The latest research – conducted online and promoted by Aqilla, AccountingWEB and at Softworld 2010 – showed a dramatic increase in the utilisation of social networking with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounting for almost half of the applications used most often in respondents personal lives.
It was unsurprising to see HMRC and Online Banking feature strongly in applications respondents used in their working day, but communication and collaboration continued to feature with the appearance of Skype and CRM (over 20% across the two).
A comparison between 2009 and 2010, into what accounting software organisations use, shows the market is wide open with web-based systems now accounting for over half of the other applications used.
Across the organisation it seems companies have no issues entrusting employee sensitive information which is commonly perceived as complex, such as payroll, to be managed outside the business (23% of respondents).
When looking at the accounting function, we see in-house continues to be the dominant model this reflects the trend of last years report of 88% – however there was a marked 11% increase in respondents using web based solutions over the 2009 results.
Colin Christianson, Director at Aqilla commented: This research is bourne out by a recent increase in activity and a number of significant sales successes. At Softworld in October we noted a significant number of organisations now seeking to increase efficiency and reduce costs by the adoption of a modern web based accounting product.
When asked what was considered the biggest benefit of a web-based application, the overwhelming consensus of opinion was access anywhere, value for money and sharing information.
Andrew Bailey, Finance Director at Herm Limited commented: “I chose a web based solution as it offered a flexibility that many of the on-premise solutions I looked at did not. I wanted the ability to access data from anywhere and also not have to worry about compatibility with existing hardware or software”. Bailey continued “(Aqilla) seems to combine all the functionality of on-premise systems while also giving us as users a great deal of flexibility to configure it to suit our own business needs”.
Better communication is key in responding to the unique challenges facing the modern finance professional: not least is ensuring that the efficient and cost effective acquisition, analysis and presentation of core information is done easily and on-demand. A key objective should be to ensure the smooth, standardisation of information flow across the organisation, from source to financial statement.
Achieving such a goal can be dramatically simplified by using one of the latest web-based accounting solutions, many of which provide a flexible document capture facility as the main means of entering data into the system, either on-screen or via a highly configurable web- services integration tool (or API). Such inherent flexibility means that systems can be configured to satisfy a wide range of bespoke requirements, retrieving data from a variety of roles, functions, locations and applications.