Considerations on Cloud Computing for CPAs

By Awad, Ralph | The CPA Journal, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Considerations on Cloud Computing for CPAs


Awad, Ralph, The CPA Journal


One service that is changing the landscape of business and information technology in significant and far-reaching ways is cloud computing. Cloud computing is an efficient, on-demand service that uses the Internet and central servers to store and access information remotely. It has been around for many years, but has gained visibility recently through applications called integrators. Cloud computing ties each component together to allow users to go from ordering cloud space to using the space in less than one hour. CCH, the developer of the ProSystem Suite of accounting software, is making headway in the world of cloud computing; it continues to work toward using the cloud to house CCH products. Other accounting-related programs, such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, and BNA, can conceivably be hosted in the cloud as well. This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of cloud computing and how it can be useful to CPA firms and their clients.

Problems with Servers

Traditional software applications such as Microsoft's Dynamics GP can be complicated and expensive. They run on bulky servers and reside in data centers that are responsible for the powering, cooling, networking, and storage of these applications. Traditionally, IT professionals or consultants are tasked with physically installing, configuring, testing, and running company servers while also providing backup and restore support for any production failures.

The average lifespan of a server is only three to four years, depending upon size and usage. In addition, some accounting firms may not require large amounts of server space for the months of the year outside of the busy season. This could mean they are wasting resources on a system designed to meet the needs of the peak season.

From a business continuity perspective, housing servers and their backup in a single location places organizations at a great deal of risk of losing important data The risk of losing significant information such as client records, quarterly sales figures, and tax ID numbers is worth considering if something happens to the server location.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Businesses can reduce the use of space, equipment, and IT labor while improving application backup with cloud computing. It is scalable and flexible. Instead of building, owning, and staffing a data center, cloud computing lets outside experts take care of the management, maintenance, support, updates, and upgrades.

When users utilize an application that runs "in the cloud," they log in to a customized interface and can then begin working. Businesses using cloud servers can bring ideas to market faster and respond quicker to customer needs. Some accounting firms already run all types of custom-built cloud computing applications for customer relationship management, human resources, and specialized accounting needs. Through cloud computing, these applications can be up and running in minutes, which traditional business servers cannot do.

Cloud programs provide a cost-saving opportunity because businesses do not pay for staff, products, or facilities to run them on their own. Their sharing of the physical hardware with other users distributes the cost. Payment for cloud-based applications is bundled into a monthly subscription, so companies only pay for what they actually use. The model is similar to paying a monthly electricity bill, which is based on voltage used.

Within the accounting profession, there has been debate about the effects of cloud computing on capital versus operating expenditures. The current literature does not suggest a financial benefit in moving the costs from one area to another. Nevertheless, there is a business benefit in having a cash outlay over time become a fraction of an upfront investment over the same period of time.

Security is an important factor for CPA firms to consider. Security safeguards for cloud-computing users continue to improve due to advancements in network, microprocessor, and virtualization technologies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Considerations on Cloud Computing for CPAs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.