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Why Now is the Perfect Time to Migrate Your Accounting Firm to the Cloud

25th Mar 2024
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Caseware financial reporting and audit solutions.

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why now is the perfect time to migrate to cloud
Caseware

Have you ever considered making the move from an on-premise technology approach to a cloud-based alternative? If so, now might be the perfect time for your accounting firm to do so. 

Studies reveal that a significant number of businesses are moving their operations to the cloud. Research firm Gartner, for instance, found that 95 percent of data workloads will be hosted in the cloud by 2025, up from 30 percent in 2021.

Cloud-based software platforms make it easier than ever to make the switch. You can import legacy files with ease, pulling directly from your local files or even your old on-premise software. It takes minutes, rather than hours or days. You can set up your workflow and use templates to help cut down on time spent creating documents and setting preferences. 

Cloud computing has swelled in popularity in recent years, especially in accounting and business practices. In fact, a recent research study found that 94 percent of U.S. enterprises use cloud services. Through cloud technology, your firm can save money, cut out unnecessary grunt work, and make your entire team’s collaboration and workflow much more efficient. Let’s talk about why and how you should migrate your accounting firm to the cloud.

Benefits of cloud accounting

It’s clear that the move to the cloud is on. Google recently found that 41 percent of global tech and business leaders plan to increase their investment in cloud-based services and products. However, it’s important when making such a big switch to be certain that it will offer a significant benefit to your business. Fortunately, there is no shortage of benefits when it comes to cloud accounting. Here are some of the main ones:

Easy integration and management

Integration is famously a pain when it comes to accounting software, which is how so many accounting firms end up stuck with the same tired software, afraid to change. But cloud accounting integration can be a highly streamlined process. It’s online, so you don’t have to worry about installing the software. Nothing needs to be backed up and everything can be accessed from any device, with updates conducted automatically. This reduces a task that would typically take hours or days to something that requires only minutes. With all that extra time, your team can focus on the most important parts of their job.

Optimised workflow through manual work reduction

Connect bank and credit card accounts and you can have transcripts and financial statements automatically imported into your accounting software. You can use templates for invoices, notices and financial statements. Many cloud-based accounting platforms even use artificial intelligence (AI) to fill in the blanks on many of those documents, effectively drafting the bulk of them. With those manual, administrative tasks removed, you can focus instead on helping clients and maximising profits. Automation helps you ensure that every moment of your workday is optimised. 

Compliance help

Because cloud-based accounting software pulls from your documents to automatically draft your financial statements, there’s less room for human error or discrepancies. This can come in handy when it comes to things like tax reporting and other compliance regulations. All of your numbers will be consistent, without the eyestrain of having to check every document four or five times. 

Issues with on-premise accounting technology

At one point, on-premise accounting technology was a wonder. It offered an alternative to piles and piles of paper files. However, as cloud-based technology has grown more prevalent, the issues with on-premise software have become more glaring and frustrating to users.

Cost – Up-front and maintained

On-premise technology can cost an accounting firm thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, and that’s just the upfront cost. There’s the cost of the software itself, a backup solution, all the proper licenses and a server to allow the office to share files with each other. There’s also often a set-up fee to install and integrate the on-premise software. After the upfront cost is paid, you will have to pay for maintenance and may have to pay for new updates. 

Your accounting firm has enough expenses. Is on-premise software really worth the cost if there’s a better option?

Maintenance 

Typically with on-premise software, you are responsible for the maintenance of your software. You will need to back up your work in case the computer, server or software becomes unusable. If there is an issue with the software, you will either need to resolve it yourself or reach out for support – if available – from the software creators. This takes time, and it can prove to be a frustrating disruption, especially when you have deadlines to meet.

Dedicated IT staff

Because maintenance is the responsibility of your accounting firm with on-premise technology, you have to employ IT professionals to handle any issues with the software or server. While this might be less of an issue for a large accounting firm with a sizable budget, it can be a strain or even unfeasible for a small or medium-sized accounting firm with limited funds. If you’ve already paid tens of thousands of dollars for your software, you might not have the monetary resources to take on new employees to maintain that software.

Migrating to the cloud: what to expect

One of the biggest issues accounting firms face when it comes to transitioning their technology approach to the cloud is the fear of the migration process. Change can be scary, and if you don’t know what to expect from the process, it may seem daunting. With cloud technology, however, it may not be as complicated as you think. Here’s what the process looks like for migrating to the cloud:

Data sorting and migration

Data migration is typically broken into two categories for cloud applications: storage migration, which moves data from your online servers and other storage applications into the central repository in your cloud platform; and cloud migration, which moves any applications and data from your on-premise software onto the cloud. It’s a good idea to sort your data first, determining what documents you still need to keep and what you can archive or discard. This will help to make the actual migration process quicker and more efficient. From there, you upload the files you choose to keep onto your new cloud platform.

Vendor sourcing

Vendor sourcing is the process of determining which cloud platform to choose for your business. You will likely need to make a list, discuss options, and schedule sales appointments to be sure that you’re making the right choice. For accountants, you want to be sure to choose a platform that meets all of your business needs. A platform designed specifically for accounting, such as Caseware, makes for a solid choice.

Cloud software implementation and training

Once you’ve chosen a vendor and purchased the software, the next step is to implement the technology and train your team to use it. Cloud software implementation is typically very quick compared to on-premise implementation. Rather than having to install the platform on every computer, your team can access it from any device. They will set up a secure login and be able to access the same platform as everyone else. 

Once you have set your preferences, such as tasks and templates, and have uploaded all of your data, you will need to train your staff to use the platform. Many cloud platforms come with tutorials that follow you as you work; however, it’s always a good idea to at least take a day or two to make sure everyone is on the same page about the new platform.

Managing resistance to change

There will always be some who are uncomfortable with change. You may have accountants who are used to the old system or have concerns about the new one. The best way to handle this is to be open and transparent. During a meeting, you can discuss why you’re choosing this software over on-premise, and all the ways it will benefit your firm. You can also offer to speak with employees privately and address any concerns.

End-state benefits of cloud accounting

So you’ve made the transition to a cloud accounting platform. Now you can begin to enjoy its many benefits, including:

Lower costs

With a cloud platform, you pay only for what you need. You will have an annual or a monthly cost, so your expenses are always predictable and can be worked into the budget. No more worrying about having to pay for maintenance or updates; that’s all included. And if your business model changes, you can also change your plan.

Boost in morale

With an intuitive system that cuts out much of the boring manual tasks, your employees will feel more productive and fulfilled in their work. This will lead to a boost in morale for your company; and when morale is improved, the quality of work is likely to improve as well.

Work-from-home opportunities

Because cloud software can be accessed on any device, your employees can work wherever they’re most comfortable. If you want your office to go remote or hybrid, this is a must. Cloud computing software has a number of collaborative functions so that your team can stay on the same page even if you work in different locations.

Encrypted security

Cloud platforms secure your data through encrypted logins. This means that even if someone manages to hack into your software, they will be unable to decipher the data they find, because it will be encrypted. Caseware, for instance, uses the same level of encryption often used by banks

Attractive to new talent

Finally, cloud accounting is more likely to attract a younger generation of accountants. These professionals learned their trade on the cloud, and often came into the workforce at the height of work-from-home opportunities. If you don’t offer the technology they need and prefer, one of your competitors surely will, and that talent will go to them. 

Want to experience software migration to the cloud for yourself? Caseware has an entire suite of cloud offerings for accounting firms, helping you enjoy the benefits of the cloud immediately. Contact us to request a demo