TechnologyReading between the lines

Reading between the lines

Differentiation between different kinds of online accounting technology platforms is confusing the marketplace

There are now quite a few companies offering this type of service to
accountants. Some call it Software as a Service. Some call them online hosted
applications.

Both involve accountants dealing with their clients through the internet. But
what does that actually mean?
It would be hard to understand what they do if you just perused the different
types of marketing spiel focused around either.

Sue me for generalising, but accountants are often a step or two behind other
business people when it comes to using new-fangled IT.

So confusion is not ideal as far as the online accounting software companies
are concerned. IT Inside Out is a case in point.

The company developed and has hosted Online50 for accountants over several
years.

It is classed by some as ‘not a pure SaaS offering’– because the product is a
tweaked version of the ubiquitous desktop based software Sage Line 50, rather
than a product built from the bottom up specifically for the internet.

Such distinctions mean that confusion reigns. The key for practitioners
looking to make the leap is to really understand why they want to go online, and
what they’re going to get out of it.

Differentiation between different kinds of online accounting technology
platforms is confusing the marketplace.

If accountants approach their online choice in this fashion, perhaps they’ll
be able to see through the spin and pick a software provider that will help them
make that online leap that suits their needs.

Meanwhile, if the companies could be a bit clearer, we might all understand
better. Who knows? They might even sell more products.

Kevin Reed is a reporter on Accountancy Age

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