May 24, 2022

Common Questions CPA Firms Have About the Cloud

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.”

What Does “The Cloud” Actually Mean?

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. 

How Does Cloud Computing Benefit CPA Firms?

The cloud provides CPA firms a platform to create efficient and effective business solutions. Below are some services cloud-based solutions offer CPA firms.

  • Allows CPA firms to store enormous data. Cloud technology eliminates the need for CPA firms to have physical storage devices.  
  • Enables CPA firms to utilize multiple accounting applications. Cloud computing allows for data and accounting software to be accessed online. 
  • Permits data access from anywhere. The cloud offers CPA firms flexibility and scalability as data can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Empower CPA firms to offer a flexible, scalable model. Throughout the year, CPA firm staff size fluctuates, especially around tax season. Cloud solutions allow firms to pay for what they use and offer the benefit of flexibility to staff who work from home or in the office.

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.

Where is Data Stored in the Cloud?

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? 

How is Data Accessed in the Cloud?

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.

What are the Cost Considerations of 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.

How Secure is Data on the Cloud?

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:

  • Protects data with a diverse, layered backup approach. Multiple data backup methodologies, as well as server locales, adds layers of protection with respect to client’s information. A solid approach is to save data on different hard drives in geographically dispersed locales to prevent data loss. 
  • Performs daily data backups. Frequently backing up data alleviates risk factors such as natural disasters or cyberattacks. Utilizing two distinct backup methodologies separate from the network is an effective strategy. 
  • Encrypts servers. Cloud-based providers store data on remote, encrypted servers. Cloud providers utilize up-to-date security measures and allow only authorized personnel to access the information. Since the data is encrypted, hackers can’t use it for nefarious reasons. 

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.

Why is Cetrom a Top-of-the-Line Cloud-Based Provider for 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. 

  • Hosts accounting-specific operations. Cetrom recognizes the special needs and requirements of CPA firms. Their specialty is hosting software applications designed for the accounting industry. Cetrom’s cloud services are custom designed for each firm. 
  • Offers a multi-layered security approach. The cloud-based solutions provided by Cetrom include advanced artificial intelligence security technologies. Cetrom offers cybersecurity training and best practices for staff members.
  • Supports networks continuously. Highly qualified engineers are available to resolve technical issues 24x7x365 via email or phone. They provide excellent service by understanding and learning each firm’s accounting applications. This is how Cetrom maintains a consistent five-star customer satisfaction rating year after year. Customers are not just a number. They have unique needs and Cetrom is there to assist them.
  • Provides full cloud migration. Migrating a CPA firm to the cloud is a multi-layered decision with important considerations. CPA firms can use cloud-based services to move their data from on-site servers to the secure, online platform that can be accessed from anywhere. No more transferring using hard drives—the cloud migration does it for you with a seamless transition.  

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.

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