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Accounting

Why Bring Accounting to the Cloud Amidst the Pandemic?


by Catherine Dahl

One of the best tools to leverage is cloud accounting, which can build cohesion between employees across the company – now that remote work has become the norm.

© eichinger julien/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The work of an accountant traditionally sees various spikes across the year, be it the tax season or the end of a fiscal year. However, as an impact of the pandemic and the sheer amount of work it has brought, accountants all around the globe are now experiencing heightened continuous stress levels.

While accounting has traditionally lagged behind in technology adoption compared to other business departments, tech tools are now seen as the ultimate aides to navigating the intense workloads. In fact, there are reasons to believe that adopting new technology would make accounting less stressful during the pandemic.

One of the best tools to leverage is cloud accounting, which can build unprecedented cohesion between employees across the company – now that remote work has become the norm. With the cloud, teams can stay organized, efficient, and flexible now and into the future.

Why should cloud accounting technology form the basis of virtual workplaces?

Modern solutions to novel problems

Even prior to COVID-19, 67% of companies said they want to shift their accounting process to the cloud. However, the traditional reliance on physical processes centered around paper files and hard drives made many reluctant to adopt the light-weight and dynamic cloud.

However, the sudden switch to work-from-home revealed the urgent inefficiencies in different accounting processes and their obsolete nature. Legacy processes were exposed – and proved to be highly inadequate. Now, 54% of accountants say they have been working longer hours since the beginning of the pandemic, and the unpreparedness of their systems and workflows is the primary reason for this.

Outdated, paper-based, and complex manual processes failed to keep up with the pace of technological adoption, which is the key to success amidst the pandemic. That’s why the transition to the cloud could facilitate accountants’ work now while preparing them for the postlude of COVID-19 in the upcoming years as well.

Ease of use, safety, higher revenue – you name it

Transitioning to the cloud is immediately actionable. Cloud accounting software is hosted by a service provider, meaning that there’s no need to spend time installing and maintaining it. The updates are scheduled automatically, and IT teams don’t need to worry about backing the systems up or reinstalling them to fix bugs.

As all the data is centralized and online, all the team members can access it and work on it from virtually anywhere. There’s no need to rely on manual transfers that can be unreliable, slow, unsafe, and give space to error. Moreover, working in the cloud champions transparency, allowing senior staff to track and trace the movements of documents, as well as control and authorize access to different files and procedures.

Accounting software also alleviates the pain of manual bookkeeping. It vastly reduces the amount of paperwork that needs to be done because paperless invoices can be seamlessly routed to the responsible team members for approval. With automated updates, accountants gain a better overview of their processes and can execute repetitive tasks such as writing checks, securing signatures, or stamping official documents with a simple click of a button.

With role-based access control and double verification logins, accounting software can also present a safer alternative to traditional accounting practices. If you think about it, outdated USB transfers subjected data to being lost, misused, or under threat in case of physical intervention, such as damage caused by fire.

According to a McAfee Report, 87% of companies have been able to speed up processes by leveraging a cloud-based infrastructure. So, switching to cloud accounting shouldn’t be only seen only as a matter of survival during the COVID-19 crisis, but rather a notable investment for the future. That is also because cloud accounting can ultimately form the springboard for the adoption of disruptive technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics – and thus further drive efficiency and growth.

Stepping into the cloud, smoothly and seamlessly

To put the above benefits into numbers, companies using cloud-based accounting can generate 15% more revenue. However, before plunging in, companies should ensure that they already have a solid digital infrastructure in place.

Especially with remote work, which has seen massive adoption in recent months, companies need to ensure that all team members have access to the tools they need to operate digitally and collaborate effectively. Any hardware that accountants leverage should be compatible with specialized programs, be reasonably fast, protected from potential cyber threats, and securely set-up for unique user access. This framework then needs to be complemented by an optimal internet connection that can support more demanding actions such as running cloud-based software and participation in video conferences.

When it comes to choosing the specific cloud-based accounting software, companies should do their research to identify a provider that best fits their unique needs. Depending on their sector, they can choose from a range of different options such as accounts receivable or accounts payable automation, and much more.

While cloud solutions are generally considered safe, companies can take extra measures to add a layer of security to their data. By ensuring that only authorized personnel can access the systems, and employing solutions such as VPNs that mask individual internet protocols, they can work to prevent potential cybersecurity issues.

Remote work doesn’t take human communication out of the equation, but it does change the nature of their interactions. To facilitate the transition, companies need to fortify their whole digital architecture with other solutions that complement cloud-based accounting. These include tools that enable time tracking, email management, heightened productivity, project management, and – most importantly – communication. So, from Zoom and Microsoft teams to Slack and Flock, making sure teams stay connected is essential.

The benefits of accounting software, together with the push brought about by COVID-19, suggest that there has never been a better time to move to the cloud. Apart from instant improvements such as lower stress levels among accountants, the technology has the power to transition company’s processes by becoming the true cornerstone of innovation within an organization.

Catherine Dahl, CEO of Beanworks.