Cloud solutions for small business

Four Trends Shaping Cloud Solutions for Small Business

November 10, 2017

Over the past five years, cloud solutions for small business have evolved into the “single source of truth” for any company seeking to leverage the always-on promise of the Internet. Cloud solutions for small business have been the great equalizer, allowing even solo practice services firms access to the same tools used by big competitors.

Nowhere is this truer than in the small accounting practice, where, after years of reluctance to embrace the digital transformations occurring in traditional work models, CPAs are finally participating in the great cloud migration of 2017.

This post explores trends that will likely affect cloud service adoption for CPAs next year. How will these trends affect the small accounting practice? How will cloud solutions for small business change the accounting field in 2018 – and beyond?

Find out how cloud solutions for small business can help your CPA firm excel in 2018: Get a free assessment now!

Cloud Technology Means Opportunity for Accountants

“Technology continues to transform the accounting profession. Cloud computing and mobile devices have untethered CPAs from their desks and desktops, allowing them to do work and access data on a virtually anytime, anywhere basis. Technology continues to break down geographic and market barriers, creating unprecedented opportunities for CPA firms and for CPAs in business and industry.”
Jeff Drew  ~~~  Journal of Accountancy

For the past two years, the Journal of Accountancy has been predicting that financial services firms would finally reap the benefits of our digitally focused society by changing their business models.

Certainly, cloud technology has been transformational, it’s just that financial services firms have been reluctant to embrace changes to their business models. But that is changing. Some of the latest CPA industry trends are tied irretrievably to cloud computing, and 2018 will likely be the stepping off point for the staid tradition of accountancy to change into a new model that embraces cloud computing. Some of these trends include:

  • Trend #1 – Everyone is in the cloud – even accountants.
    CIO says more than 90% of businesses are now using some form of cloud-based software-as-a-service tool (SaaS). It’s important to note that this is the second wave of sorts; the cloud is now viewed as “mature,” according to TechTarget.  By 2020, according to Help Net Security, 36% of financial enterprise organizations will use the cloud to carry more than half of their transactions.
  • Trend #2 – Intelligent machines will take over tax season.
    The Washington Post posed the big question this year: Would IBM’s Watson dominate tax season, eliminating the need for human accountants? The question stemmed from H&R Block’s partnership with IBM’s super computer, Watson, to do tax returns last year. Watson was able to absorb the entire 74,000 pages of tax code, and then make recommendations to maximize refunds for tax filers. While it’s clear this is the shape of things to come, tax season hasn’t gone completely digital – yet. However, this digital innovation in how Americans do taxes illustrates the need for CPAs to move beyond tax season and into true accounting and financial forecasting models. Which leads us to trend number three.
  • Trend #3  — Accountants will become consultants.
    Establishing long-term working relationships that add value will shape the accounting practice of the future, according to AccountEx. And, the most successful accountants will offer advisory services that will eventually encompass more than 80% of the business in the most successful practices. Crucial to this transition are software products that monitor for compliance, offer enterprise resource planning, and other cloud-based platforms to streamline efficiencies and grow your business.
  • Trend #4 –
    Accountants will become technology experts – or outsource.
    The accountancy of the future will take advantage of technology innovation in order to capture the Millennial market. The traditional CPA is out – enter the digitally savvy financial consultant who leverages cloud models to communicate with clients whenever and wherever they are. Encryption and hybrid cloud models will be leveraged along with cloud storage, apps, and automation. Futurist David Bergstein agrees, stating, “All accounting firms should welcome these new efficiencies and change their models to function more as a provider of advisory services, rather than compliance.”

Cloud Solutions for Small Business Accounting

It’s clear that accounting practices of all sizes must finally begin to leverage cloud-based tools or start to fall behind. SaaS providers have all kinds of products that include easy-to-use tools for financial consolidation, benchmarking, and reporting and business planning, forecasting, and budgeting. SaaS can be leveraged beyond QuickBooks to create a new model of practice that finally reaps the benefit of the Internet and fulfills the promise of the CPA future state.

Get a free assessment of how the cloud can transform your practice. Contact TOSS C3 today.

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