Cloud adoption and the business growth it enables will be critical for growth in a global post-COVID-19, recovery.
According to Verified Market Reports, the global cloud accounting software market is forecast to grow at a significant rate, growing at 8,5% in the forecast period 2019−2025.
While the forecast was made in 2019, the market, global economy and world has seen a systemic shift in 2020 due to COVID-19 that is likely to impact and increase growth across South Africa even more significantly than expected.
What is cloud accounting software and why is it seeing an increase in growth?
Cloud-based solutions, and more specifically cloud accounting software, has been around for the last decade and is seeing significant strides in growth due to a variety of factors − most notably a shift and reprioritisation of resources from hardware to software and then cloud. All of this in an effort to streamline, enhance and improve efficiency across various business units.
As general business operations move towards the cloud, accounting and accounting software has quickly followed suit due to the need for international collaboration, business growth, cost reduction and improved efficiencies. Cloud accounting software allows businesses to run, access and operate the entire accounting suite across any device and from any location in the world. Also, cloud accounting software solutions allow businesses to streamline their processes, enhance visibility, reduce human error and increase productivity through various integrations with key vendors.
While the digital shift and trends are predominantly looked at with a focus on large enterprise, it is small businesses that have the agility, flexibility and ease to adopt and introduce cloud software and the benefits from the start.
Benefits of running a business in the cloud
It is now widely accepted that cloud accounting allows for significant improvement as opposed to traditional accounting measures. Key factors driving growth are digital transformation efforts across, the ability to have a distributed workforce, and enhancing overall small business productivity.
The benefits of working the cloud include the ability to seamlessly run your business in the cloud. Cloud accounting software allows small businesses to continuously ensure that they are compliant and up to date with the latest additions and enhancements. Always having access to the latest software means features and offerings.
Small-business owners and their accountants can access the latest data from sales, invoices and more across all devices and pick up from where they left off. It also allows for collaboration, sharing and reporting from any device.
Security and keeping track of records and ensuring data is up to date is another key benefit of working with cloud accounting software. While privacy may be a concern, all data is stored on various cloud servers with the strictest measures and regulations to protect it.
While all this is critical, perhaps the most important is the ability to make key business decisions, using real-time data, at any time. Data from transactions, bank balances and statements allow for deeper insight and reporting, as well as an overall more accurate business view.
Impact of COVID-19 on cloud trends
COVID-19 has meant a systematic shift for the global economy and small businesses as a whole. It has put in motion and allowed for radical digital transform that was touted as trends for the next decade and beyond − all in a period of less than six months.
Cloud strategy has become a core focus for business, most notably to innovate and reduce various business risks that are even more highlighted during the pandemic.
Remote work is another sweeping trend across the world in light of the pandemic. PwC has reported that while CFOs in Africa are prioritising new workplace safety measures (76%) and reconfiguring worksites to promote distancing (76%), remote work is a high priority and is being implemented as much as possible.
There is no doubt that cloud adoption has seen an increase across the world due to COVID-19 and has allowed for opportunities for business shifts and pivots.
South Africa’s shift to cloud
South Africa has seen a recent surge in demand for cloud services and COVID-19 has further highlighted the need for it. Various sectors such as banking and financial, healthcare and manufacturing are seeing a surge in demand.
Almost two-thirds of CFOs across Africa reported that they expect their technology-related spend in the next 12 months to be focused on growth, cost reduction and compliance. Cloud could assist with innovation and business risk, with a focus on value and output.
For small businesses, the need to innovate is no less urgent and the move to digital is equally critical. A McKinsey report on South African SMEs focused on the ability for new technologies to enhance efficiency and reach, and at lower costs. As sales and managing cash flow is critical to SMEs, ensuring that the right technology and operational measures are in place is key so that businesses can run as smoothly as possible.
Overall predictions for the cloud accounting software market
While the global cloud accounting software market is forecast to grow at 8,5% in the period 2019−2025, COVID-19 has seen an even more rapid pace of adoption across cloud and other services. As more and more businesses take steps to innovate and pivot to digital, across business functions, the right cloud accounting software is critical, now more than ever.
AUTHOR | Rae Sturm is a content writer for QuickBooks South Africa