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Next Step in Evolution of Accounting Automation Software Product

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
SaaS is the future for Office Automation products as it allows organizations to automate their business functions with zero upfront IT investment and zero maintenance cost.

Technology has been the driving force for innovation and has been the biggest enabler for solving the business problems and pain-points in the market. For the above mentioned pain-points faced by SMB while dealing with the different types of accounting automation software products, the new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based model is emerging as the answer; and hence the next step in the evolution of office automation software products. Companies like OfficeBOX are already offering accounting automation solutions on SaaS platform and are have a planned roadmap to extend their solution to other business functions.

The reasons why SaaS is touted as the-next-big thing in the automation software solution segment are manifold. In this section, we briefly touch upon how SaaS based solutions are solving the above mentioned pain-points for SMBs:

Zero Upfront IT Investment:

Benefit of SaaS based model is that solutions on this platform are ready to be used from the word go. They are designed to be plug-and-play in nature, and can be operated from the moment business registers for them. All that a SaaS based solution requires is internet connectivity to connect to the product, and no other infrastructure is needed. There is no need of setting up elaborate LAN network, servers and machines, neither is there any need of installing any software (and hence the associated software solutions anti-virus).

Being in business of developing and providing software solutions, even SaaS based models do charge an activation/registration fees to cover these costs. However the beauty of SaaS model lies in the fact that the incremental cost of servicing a new customer is negligible. Being marketed and served over internet, SaaS model can have a reach across the world without needing to spend on maintaining a spread-out dealer distribution network. Neither does it involve cost of replicating the software product on disc or customizing and installing the solution at customers’ premises. Hence SaaS based solution providers can afford to offer their basic services even for free. OfficeBOX – who is emerging as leader in the SaaS based office automation solutions – offers the basic version of their products for free.

Zero Maintenance Cost

While desktop solutions need regular maintenance as explained in earlier section, SaaS based solutions overcome this problem as the solution is hosted on the service provider’s end. This immediately eliminates the need of maintaining the system free of any virus infection or worrying about recovery from system crashes. Also all product upgrades can be applied at the server end, making them applicable and available to all users at one go. This again reduces the cost of maintenance for both the SMB and solution provider, and hence is the most optimal solution.

Also, SaaS based solutions generally secure the data through trusted data-centers. Since this cost of data-security is being distributed over a large number of users, SaaS based model allows solution providers to offer best-in-the-class data security services at a very negligible cost. SaaS based accounting automation software provider company OfficeBOX is using trusted and secured datacenters based in USA and this data-security feature is available for free of cost even in its basic free version of product. This point towards the immense benefit that businesses can reap out using SaaS based office automation product

Global Access for Distributed Office Locations

SaaS based solutions are always available for use as long as user can connect to the solution. Internet is now fast becoming commonplace and also an essential for businesses looking to modernize and automate their processes, which makes SaaS based solutions more appropriate for SMBs.

For businesses having a distributed presence as mentioned in earlier section, SaaS based automation products come handy because they can connect to the product immediately through devices like mobile and do the required operations. Also since at any given moment, not all of the information pertaining to the business function is required, SaaS based model can quickly retrieve the desired information from its own server, and deliver it to the user even at using the slowest connection. OfficeBOX has a facility to provide such updates and information related to the business even on SMS which are instant and free-of-cost.

Also SaaS based model provides for setting up the right authorization settings through which restricted access to the data and different functionalities can be provided.

Regularly Updating Product with Changing Statutory Financial/Accounting Policies

As mentioned in earlier section, the desktop solutions suffer a drawback of needing to apply upgrade patches to incorporate any change in the statutory financial/accounting policies. Any changes in the taxation rules or method of auditing or reporting needs to be reflected in the product, requiring regular maintenance of the product on the end-user side.

In contrast, for solutions based on SaaS model, all the processing required is being done at single location at the service providers servers. Different algorithms and rules defining this processing are fetched from the logic block of product which is managed on the service provider’s side. Hence for all such changes in policies or rules, SaaS model needs change at only one place and it becomes available and applicable for all the users immediately. This comes as a huge benefit for SMBs as they now need not spend time and resources in updating themselves about such changes through their financial consultant and pay for their services. Instead, the solution provider can hire best of the financial consultant and share their cost across all the users, making the cost of expert advisory service absolutely negligible for the SMB.