Why Your Finance Team Hates Cloud Computing

Automated backup and low installation costs should mean that finance departments embrace the opportunity of cloud computing, yet many remain lukewarm at best about the idea. The main reason? They simply don't like change.

Finance team picture from Shutterstock

"My colleagues in accounting and finance generally are not early adopters," Brandon Byrne, vice president of finance and administration for gaming portal provider Curse.com, said at the Oracle CloudWorld event in Melbourne yesterday. "ERP is going to the cloud last and there's a reason for this."

"When you make the decision to move to the cloud, it's new, it's different. Most accounting and finance pros want to horde their data and keep it in house — that's the way it always been done. It has to do with the fear of doing something different."

That conservatism is evident in other areas too. "Accounting pros don't do Twitter," Byrne said. "We're very, very risk averse."

Resistance doesn't mean you can't make the shift. "When you take the time to think about the logic behind it, it makes a ton of sense to go to the cloud," Byrne said. Just don't expect wild enthusiasm when you first propose it.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Oracle.


Comments

    I'm an accounting professional, and I take offence at this!

    We use a virtualised environment to run our business planning software, and it's SO PAINFULLY SLOW (even with with the NBN-like connection we lease from Telstra) that most people simply dump the data they want from the virtualised desktop to their local desktop, and do the analysis manually, in local spreadsheets. This is as opposed to how we used to do things: we had the same software running locally rather than virtualised, and everyone used it all the time, without needing to use database dumps to do their work in a timely fashion.

    (Our primary ERP system follows a cloud model, albeit with us owning the servers rather than leasing them from others, so that part of Kidman's comments aren't applicable to us.)

    I'd say that it's wrong to accuse us of not liking change. What we don't like is when we spend money to replace a product that we already have, and that works fine, with something inferior.

      If anyone is to be accused of hating change, it should be IT departments in government and large corporate/enterprise. Ask any regular drone which version of Windows/Outlook/Office they're using and you'll be surprised how many are using software which is over ten years old.

        > many are using software which is over ten years old.

        This is because software ten years old is often perfectly capable of doing the jobs that people require of it. I was putting together quite decent newsletters on my Amiga in the early 90s. Most features added to new software are not used very much because the most used features were the first ones added.

        It's quite a rational approach, only scuppered by the fact that so many bugs remain unfixed in older versions, and that format changes can make older software incompatible with documents produced by newer software.

        The upgrade process is slowed at the enterprise & government level by the need to prove that new software does not introduce new bugs & incompatibilities that were absent in the older versions. Since almost all upgrades do, in fact, introduce new bugs and incompatibilities, it's understandable that the upgrade cycle is slow.

        Or to put it another way: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

        Last edited 05/03/14 1:54 pm

          ...Or until it stops you from interacting with the rest of the world who has moved with the times.

          We have to have multiple versions of Excel installed because data files which come from service providers and other resources have critical formatting which isn't recognized by the old software that the client agencies are working with, meaning we have to convert the files before they're sent on, which is the only easily-related example of the problems with keeping legacy systems from 2003 and earlier.

      I hear you. I love the bleeding edge. I have been there so many times on so many products.

      Too many people get wrapped up in " cloud , cloud , cloud " Why would I use a system that makes me more inefficient due to speed. I have yet to find an accounting system that is faster and more efficient than desktop. Its getting there, but right now they have their " hands on it" if they think its better

      Just going back to my abacus now

    My wife is battling with this at her work, she is there Finance/Admin Manager and she loves the new Cloud system and can't wait to make the full changeover in 3 months, they would have changed sooner but the office Manager refuses to switch over, and yet with the cloud system running she will have nearly 25% less work, but for some reason she is resisting and fighting the implementation of the new system, the company has said they will switch over in 3 months time and that's final, the Office Manager is fighting it though, she has even gone as far as blocking training sessions for the rest of the staff, I must admit I dont see what her issue is, its easier, less work to do and will save them a large chunk of time and effort, they all complain now about the tight deadlines and constantly having to stay back to do extra work to catch up.

    Last edited 05/03/14 2:14 pm

    As a very seasoned IT professional, one who has managed entire application portfolios for a fortune 100 company, I am going to call bullshit on this.

    Most business people are dubious about this move not because they "fear change" but because they have a solid history of change being implemented absolutely terribly. It's like if every time I turned off the lights in your office, someone came by and hit you in the knee with a pipe. Do you think you would fear me turning off your lights?

    Now, I won't let business completely off the hook here. They have aided and abetted their own misfortune by continuously entering into shitty outsourcing contracts because they continue to see IT as a cost center instead of as a way to grow their business. Hell, even the most basic outsourcing business model is rife with peril - it is essentially a reverse slope of value for money, whereas the outsourcer spends enormous capital up front to put in place infrastructure, policies, documentation, training, staff, etc and then turns a profit over the duration of the agreement by reducing expenditures while the business typically has an increase in demands.

    Awesome business model guys. Really, just brilliant.

    Being an ERP implementation consultant, I have to agree in part. Mostly about "letting go" of your in-house data. It is a control and accepting change issue. People generally don't like change, being it Finance, Sales, Purchasing and god forbid Human Resources.
    The other big issue is speed. Besides Excel being the biggest ERP system in the world (!), entering information on a slow response system is just not going to cut it.
    For small companies - Xero is the way to go.

    With ADSL on copper screwing most businesses to the wall in terms of speed...
    With the governments of the world trawling through any data on the cloud...
    With the internet able to hack and DDOS your server - thanks to it being on a Cloud IP...
    With the increased cost over time for cloud based platform compared to in-house...
    With being at the mercy of these corporations failures...
    With the bad press you could see should your customers find you are placing their info in the USA...

    I'm surprised people want to risk such valuable business data in the cloud just because of "easy backups".

    By all means, a cloud based service, like the one Angus was a guest of to cause him to write this article, is great for non-important information; but for serious information - speed, security, safety, continuity of access and cost are all, over the long term, far more important.

    Finance departments don't like Cloud systems because you can't capitalise the cost.

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