When the Covid-19 pandemic shut offices and schools, business owners and administrators immediately felt the impact on their data and account management services. Those who relied on manual processes, such as issuing checks for payment, retrieving deposits through the mail or requiring in-person approvals for expenditures, were particularly inconvenienced as business took place remotely.
For many companies, integrating their software with a cloud-based system was the solution in 2020.
Moving business infrastructure to the cloud provides numerous benefits, from improving efficiency to enhancing security. While it may seem counterintuitive to save sensitive data in the cloud, multiple layers of protection are in place for greater safety.
Keep reading to understand how your business can benefit from migrating to the cloud.
The efficiencies gained through cloud migration can be valuable to any small to midsize business that provides products or services to multiple clients or customers, such as a law firm or an entertainment business manager.
“Cloud migration typically results in tremendous efficiencies and speeds up infrastructure and technology procurement and setup. That - coupled with integrating the accounting software with your bank - provides a seamless experience, with everything automated and synchronized to greater accuracy than you get when data is manually entered," said Ninad Deshmukh, senior vice president of development services for City National Bank.
In fact, a major benefit of integrating systems is that you eliminate the necessity of double entries, echoed Rosetta Rajoyan, a senior product manager for City National Bank.
“When you must make double entries into your own accounting system and into your online banking, you're prone to errors," said Rajoyan. "It also takes extra time for you or your employees to manage the systems."
But processing time is perhaps the most impressive benefit, with cloud solutions enabling companies to process payroll and other processes efficiently and accurately in a much shorter time.
"Processing times can be sped up quickly when accounting software and banking systems are connected in the cloud, said Peter Wu, a group product manager for City National Bank. “For instance, one client who had a business need to issue thousands of checks in batches every month used to take three weeks. Now, checks can be delivered as fast as the third business day after a file is submitted."
Staying constantly vigilant with the latest security updates can be time-consuming, costly and prone to human error. But with the cloud, customers not only can take advantage of technology companies for security, but they also can retain the flexibility to control access to their own data.
"Transferring your data storage and processes to the cloud means you get the benefit of the billions of dollars your cloud services provider invests in state-of-the-art security tools and highly trained personnel," said Deshmukh. “Data security is highly regulated, which should provide extra confidence to consumers."
Fraud protection systems also can be enhanced with multiple approval options, secure access to accounts and audit reports.
“The cloud can provide 'cyber resilience' against security related disruptions, and/or other disasters, and reduce downtime during maintenance and system upgrades," said Brian Fricke, Chief Information Security Officer for City National Bank. “When your data and systems are managed in the cloud, there are separate data centers in place to takeover if one center goes down."
And while some business owners remain hesitant to loosen their grip on the data, most business owners understand the cloud's security benefits are worth the provider's helping hand.
“There's a slight misconception with owning your data in the cloud because you do have to trust your providers' security, but you also maintain full control of your own data and your encryption keys," said Fricke. "The three main components to consider when reviewing your security are infrastructure, the platform and the software. Transitioning to the cloud means you shift some responsibility for maintenance, upgrades and coding to the provider, who is likely well-resourced to handle it, but you still control your data."
In addition to creating efficiencies and enhancing security, integrating accounting and banking systems can help your business grow. A 2019 McAfee Cloud Report revealed that 87% of companies in their survey experienced business acceleration from the use of cloud services alone.
“As your business grows and you see an uptick in usage, the infrastructure is in place to automatically grow with you without requiring a new procurement cycle," said Deshmukh. “In addition, there is a menu of options to help businesses plan for growth, such as auditing, data analytics and visualization that can be accomplished within minutes."
But for many businesses, integrating their accounting software with their bank is just the start of their cloud migration journey, said Wu.
“Integrating other software can provide higher levels of insight into your business. Cloud helps us focus on innovative solutions to address specific client needs," he said.
For instance, Rajoyan explained how City National has multiple tiered options to help companies integrate their systems. EASI Link®, a home-grown solution from City National's Treasury, allows clients to efficiently migrate to the cloud and experience all the benefits.
"Connecting your accounting software with your bank accounts is one way to make it easier to automate payments and process invoices," said Rajoyan. "And these kind of efficiencies are exactly what a business poised for growth needs."
Business owners sometimes view the monthly fee for managing their data in the cloud as an added cost because what they pay now for data management is often hidden in their rent, utility fees and salaries, said Deshmukh. However, monthly fees for managing data in the cloud are a “pay as you go" system, he explained.
"You pay cloud providers only for what you actually consume, and usually companies see significant financial savings from cloud migration," Deshmukh said. “Any company can do a cost benefit analysis and compare current spending with the return on investment from cloud migration to see if the move is right for them."
Migrating your business to the cloud doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, it can simplify your business, create efficiencies, enhance your security and support your plans for growth.
To learn more, contact us.
You also are invited to keep up-to-date with the latest economic perspectives and shifting global markets by signing up for City National Bank's newsletters here. Delivered biweekly, straight to your inbox.
This article is for general information and education only. It is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank (City National). City National does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates or projections given are those of the authors or persons quoted as of the date of the article with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change. This article may not be reproduced, distributed or further published by any person without the written consent of City National. Please cite source when quoting.