The Move into Cloud Based Accounting Software: Is It Time For You to Make the Change?

The trend in the technology space is to continue to push toward cloud computing. Vendors such as NetSuite, Intacct, FinancialForce and more are even offering cloud based accounting that enables companies like yours to leverage enhanced functionality without making significant investments in software, hardware or infrastructure. While the cloud promises many benefits, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach to accounting.

The Cloud Based Accounting Approach

Your biggest competitor may find that cloud based accounting software is the perfect fit, yet the traditional approach works within your environment. How do you know if you’re ready to make the change? Moving your accounting processes to a cloud based solution can make sense if you already leverage other cloud based platforms. In that scenario, your users and your IT are already accustomed to moving your protected data outside of your firewall, and you like the fact that you don’t have to make significant investments in hardware or software and that all updates are provided on the backend in real-time.

The Traditional Alternative to Cloud Based Accounting

While the cloud may offer cost and functionality benefits, your current investments in hardware and infrastructure may demand that you stick with the traditional approach to accounting software. Keep in mind that any cost benefits presented on the front end of cloud based accounting software do not hold firm over the long term. The investments you make now in proprietary software that stays in-house can produce a strong return on investment in the end. Plus, if all your other key platforms, such as ERP and CRM are housed on-site, it may make more sense to leverage the tools you already have and keep with the traditional method.

Is Cloud Based Accounting Built for the SMB?

There is a common belief that cloud based accounting software – or any other cloud based platform – was built specially for the small- to medium-sized business (SMB). Making your decision on this factor alone could drive you to the wrong solution for your environment. Yes, the large enterprise is more likely to have the infrastructure in place to support an on-premise implementation. At the same time, that large enterprise will require much more capital upfront if expansions and additional implementations must be done. Likewise, the SMB may not have the IT support in house to monitor the cloud based accounting software and an on-premise solution with a strong SLA may make more sense.

Is it Safe to go Open Source with Cloud Based Accounting?

Open source accounting software has garnered considerable attention in the market as open source platforms such as WordPress have dominated the content market and Android is driving a large following in mobile operating systems. The question you have to ask is if you feel comfortable running your accounting processes on a platform without the support of the manufacturer behind it? Open source can present a clear challenge to the pricing structures involved with Sage, NetSuite, Oracle and others, yet these big names do have a proven performance in the market and they are willing to invest the power of their brand into their cloud based accounting software.

The level of support you need, your current environment and your infrastructure assets all contribute to the process of deciding whether or not a cloud based accounting software solution is the right fit. There is no standard answer – you have to do your homework.

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