Cloud computing for accountancy practices

We're currently looking into moving our IRIS practice software to a cloud solution (as well as Exchange, Office and various other software we use) and wondered if any users had already done this and what hosting solution they used?

Comments
Adrian Pearson's picture

Recommendation

Adrian Pearson | | Permalink

Hi Ann,

My old practice Pearson & Associates have been happily using Hosted Desktop for the same purposes for a few years now. Cost-effective and great support.

Ping Steve Thorns at st@hosteddesktopuk.co.uk and see what they can do for you.

Good luck.

Adrian

Paul Scholes's picture

Ditto

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Also an Iris/Exchange & other software user and after Adrian & others sang their praises I too moved to Hosted Desktop UK over 18 months ago and have no hesitation in recommending them.

I'd never go back to running our own server, network, backup tapes and all the stuff that goes with them.

If you do a search of hosting etc, you'll see lots of questions on this over the past couple of years.

Happy to chat PM me

ksalter's picture

Moving your accounting practice to the cloud

ksalter | | Permalink

Our experiences and what we wish we had done with hindsight - available on Amazon for the Kindle (Kindle apps available for iPad,iPhone, Android devices and PCs so not limited to the Kindle device itself).

More details and a link at http://bit.ly/bbscom

 

maggied8867's picture

Hosted desktop is the way to go

maggied8867 | | Permalink

Hi Ann

I also am with "Hosted Desktop" like Paul & Adrian.

Steve Thorns gets back to you straight away and explains the whole process clearly, unlike any other hosting companies I was looking at.  Their support is absolutely excellent.  I have Sage, Digita, Quickbooks, Microsoft Office & Virtual cabinet in the cloud.

They have changed the way I was operating, it's great, I too have no hesitation in recommending them.

Maggie

 

 

 

 

MarkAOrr's picture

Think outside the microsoft box

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

I move away from Microsoft to Google Apps for Business email etc.  This is true cloud and can be used from anywhere and on anything with a browser.  The emails are all searchable and more easily and quickly filed.  I would never go back to Microsoft.  All support is delivered directly by Google by phone and email although I haven't needed any since I first set it up.

I am a Xero user and I understand from my accountant that Xero will shortly be extending the software into the bit that Iris does.

Paul Scholes's picture

@Mark    1 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

I agree with you, if I was starting my business from scratch today I would almost certainly start off with Google Apps for Business.  I use Gmail for my personal email and my largest client has used it and Googledocs to handle email and document sharing across all their staff and with us, as we were handling their bookkeeping & credit control.

However, on a personal basis, I find the Gmail front end less than helpful and my client reached the point where they needed more advanced integration of their business and so looked towards their own server based solution, either locally (or if I had my way) hosted.

The reality of an accountantcy office today is that, whilst important, email and document handling is only a part of what we do, and can be solved by a host of suppliers, whereas the accounts/tax work, client and practice management functiuons are where the real value lies and, at the moment, different firms use a vast array of solutions which will tend to need a server based environment, which, as many of us now recognise is best dealt with by hosting, outside our office.

Xero's announcement that it is planning expansion into the field of accounts and tax compliance is a logical step, after all, who would have thought 5 years ago that bookkeeping software would be directly linking with government systems to submit VAT returns and payroll data and, more often than not, without the need for an accountant to get in the way?

In theory, it is only a small step to take it to the next level and let the software submit annual numbers for tax & statutory compliance, with perhaps the accountant just undertaking a minor checking role?  The way the UK tax system works at the moment, this is going to have limited use, however with cash accounting coming for small unincorporated businesses and simplified reporting in the pipeline for "micro" Ltd companies, XERO (and all the other bookkeeping suppliers) will spot an opportunity.

As fast as these things move however, this is still a way off and there will be an inertia in existing small businesses to trust themselves to just push a button at the year end and let HMRC collect the tax their system calculates. 

To put it in context, in an average small Ltd Company, if you look at the whole process of recording transactions through to submission of annual results to the authorities the recording bit (ie what XERO and others do) is only a minor part, the real value is what the accountant brings in not only submission but in business and tax planning, based on the numbers.

You mention "what Iris does", and, in my business it helps me do about 90% of running the business, client services and client management and so, again, it will take some time for Xero and others (including Iris's partner FreeAgent) to encroach significantly into that territory, by which time Iris will have changed to match its customer's needs.

 

Adrian Pearson's picture

Spot on Paul

Adrian Pearson | | Permalink

Hi Paul,

I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis above.

