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Survey Sheds Light On Accountants’ Attitudes towards Cloud Migration

06 August 2015

On Accountants’ Attitudes towards Cloud Migration
Research Shows Australian Accountants Are Heading Towards the Cloud
SYDNEY, 06 August 2015 – A recent survey of more than 400 accounting firms from every state and territory in Australia, clearly shows that accounting practices are embracing, albeit slowly, cloud technology for themselves and their clients. The Cloud Readiness Survey from Digital First demonstrates that while the majority of practices across Australia have been slow in moving their clients to cloud accounting software, as well as their own practices, this shift to the cloud is happening. Nearly half of respondents (43%) see a major shift to cloud software likely to happen in the next 12 months.

Additional standout trends from the survey show:
  • Accounting firms are now willing to spend significantly more on software to run their businesses as they understand it improves productivity
  • Accountants who take advantage of cloud technologies can transform and free up the transactional side of the business and take on a stronger advisory role thus offering clients a more strategic level of service
  • These findings demonstrate a strong opportunity for cloud software providers as many accountants and practices are still to have the conversation about cloud migration
“These insights present a tremendous opportunity for Sage and all cloud solution providers. It is clear from the research the migration to the cloud is happening. It is critical for us as trusted providers to offer guidance on the journey to the cloud, and to support this with the best technology available for our accountant partners, the clients they work with and businesses as a whole. Simply having a cloud solution is not enough – just because a solution is in the cloud does not mean it is good. We must be able to provide easy-to-use, reliable and cost efficient solutions that fit the requirement so our accounting partners can maintain strong performing businesses,” said Alan Osrin, MD – Sage Australia.

“As the cloud conversation gets louder, it is very interesting to hear first-hand from accountants how they see this trend evolving. Online accounting solutions present one of the biggest transformations in the accounting industry in years – the industry as we know it today will look completely different in a few years’ time, and this is due in most part to the advent of cloud technology. ,” said Sholto Macpherson, Digital First.

Businesses are gradually taking up cloud solutions, and accountants see this as an emerging trend despite the research showing that a majority of respondents (60%) had 30 percent or fewer of their clients using cloud software. The survey also clearly shows that cloud accounting is the future of the industry, but accountants are still working out how to best make the transition with only 40% of firms
intending to move some clients to the cloud and only a quarter of those (10%) planning to move all clients to the cloud.
The survey also revealed a mix of factors with similar weighting that is driving the move to cloud software.

  • Higher productivity
  • Mobility
  • Better device support
  • Pricing
Each ranked as important or very important to 70% of the respondents. While many firms see the cloud having multiple benefits to their practices and their clients, the biggest barrier is just how cloud software can be introduced into the practice while still being able to maintain the same revenue stream and offer additional services.
Accountants want to stay competitive.

There are several factors facing accounting practices as they contemplate moving to the cloud in terms of staying competitive. Cloud technology means less time is needed to complete routine tasks and therefore less billable hours. The survey found the two most important opportunities cloud environments offer for remaining competitive are increased productivity (73%) and offering business advisory services (62%). More than 60% of respondents have stated that adding business advice could deepen client relationships and margins.

The biggest concern for clients is cash flow management followed by expense management, tax and superannuation obligations. These concerns directly correlate to the push for cloud accounting software by business owners. This presents a great opportunity for accounting practices to use online accounting solutions to position themselves as trusted advisors and forecasters to attract more clients.

While the trend is growing and with millions of dollars being spent on marketing cloud accounting software in the last two years, the transition to the cloud is still in the early stages. Just 13% of respondents surveyed have more than 50% of their clients already using cloud software.

It is clear from the survey that the migration to online accounting solutions is happening. The next few years will be transformational for the accounting industry as it moves to embrace and adapt to the new and evolving technology. This will trigger changes in the way they do business, as well as the range of services they offer.
About the survey The Cloud Readiness Survey was carried out by Digital First in May 2015 on behalf of Sage HandiSoft Australia. Of the 411 respondents, 82 percent were the business owner or a managing partner. Over half were over the age of 50.

To review the survey in its entirety, please click here

About Sage
Sage Australia, is a subsidiary of The Sage Group plc and has offices throughout Australia and New Zealand, and more than 25 years’ experience in both local markets. We provide small and medium sized organisations, and mid-market companies with a range of easy-to-use, secure and efficient business management software and services - from small business online accounting (Sage One), accounting practice management (Sage HandiSoft), payroll and HR (Sage MicrOpay), to business management solutions and customer relationship management (Sage Business Solutions).

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