In this exclusive interview, we asked panel of real Australian accountants one key question:
What has cloud accounting given your firm?
Join Jamie Johns (Sky Accounting), Mark Said (MKS Group) and Troy Townley (HTA Advisory) as they answer this key question.
Here’s a transcription of this video:
Troy: I think that there’s probably two main things. One is being given greater access to clients’ data and information, and being able to corroborate in real time. Also with our team, being able to access data anywhere, any time has been beneficial. We’ve had a lot of part time staff over the past who have worked remotely and in the office, so being able to have cloud systems has helped us immensely then. Also, just around reducing costs around IT infrastructure as well, that’s been a huge benefit for us.
Jamie: Jamie, how has cloud benefited your firm?
Jamie J: Just allows to scale really. Both with the offshore team that we use and with the office in Sunbury and just having everyone on the same systems. You don’t have to have servers plonked everywhere, it’s all in the cloud. Same systems for everyone and it just gives you scale, Jamie. You can scale things.
Jamie: Sure. And I guess that that’s especially benefited you, with the acquisitions and having multiple offices across Victoria, that’s really helped from that perspective because it’s lowered the cost of infrastructure for you.
Jamie J: Absolutely. I think if you move your firm to the cloud it future proofs it to an extent. You go and get a server these days, I think the last time we put a server in, I think it was like $20,000 at minimum, so if you can move to the cloud it’s all those benefits; it’s infrastructure costs. I think it’s forcing some of the IT providers to rethink their strategy around whether they’re network support desks or are they moving to the cloud based support. It’s slowly changing.
Jamie: Mark, I know that you are very much an advocate of cloud accounting and in that space quite a bit. How have the client conversations gone, with moving clients to the cloud and introducing that concept of cloud accounting?
Mark: Introducing the concept has always been the difficult one because… Sorry I should rephrase that. Over the last five years the conversations have been a lot easier because there’s been a lot more understanding of the cloud. Earlier on I found it difficult to convince clients that the security was there, and we always relied on the service providers to help us in that area by giving us security statements and privacy statements. But over the last couple of years I think it’s been a lot easier and we’ve found the clients coming to us asking to be moved to the cloud. As recently as yesterday we took on a client who was asking us to do 50 conversions from MYOB over to Xero and then manage them going forward, so that’s about the calibre of what’s happening now. People are starting to realise that there is a big wide world out there in the cloud space and I think the FOMO, the fear of missing out, is starting to set in and we’re doing a lot more Xero conversions now than ever before.
Jamie: Sure. Cloud’s been around for a few years now. It’s a big part of accounting. I think most firms in some way, shape, or form have data in the cloud but what’s been more prevalent this year, in 2017, has been that growing awareness around cyber security. There’s almost not a day goes by when there’s some kind of news or publicity or discussion around, whether it’s sort of barbeque talk around firms being breached, or whether it’s something on the news. So, I just wanted to bring that to the forum, what the actual facts are behind that. There’s no doubt that it’s growing. It’s growing by 35% annually since 2015. These are real stats from scamwatch.govt.au. The most compelling thing here is that 60% of reported breaches this year have been from businesses with 20 or less staff, so you’re having a lot of companies that are being breached, having passwords stolen, having access to their files. We’re going to our first pole up now, around that. The question is ‘how worried are you about cyber security?’ I’ll ask the same thing to the panellists, Troy, how worried are you about security?
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