I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Chandler who heads up Cloud9 Real Time, a company that provides hosting for QuickBooks, Microsoft, Sage and other software. We were talking about adoption of the cloud and how CPAs and accountants can look at the cloud as a workable and affordable solution.
What I didn’t realize was that Robert had written a book all about it, “Together in the Cloud,” in which he discusses this very topic and provides many recommendations that apply not only to the accounting community, but to other professional services’ professions as well.
I wanted to share several passages I found very thought-provoking:
Technology can be friend or foe, of course, depending on how it’s used. Technology is amoral. It has no inherent “good” or “bad” qualities. The technology user is the sole determiner of application and motive, success or failure, profit or loss, benefit or detriment.
I think this paragraph really hits home with regard to how accountants (and, again, other professionals) must look beyond the fact that the technology exists and think more in terms of how the technology is going to affect – and improve – a firm or company and the way it does business. Nothing is ever perfect (something Robert also acknowledges in the book), but professionals cannot simply sit on the fence watching the world evolve around them; they must be active participants, good or bad.
Here’s another paragraph that I think really hits home:
Companies that are forward-thinking rely on innovation. They have to. In fact, if they are truly progressive, they make innovation a part of their strategic plan. Stifling innovation simply doesn’t make sense. Releasing professionals from the doldrums of reactivity simply means they can concentrate on providing the professional labor they were hired to provide at the outset.
What’s the message here? Think about the companies you truly admire. In my case, two are Apple and Bose, because they are both constantly reinventing themselves and “innovating.” Ten years ago, if you had told me I would be able to stream songs from my smartphone to a wireless speaker I could have on my patio … well, I probably would have said something similar about bottled water: “Why would you buy water when it’s just about free?”
When I think of innovators, I think of a handful of accounting firms and several providers of services to the accounting profession who are truly “out there” with creative ways to do business. These are the firms and companies I want to work with – how about you?
I urge you to get Robert’s book – If you’re already familiar with the cloud, that’s great, but the book is also filled with quite a few observations like the two above that will definitely spur conversation and thought.