Retail Accounting

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Migrating To The Cloud Isn’t As Complicated As You Think

cloud migrationThe cloud is growing in popularity but CIOs still have a number of concerns regarding system migration. A recent survey showed 56% felt that the migration process would be too complex and 81% were concerned about security. Many fear that moving to the cloud could cost into the millions, that the risks are too high and that the process is too time consuming. However, whilst justified, these fears are not reflective of the true picture.

In fact, the cloud brings numerous benefits to the company as a whole, the most notable being cost savings. For example CounterBooks’ cloud-based system automates 80-90% of the accounting process saving companies thousands. This automation also increases accuracy, thereby improving overall performance.

Data from traditional systems is easily migrated to the cloud and does not consume vast amounts of time or money. It’s also highly secure, for example with CounterBooks all data is encrypted, fully backed up and stored in servers with 24/7 maintenance.

Furthermore, the cloud provides an excellent platform to suit the growing trend of on-the-go flexible working, providing staff with the information they need whenever and wherever they need it.

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Gartner: Top 10 Strategic IT Trends For 2015

IT Trends 2015

Strategic technology trends are defined as having potentially significant impact on organizations in the next three years. Here is a summary of the trends:

1. Computing Everywhere

With the continued advancement in smart-phone technology, Gartner assesses that an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Gartner posits that smart-phones and wearable devices are part of a broader computing offering to include connected screens in the workplace and in public spaces. User experience design will be of critical importance.

2. The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things will continue to expand, propelled by the ubiquity of user-oriented computing. Gartner posits that this will be replicated both in industrial and in operational contexts, as it will be the focus of digital business products and processes. Embedding technology more deeply will create touch points for users everywhere. This will form the foundation of digital business.

3. 3D Printing

The cost of 3D printing will decrease in the next three years, leading to rapid growth of the market for these low-cost machines. Industrial use will also continue its rapid expansion. Gartner highlights that expansion will be especially great in industrial, biomedical and consumer applications, highlighting the extent to which this trend is real, proving that 3D printing is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.

4. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics

Analytics will continue to advance due to the Internet of things and the embedded devices that trend will continue to foster. Vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside organizations will continue to be generated. Gartner points out that every app will need to be an analytic app. The analysis also concludes that big questions and big answers are more important than big data.

5. Context-Rich Systems

Embedded intelligence that is ubiquitous combined with pervasive analytics will foster the development of systems that are alert and responsive to surroundings. Gartner highlights that context-aware security is an early application of this trend, but that others will emerge.

6. Smart Machines

Analytics combined with an understanding of context will usher in smart machines. Advanced algorithms will lead to systems that learn for themselves and act upon those learnings. Gartner notes that machine helpers will continue to evolve from the existing prototypes for autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors. The analysis goes on to speculate that the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.

7. Cloud/Client Architecture

Mobile computing and cloud computing continue to converge and lead to the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. Gartner notes that cloud computing is the foundation of elastically scalable, self-service computing for both internally and externally facing applications. Apps that use intelligence and storage of client device effectively will benefit from lowering bandwidth costs, coordination and management will be based on the cloud. The analysis goes on to note that over time applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearables and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience.

8. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications

Agile development methods for programming of everything from infrastructure basics to applications is essential to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Software defined networking, storage, data centers and security are maturing. Application programming interface (API) calls render cloud services software configurable, and applications have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. Gartner notes that in order to deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business with demand shifts both up and down require computing to move away from static to dynamic models.

9. Web-Scale IT

Gartner notes that more companies will think, act, and build applications and infrastructure in the same way that technology stalwarts like Amazon, Google Google, and Facebook do.  There will be an evolution toward web-scale IT as commercial hardware platforms embrace the new models and cloud-optimised and software-defined methods become mainstream. Gartner notes that the marriage of development and operations in a coordinated way (referred to as DevOps) is the first step towards the web-scale IT.

