Is your Cloud Strategy in place for your finance team?
The evolution of cloud technology has transformed how we think and work in the digital age. Cloud gives us easy access to our data when, wherever, and however we want. Alone this reason should push finance professionals to consider moving to cloud-based software applications. Since technology in the business landscape has fundamentally changed how we work worldwide, numerous opportunities for organizations are apparent. It is easy to understand why when you look at the benefits cloud provides. The integration possibilities and streamlined data flow are to mention a few.
Gartner recently posted that by 2025 85% of organizations will embrace the cloud and even argues that “there is no business strategy, without a cloud strategy.” Which raises the question have you implemented or formulated a cloud strategy yet? As the finance function is increasingly becoming the driver for business priorities, it is time to think, why not?
What has your streaming service in common with your Financial processes?
Are you still listening to music on records, CDs, or MP3 players? Probably not considering the popularity of online music streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, and Google Play Music. One of these online streaming services has likely replaced your old records, CDs, and MP3 Players. We are not talking about the stereo or hip LP player at home.
Listening to music online is easier and more flexible. Your music is in one place and accessible no matter where you are. Regardless of which streaming service you subscribe to, they all share a common thread: They store your music online with unlimited space. Also, paying a monthly subscription is more accessible and less expensive than buying a new CD every time a new album releases.
The similarities between streaming services and financial software are much closer than you think. The way you store your music is the same way you should be storing your financial software. When you choose cloud software for your financial data, you will gain the same benefits as you enjoy from other cloud-based applications you already use today, like Spotify, Deezer, etc. With Spotify and other music streaming services in mind, consider the software you use for financial consolidation. Do you use locally installed software on a PC? Do you have as easy access to your financial data as you have to your music no matter where you are in the world?
The hidden fact is that, like with CDs, it is not just your behavior that dictates the development – but everyone else’s behavior. You now have to visit specialty stores to see a selection of your favorite records. So, if 85% of organizations go cloud by 2025, why aren’t you?
What are the actual advantages of cloud-based applications?
First of all, you do not have to buy extra software or products to access new updates with a cloud-based solution. Furthermore, you do not have to hire consultants to customize a program; it will all be available via your monthly subscription. Now that we have established a common ground for talking about cloud-based software, we can take a closer look at the top 5 reasons for CFO’s and finance professionals to choose ‘the cloud.’
#1: YOU GAIN QUICK ACCESS TO YOUR DATA AND GREAT FLEXIBILITY
Since your financial data is stored remotely, you can access it anytime, anywhere in the world. All it requires is an internet connection. Cloud-based financial software is stored and hosted online, making it easier for multiple users to access from various devices. Say, for instance, that you or one from the finance team are working remotely, you will still finish your financial reporting in time.
#2: You are guaranteed the latest software upgrades in real-time
Like any software update on your smartphone or apps, your financial cloud software will update automatically. Once your software provider releases new upgrades and features, they will be instantly available. You don’t have to do anything actively. As a result, you can increase your company’s efficiency and productivity by removing time spent on installing updates.
If you have locally installed software (also known as on-premise software), it is an entirely different story to update your software. On-premise software requires local updates and often external consultancy. Not only will this add extra charges to the fees you pay for the software, but it will also interrupt your workflow.
#3: You reduce costs and get an attractive pricing model
The price model of a cloud solution is often subscription-based, which can seem more expensive because you pay a fixed monthly fee to access the software. However, you avoid operational costs like acquisition, backup, maintenance, and security measures like firewall systems. As cloud software is standardized, every customer accesses the same software without unique customization.
The opposite goes for on-premise solutions. In short, a premise solution is software built from scratch and fully customized for your needs only. It sounds good, but there is a downside. Tailor-made systems come at an increased price and less flexibility. They take time to develop, maintain and update. You can read more about the difference between cloud and on-premise software here.
#4: You get a high level of security
With cloud-based software, you outsource your IT operations to a hosting partner. This partner oversees the cloud platform’s security with hundreds or even thousands of people only focused on managing security. Additionally, most cloud hosters use bounty programs to strengthen the safety of their system. Bounty programs entail a network of people skilled in programming and hacking that look for and report bugs in software. These programmers and hackers get a bonus or bounty for reporting flaws in the system. Consequently, cloud hosters like Microsoft can minimize software vulnerabilities and maintain a high level of security.
But remember that no matter where you store your data or how many firewalls you invest in, there is always a risk of losing your data. The trick is to minimize the risk. Minimizing risk comes from choosing a cloud service where you benefit from not just a few but hundreds of competent people who continuously work to protect your data.
With software that is not cloud-based, you are responsible for data security, data backup, and data encryption. It can sound comforting to have complete control but also riskier. You can only rely on a certain amount of employees to care for server operations as a company.
#5: You get a more efficient workflow
Automate manual, repetitive processes within your workflow with cloud-based software. Workflow automation frees up time from calculating and maintaining your spreadsheets. Instead, you can focus on the most value-adding tasks, such as data analysis. Besides saving time, it will make your workflow smoother. For example, users can gain access to review the work done by others and get acquainted with the existing processes in the software.
Multi-user access is another benefit of cloud-based software that increases efficiency. Several employees can work in the program within different areas or on various tasks simultaneously. You won’t disturb or delay each other in the cloud or provoke errors like in an Excel spreadsheet. In addition, cloud-based software conceptualizes how a work task is done, thereby providing agility and flexibility while streamlining workflows. In contrast to cloud-based software, an on-premise solution is not as agile and flexible.
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Switching from a non-cloud-based financial software to a cloud-based one will positively affect your data. It will create a more structured and accurate data set while increasing the flexibility and agility within your workflows.
As a finance professional, you will find many compelling reasons to transition to cloud-based applications. If you would like to explore how cloud-based financial software can help you take a step into the digital age of finance, reach out to us or visit www.konsolidator.com for additional information.