Accounting in the cloud

Just as other countries have embraced the cloud for computer storage, Australia has shifted over to use the modern storage concept. In fact, as many as 69% of accountants in Australia have now started using cloud software, and the probability of that figure growing is high. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the younger accountants in the survey were more likely to embrace the cloud, while their older counterparts were a shade more reluctant.

A recent survey of small and medium sized accounting firms showed that they really love and embrace using SaaS programs (software as a service).  Overall, as many as 27% of small and medium companies use cloud-based accounting programs and storage.  However, 60% haven’t even tried it yet, so the future for expansion is bright.  Even for those who didn’t use SaaS apps, they still liked the idea of the cloud, and are finding it to be revolutionary to the industry.

There are two main programs that Australian accountants love – Xero and MYOB.  Accounting companies use 1.9 cloud-based apps on average, but 59% use two or more apps, so clearly this is a popular technology among those who have embraced it. Topping it all off, 96% of those surveyed who currently use the cloud plan to expand their use of it.  It helps make reporting much easier to store and share, leading to the increased use, as well as being able to access the SaaS software, saving money in the process.  Instead of each company having to purchase a full software suite, they can access what they need, usually for a small fee, on the Internet.

Those who haven’t decided to use the cloud have a less-favourable view of the cloud, so breaking down the wall of mystery will likely be one of the things companies will be focusing on to get more users into the web-based storage system. Explaining its portability factor and ease of clients accessing their files and information are two more good reasons.

Younger users are the ones driving the shift to the cloud. The average age of an accountant who is using one of the apps on the cloud is 36, and a whopping 75% of accountants under the age of 35 are using the service.  In contrast, the older accountants, those over 50 years of age, are only using the cloud 45% of the time.  Whether it’s due to habit or a fear of the Internet, the survey did not explain.

Despite the recent leaks that have happened in the US recently, almost half of the users of the cloud in Australia felt that security was the top reason to use the cloud – 44%.  Functionality was ranked second, garnering 42.6% of the people’s votes.

The cloud is clearly not a fad; it’s the real deal. Increasingly, there are a number of firms who are not just willing to embrace the cloud, but actually expect their employees to use it.  The cloud will also allow Australian accountants to participate fully in the global marketplace.

Suraj Vaghjiani About Suraj Vaghjiani
Director, Digital Strategist, Business Development, Young Entrepreneur