Year end compliance work is inexorably moving towards a free/virtually free model. Since client-side software will soon be able to handle the entire process from bookkeeping to filing the final accounts, business owners will not pay an accountant hundreds of pounds for the compliance work.

However, accountants need to stay in the compliance game for two reasons:

1. It's they key client relationship that provides access to other, higher-value non-compliance work

2. The vast majority of small business owners are not capable of producing the final accounts numbers as accurately and as compliant as a professional accountant.

Moving into the future the key issue for accountants will therefore be to ensure that they can handle year end compliance work as cost-effectively as possible. Accounts must be turned-around quickly, in a consistent, systemised way using as lowly skilled staff as possible.

With these needs in mind, I created Ledgerscope - client records checking and correction software for accountants.

MarkAOrr's picture

Have you looked at the Google Apps for Business Marketplace....

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

....and the Chrome Web Store?

There are hundreds of incredible additional features and extensions available for Google Apps for Business email.  By the way, if you use it personally I suspect you are using the free version.  The full business version for which I pay £3.30 per month comes with 24/7 support and a nicer interface because there are no ads.

Some of the extra features and extensions I have added save me time and make me more efficient and I simply couldn't do them at all in a windows based outlook environment.  Chrome is already much more than a browser. It is an operating system and fast becoming a complete eco system.

Obviously the world is not one size fits all so I do appreciate that many people will have a legacy in certain packages which would take a great deal of time and risk to break away from.

martinflass's picture

Accountants software in the cloud

martinflass | | Permalink

Interesting comment about Xero.   They are certainly helping to increase awareness in the profession of the benefits of operating in the cloud.

My own firm is offering self-assessment in the cloud suitable for mid-sized to small practices [not just a form filler]. Also on offer are practice management, workflow and document management.  www.pmcl.co for more information. 

nconlon's picture

Online accounting software for accountancy practices

nconlon | | Permalink

Hi Ann,

I agree with most of the comments posted above.

The cloud accounting solution you select should suit your business and clients you select for it

A solution that you could consider is accountsIQ which provides 3 versions of its product catering from start ups to full order processing and inventory features

Responsive telephone support, Integration with EPOS, CRM and other applications is included along with a  comprehensive depts and reporting package is included also

Please go to www.accountsiq.com to find out more

thanks

 

Personal cloud storage has

centrica123 | | Permalink

Personal cloud storage has revolutionized the world of  data back-up and data saving. Whether you are starting a small business or you have large enterprise, cloud technology has a lot to offer in terms of data management and accounting. It is easy and cost efficient. I found this link  helpful in providing the information related to the  IRIS practice software to a cloud 

easily hacked

qad999 | | Permalink

 

that's the real issue .. all of  your devices connected

"cloud .. is revolutionary"..... is total exaggeration

 

its really just a marketing gimmick

so I can do my accounts whilst waiting to pick up the kids from school .. really ? with a bunch of invoices on your lap ?

or whilst on a sunbed around the pool. ?

people like that have real lifestyle issues

 

do you really trust companies selling these services ? they can go down as quickly as you snap your fingers

 

just buy a simple package for a one-off fee or use excel and email to your accountant .. it is quick and works fine .. more importantly you are in total control

 

most of the posts here are from people who have vested financial interests in  promoting cloud  for small businesses

(await the dismissive replies .. "you just dont understand how cloud works" .. ummm .." oh yes I  do" )

 

 

 

gimmicks

qad999 | | Permalink

Adrian Pearson wrote:

Hi Paul,

I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis above.

Year end compliance work is inexorably moving towards a free/virtually free model. Since client-side software will soon be able to handle the entire process from bookkeeping to filing the final accounts, business owners will not pay an accountant hundreds of pounds for the compliance work.

However, accountants need to stay in the compliance game for two reasons:

1. It's they key client relationship that provides access to other, higher-value non-compliance work

2. The vast majority of small business owners are not capable of producing the final accounts numbers as accurately and as compliant as a professional accountant.

Moving into the future the key issue for accountants will therefore be to ensure that they can handle year end compliance work as cost-effectively as possible. Accounts must be turned-around quickly, in a consistent, systemised way using as lowly skilled staff as possible.

With these needs in mind, I created Ledgerscope - client records checking and correction software for accountants.

 

but if clients are consistently inaccurate.. as many are... ledgerscope will hardly work .. or will it ?

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