SaaS – The green shoots of acceptance?

Three apparently disparate items caught my attention this week which makes me wonder whether, at long last  the inevitable acceptance of Online Accounting may just have started.

The first was Dennis Howlett’s interview with Andre K of Twinfield. It was an enlightening review of Twinfield’s experience in rolling out the product in the Netherlands. What he said was not new to the exponents of SaaS but it was interesting to hear him emphasise the advantages and importance of accountants being able to interact with their clients over live monthly data – and being on top of the figures and reporting so that planning can be done with up to date live information.

The second was an article in this weeks Accountancy Age, with “experts” discussing what firms can do to improve services to clients. One of the highlighted comments was from Ian Stumbler, a partner in Morris Owen. I quote: “No more should we be having to drive accross the country to sit in front a set of records for half an hour. It is far more efficient to look at the same data over the internet, talk over the phone and see what each other is doing.”

This comment, coming as it does from a practicing accountant, sums up the benefits of SaaS and taken in conjunction with Twinfield’s Netherland experience gives me hope that, albeit slowly, attitudes may be changing and accountants are starting to see the light.

The third, apparently unconnected, item was a report that Microsoft are discontinuing their Microsoft Money product. The quote from their offical blog says, in part, ” …“With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed.”

Is this the start of a process which will see the acceptance of SaaS as the norm…I certainly hope so.