How cloud technology can revolutionize your finance and accounting function
The ‘cloud’ is busy revolutionizing legacy business processes.
What exactly is the ‘cloud,’ or ‘cloud computing?’
The on-demand delivery of computing resources over the world wide web is referred to as cloud computing. It provides on-demand IT resources such as storage and computing power and obviates the need to buy, own, maintain and upgrade physical resources such as servers and data centers. With usage being need-based and usually on a pay-as-you-go scheme, it even works out cheaper for companies using it, apart from its other benefits.
Cloud computing in Finance and Accounting
One of the business areas where cloud computing has been able to deliver benefits and efficiencies is finance and accounting. It has taken away the need for installing accounting software on office computers and allowed companies to focus on the actual work, rather than worrying about infrastructural issues such as servers and databases and physical location and security, etc.
It has not only enabled automation of hitherto manual processes, but also enabled organizations to access advanced functionalities such as analytics, rich veins of information that supports strategic decision-making. And it is an ongoing process, allowing access to technological advancements and software improvements as they happen.
Of course, access to the cloud is over the internet, which could have more failure points than an intranet. As a mitigant, however, most telecom providers secure their internet connections through multiple channels and routes.
Already counted as one of the top three providers in the world in data based BPO services, its chosen area of operations, oWorkers is equipped to provide support to clients in a wide variety of functions, such as invoice processing, social media moderation and finance and accounting.
How does cloud computing benefit F&A
Process efficiency and cost saving are generic terms that are applied each time a business case needs to be made. Is cloud computing delivering benefits to finance and accounting merely a passing fad and mirage, or does it actually deliver real benefits?
Access to the updated version at all times
Whether in F&A or elsewhere, service providers on the cloud also operate in the same competitive environment like everyone else. They need to ensure that their product is relevant and updated and useful at all times, in order to receive interest from customers.
Cloud services are regularly updated by the service providers. In the case of F&A, as an example, if the regulation changes resulting in a different formula for calculation of the tax liability, the service provider will ensure it is reflected in their software so that users are not impacted. This saves hundreds and thousands of users the hassle of updating their systems if they were using standalone, server-based applications.
The availability of updated finance and accounting software on the cloud sounds like the oWorkers up time, which is 24×7. All delivery centers of oWorkers are geared to work continuously, depending on client requirement of turnaround time.
Security of data
In the early days, cloud services suffered on account of security concerns, since transactions were carried out over the internet, and appeared to be outside the control of the company carrying them out. There were concerns that once they leave the ‘eyesight’ of the company, it will not be in a position to control access, resulting in theft and misuse.
With the benefits of the cloud being apparent, service providers have worked hard to ensure that security related issues were addressed. In fact, the shoe seems to be on the other foot now. With near foolproof security and backup systems in place, events like crashing laptops and server damage have ceased to be issues of concern any more for companies using the cloud. They just need to ensure that they hand out the right access levels to employees, and a robust connection to the cloud. The rest, the cloud will handle.
With oWorkers, security of client data is always an uppermost concern. It operates out of super secure facilities & protocols for client data security, and is ISO certified (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). And, if that is not enough, it is also GDPR compliant.
Better utilization of technical resources
As the article in Forbes commented, “Every company is a technology company, no matter what product or service it provides.” And that was five years ago. The strength of that argument would have only increased in the last five years. Technical resources are in high demand, not only for creating applications, but for technology support functions like server maintenance, backups and software upgrades. With a move to the cloud, many of these activities move to the centralized cloud, out of the scope of individual companies using the cloud.
If we were to assume that there would be thousands of companies earlier using standalone technology employing several people each who have now moved to the cloud, it would be a staggering saving for the companies and a huge release of qualified manpower to perform other, value-added tasks.
The other aspect is that cloud technologies tend to be robust, as they are built for a wide spectrum of users, and, for a function like F&A, which places a high value on accuracy, they would provide additional safeguards that would automate some of the error identification and rectification processes, adding to the efficient utilization of resources.
