When preparing for your practice succession, embracing cloud technology could be a consideration – the question is, do you have enough time to see the benefits in your practice? To help you decide whether to embrace cloud technology, if you have two to three years before you wish to start your succession journey and your successor is likely to be external, then there is a solid business case to invest in cloud technology. Conversely, if your successor is expected to come from within your practice, you would have fewer concerns about investing for the future, assuming your internal successor is engaged in the process.
Cloud-based technology can offer your practice many benefits, including:
Real-time data access: The ability to access real-time financial data allows you to provide more timely advice to clients, helping them make more informed decisions based on up-to-date financials. Depending on the focus of your practice, this alone can be a game changer when collaborating with your clients and value-adding through more proactive real-time advice.
Automation: Cloud-based accounting software offers automation features such as bank feeds, automatic transaction categorisation, and recurring transactions. Saving time on manual data entry frees your team to focus on more value-added tasks.
Scalability: Cloud-based applications are more scalable than traditional desktop software, as they can be easily upgraded or downgraded to suit the needs of your business. Cloud adoption can be particularly beneficial for your successor, providing greater flexibility for the future.
Mobility: Cloud-based accounting technology can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. You enable your team to work remotely, from home or on the go, increasing productivity and flexibility.
Data security: Cloud-based applications generally offer high levels of security, including data encryption, regular backups, and multi-factor authentication. When cybersecurity has never been more prevalent, this is a significant benefit.
With the ability to access real-time data, automate processes, collaborate in real-time, scale your business, be more mobile, and maintain data security, cloud-based accounting software will provide many advantages for your practice.
Of course, many clients will have already moved to cloud-based accounting solutions for their businesses. According to a study by Intuit, businesses that use cloud-based accounting software save an average of 3.2 hours per week compared to traditional accounting methods. Practices can use this time for more strategic activities, such as analysing financial data and making informed business decisions.
Whilst cloud-based technology presents many advantages for your practice, it’s important to be aware of the various costs involved, including subscription fees, data migration, IT infrastructure upgrades, staff training, and ongoing support. Many accounting practices have found that the benefits of cloud-based technology, such as increased efficiency, data security, and accessibility, outweigh the costs over time. Still, it is unlikely you will see an immediate uplift in financial performance – like a lot of change, and it will take some time to see your investment bear fruit. Provided you have the time to see the financial benefits of moving to improved cloud technology, this is a reasonable strategy to explore in the lead-up to your practice succession.