On cloud nine with Rachael Singh

Rachael Singh, reporter Accountancy Age

According to Stefan Reid, a Forrester analyst, it is not a matter of if cloud
computing will be adopted but how fast.

Technology companies, such as KashFlow and NetSuite, are even offering free
trails, subscriptions and huge discounts but few firms have grabbed the bull by
the horns to bring accountancy technology into the new millennium.

Ten years ago firms and businesses were falling over themselves to upgrade
software in preparation for Y2K. At the time it was thought that any company
that didn’t would be crippled post-1999. But cloud computing has not been taken
up with the same zeal.

The biggest block to cloud computing is the perceived security risk. Many
feel data is not secure if they are not physically watching over it. Being given
the financial information by clients is a huge responsibility that many feel
they cannot relinquish to a third party data centre.

But the advantages to cloud computing are growing with every upgrade.
Accountants have the ability to achieve real time information, constant dialog
with clients, 24-hour access to the finance function where mistakes can be
corrected easily and quickly; reducing carbon footprints by cutting travel and
even billing for work while sitting on a train – these are all possible with
cloud computing.

Security concerns were raised when the government started to phase in online
PAYE and self-assessment filing. There were doubts over the level of security
measures for the introduction of chip and pin cards when many companies wanted
to maintain signatures as payment authorisation.

But what happened to those companies that didn’t adapt to the changes?

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