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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cloud Computing and the Future of Business: New Challenge for CPAs

The cloud controls "Everything".
Photo owned by wikipedia.org
Frances O. Ponce

Microsoft Onedrive, Apple ICloud, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and the like-- these are just a few of the large companies offering cloud services both to individuals and organizations.

If you do not know what cloud computing is, you can always refer, as most of us do, to google or dictionary.com for its definition.

Nevertheless, cloud computing covers a very broad range of topic including the cloud-integrated Enterprise Resource Planning or Program (ERP) in which large companies nowadays such as Procter & Gamble and Citibank are continually investing huge amounts of their resources to stay competitive and strong; and the cloud storage which is most common to the general public.

In my own definition, cloud computing is doing business in the "cloud". The word cloud pertains to the World Wide Web or the Internet. Our businesses could range from saving important documents like bank transactions and reports to business processes like cash receipting and sales.

I could say that cloud technology is the future of "Everything". It will turn out one day that every single data entry in business processes are directly done through the cloud-- paperless, fast and automated. Even the groceries that you regularly buy, in the future will be done through the cloud and this is quickly changing the business practices on commodities.

While cloud computing could provide its users several benefits ranging from convenience, accessibility and efficiency-- it could also pose greater risks to its users' privacy and security. These issues could in turn challenge CPAs and other business professionals to upgrade their gameplans in doing their consulting and auditing services.

They must "think out of the box" and develop strategies that could significantly deviate from the conventional ways of doing consulting and audit.

Let us take for example the business systems related to cash receipting and inventory management of a certain manufacturing Company that are installed offline with no related connections online or whatsoever. For this environment, there are already established and proven internal controls in place to prevent fraud and error.

However, once this system and its data go online, best practice for the related processes will change and the internal controls we installed in an offline system might not work in an online system. And this Company will face an insurmountable number of risks related to data integrity and data privacy. It is like finding your client's place without the aid of the Google Maps app.

Nevertheless, Companies in general, including the small and medium-sized ones must adapt to stay competitive and upbeat in the evolving business environment.

All Rights Reserved @philcpareview

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