The State of Cloud Computing in the Accounting World

Posted by Rob Williams on Tue, Dec 01, 2015 @ 12:34 PM

90% of CPAs Believe the Accounting Profession Must Evolve rsz_accounting_cloud-2

We are slowly heading toward mainstream cloud-based accounting practices. But we aren’t quite there just yet.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) released their annual Managing of an Accounting Practice (MAP) survey in 2014. More than 70% of participating accounting firms stated that they primarily access accounting applications that are installed on-premises.

However, the growing consensus is that on-demand cloud services need to be explored for software and hardware consumption. It’s an inevitable step for an industry that needs to cut down on the financial overhead of managing multiple software applications in-house.

Form vs Function: Capabilities and Limitations

For example, accounting firms are using disparate software packages to handle tax preparation, time and billing, scheduling, work flow, and document management. These functions aren’t always available in on-premises software suites, and even when they are available, the modules offer limited capabilities. These limitations won’t cut it in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

The AICPA released a CPA study last December confirming that accounting firms see the need to embrace more advanced digital business processes. In fact, nine out of every 10 CPAs stated the need to both adapt to a changing business environment and to create a more analytics-driven and forward-thinking culture.

The Journal of Accountancy: “Look for other cloud-based software offerings to claim large chunks of market share over the next five years. Firms already are predominantly in the cloud for research software, both for tax and for auditing and accounting.” 

VDI in the Cloud Makes Too Much Sense for Accounting Firms to Ignore

On the IaaS front, the movement to host virtual desktops in the cloud – aka desktop as a service (DaaS) – has been gaining steady traction across enterprises

DaaS through a cloud provider alleviates the need to maintain a dedicated data center to host, deploy, and manage virtual desktops.

As InfoWorld described, “DaaS provides IT the same advantages as local-network VDI – centralized desktop control and security, centralized data control and security, and centralized backup and disaster recovery for those virtual PCs – but also eliminates the capital expenses of an on-premises VDI deployment.”

Compliance and Security

For accounting firms that deal with various compliance requirements, VDI services in the cloud provide more resources to host sensitive information through a private, off-premises data center location.

Through a cloud provider, these businesses can prioritize their data and assign specific security levels that are harder to achieve on-premises. The cloud enables accounting firms to access robust security technology that is configured to meet the most demanding regulatory requirements.  

Oxford Networks offers flexible cloud deployment and hosting options for industry-specific compliance and security needs.

Learn more about how your organization can protect your most critical digital assets in the cloud. Get your copy of our white paper, Cloud Computing Solutions: What you need to know before moving your data to the cloud.  

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Topics: Cloud Computing, Security