Insights on Growth Strategies
Have your business in the cloud, not your head…
The idea of shifting elements of your business processes in the cloud is not a new concept.
On a personal level you’ve probably used Spotify or Netflix, both of which are examples of technologies that have rapidly disrupted entire industries e.g. when was the last time you bought a track from iTunes or rented a DVD?
Even in a business setting you may already be using Google Drive or Dropbox to store and share files. These are further examples of cloud based services that simply make life easier and more efficient.
In fact, you could really think about the whole internet being one big ‘cloud’ and thus we, accountants and business advisors on the South Coast of NSW are also using cloud technologies for virtually every aspect of technology in our business. In fact, as you read this blog right now, you’re using cloud technology!
We touched on this on an earlier blog, ‘Are You Automating Your Business’ where we talked about accounting software services such as Xero who have played a large part in revolutionizing the way small businesses, and their accountants, manage key elements of their bookkeeping.
So what are we really saying when we talk about moving businesses “into the cloud”?
Historically, large and small businesses were required to have their own server facilities and a in-house or outsourced team to manage the same. Maybe you can recall such a time - having space to store the hardware, maintaining the hardware, ensuring that the back-up processes worked and, for larger companies, having contingency plans in the event of power failure.
Seems archaic now doesn’t it. But then, so does the idea of renting a video DVD or buying music…
With the advent of the internet and a seismic shift in computing power the cloud provides an alternative to most of this. It’s now very simple to access remote servers that can do the heavy lifting and multiple automated backups are the standard these days. It’s almost as if all of your computers and devices are in sync and the risk of a major crash or failure is dramatically reduced. So is the upfront cost of establishing these capabilities which, as your local accountants, we’d say is a good thing!
In short, we’d like to share our Top 5 reasons that cloud adoption for business makes sense:
Maybe you can remember the days when an employee would share a Microsoft Word in an email and then it was edited, forwarded, edited, shared and so on? At some stage that was considered groundbreaking compared to the ‘pre-digital’ era but services like Google Workspace have made it seem very outdated very quickly.
As professional accountants we have many clients who operate their entire email and sales processes through platforms such as Google Workspace or Microsoft Teams. The increased efficiency is incredible; from creating and sharing collaborative files, online chat and calls and more.
To demonstrate a tiny example of how we are practising what we’re preaching… This blog was created in a Google Doc which was automatically shared with the team who proof-read it and uploaded it to this accountants website you’re on. It’s a seamless process.
No doubt, the cloud has lifted the burden for businesses in so many ways and if you haven't yet headed down this path, get in touch with us for a chat!
2. Reduced Power Bills
This one may be more relevant for large companies but, even smaller businesses can reduce their power bills by switching to cloud based servers. The server room is a hungry power consuming monster and in an example we read of with a company that had 17,000 users, they reduced their energy bill by up to 90%.
Of course, cloud computing isn’t free but, given the magnitude of scale the providers have, it is often exponentially cheaper than managing, maintaining and powering your own servers.
And yes, the servers used by cloud providers also require power but, they are often using the ‘latest greatest’ cooling systems that are highly efficient. So you can reduce your company's carbon footprint too. Win Win.
3. No Upfront Investment
We’ve kind of touched on this already in point 1 but… Office space is often prime real estate and having to dedicate a given amount to housing your own servers comes at a cost. Not to mention the on-going guess work of estimating how much space you’ll need for future expansion. We recently took the sage advice of our technology partners I.T. BaseCamp and pushed server data and access into a data centre to remove the cost of future replacement and the risk of hardware failure..
With the cloud you can reclaim that office space and the business model is typically a ‘pay as you go’ approach i.e. pay for what you use. This means you can ramp up or down as your needs dictate. So no upfront costs, no ongoing commitment of office space and a flexible usage approach. Sounds pretty compelling doesn’t it!
4. Automation Saves Time
We live in a busy world and the constant search for automation and efficiency is a key part of the story. There are most likely so many tasks that you perform that could be handled by your computer (which is really just a conduit to the cloud). Storing information centrally enables far greater automation or support from an assistant (or virtual assistant).
Harnessing this technology means that it could reclaim far more of your time to focus on growing the business or whacking a golf ball down the fairway, or whatever you fancy...
5. Liberation From the Office
Pandemics aside, cloud technology has ripped down the traditional office walls and liberated the occupants to a new way of working. With shared documents being available in real time, accessible even from smartphones or other devices, it's never been easier to free yourself from the constraints of your desk. With more people working from home than ever, it seems set to be a trend for the future.
So, if you want to drive efficiency throughout your business, empower your teams and liberate yourself; get your head out of the clouds and get your business into it.
If you have any questions about your cash management. Contact us for professional business and accounting advise.