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It's quite a confronting question isn't it? Or maybe it's not – this may all depend where you are along the cloud computing cycle. We don't need to tell you that this term 'has been used beyond saturation point in recent years', nor that it is 'the over-riding strategy that will dominate the technology landscape for a generation' (CapioIT October 2014).

So to better understand where the industry and SMEs are at in relation to cloud preparedness we commissioned an exclusive research report, Can the Accounting Profession Keep up with Clients and the Cloud? Launching next week, we wanted to share some of those highlights with you upfront. Our research partner is Phil Hassey of CapioIT, an IT cloud analyst and expert in translating the potential measurable benefits of the cloud against the reality of the every day.

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Proudly Gen Y, Self-Confessed Lover of Technology and Change

When I was 11, my dad brought a computer home. By the end of the day, I'd pulled it apart and put it back together again. Several years later and with a room full of devices in various states of construction, it was natural for me to head in the direction of an IT degree. But it wasn't what I thought it would be. The only subject I excelled in during that degree was accounting.

So my first move was to join an accounting firm and study accountancy via distance education at night. But my life took an even stranger turn when I ironically gravitated towards the IT solutions in an accountancy environment. And that's when the idea started to form that eventually that perhaps the mix was what I was searching for and that one day I could work for a software accounting firm. 

My role in the accounting practice that I was working for had been to implement a software accounting suite. It was part of the CCH product set and this provided me with the title 'product specialist'. So with my in-practice understanding of how the suite worked and my appreciation of the benefits of the software, when an opportunity came up at Wolters Kluwer CCH and I grabbed it. It's a perspective that has helped me build up a strong understanding of both the technology and strategy side of the business. Coming from the industry has really helped.

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Accountants and the Cloud Freeze

Daniel Wyner, Head of Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions at CCH takes a look at why Australia's accountancy practices are slow to take advantage of Cloud.

Like Nelson, who reportedly held a telescope to his blind eye and declared that he could see no ships, many accountancy practice managers may be deliberately ignoring the reality that their existing Information Technology (IT) systems are barely fit for purpose and may not be robust enough to withstand a crisis. Financial accounting, analysis and modelling today requires high levels of integration, resilience and reliability.

With potential disaster waiting to strike – or at the very least, a reluctance to seek opportunities to create a modern practice with strong efficiency and customer service drivers – there appears to be much wilful blindness in the accounting and financial services sector.

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Important Changes for NZ Domain Names

As of 30th September 2014, the NZ Domain Name Commission has made second level domains - like the '.co' in '' and the '.org' in '' – optional so you can now register names with them, without them, or both.

For example, www.<yourdomainname> could now be www.<yourdomainname>.nz

The NZ Domain Name Commission has put together a comprehensive website on this change which can be viewed here.

What does this mean for your domain name and website?

Depending on when you first registered your domain name, you may get Preferential Registration or Reservation (PRR) to claim the shorter version of your domain name, or it may be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

It's therefore important for you to get onto registering or reserving your shorter '.nz' domain name if you want to claim it. The final day for Preferential Registration or Reservation (PRR) to claim the '.nz' version of your existing domain name is 1pm, 30 March 2015. All key dates can be found here.

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Regulatory Changes for SMEs – looking back at what has happened in 2014

Regulatory Change: The Shadow of Small Business Back Taxes

2014 has been somewhat of a tax and red tape roller coaster for SMEs. On the one hand they have been the focus of red tape alleviation by the Federal Government and unfortunately on the other hand the shadow of small business back taxes now applies. With the repeal of the mining tax, many SMEs may be wondering if it applies to them and how much paperwork is involved in back tax administration. 

In short if you have enjoyed any of the benefits that we outline in today's blog – yes. Affected businesses will need to amend tax returns in which the concessions were claimed and pay back-taxes. They may also need to rethink plans for buying new equipment not eligible for more generous treatment.

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The Cloud Waits for No Accountant

The Brisbane leg of our Dealing with Digital Disruption road show ran with only a single attendee admitting to not being in the cloud.  The event highlighted to a room full of professionals that the transformation to the cloud has not only started - it's game on. Clients are driving the bus and it's up to us whether we get on to reach the field in time. Transformational apps, full transparency, really being able to add cost-effective value in a more secure environment were some of the benefits our attendees outlined.

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This is an exciting time for the accounting profession. Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are looking to innovative practitioners as trusted partners and mentors. The current business environment is seeing accountants, auditors and bookkeepers shake off their beige exterior.

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If you missed other locations or aren't able to attend tomorrow's final Dealing with Digital Disruption breakfast event, then why not sign up for a webcast? Our webcast will be broadcast live on Wednesday 15th October 2014, from 8:00am-10:00am AEDT.

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New South Wales accountants – it's your turn. Here at Wolters Kluwer, CCH we want to share our thoughts and research on how the modern accounting practice will need to skill up for the future.

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Queensland accountants – we are listening – and we want to share our thoughts and research on how the modern accounting practice will need to skill up for the future.

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