Why Accounting firms need to choose a cloud partner they can count on
The COVID-19 clean-up, a chronic hangover, the new normal – whatever you wish to call it – is very much here for the $21billion accountancy industry in Australia and the partners’.
The flexibility of remote working is likely to stay to an extent, we have heard some CBD based businesses are looking to downscale office space to match reduced on-premise staff counts. Personally, I am loving being back in front of customers. Teams and Zoom were great for a while, but the efficient flow of ideas and decisions achieved via in-person meetings beats VC technology every time.
Despite the paradigm shift towards teleworking, “Cloud-based technology and software as a service (SaaS)[are] expected to continue to have the greatest impact on accounting practices”¹. Wherever firms fall on the spectrum of IT maturity, owners and partners need to ensure their provider is one that understands and supports not just their IT goals but their business aspirations.
FinOps & Security.
Two parts of the cloud continuum we help customers with every day are FinOps and Security.
FinOps is just a cool name for the discipline of Cloud Financial Management and bridges the gap between Development and Finance. When one considers the ease of procurement of Cloud-based services, Application Developers and owners are no longer solely reliant on central IT for procurement, so the challenge becomes one of Financial Management. How does one preserve the flexibility and pace of change inherent in Cloud without causing “bill shock” to the Accounts department?
It is fundamental to see Cloud spend data in real-time, forecast projects accurately, and demonstrate value to the business of various cloud initiatives. In years gone by, IT budget would be allocated and kit would be purchased every few years, and projects and BAU would consume this shared pool of infrastructure. This made it very difficult to ascertain how much of the IT budget a Department/Application/Project has actually consumed.
A well managed Cloud Management Platform (and tagging of Cloud resources) can help businesses make educated decisions about Cloud value and work towards the FinOps nirvana of ‘Unit Economics’ where the Cost of each new customer or Audit or additional service is clearly understood. We used CloudHealth by VMware for this purpose, and the insights it providers is one of the cornerstones of our successful Azure practice ².
CloudHealth can also identify which applications or service would be cheaper in a Private Cloud, on dedicated Hardware, or even remaining on-premise. As always visibility is the key: “if you can see it, you can measure it. And if you can measure it you can manage it”
The second area we help customers to get right is Security. It is no longer adequate to deploy a few point solutions, which sometimes overlap and sometimes leave gaps. Security is more than mere products, it is a mindset needing commitment at the Executive/Partner level and permeating throughout the business via security awareness training, change management, policy and process. Of course, Security has been made more complex by the new normal of distributed PCs and applications and the rate of change with Cloud adoption.
Macquarie has a long pedigree with providing Security services to Federal Government customers and a wide range of security solutions across Private and Public Cloud.
Your partner should offer you more than products.
In summary the value that Macquarie Cloud Services can bring is not just products, it is the human element to help firms understand the investment and risk of their Cloud estate. We add value by tying together various vendor products and services into a holistic solution for our customers. Our 100+ Engineers and Consultants with varying technical specialisations can fast track a solution you have been deliberating for months or start from scratch so you can remain focused on your firm, your staff and your clients.
Many cloud provider likely say the same thing, so we offer this checklist for you to work from instead:
1. Can your Cloud Services Provider (CSP) offer both Public Cloud and a sovereign Private Cloud solution for those applications and data you want to keep onshore for security measures?
2. Does your CSP pride itself on onshore support and customer service with an impressive NPS to prove it?
3. Does your CSP have the most highly certified engineers in region – leaving no hurdle insurmountable?
Having a partner that’s dedicated to understanding your current IT environment, your organisational goals and aware of the macro environment all with a portfolio of cloud solutions to help you evolve is who we are and what we do. We would love to talk more.