Member Since: 5th Dec 2009
7th Dec 2009
This is short sighted - literally!
I don't think that it is meaningful to ask four accountants their opinions on the future and then, after they all said they can't see it, draw the conclusion that it won't happen. Particularly when they have been already chosen for their views.
First, disclosure time: I'm not involved in any SaaS accounting product but I do run Really Simple Systems, www.reallysimplesystems.com, a SaaS CRM system, and there are parallels with user adoption. I also ran Systems Union, the author of SunAccounts, for 15 years so I think I know the accounting space. I reckon that most new purchasers of CRM systems now include SaaS offerings on their shortlist, and our stats show that of those that do, 70% purchase a SaaS system. It is generally predicted that by 2011 80% of new CRM purchases will be SaaS.
The advantages of SaaS are well rehearsed and there is no need to go through them here, if you need convincing download “The Business case for Software as a Service” from Intellect at www.intellectuk.org/content/view/5534/84/.
Now, there's many reasons why SaaS CRM systems might be more popular than SaaS accounting systems, not least accountants' natural conservatism (bless ‘em, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!). Back in January last year we ran a survey on SaaS adoption and that showed that "only" 35% of people would be confident to switch to a SaaS accounting system (and 8% already had). It will be interesting to see the results when we run the survey again next month, but you can be sure that the numbers will have grown.
Back in 1992 when Microsoft launched Windows 3.1 most PC based accounting systems were still using DOS and many users were reluctant to switch. Why? Well, slow user input was a major factor, if that sounds familiar! Over the next three years every accounting vendor switched to Windows, and those that didn't went out of business. The new Windows products solved the user input problems, added extra functionality and took us to where we are now. You'll not see many DOS products around today.
So will SaaS accounting solutions triumph? Well, just ask yourself one question - how many new accounting systems were launched this year that weren't SaaS?