These days we very much live in an ‘on demand’ society – whether it’s using apps to order takeaways through to watching the latest blockbuster films on our TVs at home.
The business world is also moving in this direction of having information and resources available on demand around the clock, and cloud computing has been a major driver of that shift in mindset.
Some business owners and CEOs are perhaps yet to fully realise the potential of the cloud and the benefits it can bring to a company, so here’s a look at just some of the ways you can integrate it into your business.
Cloud accounting enables companies to store their financial records securely online, while providing personnel instant access to balance sheets, profit & loss accounts and cash positions – all essential components in business planning and strategising.
Instant, real-time access to financial data is one of the key benefits of cloud accounting, as this details cash positions, future payments and invoices pending via a few taps of your screen – which is vital in understanding your company’s financial status.
Cloud-based accounts also enable firms to integrate the latest accounting software in their record-keeping, and that is important both for the sake of in-house communication and financial management but also in remaining compliant with UK tax law.
The UK government has overhauled their tax legislation via their Making Tax Digital initiative, and so you are legally-bound to use digital reporting to ensure you are compliant with these new standards.
Many companies of all sizes have begun to utilise software-as-a-service (SaaS) and its various offshoots in their daily operations.
These software packages, which offer benefits such as workflow analysis, website management and collaborative tools for firms with offices on different sites, are often stored and sourced in the cloud. That enables anyone with the requisite credentials to access the software anytime, anyplace.
This can prove very useful if you have sales teams on the road. No longer will they need to pre-prepare for meetings with clients by printing off reports or screen-shotting data – they can simply log in to the cloud and showcase your products and services in that way.
There can be significant cost savings from using ‘off the shelf’ or even customised SaaS as opposed to developing your own platforms in-house, and the ability to connect with key stakeholders in your company in one place – with all data secured in the cloud – could prove very fruitful for your business.
Planning and forecasting in your business needs to go beyond gut instinct and feeling – you need the context of data analysis and numbers to help navigate the future direction of your company.
The cloud not only offers you instant access to all of the accounting mechanisms you need, but software packages also provide in-built data analysis tools that can do much of the heavy lifting for you.
Some cloud data programs utilise artificial intelligence that analyses past trends and performance based upon specific data points, and in doing so, they can make more accurate predictions for the future based upon what has gone before.
This can prove particularly helpful in challenging economic times, when making accurate predictions is difficult given the volatility and unpredictability of the micro and macro-economic climate. Data analysis allows you to extract value from the numbers, and so cloud-based systems could help to future-proof your business and to weather the current storm many firms and industries are facing.
CEOs that have been in business for a number of years may recall the huge servers that they had to acquire and keep maintained in order to preserve the integrity of their companies.
Thankfully, those days are gone thanks to cloud storage, which moves all of your data processing online and provides essential backup and recovery services into the bargain.
So, you no longer need to worry about the costs and manpower of running your own data centre, and with cloud storage, you only pay for the exact amount of ‘space’ you require – another essential cost saving.
Some business owners will be fearful of storing their company’s vital assets in the cloud at a time when hacking and fraudsters are on the loose, but cloud providers spend considerable sums on securing their networks – you are no more at risk than you would be running your own data storage facility on-site.
And how about this troubling stat: more than 60% of companies that suffer a non-recoverable loss of data shut down within six months of the breach taking place. But cloud storage offers automatic backup and recovery, which is a considerable weight off your mind.
All things considered, there are many more reasons to implement cloud computing in your business than there are factors against it.