Cloud conundrums explored
It was among the wonders of the ancient world that accountants looked to the future this week, as the opportunities and challenges of Cloud Computing were discussed at Sage Connect 2010, held at the British Museum.
The event brought together accountants from around the country and featured presentations from HMRC’s Julian Hatt (who tackled the challenges of implementing iXBRL filing), the ASB’s Michelle Sansome (offering an overview of IFRS for SMEs), and Jack Mansfield of Companies House (eFiling plans and future developments).
Among the most popular sessions was one on the future of Cloud Computing, hosted by Sage’s Nick Goode, who outlined the company's staged approach to Cloud adoption and asked delegates for their opinions and experiences of implementing Cloud solutions in their practices. “A one size fits all approach doesn’t work,” insisted Goode, who explained that Sage users were invited to adopt Cloud models at their own pace, rather than being forced onto the platform as a matter of course.
While it was clear that delegates saw the benefits of Cloud applications, there were still a few unanswered questions that remained. “I like the idea of being able to have real time communication with clients, so I can easily amend accounts and have it instantly updated online,” commented one delegate. Although many attendees were keen on this, some were concerned about the limitations of their software licences, as they wanted to be able to use their accounts production software both online and on their desktop. “Slow internet connection is a problem for many of us, and we’d like the ability to switch back to our desktops when we can’t access the Cloud applications,” explained one delegate. However, they were unhappy at having to purchase separate licences for online software to their desktop software – “can’t we just have one licence for both? It’s only me using it!” added one sole practitioner.
The sessions were followed by an awards ceremony and presentation from Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar’s right-hand man on The Apprentice. He was funny, refreshingly indiscreet and not at all as scary as he looks on the telly. He wasted no time revealing exactly how Lord Sugar managed to turn himself into the UK’s own Donald Trump – apparently he whisked BBC executives away to his villa in Marbella and held them captive until they agreed he could front the show!
Your rather camera-shy deputy editor was then invited to present the AccountingWEB sponsored Practice of the Year (Sole Practitioner) award, which went to a very smiley Paul Clarke, of Paul Clarke Accountants Limited.
The other winners of the day were as follows:
- Accountant Partner of the Year - Thickbroom Coventry
- Accountant Partner of the Year - (Marketing Strategy) - Robinson Reed Layton
- Accountant Partner of the Year - (Business Development) - Taylorcocks
- Key Account of the Year - RSM Tenon
- Accountant of the Year - Elaine Cromwell from Thompson Cooper
- Tax Specialist of the Year - SRC Taxation Consultancy Limited
- Practice of the Year (2-5 Partners) - Gary Sargeant + Company
- Practice of the Year (5 + Partners) - Townends
- New Practice/Start Up of the Year - JM Solutions (Guildford)
- Innovator of the Year - Jim Greenfield. PKF (UK) LLP
- BETA Contributor of the Year - Mike Bulcock. Bulcock & Co.
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I've been a journalist for four years, writing on a wide variety of topics from business and finance to travel, culture and celebrities. I began my career as an editorial assistant for Palladian Publications, a B2B publisher specialising in technical magazines for professionals in primary industries. I later moved into consumer magazines as a...