Practice cloud: What's available now
In his third article on cloud software for practice, John Stokdyk examines what’s currently available, and what’s coming soon.
AccountingWEB’s Software Satisfaction Awards have tracked the rapid adoption of cloud computing by the profession over the past 5-6 years, but a change in our surveying process highlighted the extent to which accountancy has lagged behind wider industry trends.
Where the pool of respondents previously included CRM and HR software users, the percentage of cloud users within last year's sample was 59%. The survey focused on accountants only this year and the figure fell to a more realistic 42%.
During 2012, cloud-based solutions for practising accountants were nowhere to be found. Only newcomer TaxFiler had an capable of handling 2011-12 tax returns online. But the race is now on, with IRIS releasing its OpenTax program in April and Sage promising cloud tax, accounts production and practice management programs by this time next year.
Tax and practice cloud tools have dominated the 2013 autumn conference season and fast-growing cloud accounting specialist Xero has started to roll out its Practice Studio in the UK to challenge what it calls the industry “incumbents”.
Intuit, meanwhile, has cloud tax and practice capabilities in the US and has a strategy in place to broaden its offerings internationally.
But TaxFiler and IRIS aside - or going for a hosted solution where desktop apps are operated via web terminal services - most of the announcements are to do with what’s going to available after the SA deadline next January.
This article sets out to explore what’s actually available now and assess the rivals’ current cloud products and strategies...
Register for free and log into AccountingWEB to read the full assessment, which includes a table of tax and practice applications available in the cloud.