Using the cloud is an everyday occurrence in our personal lives. We demand the ability to store information where we can access it anytime, anywhere. Whether we’re posting photos of our family vacation on Facebook or accessing documents from Dropbox, most of us take full advantage of the cloud in our personal lives. The real question is: Why haven’t our business lives caught up?
At work, we accept we can’t get instantaneously updated information, have to be logged in to the network to gain access to reports, and must have IT’s help to get information from the system. It’s time for a change; we need to make our business data as efficient and accessible as our personal data.
The use of Excel in financial reporting is common, but leaves companies in the dark ages. Users spend more time dealing with data and worksheets than actually analyzing the data. While other companies use expensive and cumbersome bolt-on apps with their ERP system, cloud-based financial reporting tools are relatively inexpensive to implement and combat the disadvantages of hardwired financial reporting systems. Implementing cloud-based financial reporting tools can bring analog companies into the 21st century.
Cheaper Than a Data Center
The cloud is a cost effective solution for multiple reasons. It requires less infrastructure, reduces the burden on internal IT, and reduces the size of the company’s data center. Companies are able to use a smaller data center because, unlike the hardware of a traditional system, cloud storage does not take up physical space. Using a cloud-based system cuts IT’s cost as well. The burden of constant maintenance and upkeep of cloud based systems falls on the supplier, not internal IT. Cloud-based systems don’t require an in-house system expert, which frees up the IT department’s time and budget, allowing them to move into an administration and security role.
Cloud-based systems are more dynamic than traditional systems, allowing for increased productivity and a quicker implementation. Multiple resources can work simultaneously on the build. During the implementation, the project team can test the system as they build, and address problems before reaching user acceptance testing. Validating data and tackling major hurdles ahead of time results in a smoother user acceptance testing process. Addressing issues during the implementation allows the project to stay on track and decreases the risk for major system rework.
Finance and Accounting Take Ownership of the System
With cloud-based systems, the supplier maintains and updates the system instead of IT. Because the end-user can take ownership of the system, it creates a more autonomous relationship between accounting and IT. No technical or coding knowledge is required. IT handles the system security and user profile maintenance while accounting handles data updates.
Easy Transition from Excel
Many businesses have grown accustomed to Excel’s ease of use and flexibility. Making the switch to the cloud is easy because, similar to Excel, cloud-based systems are intuitive. All the features an end user needs are in one location, so users no longer have to dig through hierarchies only programmers who built the code understand.
Businesses can scale their company quickly using cloud-based systems. They have flexible interfaces, making it easy to scale the system as a company grows. The end user can add a legal entity or a new account without going through rigorous hoops and can see information updated instantaneously. This gives companies more time to analyze financial data and perform scenario analyses.
Cloud-based financial reporting systems decrease costs, speed up the implementation process, create an autonomous relationship between IT and accounting and are easy to learn.