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Tuesday, 09 December 2014 12:35

Australian SMBs ahead in adoption of cloud accounting software Featured

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Australian small businesses are slightly ahead of their counterparts in other countries in the adoption of cloud accounting software, according to new research which also shows that businesses are still worried about security when using cloud solutions.

A study of 1,622 small businesses around the world by New Zealand-based accounting software provider Xero reveals that 14% of Australian small businesses are already managing their accounts using cloud software, compared with 11% globally.

And, of the Australian small businesses not currently using the cloud for their accounting, 46% said that they were looking to convert in the next 12 months, compared to 39% globally.

According to Xero Australia Managing Director, Chris Ridd, the results highlighted the “increasing importance that small businesses worldwide are placing on mobility, ease of use and scalability of their business management software”.

“The adoption of cloud accounting software is happening at a remarkable rate, especially here in Australia, with three out of five small businesses set to manage their accounts in the cloud by this time next year.

“The number of Australian small businesses using Xero has doubled since September last year, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build our small business user base and providing them with the mobility and accessibility features they are looking for in the cloud.”

But, security of the cloud is still an issue for many businesses.

According to the survey, small businesses said limitations to cloud adoption include perceived security issues with the cloud (76%), along with the risk of technology failing (56%) and the reliability of internet performance (50%).

But, according to Ridd the biggest risk to a small business using their accounting files in the cloud is their own technology or internet connection — “a gardener cutting the phone line outside or a computer dying”.

“Xero was born as a cloud product from day one and we pride ourselves on having continued availability 99.99% of the time.

“We’re working closely with local small businesses and accountants & bookkeepers alike to train and educate them on the accessibility, advanced security and reliability of the cloud. This year we launched programs like Xero U, a customised learning environment for accountants and small businesses, to help us achieve this and educate more people about benefits of the cloud.”

The survey – conducted for Xero by market research company, Perceptive Research in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK - reveals that when asked about what they considered the best attributes of cloud software, Australian small businesses nominated mobility as the greatest advantage (61%), followed by real–time syncing (38%).

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).