Is there anyone who isn’t intrigued by new products that are unveiled each year at the Consumer Electronics Show? We all like to see what’s coming down the pike and get the answer to ‘What will they think of next?’. It’s fun to see what could be in stores in a few months. I’m just as curious about what accounting technology changes and products will be with us in the not too distant future.Doug Sleeter’s recent article in AccountEx Report goes into some depth about what that future might look like. He explains Blockchain technology and how he thinks it’ll impact the accounting industry. It’s great reading and one the challenges he points out about cloud-based accounting was particularly striking to me; how many of the current tech solutions utilize paper-based processes.Baby StepsBuilding a better mousetrap isn’t the only thing we should do when we develop or evaluate cloud accounting software. It’s tempting to go that route and just take the work we do and pop it into the cloud. It’s certainly a step in the right direction and there’s a good argument to have done that in the early days of cloud-based accounting before many companies were onboard. But now, if you want to make your investment really count, your processes themselves need to change.Ease of AdoptionThe best argument for taking existing business budgeting and planning software products and putting them into the cloud was to have both the software vendor and the end-customer get their feet wet. That first step is often the toughest. Who could argue with being hesitant about entrusting database records to a nebulous entity that can’t be seen or felt?They might even point to the stereotypical accountant’s conservative outlook as their justification for staying put. I’m here to tell you that the train’s already left the station. If they are using email to conduct business, they’re already entrusting their organizations to the cloud.EvolutionI don’t mean to downplay the fact of it being a big deal to move records or vital software to the cloud. We take on a lot of responsibility as accountants. We’re trusted with personal data, strategic planning foresight, and with the multitude of fiduciary responsibilities of our companies. It is a very big deal.What I am saying is that when we seek out software and cloud-based accounting services, we need to make it count.The FutureAny cloud-based accounting software you consider (or that you integrate with) should take advantage of the features of the medium itself.The terminology can turn some folks off but data warehousing, keeping the information you track, process, and store in one place, gives you the opportunity to streamline your records and remove redundant entry and fields. If you’ve got you’ve got a payables system that doesn’t talk to 1099 software, you’re probably maintaining the same vendor record in two places. When updates are needed, you’ve got to change it in both places. It’s easy to get out of sync. When you keep all of your addresses in one place, it’s only changed once. Everything reads from the same file.Migrating or connecting to cloud-based accounting software solutions is the ideal opportunity to tick some items off your wish list too. More often than not, you’ll find that getting some features you hadn’t considered, will become part of your every-day environment. And you won’t want to give them up for anything! Software that allows collaboration, provides a workflow and approval process, or bases itself on measures that just weren’t feasible to use in Excel, can make your days go so much easier while they concurrently improve the information you have available to make better decisions.What cloud-based accounting software feature do you have access to that you aren’t using to its fullest extent? Set aside some time next week to start exploring it.Businesses of every description rely on the Budget Maestro™ family of software solutions by Centage Corporation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.