Cloud – then and now

When I was writing about the cloud three years ago it was a concept that, whilst a no brainer to the enlightened minority, to many it was the stuff of fantasists with no place in the staid world of the Accountant. Trying to promote the concept at the many conferences I attended was akin to pushing a very large boulder up a very steep hill.

But in the last few years there has been a major change in perception…..and take up. Cloud accounting is now the established norm. There are few accounting practices which haven’t embraced the technology and surprisingly perhaps, HMRC is almost leading the way with online filing and Making Tax Digital.

I can’t recall when I last spoke to an accountant who wasn’t using the Cloud in some form. Where Sage was the de-facto accounting system, it is now Xero which has become the application of choice – and to be fair to Sage, they have appreciated the “if you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy and launched their own cloud system – Sage One. (How well I remember my conversation with the, then, technical director of Sage when discussing my system, Easycounting – who remembers that? “No one wants internet based systems” was his dismissive comment.)

With all the add on products available ranging from payroll to working papers, personal tax to CRM and practice management applications it has become a truly “Cloudy” world. There are still some hiccups – why, for example, have Iris withdrawn their cloud based personal tax application? A retrograde step, surely.

There are now so many applications available we are spoilt for choice and indeed how do we choose which system to use. A nice problem to have, but nevertheless a tricky one when it comes to making decisions.

The beauty of most cloud systems is the “try before you buy” concept and even after committing there is no long term tie in. And indeed there is no reason why a practice using, say, Xero should not have other systems that it uses where Xero doesn’t fit the bill.

In my own practice, I have been using Xero for some of my clients, but I have a number of clients where Xero doesn’t cut the mustard and for those businesses and others I have been a long established user of Reviso.

Reviso is the new name for E-conomic, and is now owned by the TeamSystem Group, one of the European leaders in management, ERP and accounting systems.

In my next blog I will compare Reviso with Xero but in the meantime it’s great to see a prediction that has come to pass as far as the Cloud is concerned.