Industry Insights

The State of Cloud Accounting – Part 2: Software Innovations

Following up to The State of Cloud Accounting – Part 1: Innovations in Bankingpart 2 of our 4 part blog series focuses on the software innovations that have happened in 2015 and how they are impacting finance teams decisions to migrate to the cloud.

The past year has seen a real push of new features, rebranding, and new possibilities for cloud accounting software companies. Like other disciplines that have since moved to the cloud, accounting is seeing the impact that kind of move can have like, gaining benefits from connected data and automated processes. However, it is apparent we are still in the learning curve.

The Giants Shift

We can see the inevitable shift to cloud accounting happening as giants like Intuit are freeing themselves from their desktop chains. By selling off their Quicken desktop software, once the standard for small business accounting, Intuit has cemented its belief that cloud is the future of accounting products.

2015 also saw major fundraising and valuations for companies like Gusto (formerly Zenpayroll) who raised $60M led by Google Capital, which is only their Series B. Human resources and benefits platform, Zenefits, also raised a large round of funding this year. Valued at $4.5B it brought in $500M in additional funding. These large valuations and fund raising amounts show that cloud-based software focusing on helping small to mid-size businesses with their operations are in high demand.

Feature Upgrades

It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of finance, sales and other company data being pulled together brought stress and anxiety. Just the thought of manual exports, copy and pasting, and trying to find the accurate numbers was exhausting, taking finance and operations week’s worth of work to sift through and sort out. In 2015 we started to see the drive towards integrating systems cross departmentally to fulfill the need for more accurate data.

Improving integrations not only between cloud platforms, but also credit card systems, bank statements and lenders proved to be essential in 2015. Not just for the big guys anymore, small businesses now have software designed and priced for them that takes advantage of these features.

Emerging Features

New software features this year focused on usability, instead of drastic ideas or shifts over 2014. One fun new feature that some software companies have added (including Abacus), was emoji support. A typically consumer focused feature, emoji is becoming more commonplace and is actually accepted as a legal and binding form of communication, so it was only a matter of time before it moved into the workplace.

This year was also a big year for mobile apps, with companies mirroring more functionality from the web app to their mobile app. More and more administrative functions became available on mobile such as approvals, payments and transfers.

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s obvious that 2016 is going to be big. After a year of fine tuning and better usability, next year will be about taking everything to the next level. Stay tuned for our next two blog posts in the series where we talk security and future predictions.

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