Some Accounting Benefits Are Obscured In “The Cloud”

by Mark Gibbons 1. August 2016 14:21
The use of “cloud” storage technology supported by services such as iCloud, Amazon Web Services, and Dropbox has achieved ubiquity in our everyday lives for applications such as photo storage, transferring documents, and remote server hosting. The business applications are many, and accounting is among the professions that is enthusiastically embracing the cloud for a variety of obvious, and some less obvious, reasons. In addition to well-documented advantages such as cost, accessibility, bandwidth, and disaster recovery, assurance professionals are discovering that the use of cloud-based technology can make service delivery better in a variety of other ways. Audit teams are often in different locations utilizing the same data, which can cause version control as well as security issues. Cloud services can eliminate difficulties inherent in multi-location audits by allowing teams to contemporaneously access the same data, eliminating version control ambiguities. Using cloud services reduces the exposure to human error by keeping information from being directly loaded on multiple users’ laptops, which are particularly vulnerable to loss from theft and human error. Software updates can be implemented with minimal disruptions to an engagement. And, data privacy and cybersecurity are better than what many accounting firms could promise on their own, because the companies that host services for accounting and financial firms are held to strict SOC2 standards, their livelihood depends on their ability to keep sensitive information secure, and they have access to and budgets for the latest cybersecurity resources. The result is cloud services are increasing productivity and reducing costs, adding value to the audit process. It is this value that is driving adoption of cloud services by the accounting profession. According to the most recent Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey from the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section, use of cloud-based systems has increased by 66% in two years and is used by 59% and 77% of firms with $5-10 and $10+ million in revenue. Cloud technology is here to stay in the accounting profession, and clients are receiving the benefits.

How Much Longer Will You Use Microsoft Office?

by Justin Nescott 23. March 2012 13:10
  In an article in late 2011, PCMag columnist John Dvorak predicted the end of Microsoft Office. With updates including minor changes, such as a new user interface with the ribbon tab in 2007, few new elements have been added to the Microsoft Office Suite, allowing competitors create successful suites, in both power and functionality compared the MS Office.   There have been ten Office Suite versions in the twenty years that Microsoft has produced Office. However, in those twenty years, MS's only major breakthroughs to the suite were the additions of Spelling and Grammar Check. In addition, Microsoft is branching into the smart phone and tablet market and seems to be less concerned with improving the Office suite.   Google and IBM have also introduced cloud-based suites to the market. While Google Docs has gained enough traction in the market to prompt Microsoft to develop Office 365, IBM released IBM Docs, based on the failed Lotus office suite. Google and IBM have been able to beat Microsoft to the punch in the cloud-based suites marketing, allowing them to get access to corporate accounts.   Computer giants, HP and Dell will continue to monitor the development of these alternatives to Microsoft Office. As John Dvorak pointed out his recent column, The Imminent Word Processing Bloodbath, “Competition in the office suite environment is long overdue. Twenty years ago, there were dozens of competitive word processors. It was a lot more interesting then than it is now.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops their newly announced Microsoft Office 15 considering the competition forming in the market of suite and cloud-based suite products. The real question, however, is when Office 15 becomes available, will companies and individuals be using Google Docs or IBM Docs instead of Microsoft Office?
Categories: Productivity