Soaring to the cloud: A case study
Soaring Falcon Accountancy owner, Alex Falcon Huerta says she is flying high. She runs her practice 100 per cent in the Cloud and is already picking up new clients who are attracted by this increasingly popular technology.
After 18 years working in a practice, ACCA qualified Alex, owner of Soaring Falcon Accountancy, became attracted to Cloud technology but soon realised she could only really take advantage of the benefits if she broke free and started her own business.
To support her goal to become 100 percent Cloud-based, Alex chose Digita's Virtual Office (DVO). "I carried out some research and discovered Digita offered the whole cloud solution including personal and business tax plus a comprehensive practice management system." she explains. "Digita also has a very good reputation and I was aware of another accountancy business using it very successfully so, for me, it was an easy choice to make."
DVO is designed to relieve accountants of IT burdens and ensure business continuity 365 days a year. The Digita Professional Suite and select Microsoft products are available in a secure hosted office environment, providing the freedom to work remotely.
"Cloud accounting has changed how we do business." says Alex. "Clients are really attracted to real-time accounting and being able to access their financial information whenever and wherever they are. All they really need is an Internet connection and they're away.
"Another benefit is that the technology is just so interesting." she adds. "Clients are much more engaged and interested in their own finances. They are keen to know what other products will benefit them and the Cloud allows me to integrate other solutions based on their individual requirements. So far, not one of them have asked to go back to their former systems.
Each DVO user licence includes the full Microsoft Office Suite plus Adobe Reader and an additional 3GB of network storage. "The hosted software works the same on any computer or laptop as it does on a local hard drive or server." said Alex. "I can keep in touch with staff and clients with 24/7 access to Microsoft Exchange and there are no unnecessary trips back to the office in an emergency to use the desktop system."
Alex says Cloud saves a huge amount of time and allows her to focus her energy on growing her business. "For example, I can link directly to Companies House and only have to upload company information once." she says. "This is then automatically shared across all applications. Some jobs which would have previously taken me four days to do can be completed in a matter of hours.
"There are also obvious hard cost-savings in that I have no servers or IT people to worry about and being paperless means I have no concerns about storage.
"Digita has been great throughout the process." she added. "The company helped me with the initial training and someone is always available for on-going support should I need it. I had a few issues initially as I use Mac and DVO was designed for use for use with Windows. However, Digita was extremely dedicated to supporting me with Mac and got me up and running in no time."
Digita is part of the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters, the leading provider of technology and information solutions.
Alex offers this advice to other accountants thinking of putting their own business in the Cloud. "Invest some time researching what is right for both you and your customers." she says. "When I was researching, I asked if products were available in the Cloud and the majority of them said 'not yet'. Now, software providers are increasingly developing Cloud solutions.
"My advice would be to trial your chosen solution and also to choose a provider who wants to work with you for the long-term and be a part of making your practice a successful one.
"I believe the Cloud is really helping younger accountants to set up their own businesses and offer something different from the traditional. It's all about attracting the next generation of business owners and I'm very proud to be at the front end of that shift." To find out more, visit Thomson Reuters website.