in the corner of your office but in fact it is as vulnerable there as anywhere. Data stored on cloud servers is generally protected in a specialised way and what is typically a tighter and more reliable manner.
So if your business has not yet made the switch to cloud-based accounting and finance systems, it is probably time you got up to speed and made the move. There really aren’t many reasons not to and plenty of benefits to be derived from doing so.
Bio – Mark Halstead is from Red Flag Alert, part of the Begbies Traynor Group, and is now in his 10th year with the business. He’s worked at companies across the financial services industry and is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.
Mark joined the Begbies Traynor Group at the creation of Red Flag Alert and is now in his 10th year with the business. Mark is a sales professional and has enjoyed a varied career in sales and marketing. He is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing, having previously worked in financial services across a range of divisions including both personal and corporate finance and treasury services for a major bank.