Cloud accounting is really not that new. Although we've found our niche over time, we've been providing accounting services exclusively via cloud technology since our inception in 2011 (and have been using it for even longer), but it seems the rest of the accounting world is finally starting to catch up.
I just returned from speaking at the Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance annual conference in New Orleans over the weekend about Cloud Accounting: 101, and an article was recently published in Accounting Today reporting on how pioneers are changing and improving their practices through cloud accounting. And what I'm seeing delights me.
Cloud accounting is finally going mainstream.
You don't have to be highly insightful to see the changes happening in the world around you. Every pre-teen I know sees their cell phone as an additional appendage, and iPads and other tablets have become downright commonplace. Small business owners are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and other social media tools to network and actively promote their businesses.
But even with all this online activity, accountants are slow to change. Yes, I do understand the hesitancy for some firms to embrace cloud technology. I mean, change is hard. And accountants aren't really known for being big swashbuckling risk takers. Being conservative is in their blood, and frankly, it's often what makes them good accountants. But that shouldn't be used as an excuse to not keep up with the times.
There's an app for everything, and business owners are dependent upon their phones and tablets to keep them in the know while on the run. They're checking their sales stats on a weekly, if not daily or hourly, basis, and yet, they seem unable to find out whether their individual products, or even their businesses as a whole, are profitable. The reason is because they are living in an online world, and their accountants aren't there.
Accountants who are not adapting to the online world are missing a golden opportunity. We are their trusted advisors, and our clients turn to us to help navigate the financial waters. Accountants should be pushing their clients into cloud accounting, not being dragged there by them.
We receive calls every week from business owners who find they are waiting two or more months to get updated financial statements, or worse, they can't even get financial statements because the accountants they've used for years simply can't support financial information that comes from Amazon, Shopify, or PayPal. It's a whole new world, and business owners find they're missing a critical piece to the puzzle. Without current and accurate data, they don't know what to do to adapt and compete. So they are beginning to demand more from their accountants.
The good news is that I'm seeing more and more articles and conference sessions every day that talk about the benefits of cloud accounting, not only for the business owners, but for accounting firms as well. So maybe the times are finally changing, and accountants are beginning to change along with them.