Technology is changing the way accountants work, but cloud-based services can be intimidating in a profession where reputations are built on the confidence that comes with a verified paper trail. Why should you make that trail paperless?
In “Moving Your Practice to the Cloud,” three modern Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) share how they’ve moved their practices to the cloud — a move they say has transformed the way they do business and the relationships they have with their clients.
“I went to the cloud before it was the cloud — it was actually just using software, and I didn’t even know it was ‘The Cloud.’ It was just where it was,” explained panelist Jody Padar, of New Vision CPA Group. “I had left a mid-sized firm; I came off a really bad tax season and said ’there’s got to be a better way!’”
Padar isn’t the only one who felt that there must be a better way. The finance industry is actively evolving with tools like Gusto for accountants, Xero, Bill.com, FreshBooks, Expensify, Dropbox, Salesforce and others. The efficiency of using software that simplifies or even automates operation-critical business transactions opens opportunities for everything from value-added services to new pricing structures.
For Nick Bird of Lucid Books, whose practice has used cloud-based tools since day one, that efficiency helped him narrow his focus on a particular niche market, which has ultimately made it much easier to choose a pricing model that works.
“If you have some prior experience and you know the type of industry your client is, and you know what you’re going to be doing for them, then you can tell what resources it’s going to take on your side,” he said.
And what about security, one of the more commonly cited concerns about doing business in the cloud? Chris Fenster, of Propeller Industries, says he’s more confident about online security than keeping track of sensitive paper-based copies.
“In my experience, I think that there’s actually a number of ways where the security in the cloud is considerably better than it is offline,” he said. “Just getting that [information] out of the fax machine, off the desktop, out of the filing cabinet…I think we have a lot more tools that help safeguard security in the cloud.”
For the full discussion about how and why the accounting profession is evolving, catch the full webinar recording.