As an established, credible employer, oWorkers attracts job seekers right through the year. This not only gives them access to the choicest talent for all client projects, it also helps them save money in advertising to attract resources, which eventually becomes visible in the pricing they are able to offer. In addition, they are also able to offer resources at short notice to enable clients to tide over unforeseen volume spikes, almost an additional hundred within 48 hours.
Pay per use suits all pockets
When you buy a software, it can only be bought whole. You cannot buy 10 percent or 20 percent of it because you are a small company. At times, you may even need to defer buying a productivity-enhancing software because your scale of operations cannot justify the investment, and continue with the mickey-mouse systems your company might be using.
The ability to pay per use, or pay for as much or as little your use might be, is one of the significant advantages of cloud technology. As a business expands, so does the operation of its finance and accounting function that needs to keep pace. With the cloud, the F&A team can continue to expand its operations, from a small start, without worrying about buying more capacity or more servers or more infrastructure. Features can also often be added on a ‘demand’ basis by asking for it and paying the upgraded subscription fee.
Many of the global clients of oWorkers testify to substantial savings, the ones from North America and Western Europe more than the others. They often claim to save almost 80% of their pre-outsourcing costs. In addition, the uniqueness of oWorkers offering them a choice between different charging methods is appreciated by all.
Based on the capability of the cloud technology subscribed to, the F&A team could successfully automate hitherto manual functions, such as data entry, invoice reminders and reporting. Automation has a beneficial impact on adherence as the probability of errors reduces, with a suitably teed-up alert management system that alerts the management when exceptions are encountered.
A related benefit automation delivers is the reduction in paper processing. Finance and Accounting have traditionally been paper-intensive processes, as they have a need to maintain vouchers and records for every activity in an effort to account for every dollar of the company’s money. Even the residual paper can be converted to images to facilitate storage and retrieval.
Having built relationships with technology companies, today oWorkers is in a position to leverage these relationships and access the latest computing technologies, where applicable, to live client projects.
F&A is a function that emanates from requirements of compliance. Every jurisdiction places statutory responsibilities on companies such as filing of tax returns, and, obviously, accuracy and honesty in reporting. Cloud accounting services are designed to reduce errors and support the compliance requirements of subscribing organizations, in an environment that is increasingly becoming more complex, with cross-jurisdiction (across boundaries and regulatory systems) increasing as trade barriers fall and the world becomes a smaller place. They even provide resources through which people working for multinational organizations who need to cross these boundaries, can also manage their personal taxation responsibilities with ease and accuracy.
oWorkers pays social and local taxes for its employees and operates as a locally registered entity in each of its delivery locations. It is well capitalized and has a track record of profitability as well as regulatory compliance.
One of the challenges to cloud technologies in the earlier days was that the user would be forced to comply with one standard method of usage of the platform. Hence, if their business had any peculiarity or the company required anything that was not standard, it would only be provided by a standalone version of the software, customized to their requirement.
But that is history now. Modern cloud technologies are no longer ‘take it or leave it’ services. They are menu and choice-driven applications that afford a wide choice to users. In a way, the aspect of choice and being different is pre-coded into their DNA. Hence, being different is no longer difficult, or even expensive. It might be as easy as pushing a few buttons here and there.
As a provider to global corporations, oWorkers multilingual capability is often in demand. It can provide support in over 20 languages. Cloud based finance and accounting applications recognize this need and most are in a position to cater to it.
Cloud-based accounting solutions are a product whose time has arrived. They will enable users to create efficient, cost-effective and compliant procedures. In a rapidly changing world, it is increasingly important to ensure that you are in step with the times; else, decline can be rapid. The F&A function, with the help of cloud technologies, can become a value-accretive function in an organization and support managerial decision-making with data and analytical insights.
With a management team that has over 20 years of hands-on industry experience, and a staff complement that is employed, unlike some of their competitors who prefer to rely on contractors and freelancers, clients can make the most of cloud accounting offerings with the help of oWorkers.