More audit firms embrace the clouds
Audit firms that serve small business are looking for a way to lower costs or build their expertise---or both.
Toward those goals, more companies are starting to embrace cloud technologies. CFO magazine notes the views of author Geoffrey Moore, who said that "The CPA has always been a surrogate CFO to small businesses. But frankly, if all [the CPA knows] is the tax laws, or bookkeeping and compliance issues (all that's fine – I need that) but that's not all I need."
He says that what clients need most is industry-specific expertise. The cloud allows CPAs to acquire that expertise through online benchmarking and other Internet-enabled capabilities, assuming they have a critical mass in one specific industry.
"With many clients in the same industry in one central online repository, now suddenly the CPA can advise clients with an informed viewpoint on the industry. Say florists are my client base. Let me benchmark your business across my database of florists and talk to you about where people are doing well, how you can improve on some metrics, and what you're getting ahead on."
It certainly sounds good on paper. But as of now, cloud adoption has not progressed to the point where any of that is even remotely near possible. The biggest benefit of cloud-based technologies at this point remains cost. Cost-cutting in several areas--HR, marketing and so on--can drive margin expansion no doubt.
But implementing cloud-based processes aren't free. Expenses will go up before they go down. Over the long haul, however, it's inevitable that more firms will trend in this direction.
- here's the article
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