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Does all this recent fluff about cloud technology leave you dazed? Are you thinking perhaps you have had your head in the clouds? Perhaps you somehow missed coursework on what the cloud means? You are definitely not alone! Many professionals are wondering what the nebulous term “the cloud” means. Nor are you alone to question what the transition to cloud-based services would mean for a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm.
This blog will answer common questions CPA firms have about cloud technology and cloud-based services. Frequently asked question topics about cloud-based technology include where data is stored; how data is accessed; data security; the data migration process; and the overall cost investment of moving a CPA firm to the cloud. Let’s start with defining “the cloud.”
The term “the cloud” has several different definitions. A simple explanation of cloud computing as reported in the Journal of Accountancy is that it involves placing data in systems apart from the organization. The computer hardware and software that an organization uses is located in an offsite, secure location, rather than in an on-site office. The concept of the cloud refers to the software and data accessed through the internet. More specifically for CPA firms, cloud technology involves using internet-based accounting software to perform essential accounting functions in addition to research and training. Cloud technology is able to greatly benefit accounting firms through its accessible, expansive, and secure platform.
The cloud provides CPA firms a platform to create efficient and effective business solutions. Below are some services cloud-based solutions offer CPA firms.
Getting the answers to commonly asked questions about the cloud is helpful for C-suite executives when deciding on transitioning their firms to a cloud-based service.
An initial question asked by C-suite executives of CPA firms is where their data will be stored. When data is stored on the cloud, it is relocated from an on-site location to an external service provider. Another way of explaining the concept is that data is stored on individual, remote servers, instead of on storage devices or hard drives in computers.
Financial accounts and cloud accounting software are managed on the internet through cloud providers who offer space on servers at secure data center locations. Cetrom secures their data in two cloud data centers in Virginia and Colorado. These geographically dispersed centers ensure your data’s security with automatic failover protection and remote backups.
A common follow-up question to where data is stored on the cloud, is how data and accounting software can be accessed and by whom?
Data, documents, files, emails, etc., can be stored in the cloud, which can then be accessed remotely over the internet. A key benefit of the cloud is that any information placed in the cloud by a CPA firm can be accessed at any time from any mobile device or computer, provided that there is an internet connection.
The ease of accessibility of information in the cloud is beneficial for CPA firms particularly because it is no longer necessary for CPA’s to be in an actual office to assist a client or colleague. For example, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms can be downloaded and delivered between parties from the cloud. Files can also be shared between several individuals simultaneously. Cetrom FS is Cetrom’s file-sharing service. It allows employees to securely access and share files from anywhere with an internet connection.
While ease of use and convenience is important, a bottom-line question for CPA firms is the financial costs of migrating their firms to the cloud.
Different cost considerations can influence the overall financial investment for using cloud-based services. Each CPA firm has specific circumstances which impact what services will be provided. When calculating the cost of cloud technology, C-suite executives should consider the cost benefits the cloud offers with respect to flexibility, scalability, and reliability. Another consideration is that employing the services of cloud technology means CPA firms will spend less money on servers, IT infrastructure, and hardware. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to slim down IT personnel. or even better, free up staff to focus on higher-level, revenue generating projects and tasks for stronger growth and ROI.
Further, using the cloud eliminates the necessity of firms having to purchase different software for specific accounting functions. Cloud-based accounting applications update frequently, which saves time and money because it eliminates the need for firms to download updates. While the financial commitment to cloud technology is an important consideration, another frequently asked question is regarding the security of data on the cloud.
And finally, another major cost benefit of the cloud is eliminating or downsizing office space. When the pandemic hit, CPA firms found that physical office space was no longer necessary. The cloud enabled them to adopt a flexible workplace model, which meant that employees no longer had to be present in the office. This allowed CPA firms to save on capital expenses, office space, supplies, utilities, and more.
A paramount question C-suite executives ponder is the security of a firm’s data and documents on the cloud. CPA firms are well aware security breaches can be devastating financially and in terms of reputation.
Above all, cloud solutions providers make security a top priority. They invest in the best security technologies on the market and apply a multi-layer approach to greatly reduce risks. By adopting these technologies, firms are able to respond to and remediate other threats faster with access to cybersecurity experts and their enterprise-level resources. What security measures should CPA firms look for in cloud providers? Look for a provider who:
Data security is a very important consideration when choosing a cloud-based service provider. It is clear cloud-based services offer myriad positive solutions to CPA firms.
Understanding the intricacies of cloud-based technology and available services is a smart business decision however it adds up. Cloud technology is changing the way CPA firms conduct business. Fortunately, Cetrom focuses 100 percent on providing cloud-based services for CPA firms. Cetrom offers the following expertise to CPA firms.
Cetrom has a proven track record in cloud-based services. Contact Cetrom today to have all your questions answered about the cloud and cloud-based services available with their renowned company.
Cetrom Support fixed all of my problems, their engineers are very professional, courteous, friendly and very efficient. If all customer service out there was like...- Mid-sized