Originally posted on 6 Jan 2014

I came across some more interesting information from the US about accounting firms moving information to the cloud. The high demand for accountants in US is boosting salaries according to an article this month by Ted Needleman, who writes frequently on software, hardware, and technology-related subjects. He was previously the editor-in-chief of Accounting Technology, so he should know what he is talking about. You can read it here.

Ted says that moving your firm’s and your clients’ accounting and other applications into the cloud is becoming more common. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s become any easier. No software implementation is particularly simple, whether it’s in-house or based in the cloud – and that’s especially true of accounting.

He says that, intrinsically, moving a client’s application, accounting or otherwise, to the cloud isn’t any more difficult than if you were moving it from one server to another, or in some cases, from one vendor’s application to that of another software vendor.  The only real difference is the destination. The server that the application is being moved to, and run from, is not under your or your client’s control. In fact, neither of you actually knows where the client’s data is physically located.

The fact that neither of you has direct control over the client’s financial data means that there are some additional factors that should be considered before the initial move or implementation and during the ongoing operation of the accounting system. You and your client should also make sure that there’s an exit strategy in place should the client decide that they want to bring their accounting back in-house.

Intacct senior CPA programs leader Amy Vetter has put together a checklist to help clients prepare for a transfer to Intacct. But the checklist isn’t limited to moving to Intacct: It’s just as useful in a move to any new system, in-house or in the cloud. Slightly edited, it consists of these steps:

  • Clients should start cleaning up lists of accounts, customers, vendors and employees to remove duplicates or accounts that aren’t needed in the new system. Use this transition as an opportunity to cleanse existing data.
  • Identify team members that will work with the accounting firm on the implementation and get all the necessary documentation as fast as possible. This documentation may include bank and credit card statements, online banking information, open accounts receivable and payable, unreconciled transactions in cash accounts, physical inventory (if applicable), and financial statements as of the date at the end of the month prior to when you want to begin in the new system
  • Identify the main person(s) who will learn the system and help train the rest of the staff once the software has been implemented.
  • Gather all the reports that are used currently in the business – in Word, Excel, in the accounting system. This will enable you to replicate them and offer ideas for additional reports.

This is a very useful article which can be read in full here.

Martin Pollins
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