Exhibit A: Deloitte works w/ global regulators to shape policy and standards to help develop […]
Keep in mind before we get into this that the Brits are a tad wonky; they use funny words (“fag,” for example, is a cigarette, not a name that’ll get you a beatdown in San Francisco’s Castro District), drive on the wrong side of the road and live in tiny little crackerbox houses. That said, small businesses over there feel their accountants have served their money best.
Well, kind of.
Professional advice website, unbiased.co.uk has today released new research which reveals accountants as the most valued professional adviser when it comes to financial advice. Of the small businesses surveyed, 21% believed that their accountant provides them with the most valuable business advice. 12% of small business owners name friends, while 10% state a member of their family has given them the best advice on their business. One in three (31%) believe their own advice is the most valuable with regards to running their company.
Of the 54% of small business owners who have sought professional advice on their accounting and book keeping needs, 48% say that their accountant has saved them money in the long-term, while 47% state that they had helped them make sense of the complex UK tax system. Over a quarter (28%) say using an accountant has meant they have more time to focus on important business decisions. One in ten (10%) say their accountant has helped them to free up time to spend with their family.
That’s very warm and cozy, isn’t it? Except that 18% more of them prefer “focusing on important business decisions” to hanging out with their family with the time an accountant saves them.
Granted, the company from which the press release comes is “sponsored” by companies like J.P. Morgan Asset Management (others include AEGON, Legal & General, Alliance Trust, Lockton, Aviva, MetLife, AXA Life, Opinium Research, Bright Grey, Prudential, Canada Life Ltd, Royal London 360°, Clerical Medical Investment, Schroders… so how unbiased can it really be?)
Confession: not 100% sure on the hype surrounding SaaS, cloud computing, living in the cloud and whatever but apparently it’s the next big thing (if it’s not already) and might make our lives just one notch short of Jetsons flying car awesome.
Ask guys like Geoff, he’ll tell you all about it. I buy it and I don’t even need to use it, have heard amazing things, and have even evangelized it once or twice.
But it’s your data so instead of jumping on the SaaS/Cloud bandwagon without asking what happens to it once you do, it might be wise to check out the SAS 70 certification and the strange relationship that legitimizes it.
Complying with the AICPA lends a certain bit of credibility to vendors who want to show how tight their control systems are so auditors can rely on them, right?
Perhaps not, says Jay Heiser via Gartner in “Analyzing the Risk Dimensions of Cloud and SaaS Computing,” who is concerned by a sense of deja vu between the faulty systems that collapsed throughout the financial crisis and cloud computing. In an extremely risk-adverse environment, a bit of caution is due before jumping head first into the unknown.
Or you can just trust the shiny marketing materials and forget that it’s your data.
Now back to cloud computing and SAS 70. Okay, let me get this straight: So the cloud companies pay accounting firms for SAS 70 certifications just as the financial organizations paid Moody’s for an investment-grade rating?
“Yes, if you see someone who claims to be SAS 70, they have paid an accounting firm. Not only have they paid an accounting firm to go do the test, but they’ve told the accounting firm what processes need to be tested,” Heiser says.
And that’s different from an audit client paying an auditor how?
In a financial crisis corollary, Big 4 opinions are fetching less these days than they used to. Cloud computing marketers don’t really get what they are pushing but cloud provider clients certainly should understand what this means for the shift to life in the cloud.
Better start updating those marketing materials.