Is your business cloud-ready for 2017?

Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular among clients.

Cloud computing is not a new trend in Australia, but organisations across the country are only now beginning to fully appreciate the opportunities that the technology can bring.

A recent Microsoft Australia study found that businesses believed cloud computing would have a bigger effect on them over the next 5 years than any other tech innovation, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

"Nearly half of respondents see a major shift to cloud software as likely to happen within the next 12 months."

The cloud scored 6.6 on a 7-point scale for future impact, while the IoT and AI achieved 5.8 and 5.5 respectively. Virtual reality (5.1), bots (5.1) and quantum computing (4.7) rounded out the top 5.

But how is cloud computing affecting the accounting profession? A Xero study published in November revealed a number of technology trends in the industry.

First, 16 per cent of small-business owners will expect to interact solely with their accountant using accounting software in the future. Second, 27 per cent of organisations have begun asking their accountant for broader business advice, and many believe the automation of certain tasks enables their accountant to better provide these services.

As a result, 71 per cent of accountants feel expertise in technology and automation will be a vital ingredient to their success over the next 5 years.

Businesses slow to change

However, not all clients have modernised their technology to take advantage of cloud computing opportunities. At WMC Accounting, we often see firms that rely on legacy systems that do not integrate well with the latest platforms.

There are multiple benefits for businesses that decide to switch to cloud-based software, such as greater efficiency, simplified upgrades, enhanced security and cheaper costs.

Nevertheless, Australian companies have been slow in adopting the cloud until recently. Sage Australia figures from last year found 60 per cent of accountants said 30 per cent or fewer of their clients used cloud-based accounting software.

Cloud-based accounting services. Moving to cloud-based systems can provide a number of benefits for businesses.

Despite this, the report – which was published in May – predicted cloud adoption would accelerate as more organisations begin to have conversations with their accountants outlining the technology's advantages.

"Nearly half (43 per cent) of respondents see a major shift to cloud software as likely to happen within the next 12 months," the report stated.

"The group of firms most keen to move to the cloud are those that spend less than $1,000 a year on software."

As 2017 approaches, we believe a growing number of businesses will see the value of updating their systems – and cloud-based platforms will be at the forefront of this change.

Would you like to discuss cloud-based accounting software in more detail? Please contact WMC Accounting today.

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