Survey suggests accountants are only just beginning to adopt Cloud based services
Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today released findings of the IT in Practice Survey that identifies a slower take-up of Cloud-based solutions in accountancy firms than in the wider business world. By the end of 2013, it is estimated that more than seven out of ten UK businesses will be using at least of one type of cloud service compared with three out of ten accountancy practices, as the research suggests.
The survey of more than 1300 accountancy firms reveals that accountants are now embarking on their journey to the cloud with 11 per cent already using Cloud based or hosted solutions in their practices, and 23% who would like to move or are planning to move all of their solution or pieces of it to the Cloud in the next twelve months.
“The Cloud forms an important part of the future IT strategy of many UK accountancy firms, according to the results of the survey,” says Andrew Flanagan, managing director, Professional Market for the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. “The main reason practices are looking to move to Cloud based solutions is to allow employees to work remotely; for example, from client’ premises and to enable use of new mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In years to come, it seems inevitable that virtually all software and data will be ‘in the Cloud’, mirroring the move from paper to electronic data – a new way of working that has occurred over the last few decades, but with the increasing pace of technology development it is likely to happen faster.”
A quarter of respondents are resistant to change citing that they see no need for Cloud and would derive no additional benefit over their existing hosting service. 8% said it would mean a big change in the way they worked and they do not know where to start. Despite cloud being such a ‘hot’ subject, 22% were unable to quantify the benefits. For those that could, enhanced flexibility was by far the number one reason with the advantage of being able to access the system from home or a client’s office. Easier upgrades and support came in second followed by IT cost savings in third place. 36% said that the ability to save money would definitely influence their decision and because nothing is loaded on your device, the cost of maintaining an IT infrastructure is lost completely.
The findings suggest that the majority still face a steep learning curve with data security cited as an impediment, when in fact it is one of the key benefits of cloud technology. When considering moving software and data to a cloud environment, 44% said they were worried about system availability and reliability while just over a third (34%) expressed concern that broadband speeds are too slow in their part of the country.
The increasing use of mobile devices for work tasks, often devices owned personally by staff rather than provided by their employer, is one of the more interesting and perhaps unexpected developments. In the survey, over a third of firms surveyed said that they are already allowing their staff to do this, with even more reporting that their staff are asking to.
About the Survey: The 2013 Thomson Reuters IT in Practice Survey gathered responses from over 1,300 accountants in UK practices. The online survey was conducted in April/May 2013. The survey results are available to download at http://www.digita.com/downloads/marketing/Technology_in_Practice_Survey_2013.pdf
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