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Accountants missing out on cloud technology revolution due to unfounded security fears

The finance and accountancy sector is missing out on the benefits of cloud technology due to misplaced concern over data security, according to a new academic study sponsored by CIMA.

Researchers from the University of Greenwich, Dublin City University and the Witten/Herdecke, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management have found that while firms are reluctant to adopt cloud computing apart from only the most common uses such as email and file sharing. Only one in four firms (25%) have adopted cloud technology for business systems with even fewer (19%) making use of the cloud for financial accounting. Around a third (34%) use cloud technologies for management reporting.

The primary reason for not using cloud technology is concern over data security, with 66% of businesses citing this as their main worry. However, the research shows that in spite of public perception, cloud providers can typically offer increased security at a much lower cost than SMEs could otherwise afford. According to the report, cloud technology also gives the benefits of more efficient business processes and both time and cost savings but low adoption rates mean that businesses fail to gain these advantages.

Dr Martin Quinn, Management Accounting Lecturer at Dublin City University, said: 'Despite an appreciation of the advantages of cloud technology in general, our research shows that management accounting and finance systems are least likely to be cloud-based.

'Data security concerns are valid but overstated and businesses need to better understand the security, cost-savings and flexibility they can gain from adopting cloud technology. With their broad knowledge of finance and other business processes, management accountants should play a key role in performing this cost-benefit analysis and ensure better, more informed decision-making.'

Read the study

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