Thinking of Moving to the Cloud?
What you Need to Know

Por: Scott Hogan-Smith

The Cloud Revolution comes to Sydney

If you have been following our LinkedIn page, you might have seen an announcement we were tagged in from a company called Greatsoft, which announced the successful migration of our practice systems from desktop solutions to the Cloud. This announcement was the culmination of 15 months of planning and work to build our “tech stack”, (standby for technology buzz words!), along with a significant amount of data cleanup so that the data we were converting was in a logical and consistent format. So, what have we learned from this process?

“The Connected Practice – knowing what you need”

Over the past few years’ we have been bombarded with articles written by self-appointed “Futurists” talking about “Building a Connected Practice” or “Technology Stacks” or “Creating a Source of Trust”. Frankly, while initially interesting, the industry this appears to have spawned is now a source of annoyance with all sorts of sales people now marketing themselves as “experts” to accounting firms. Most of them are not. So, when we sat down to plan our move to the Cloud, we decided to speak directly to the software providers themselves. Accountants, being both eminently practical on one hand and with a focus on cost and efficiency on the other, are in a great position to know what they need, and to then articulate the criteria that software needs to be assessed against. Knowing what you need means that you have a clear idea about what you want to achieve at the end of your journey to the Cloud.

The Devil in the Details

As part of our software selection process, we thoroughly reviewed the fine print of the terms and conditions of each vendor. To say there was a vast difference between vendors and their terms is to understate what we found! Some of the contract terms we found would be legally not enforceable, while others stated a proper place of law outside of Australia. More concerning, some did not warrant they complied with the minimum standards in the Australian Privacy Act and sought to disclaim any requirement to notify of a data breach. Therefore, if you are moving to the Cloud, a rigorous review of the legal terms of the software is necessary.

Change Management

Your employees have a mix of ages, backgrounds and experiences, all of which are valuable when selecting a new input. At ECOVIS Clark Jacobs we formed our employees into teams and gave them roles in assessing our software. In this way, we had “Knowledge Champions” who were different for each piece of software we rolled out. This increased collaboration amongst our staff after conversion, and meant that we had buy in from staff regarding our new software goals from a very early stage in the process, meaning we faced less resistance to change.

Be Prepared to Adapt your Thinking

Finally, be prepared to adapt your thinking and quickly substitute what works for what does not. You will absolutely make a wrong selection or have something go wrong when changing to the Cloud, so be prepared for that and have sufficient time allocated to recover from it. More importantly, if the software doesn’t work in the way you want, be prepared with an alternative and don’t hesitate to go that way. Don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole with your new software, just be prepared to move on as quickly as possible with your Plan B.Sign up to our newsletter!

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