19 May
2016

3 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Accounting Firms

For accounting firms, moving to the cloud is no longer a question of when, but a question of how. A recent survey from Massey Consulting supports this theory, showing that 52 percent of accounting software users are using cloud systems. As the shift away from on-premise systems continues to increase, cloud computing is opening new doors to show ways to increase accounting firms’ precision and efficiency with the following three benefits.

 

Benefits of Decentralized Access

In today’s global market, having your business tied to a single location is inefficient. Instead, accounting firms can use the cloud to decentralize accounts management and approval systems to improve efficiency. 

With real-time decentralized access to accounts, document retrieval is easier and accountants can quickly respond to issues as they happen. For example, Education Pioneers uses Intacct cloud accounting to segment expenses more finely and close its books more quickly. Todd Forsyth, Education Pioneers’ corporate controller, explains that employees can access live financial reports, meaning that if they pay a consulting fee in California, the West Coast office can see it immediately.

The Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association also explained that moving to a cloud accounting system enables them to track a major loss immediately rather than waiting a month or more for a bank statement, as would have happened with a centralized system. It also makes it easy to detect internal fraud, which can sometimes be missed for as much as 18 months, says a Techpoint article.

 

Automated Processes

Process automation is another big benefit of cloud accounting services. Accounting firms can automate everything from input to output. With the right solution, they can have income sources, invoicing, expenses, entry categorization, reporting and other repetitive tasks happen automatically. This frees employees to concentrate on higher level tasks, which adds more to the bottom line.

A Macpherson Report shows some of the benefits of using the cloud-based service Xero. It uses automation to debit fixed fees and enable firms to collect 80 percent of their revenue seamlessly. They also can reconcile their accounts within seven days or sooner and respond to 60 percent of their clients within an hour.

 

Data Analysis

With a move to the cloud, there’s no longer a need for accountants to chase down multiple data files or pieces of paper to analyze their financial performance. Integrating cloud data analysis tools like Dun & Bradstreet gives them world-class business insights and helps them make smarter decisions.

For example, Neopost, a global provide of mailing solutions, uses Dun & Bradstreet’s DNBi solutions to reduce their days billed outstanding (DBO) figure to five days, keeping the company’s finances in a healthier state. Neopost used the Decision Maker feature to approve new orders and manage payment terms for new customers. It also used the Account Manager feature to run reports on credit scores to assess which accounts are high risk, which are more than 90 days past due and which the company can write off as uncollectable. This type of analysis is invaluable in helping them deliver the best service to their clients and make quicker, more reliable decisions.

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