10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection

Lastly, the analysis concludes that security will remain an important consideration through this evolution toward the digital future, but it should not be so heavy-handed as to impede progress. As many companies have recognized that 100 percent security solutions are not feasible, this will become more mainstream, and more sophisticated meathods of risk assessment and risk mitigation from a process and tool perspective will be implemented. Gartner notes that perimeter defense will be broadly recognized as inadequate, and multi-faceted approaches will be devised.  Security aware application design, dynamic and static application security testing, and runtime application self-protection, combined with active context-aware and adaptive access controls will all be necessary.

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2015

Peter High is  President of Metis Strategy, a business and IT advisory firm. His latest book, Implementing World Class IT Strategy, has just been released by Wiley Press/Jossey-Bass. Peter will provide a free video or teleconference lecture on the book for any team that purchases 40 or more copies of it. He is also the author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs Peter moderates the Forum on World Class IT podcast series. Follow him on @WorldClassIT.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhigh/2014/10/07/gartner-top-10-strategic-it-trends-for-2015/

 


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Infographic: Innovating for Convenience

A great inforgraphic from Smart Action examining what customers want from their retail experience and how cloud technology can help retailers improve business performance.

Innovating for Convenience

http://www.smartaction.com/landing-page/retail-infographic

 

 


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Fuel Retailers: How to save money on your accounting

Save MoneyEveryone wants to save money on their accounting but it sounds complex and you don’t know the right way to go about it. So what can you do? Many fuel retailers have been faced with the same problems but have found that the cloud has really helped them to save some money. But what is the cloud? What does it have to do with accounting and how can it save you money? This post will tell you everything you need to know about cloud accounting and will explain how you can save money without losing control of your finances.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The Cloud. What is it?

You probably already use the cloud on a regular basis but you might not realise it. Do you use Gmail or Hotmail for your emails? What about Facebook to stay connected to friends and family? Or perhaps you do online banking? All these services are in the cloud. It’s a secure way of accessing services online and cloud accounting works the same way.

It’s great being able to log on to your online banking whenever you want and you can do the same with your accounting. This means you can securely log on and easily monitor the performance of your business. As cloud accounting is online, you don’t need to buy a software package or pay for updates nor do you need any additional hardware. You just need your laptop or tablet and a browser and you’re ready – no additional costs. Plus you don’t need to be in the office to do this. You can do your accounts at home or, if you have a number of fuel stations, you can do them whilst on the road.

So, now you know that you can do your accounting online and that’s one way to reduce your costs.

But doing your own accounting online sounds like too much trouble doesn’t it?

Actually, it’s not that difficult because some accounting systems have been designed specifically for fuel retailers. That means the programme is written in an easy to understand format and there’s no complex accounting jargon. All the sales categories will match you POS system making it really easy to use.

But how else can it save you money?

At the moment you are probably paying someone to do your bookkeeping. However, some cloud accounting systems can import lots of your data including daily reconciliation and wholesaler invoices. That means at the end of a day you only have to click a button to upload your data. Simple. You could be saving somewhere between 80% – 90% on your bookkeeping fees a year, because you won’t have to pay someone to do it.

There’s more….

In addition to being online and easy to use, certain online accounting systems can help you to work out your VAT. That means you can save even more on your accounting fees. You might also have access to a range of real time reports. That means that at the click of a button you can look at your Profit and Loss and Gross Profit per Category without having to wait for the information to come through. You can use these reports (and more like them) to work out where you could be saving money but also where you can make more. And if you want to discuss these reports with your accountant just pick up the phone and they can view the data online at the same time.

Now you know that it’s easy to save money on your accounting.

You also know what you should look for in an accounting system i.e. something that’s:

  • Online
  • Designed for you
  • Easy to use
  • Allows you to import data
  • Provides real time reports

If you have any suggestions regarding how fuel retailers can save money on their accounting then let us know in the comments section.


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Cloud Computing a New Era for Energy Companies

We found a great whitepaper from Accenture which discusses why energy companies should consider cloud computing.

Cloud Computing

In this whitepaper you will learn:

– How the cloud can change the game for energy companies

– About the cloud and production operations

– The cloud and customer engagement

– How BP are leveraging the cloud

– The future of the cloud for energy companies

Download the whitepaper: http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-New-Era-Energy-Companies-Cloud-Computing-changes-Game.pdf

 

Infographic: It’s an SaaS world

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Cloud-Computing-SaaS-Infographic