Adopting the Cloud is an emerging challenge in the CPA profession. The reality is that the Cloud will touch every aspect of your organization. In some cases these changes can be predicted, but it is not realistic to be able to predict all of them. Asking the right questions about how the Cloud affects the variety of stakeholders at your firm or the bottom line is an important exercise for your firm to take part in so you can reduce the amount of unknowns. That said, this article is designed to help you get a start on your analysis.
Cost of the Cloud
The fact is you have a limited amount of resources— time, money, people, equipment— and the way you allocate these resources speaks to your priorities as a firm. In addition, understanding the true cost of IT is no easy endeavor, thus many firms, given their resources, are unable to consider the full picture.
The opportunity cost of Cloud adoption may be that you decide to free your IT staff from doing updates and place them on more strategic initiatives instead; or enabling your auditors who work in the field to access their applications wherever there is an internet connection; or no longer being in the business of owning servers; the list goes on. Keep in mind that the cost of adopting the Cloud is also the cost of not adopting the Cloud.
Questions Related to Cost:
- How is budget/cash flow impacted by an operational IT budget expense versus a capital expenditure based budget?
- What is the cost of an on-premise implementation versus a Cloud implementation?
- How does moving to the Cloud impact your spend on disaster recovery?
- What is the total technology spend per FTE annually over 3 years? How will the Cloud impact this?
- Include: all software, IT staff salaries, 3rd party consulting spend, DR, etc.
- How much time are partners and staff spending on technology administration? How will the Cloud impact this?
- Include: software updates, vendor management time, planning, committee meetings, issue resolution, etc.
- How does each scenario scale and how does that impact cost accordingly?
- What’s your current internet bill? How is that impacted in the Cloud? (link to blog with thoughts on internet)
Organizational Change in the Cloud
Changing how and in what capacity people work across an organization is not easy. Is the culture of your firm prepared to adapt to the Cloud?
Questions Related to Organization Change:
- What is the firm’s view of remote workers and/or working from home? (the Cloud will require the firm to address this policy)
- How will the Cloud impact our other locations?
- What routine tasks will be impacted by the Cloud? Will certain aspects create more or less work for individuals?
- How will our employees be trained on the new platform?
- How will being in the Cloud impact how we do audits? What does connectivity in the field look like?
- Would overall system performance be improved in the Cloud?
- What impact (if any) does the Cloud have on our phone system?
Stakeholder Impact in the Cloud
The Cloud affects your organization at all levels but perhaps none more so than the partners given the P&L factor.
Questions for Stakeholders/Partners
- How will the Cloud impact our staffing levels?
- Will the Cloud impact my peace of mind?
- Does this fit our business objectives over the next 5-10 years?
- Does the Cloud vendor know our business model and our core applications?
- How will this make me more money?