Accountants know that cloud accounting holds many benefits for CPAs and clients alike. It eliminates wasted time, human error and streamlines costs, meaning accountants have more time to oversee projects and work on other things.
With all this in mind, it seems like an obvious choice for CPA firms to make the jump to the cloud. But where do you start, and how do you make sure your move is successful?
1 – Do some digging
So you think you’re ready to make the move to the cloud – where should you start? Before taking any action, do some due diligence. Review your books and do some research on various cloud service providers. You will want to find someone you can trust and that provides an array of services, like invoicing, payroll management, reporting and bank account management. If you’re new to automation, it may also be worth finding a company that can provide support to help you through initial stages of migration.
2 – Play it safe
Putting all information into the cloud will improve company security by centralising information in one place. Many service providers will have extra built in security frameworks to ensure all your data is kept as safe as possible. When vetting suppliers, be sure to ask what these frameworks are – it could be anything from end-to-end encryption or limiting access to documents to a list of pre-approved people.
3 – Plan realistically
Once you’ve chosen your provider, you’ll need to create a migration timeline of everything that your firm will need to do in the lead up to, during and post-migration. Be realistic when you’re making your timeline, and be generous with time. If your company is quite well established outside the cloud, or if you keep data in various computer programs, it may take longer to centralise, collate and organise your files in the cloud.
4 – Communicate with clients
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face during migration is communicating the move to your clients. Some may be hesitant to have all their information stored online, rather than locked away safely in a folder or cabinets. It’s important to inform your clients ways in which centralising will help with account management. Start by setting up a shared folder that you and your client can both access and share within. Slowly build this out so that soon, everything can be done automatically online, requiring less sign off on paper or in person.
5 – Create staff confidence
Make sure your staff are brought into the migration process as much as possible – whether this is attending informational sessions ahead of time, feeding into what features they’d like incorporated, and / or continuing training sessions once fully migrated. Developing your staff’s skills and capabilities with cloud services will boost their confidence and you’ll see a greater return on your investment.
For CPAs, migrating to the cloud is a necessary and beneficial move, but can also seem like a daunting process. Planning out your approach and acting diligently can make the process easier and ensure success for your firm.
Lee Murphy is owner of accountancy software Pandle.