Cloud computing helps businesses lower spending, reduce workloads

Cloud computing may still be a maturing technology, but its impact is being felt throughout many aspects of companies, including financial departments. Bill.com recently surveyed more than 350 chief financial officers and found that many said the cloud has reduced workloads by 50 percent while lowering costs by as much as 70 percent.

There appear to be several key drivers for businesses implementing the cloud, the survey found. More than 65 percent of CFOs said lowering spending and improving staff productivity are major reasons why they are contemplating the cloud.

The consideration of implementing cloud-based financial software may be an easy one for some firms, but others continue to utilize outdated methods. The survey found that approximately 73 percent of CFOs still use Excel spreadsheets to predict future cash flow. More than 8 percent of respondents still do such calculations in their head, and 10.3 percent lack any tools whatsoever.

“Early adopters who have switched to cloud-based financial systems told Bill.com they have greatly improved both their accounts payable and accounts receivable processes,” said Rene Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com.

Financial benefits of the cloud outweigh risk
The Bill.com survey did find, however, that some CFOs still have concerns regarding the use of cloud computing. More than 64 percent of participants said integrating existing platforms with the cloud is a challenge and approximately 55 percent are worried about network security.

Despite some concerns surrounding the cloud, the advantages of the technology are too great to ignore, according to a separate survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute. Of the 4,000 business and IT leaders polled, nearly half said their companies are already transferring sensitive or confidential data to the cloud, even though some firms have experienced issues regarding security.

“This clearly demonstrates that for many organizations the economic benefits of using the cloud outweigh the security concerns,” said Larry Ponemon, the research firm’s chairman and founder.

Businesses already utilizing the cloud or considering migrating to the hosted environment cannot move too fast or they may experience issues down the road. Firms should consult with vendors and industry professionals to ensure their clouds are working properly at all times because the technology offers companies a number of advantages in the long run.