Head in the Clouds?

An interesting point arose the other day in resonding to a point raised by Rob Watson in commenting on my Blog “Dynamo or Dinosaur”. The issue had been raised about the danger of data being lost if an SaaS provider went down and I had responded that if the accountant is in the loop, they will have probably imported the data into their statutory accounts systems so all would not be lost.

It is an interesting point. Most, if not all, the discussion on Cloud Computing has been aimed at the end user who, actually, is spoilt for choice with the number of different offerings that now exist.

Scant attention has been paid to the accountant who, ultimately, is going to be making use of this data so that management or annual accounts can be prepared.

A number of SaaS systems have usable export links – Easycounting and now e-conomic for example, have direct exports into recognised final accounts packages. But those, of course, are firmly networked based. Old and new technology working hand in hand.

Will we ever see Cloud Computing replacing the established networks – or will that be one step too far?

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Dynamo or Dinosaur?

The wonderful benefits of the Web, and by definition, Cloud Computing, is the availability of documents, saved pages, bookmarks etc, irrespective of where you happen to be at any time.

It is easy to get access to an Internet connection, whether it is in the office, your favourite coffee bar or on your mobile phone, so it is possible to stay connected almost on a permanent basis.  This has obvious advantages for those who travel a lot as well as the increasing numbers of home workers.

The opportunity to share files with co-workers and colleagues is – in a word – awesome. Most people who are comfortable with the Internet would probably agree – the facts speak for themselves.

Apple Iphone is shortly to reach the 1 billion mark for applications downloaded from its application store – many of these games, for sure, but an increasing number have everyday practical application.  So much so that the Iphone is a contender for the principal business phone, going head to head with the ubiquitous Blackberry.

And yet, lagging behind, firmly stuck in the 19th century, is the accounting profession who’se collective attitude to SaaS (I know the acronym doesn’t help)is, “what I’ve got works so I am not interested in anything new”.

The number of internet based accounting providers is increasing, as are the number of users. But I wonder how many accounting practices have adopted SaaS as their principal resource. It would be interesting to know.

SaaS – is termonolgy slowing take up?

Software as a Service (Saas), Cloud Computing, On premises software – all in vogue terms sounding very IT savvy. But does the average accountant understand to what they refer – or does he/she even want to bother.

The trouble with jargon speak is, that whilst it acts as a useful shorthand to those in the know, it also puts up a barrier to the wider community who might benefit from understanding what is, in fact, being offered.

It might be an idea for the industry to revert to plain English – Software as a Service versus Internet based Accounting. I know what I understand and perhaps the accounting industry who are not known for their innovative behaviour, might adopt the concept more readily.

Lets hasten the end of  the TLA (“three letter acronym”!)

Internet Accounting – an idea whose time as come?

I am constantly amazed that, in the age of the internet, accountants as a breed continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that the World Wide Web (even that sounds old fashioned now!) is a fad that won’t last.

Even the establishment and especially HMRC have embraced the internet and from some time next year businesses will be obliged to file VAT returns, CT600’s aned P35’s etc online.

Yet most accountants in this country shake their heads and purse their lips when it is suggested that Internet accounting (or Software as a Service – SaaS to use the current acronym) should be part of their service offering.

The advantages are numerous and have been well rehearsed – the detractors point out the perceived problems of Internet security and the possible weakness of the server hoster, but these objections seem to be for want of anything more concrete – part of the find me problems not solutions school of thought!

Like it or not, Internet Accounting is here to stay -dinosaurs be warned.

Cloud Computing – what a great concept

I have a PC in the office, a laptop at home and an Acer notebook (which I love). Not to mention my Iphone which will have to be surgically removed from me if I were ever to get knocked down by the proverbial bus (which is more likely as I am constantly looking at one or other of the above!).

So to be able to access my various files or documents, irrespective of what piece of hardware I am using at any particular moment is a Godsend. I use programmes such as Dropbox and Evernote – there are now so many we are spoilt by choice.

It is funny how things have come virtually (excuse the pun!) full circle – dumb terminals being linked to a CPU in the depths of the office – to the stand alone PC – networks – and back to notebooks with limited hard drives but the ability to connect to that great cpu in the cloud!