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Accountancy firms slow to deploy cloud services, report claims

Need to enable remote working for staff is main driver

UK accountancy firms are increasingly using cloud services to support remote working and use of mobile devices, but adoption is slow compared to other business sectors, a Thomson Reuters report has claimed.

According to findings of the 'IT in Practice Survey', it is estimated that seven out of ten UK businesses will be using some form of cloud serviceby the end of 2013. In contrast, only three out of ten accountancy practices will be using at least one type of cloud service.

The survey, which polled 1,300 UK accountancy firms, showed that 11 percent are now using cloud or hosted solutions in their practices, while 23 percent are planning to move all or parts of their IT to the cloud in the next twelve months.

However the findings also highlighted strong resistance among many accountancy firms to moving to the cloud. A quarter of respondents said they saw no reason to move to the cloud compared to existing hosting solutions, while 22 percent claimed that it was difficult to quantify the benefits of the cloud despite the hype around the subject.

Eight percent said that the move to the cloud would require a large change in the way that they worked, and would not know where to start migration of systems. Other pain points cited by respondents include system reliability (44 percent), and broadband speeds (34 percent), while many also expressed concerns over data security.

For those that are planning to move more of their IT into the cloud the most popular reason for doing so was to enable employees to work remotely, either from home or a client's office. Easier upgrades were also cited as a reason, as well as IT cost savings.

Andrew Flanagan, managing director, Professional Market for the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuter, commented that it is likely that the number of accountancy firms using cloud services will gather pace in coming years.

"The cloud forms an important part of the future IT strategy of many UK accountancy firms, according to the results of the survey," said Flanagan. "The main reason practices are looking to move to cloud based solutions is to allow employees to work remotely; for example, from client' premises and to enable use of new mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets."

He added: "In years to come, it seems inevitable that virtually all software and data will be 'in the cloud', mirroring the move from paper to electronic data - a new way of working that has occurred over the last few decades, but with the increasing pace of technology development it is likely to happen faster."


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