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Cloud Technology: Ending the Staffing and Security Crises (Part 1)

Kiara Williams
Posted by Kiara Williams on Jun 6, 2024 3:00:00 PM

The more I learn from the accounting profession, the more I realize that the disillusionment with emerging technologies isn’t because they aren’t interested in it. It’s because they’re unconvinced that it’ll help them do better at their job—and likely—only cause more frustration.

They’ve been—you’ve been—doing your job and doing it well. Why rush to learn anything new?

Here’s why:

Couldn’t approaching these challenges with something new be exactly what’s needed?

From staffing and retention to mitigating cyberthreats, technology makes it better.

In this series, we’ll explore the connection between two popular accounting tools (cloud and AI) and how they help teams:

  • Overcome the accounting staff shortage
  • Bolster security

First up, the oldest new kid on the block: cloud technology.

Cloud technology: Why so hesitant?

The cloud’s been around for a while, but the accounting profession is still beginning its adoption journey.

Why is that? According to Rightworks’ 2024 Accounting Technology Survey, hesitance stems from a lack of technical expertise, resources, budget, and time.

The irony is that when it comes to cloud technology,

  • Technical expertise isn’t required
  • Few resources are needed
  • It saves money and time

Let’s dig into those a bit deeper…

Cloud workflows aren’t that different from what you’re used to

Cloud technology doesn’t abruptly change how you work. It doesn’t require IT expertise. It’s simply a different type of house for your tools to live in. It's a slightly different workflow. Instead of clicking on your tax software from your desktop, you’d launch it from a cloud portal.

But unlike software that’s stored on-premises, the cloud:

  • Adds additional security safeguards to your software: (Exact precautionary measures depend on the cloud provider.)
  • Backs up your data: If you accidentally lose or delete a company file, your cloud backup will save it elsewhere.
  • Makes sending and receiving client information way easier:  Staff and clients (with approved access to the same cloud environment) upload, input, and share information instantaneously.

New to the cloud? Learn more about how it works.

The cloud reduces operational costs

In the 2024 Accounting Firm Technology Survey, more than half of respondents said cost factored into their decision not to move most of their data and apps to the cloud.

Upfront, additional tools will always add to the bottom line. But the long-term benefits of moving to the cloud are proven:

  • The cloud replaces or severely cuts in-house server, storage, and maintenance costs.
  • As a business grows and requires more technology resources, the cloud scales with them.
  • If accidental loss or deletion occurs, the cloud’s backups will go into effect—saving you valuable time (and from having to do the same thing twice).
  • The cloud is a sales tool. Clients and customers want to work with companies that make their experience more convenient and efficient. It’s a fact.

It’s also worth mentioning that companies using a secure cloud environment (among other leading technologies) earn up to 39% more revenue per employee.

Can the staffing and cybersecurity crises really be solved with the cloud?

Solved? Maybe not. Helped? Absolutely:

The cloud, staffing, and retention connection

The dire need for CPAs, the common issue of not having enough staff at the right time of year to get stuff done, and keeping staff happy are all, believe it or not, made easier with the cloud.

  • The cloud enables WFH: 95% of workers want some form of working from home online. Cloud technology gives its users a centralized, secure work-anywhere platform. Ergo, move to a cloud-based way of working, find and keep employees.
  • Cloud makes hiring easier: A remote enablement tool broadens the hiring pool, making finding a qualified candidate much (And while you’re at it, why not save on some overhead by hiring someone from a spot with a lower cost of living?)
  • The cloud scales (both ways): As a firm’s staff numbers fluctuate throughout the year, so can the cloud. All providers are different, but typically, adding and removing users takes minutes.

The cloud: your accounting castle’s moat

If your firm is a castle, the cloud’s its moat. Deep waters in the form of user authentication, access controls, encryption, and backups protect your kingdom from data ruin.

Exact cybersecurity measures are dependent on the provider—however—no matter the company you choose, a cloud solution always:

  • Backs up data: From office floods to accidental deletions, the cloud has your back. Somewhere—on another server—a copy of whatever was lost is waiting to be recovered.
  • Controls access: Data stored in the cloud has multiple layers of user authentication. (Depending on the solution, it’ll also scramble data so that the information is unreadable in the unlikely event an unauthorized person gets through.)

Learn more about cloud security and why cybersecurity should be your priority in 2024.

Stay tuned for Part 2: AI

Check back next month for my take on the connections between artificial intelligence, staffing, retention, and cybersecurity.

And for more information about how the cloud leads to a better culture, safer workplace, and happier firm, visit the Rightworks blog.

Sponsored Content: This article is generously brought to you by one of our valued sponsors. Their support enables us to continue delivering expert insights and the latest industry trends to our dedicated community of accounting professionals.

Topics: Practice Management, Modern Practice, Business Technology


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