Thomson Reuters senior product manager, Richard Puffe was an accountant from the early to late 1990s, and has since been in product management for software providers like MYOB and now Thomson Reuters.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, he believes the market has evolved to a point that transition to cloud is inevitable, particularly with new international entrants jumping into the practice management space, and incumbents shifting towards a cloud-focused future.
“If you look at the competitive landscape at the moment, there are a lot of technologies out there that are still legacy, they are still desktop-based, while there are only a few entrants that have actually released a cloud product,” said Mr Puffe.
“All of the incumbents will have something of value in the cloud but at this stage there are only really two main players… but there is definitely room and space for new entrants as long as they provide value.
“I believe accounting practices do have to change – over time they will have to go into the cloud just purely because of the efficiencies they will get.”
While Mr Puffe does not believe accountants will need to rush into making a switch today, he suggest talking to current providers to better understand plans over the next 12 months.
“Talk to your existing or current software supplier because they should have a roadmap moving forward as to where they are going to go in regards to moving online and transitioning but colleagues and professional associations are also a good place to start with [in deciding what product to choose],” he said.
“I really don't think it is the technology that is driving the change, I think it is more about what is happening in society at the moment. We’ve transitioned from not having smart devices to now a time where we couldn’t live without social media, we couldn’t live without knowing what’s happening in the news every five or ten minutes.
“It is not the technology that has changed the way businesses are doing things, I think it has just evolved and the way that our clients want to interact with the accountant.”