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What does the Cloud mean to you?

1st Nov 2012
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In partnership with Xero, AccountingWEB is exploring the profession’s perceptions and attitudes towards Cloud computing in an online survey that will run throughout November.

During the past 3-4 years, the Cloud has disrupted traditional approaches to software – and accounting. Where the profession was once suspicious, business owners and finance managers have shugged off their reservations and bought into the idea.

Annual results from the Software Satisfaction Awards survey confirm this trend. With 60.7% of 2012 respondents using online accounting systems, the size of the Cloud accounting community has been growing rapidly since 2008-9.

But we want to find out the extent to which accountancy practitioners have woken up to the changes taking place, and whether they are aware of the implications and effects of moving accounting functions into the Cloud.

The survey is not designed as an exercise in back-slapping self-congratulation that the new era in computing has dawned on accountancy, it is intended to solicit views from all corners of the profession – including Cloud sceptics. To what extent are clients pushing their accountants to adopt Cloud solutions, and to what extent are practitioners grasping the opportunity and using it to improve client service – and satisfaction?

It will only take a few minutes to help us document the state of Cloud computing within accountancy and the results will be published once self assessment season is over. Xero will also enter those who complete the survey into a prize draw for a new Apple iPad.

Take part in the What the Cloud means to me survey now.


Replies (8)

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By TaxTeddy
04th Nov 2012 11:29

A short lesson from history.......

"Where the profession was once suspicious, business owners and finance managers have shugged off their reservations and bought into the idea."


We put our money into pension companies who said "trust us". They lost our money.

We took out health insurance with companies who said "trust us". They refused to pay the claims.

We put our money into the banks who said "trust us". They gambled it away.

We stored confidential data in the cloud............  Watch this space

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By johnjenkins
05th Nov 2012 09:31

If you have to

use an incentive of "winning an ipad" to get people to do the survey then the survey is not worth doing.

I totally agree with Tax Teddy

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By chatman
13th Nov 2012 11:48


Can we stop describing every new thing that we want to sell as disruptive? The wheel was disruptive; the internet was disruptive; accessing a programme over the internet is not; it is just a bit different.

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By martinflass
13th Nov 2012 12:19

Still a shortage of Cloud applications for accountants..

There still do not seem to be many opportunities to utilise the Cloud for accountancy practice applications, with the possible exception of bookkeeping/financials.  Is anybody actually offering or using accounts preparation, taxation and practice managment via the Cloud?

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Replying to Wanderer:
By alan dodd
07th Feb 2013 11:38



Hi Martin,

Having worked for IRIS for the last 7 years and dealing specifically with accountants, I understand that data, client information and sensitive documents are paramount to your practice and now having moved on and into the Hosted Services sector, I feel that accountants can get a head start in reducing costs, maintenance and downtime, while still keeping all your accounts/payroll/tax  suites completely as they are.

Here at Key Computers, our hosted desktop clients range from sole practitioners through to large accountancy firms. We have clients affiliated with all of the major bodies such as ICAEW, ICAS, and ACCA. Whether you are looking to host one application or your full compliance suite, we are here to help. Key Applications has experience of hosting many software providers including DIGITA, IRIS, CCH, Moneysoft and KeyTime – we also host document management software such as Invu.

Due to the increase in popularity of the cloud, we are visiting practices and accountants in your region and offering the chance to discuss hosted services with our consultants. Totally free of course, we can discuss and advise on whether the cloud is something that could benefit your business and whether it is something you should consider.


FREE and with absolutley no quibbles, I can arrange a FREE 40 minute visit with one of our specialist consultants without any obligation whatsoever and carry out an IT consultation visit which includes:

Discussion of cloud solutionsThe offer of tests and trialsCompare like for like for the cloud against your in-house systemsShow all benefits regarding security of data etcDiagnosing any future problemsDiscuss any headaches regarding checking backups, downtime and cost/maintenanceBenefits of a hosted desktop for an accountant

There are many reasons why accountants speak to us about our hosted desktops. Some are looking to reduce the time spent on IT maintenance, others to have more secure and robust solutions in place (disaster recovery).

Security: Servers are located in at least two secure data centres. If one data centre becomes unavailable, your practice will still be able to access all of the programs. A data centre will ensure there is 24/7 physical security and CCTV. In 99% of cases your data is far safer in a secure data centre than your office. So you can be confident that your hosted desktop will keep your clients data safe.Cash Flow: Hosted desktops for accountants work on a pay per month per user basis. This means cash flow can be tightly managed. In this economic environment this is critical. Firms of accountants won’t have to make large capital expenditure on servers, upgrading desktop computer hardware. Only pay for what you need.Operating Costs: If you’re running a server in your office, this could be costing up to £200 per annum per server in electricity.Keeping hardware up to date: Due the increasing functionality in most major software products, the requirement for hardware to keep up is becoming increasingly important. Hardware upgrades now see a revolving door in accountancy firms of all sizes. With our hosted solution you don’t need to worry about upgrading hardware.Accessibility: You can access your practice software in any location with an internet connection at any time. Whether you’re using an iPad, Laptop, a Thin Client terminal or through a web browser all should be possible with your desktop as a service provider. This means you can access your hosted desktop for accountants where you are when you need.Flexible working patterns: If your accountancy firm is considering offering working from home as a solution, whether to save costs or provide flexibility to your staff then our virtual hosted desktop will make this easy.Hosted desktops also enable flexible working:Achieve results faster – having instant access to your accountancy software whilst mobile or at your clients office means you can achieve results faster through collaborative working.Your staff can work dynamically – staff have the ability to work from any location, which has been shown to increase productivity, staff satisfaction and client happiness.Increase your workforce when you need – if you have large projects to complete, or an uneven workload throughout the year then a having a hosted desktop solution gives you flexibility to quickly adapt IT provision.Utilise part time staff – flexi-time staff no longer need the hardware historically associated with an on-site member of staff. They can work from home, from any device and still access practice software through their hosted desktop without any security concerns. Whether you're hosting Iris, Digita, CCH, Sage or programs from any of the other suppliers we have experience in supporting all of the ranges.You don’t even need an internet connection – with the advent of 4G connection just around the corner, you can continue working on your hosted desktop even without wired or WiFi broadband access.Adverse weather conditions – if fire, flood or snow disable your office or local environment staff can still continue working and helping clients using their hosted desktop from their own machines, iPads and client machines.

call me on 01942 261671




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By raybackler
13th Nov 2012 15:04


The security features for well managed cloud systems are similar to the levels required for online banking and the risks are similar.  On the other hand, there are risks using desktop solutions in transferring data between clients and their accountants.  Rather than pre-judge, surely it is wise to accept that neither approach is risk free.  I believe it would be better to participate in the survey and then make my own interpretation of the results from across the whole profession.

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By raybackler
13th Nov 2012 15:07

Put my money where my mouth is

Just did the survey - it took about three minutes.

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By accountsdragon
05th Jan 2013 15:44

Hate it!

I'm a bit behind with AccountingWeb, so missed the survey, but thought I'd add my comments as I hate using Xero.  I have a couple of clients with it, and it is driving me insane!  My problem may in part be due to my rural location and a slow broadband, but everything seems to take forever.  I also admit I still need to spend more time getting used to Xero, but I find that if I look at something I can't seem to get back to where I was without keying in parameters again. 

The plus side is that I can see what the client is doing without exchanging emails etc, but the slowness more than outweighs that.

Sorry Xero, but give me VT anyday.  It's so much quicker.

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