Explore the cloud: A guide to SaaS financial management applications

Last updated:July 2013

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Editor's note

Cloud computing has caught on, but some organizations are still hesitant to get on board. Security and privacy concerns were once the main roadblocks, but, over time, vendor offerings have become more legitimate, and many experts say the cloud is nothing to fear. So why has finance been called the last holdout?

Cloud computing is generally split into three broad categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). In SaaS, the focus of this guide, applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, usually the Internet. A key benefit of SaaS is compatibility, meaning all users get the same version of the software. This in turn leads to easier administration and collaboration, according to SaaS proponents. The market is large and contains numerous, high-profile vendors including Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Infor and Concur.

1Benefits of SaaS financial management applications

Once security concerns are assuaged, companies can start to look at the benefits of cloud financial applications. Many large companies have outdated software and will be looking for replacement options while many small businesses are taking advantage of the ease of use and ROI that SaaS financial management software offers. This section examines the flexibility and return on investment cloud financial applications can provide to businesses of any size.