Cloud technology proves integral to firm success during pandemic response

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Technology has turned out to be key in how successful firms have been in going remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey says. The majority of firms who believe their pandemic response has been successful have had at least one cloud system in place prior to going remote.

Over 1,100 accounting professionals, including accountants, bookkeepers and tax professionals, from 18 different countries responded to SmartVault’s State of Accountants Survey, which gauges the impact COVID-19 is having on the industry to better understand the current challenges that the profession is facing, how firms are approaching those challenges, their outlook on the post-COVID-19 future and to gather useful advice to share with the profession.

Some key highlights from the survey include:

· The majority of firms (62 percent) who felt they are responding to COVID-19 successfully were more likely to be using cloud-based technology, particularly cloud-based document management and online client portals.

· Firms that identified themselves as being less successful in their response to the pandemic are putting more energy into incorporating new technology to enable remote work and communication with team members and clients.

· Firms that already had at least one cloud system in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic fared far better than firms that did not have any cloud systems in place.

· The firms that were more successful in dealing with the pandemic offered virtual collaboration tools to their clients at a higher rate than firms that were less successful. Firms who rated themselves as less successful used postal mail at a higher rate than the average firm.

· A majority of respondents were concerned with ensuring the security of communication and documents in the process of increasing use of virtual operations.

“The survey data shows that firms need to use this opportunity and the lessons learned from COVID-19 to create and implement a business continuity plan to address critical scenarios which may impact them in the future,” said Dania Buchanan, head of SmartVault Global, in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring the stability and success of the accounting profession by helping firms advance their use of cloud-based technology and processes so they can work more effectively now while also preparing for any future unforeseen events.”

A copy of the report is available to members of the accounting profession at https://www.smartvault.com/resource/state-of-accountants-covid-19-impact-report/.

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