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How Can Accountants Get 520 Hours Back Per Year? Use the Cloud.

Aug. 1, 2022, 8:45 AM

Hybrid work models that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic are here to stay. While some technology has adapted to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce, many workers still spend at least a quarter of their day navigating disparate systems that often serve one siloed purpose, contributing to dissatisfaction.

Gallup surveyed 13,779 professionals in 2019, 2020, and 2022 to understand the current state of the workplace. Before Covid-19, 60% of employees were entirely onsite. Workers returned to the office largely (53%) in hybrid models, which they preferred (59%) over being fully remote or entirely onsite.

Inefficient solutions cost employees’ time. According to our 2022 Nonprofit Research Study, which surveyed 400 nonprofit professionals, 78% of professionals said they spend a quarter of their day managing multiple systems. The time spent navigating systems is roughly 10 hours a week or 520 hours a year. What can businesses do with an additional 520 hours a year? How can organizations increase efficiency and quickly increase job satisfaction for employees? By consolidating tech stacks and adopting multipurpose cloud-based systems to streamline workflows and improve overall workforce effectiveness.

Outdated technology also contributes to job dissatisfaction. Nearly 50% of the nonprofit professionals surveyed used six different tools to do their jobs, and 23% of professionals relied on eight different tools to do their jobs. Some 67% of nonprofit employees believed their current tech stack could be more efficient.

Targeting the Untargeted Departments

One area leadership traditionally ignores when upgrading technology is financial technology. In finance or accounting departments, it’s common to use several technologies that, over a long period of time, no longer maintain current standards or were built for standards that the business overall has outgrown.

These disparate systems contribute to employee dissatisfaction because of the loss of data integrity that can occur transferring and cost of maintaining information between systems. This can hurt efficiency over time to the point of needing to hire additional resources to maintain these systems. Condensing financial workflows into one multipurpose platform can increase satisfaction and efficiency while decreasing software licensing fees and the need for IT to update programs regularly.

For example, Peninsula Community Health Services of Alaska moved to a cloud-based platform in 2019. Joanne Jenkins, an accounting clerk there, was the driving force behind the decision.

As a nonprofit health center, Jenkins had to be cautious of overspending. “By moving to the cloud, we relieved our server and were not forced to replace it (which for a nonprofit is a huge expense),” she said. “One person is able to input and maintain files for both payables and receivables. Where we used to have two people working full time in the department, now we have one.”

Jenkins was able to move her entire organization’s finances to the cloud and increase efficiency and job satisfaction in her department. “We use [the cloud] for our payables, our payroll, our receivables, reporting, budgeting,” Jenkins said. “It’s nice to have all aspects of accounting under the same program, making reporting consistent.”

Benefits of the Cloud

Cloud-based technology platforms have multiple benefits. In addition to ensuring your employees can access their data from wherever they have an internet connection, consolidating tools to a cloud-based system helps streamline workflows, improves employee satisfaction, and increases workday efficiency.

Going into 2022, upgrading to cloud-based technology was among nonprofit professionals’ top goals. Seventy-five percent of respondents were more likely to adopt a cloud-based solution soon. When isolating for C-suite respondents, 88% of VP-level professionals said they planned to adopt a cloud-based solution during the year.

As nonprofit workforces shifted toward remote work because of the pandemic, adopting cloud-based technology got more important. Higher confidence in cloud security partially drove adoption rates—82% of respondents said they were confident.

Cloud security varies by vendor, and when meeting compliance regulations for data security and proprietary information, it’s important to use a vendor that employs those safeguards. Good cloud environments use multiple layers of protection that include limited user access and permissions, encrypted data and communications, and industry-specific compliance.

Cloud-based environments also help control costs. Where traditional, on-premise systems require onsite servers and dedicated staff to handle updates and troubleshoot problems, cloud-based systems live in offsite servers, and the software is regularly updated and backed up. Maintenance and support spending decreases significantly when your organization adopts cloud-based technology.

A Growing Trend

Other industry leaders also predict the cloud will continue growing in popularity. Cloud adoption rates across all industries are rising, and analysts predict they’ll continue growing moving forward. According to a survey by O’Reilly Media, 90% of 2,834 respondents said their organization was using cloud computing, with 48% of those respondents indicating they’d move 50% of their software tech stacks to the cloud in the coming year.

And who can blame them? Cloud-based technologies flourish in remote and hybrid work models while increasing efficiency and satisfaction for your company’s most important asset: its people. Invest in the cloud today and let the benefits rain down on you.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., the publisher of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Tax, or its owners.

Author Information

Neil Taurins is the general manager of nonprofit solutions at MIP Fund Accounting. He has been with the company for more than 12 years and is passionate about working with nonprofits to provide them with solutions to improve efficiency and help them accomplish their missions.

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