RECENTLY, Steve Marsten and I spent two days in Sydney attending the annual Accountants Technology Showcase Australia conference, immersing ourselves in technology.
To say that technology is moving quickly is an understatement.
However, with all of the advances in technology, are we working smarter and more efficiently, or are we only using a small part of the capabilities and capacity of our IT systems and software?
A comment was made at the conference that "work is something I do, not somewhere I go".
It's true. Armed with a mobile device and a good internet connection, it is possible to work or do business anywhere.
Enter the era of the "cloud". This was certainly the most talked about topic at the conference - what is it, where is it, how does it work?
The cloud is not so much new technology; it is just that it is becoming more widely available to businesses of all sizes and to the general public.
For the first time since the dawn of computers, input is exceeding output.
We are uploading data - information, photos, ideas etc - at a staggering rate.
Businesses are using the cloud to store and share data, to record financial information via online accounting systems and to market the business worldwide.
However, before you sign up for cloud-based technology for your business, there are some key questions you should ask.
Does the software meet your needs and requirements? Will it grow with your business? What is the cost?
What do you know about the cloud provider? How long have they been in business, how financially stable are they, do they have references?
Where is your data actually stored?
Storage sites vary widely in terms of security, replication and back-up policies. Who owns your data?
What happens if you want to leave the provider?
How reliable and strong is your internet connection?
What support is offered and what are the response times?
The marketplace is being flooded with software and IT providers entering this space - they see the opportunity.
So buyer beware. Do your research. Talk to others, particularly your accountant/business adviser.
At Sothertons, we are committed to staying in touch with the latest technology and are happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Call us on 4972 1300.