TechTalk Blog: Clouds of Darkness to Some… Silver Lining to Others. Moving Management Accountants Into the Cloud.

By Brad Monterio posted 05-12-2015 04:22 PM

  

The cloud is nothing new… to many of us.  Larger companies have been using the cloud for many corporate functions for some time now, including the accounting, reporting, and finance functions.  Consumers use it daily for photo and document storage, travel itineraries, messaging with friends, and calling friends halfway around the world.

Indeed, the cloud phenomenon is large, and getting larger.  Gartner has estimated that the bulk of corporate budgets spent on new information technology will be on cloud solutions by the end of 2016.  They even estimated that more than $677 billion will be spent on cloud services between 2013 and 2016.  Those are big numbers by any standard. 

But the majority of that serious cloud spend tends to be from medium to large size companies that are both familiar with the key issues and concerns of the cloud and able to resolve those concerns with appropriate solutions.  Some of these companies have found the cloud’s ‘silver lining’ and turned it into advantage – greater efficiency, cost savings, streamlined processes, enhanced security, mobile access and more.

However, others see the cloud as ominous, dark and even threatening.  Threatening to the traditional, ‘safer’ or more familiar way of doing things.  It’s human nature for many to fear change, after all.  Many small to medium size entities (SMEs) are either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the cloud, or just beginning a journey towards it for core functions such as accounting and finance.

Concerns by SMEs over issues like security, access to data, quality of information, mobility, control and other risks are barriers to wider adoption among small companies… and among management accountants.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.”  Little could he have known the impact of his prescient words.

Education around the cloud will go a long way toward lowering barriers to adoption among management accountants.  As the cloud has grown in adoption, so to have the underlying technologies supporting the various platforms and solutions in the cloud.  Security is one of those areas that has progressed significantly.  Cloud solution providers know this is a major area of concern among companies and have invested millions of dollars in robust infrastructure and security capabilities – so much so that the cloud is now safer than on-premise storage of critical data assets.  If you don't agree, just look at Target and many other companies whose on-premise solutions failed miserably when subjected to attack.

The IMA Technology Solutions & Practices Committee (TS&P) is committed to sharing resources and education with management accountants to help ‘penetrate the clouds of darkness’ and see the limitless potential of the cloud for their businesses.  All clouds have a silver lining, and all companies should be able to share in payoff.

As part of this education, the TS&P is holding its next TechTalk Webinar on May 26, 2015 at 1 – 2:30pm EDT entitled “Moving the Profession Into the Cloud.”  This free 90-minute webinar is being moderated by Joseph Howell, an experienced CFO and founding executive for Workiva, an innovative cloud-based solution provider for collaborative corporate reporting and compliance solutions.  He will be talking with an SEC reporting expert from Intuit, the owner of technology-focused accounting firm Xen Accounting, and a cloud and data security engineer about the issues and concerns inhibiting adoption of the cloud. 

Joe also has authored a forthcoming feature article for IMA’s SF Magazine on the same subject – be sure to catch this in-depth read shortly!

But wait, there’s more to this silver lining!  The TS&P Committee also sponsors and supports the new Technology Solutions and Practices Community on LinkUp IMA for members and non-members to collaborate on and discuss technology related issues and topics that impact accounting and finance.  This community serves as a platform to share and learn about the cloud, big data, analytics, corporate reporting, XBRL and much more.  If you haven’t already registered to join this virtual community, please visit and join in the conversation. You need not be a member of the IMA to register. 

I hope to see you there soon... once I pull my head out of the clouds!



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