The cloud? I'm so confused... | AccountingWEB

The cloud? I'm so confused...


We are are a small preactice with four staff, and currently have four desktop computers and a traditional server. All are getting on a bit and continue to become slower as we continue to receive updated accounts software.

We need a new server & desktops and am interested if we could use a "cloud server" (sorry if completley the wrong term) instead of a traditional in house/site option. Software wise we use Digita for our Accounts production, tax and contacts and also use sage for bookkeeping along with the office programs

Would be gratefull for any advice on the practicalities of using an online server and if this would be a sensible option. Also if there are any suppliers you would recomend, ball park costs or other sources of information that would be useful

Many thanks in advance for your time and advice



pmtate's picture

ask yourself these questions

pmtate | | Permalink

Do you need to access the data away from the office on a regular basis, if so how many people.

How good is your internet connection, remembering to test both upload as well as download.

How reliable is your internet connection? Remember it is a longer piece of copper than what you have now inside the office.

Many businesses don't need the cloud applications, though they do fill some needs, there is no need to jump on the band wagon for the sake of it.


jdstone's picture

The cloud - it works for me

jdstone | | Permalink

Strangely we were in almost the same position as you 18 months ago.  We use the Digita products and Sage, QuickBooks and Microsoft Office.  We have avoided the purchase of a new server and the sofware to go with it and are on a monthly contract with Hosted Desktop UK.  The technical support is run by Adam Chetnik who used to work for Digita and who does all the upgrades for us, backs up the data overnight etc.  Adam runs our exchange server as well.  We are even smaller than you with just three of us.  The remote access from a client site is a real bonus and we find that outsourcing the IT housekeeping is a great comfort.

All of the work is done at the hosted site, so you can get away with having slower computers, either desktop or laptop.  You will need a router / switches to enable your printers to be accessed by all of the local machines, or you will be confined to using the one(s) connected to your computer.

I am quite happy to talk through our experience in more detail if you like - bu I am away from the office tomorrow.

I put the wrong link on the response last night - the correct web address is

Jeremy Stone

Paul Scholes's picture

Ditto Jeremy

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Exactly the same here (only we are Iris users). As our kit aged I started looking at hosted solutions but what really kicked me into action was the server refusing to boot up last December after a windows update and being out of commission for a week.  My own view was that the server read the various emails on hosting and decided to throw a tantrum!

We also use Hosted Desktop UK and I have no hesitation in saying go for it.

Despite my paranoir the switch over was painless, quick and cheap and I can not fault their service & support.

Unless you intend to stream videos the connection speed thing is a non-issue, as all the work is being done their end.

It's only when you free yourself up from that box in the corner that you realise how much time & effort it takes up just keeping it and its network running.

I too only to happy to chat in more detail.



iandouglas1984 | | Permalink

 Hi guys

Thanks for your comments & advice, much appreciated. 

I will go ahead and have a look at their webiste :)

Thanks again



Phil Craven's picture

Finding the right partner …

Phil Craven | | Permalink

Hi Ian,

 Moving to ‘the cloud’ is a big decision; at the top of most lists of concerns is data security.  Hosted solution, effectively your server is re-located to a secure site is the most popular option. Talk to the company; visit the datacentre, after all that is where you precious data will be kept.  Business credentials, how long in business, current customers and is my data also backed up in a different location?  Pick a partner that has experience in your industry, understands your business. Costs, I have seen quotes for £90 per user per month, you should be paying for a 4 user system around half that!  Phil

Similar to Yourself, Cloud or not to Cloud?

Lenca | | Permalink

I have done some web searches and one link wants me to be a partner and the other is based in a residential area.
It's time to look at my IT systems as we are looking to expand, possibility of a new office.
Does anyone know of a company in the North West that I can talk to?
Thanks in advance, Len

MattHolmes's picture

Lots to choose from.

MattHolmes | | Permalink

 Give these people a ring. I know they are in Leeds but they are fairly switched on.

Phil Craven's picture

Specifically Tailored for Accountants

Phil Craven | | Permalink

Have a quick look at, MIS listen to your requirements and specify the ideal solution for your business needs.

Drop me a line to the private email below.  Phil


cjtrevor | | Permalink

What approx cost is the going rate currently for 15 users?   (incl Word, Excel and SQL server for Iris)

Last time I looked the costs seemed to start at around £40+/mth/user.  While this would be great for say a 2 to 5 user firm, it looks very expensive compared to an on-site solution for 15 users.  (especially as we have our own in-house IT expertise).


Not something to be afraid of..

OliverSelestial | | Permalink

I can’t speak as an accountant but as a software company (I’m on here because our main product is designed for accountants that’s my plug over!) essentially our office is working on “in the cloud” there are a lot of advantages to doing things this way.

You have two choices firstly using software like ours which is a cloud based program or the other way is to host your own programs remotely.  Either way you no longer have the worry of maintenance of your hardware (or it becoming dated) and the safety of having your server in a dedicated server house is far greater than been stuck in the corner of your office.  The dedicated server houses (where most respectable companies that offer cloud servers will keep their servers) have multiple power supplies, data connections, air conditioning systems and security checks for admittance tougher than most UK ports!  In addition you can access your information from anywhere with internet.  Also the companies offering cloud hosting will have excellent back up processes and oftern use mirrored serverers to ensure data is not lost.

Its worth remembering though that you will still need to update your local computers if these are dated as all work will be done over an internet connection, which also needs to be a decent speed.

I see it as how IT will evolve for small companies.


Hosted desktop

c.szpak | | Permalink


Don't know how I missed this a couple of months ago but in case you haven't made your mind up yet.

Given the posts already made I think it only fair to give you somebody to compare, have a look at (disclosure just an extremely happy user!) that I have been using for more than 5 years now (firstly when in a full time role, now in my practice).  They are absolutely brilliant.

I won't go into detail here but have a look at some of my other posts where I do mention them.



Provider in Lancashire

c.szpak | | Permalink


I know you were looking at this a few months ago, but the company I mentioned in the above post are based in Carnforth.


Provider based in US

Charles | | Permalink


Hope you doing good. I know a company who is hosting the applications on the remote server and the servers are located in multiple US locations. These guys are extremely professional and I have never seen any downtime with them. And the best part of all, the prices are excellent.

I remember there was an issue with my server access and it was resolved before me calling them and i called them to thank what they did for me. The access is really fast and runs like m running the app on my local machine. 

This company is Cloud Group Services and website is


Charles Miller.


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